What the numbers really mean…to me.

zest
212 posts published!

100+ pieces completed in the last 6 months!

300+ followers!

797 comments – your comments, encouraging me and motivating me!

578 days keeping my creative resolution

unmeasurable – the joy I feel living a creative life

I’ve been blogging for a year and a half and during that time creating art has became an integral part of my life. It brings me so much joy. I especially love how one idea leads to another and another and another. I love that the projects I work on are entirely self motivated. Prior to my creative resolution I was in an art class/group for several years. Even though we were given total freedom, I was ready to break free and see what I would create on my own. I feel such a sense of accomplishment looking over my work and seeing how many projects I have finished and that my style has emerged.

I remember when I first started posting and I couldn’t get a single person to like a post or comment! Now I am so lucky to have a community of friends who cheer me on. It means so much to me! It keeps me motivated. Thank you! 🙂

A pattern for July – Seashells

shellspattern
I really enjoyed creating this pattern. It brought me back to collecting shells as a kid and marveling at the patterns and colors. Oh wait, I still do that!

This pattern started with doodles in my sketchbook. I drew a lot of shells! I have jarfuls on hand for reference.
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Then on watercolor paper I painted shells using different colors. I took creative liberties with this step.
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I scanned everything in, and layered the outlines and watercolors together in Photoshop. I also added a textured background. After I had my arrangement set, I repeated it to see how it worked. I had to shift things a bit when the shells overlapped.

I truly felt inspired creating this pattern. It felt very nostalgic for me. And I can’t wait to get back down to the beach to collect more shells.

Shell doodles

Today I was doodling some shells I found at the beach and one starfish that I bought :)! I was using my son’s gel pen which I love because it’s so smooth. (Unfortunately it’s not waterproof, which I previously found out the hard way.)
I really enjoyed studying the shells and drawing them. I promised a pattern every month, and I think it would be fitting to make a seashell pattern for July. Can’t wait to scan these in and play with color and layout. Stay tuned!

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Stop Motion Animation – See the tire “swing” :)

treeswing
Click here to see the swinging tire swing!
I’ve been wanting to create an animation for a while now. I see a lot of them on Instagram. But everytime I come up with a concept – it’s way too complicated. Especially since I wasn’t sure how to go about it, how to animate my illustration – video? animated gif? an app? which app?

The other day on a whim, I painted a tree and thought it could use something else. A quote? A tire swing! I realized I could start simple. My stop motion animation would be of the tire swinging. The background doesn’t change. The tire swing would be the only moving component, so I drew it separately.

But how to make it work? I figured it out using the process of elimation – video too shaky, one app wouldn’t allow me to upload my own pics, animated gifs don’t play on Instagram (I don’t think ), another app left a huge watermark across my animation, etc.

I was ready to give up! I decided to try one more thing and try iMovie on my Mac – which I don’t know well. At first it didn’t seem like it would work. How do I upload my pics? But after some modifications, finally success! My tire swing was swinging! 🙂

A simple thing, but it feels like a milestone. I made my illustration move! Haven’t seen it yet? Click here! I’m already thinking of the next animation. Stay tuned!

Digging deeper within a theme

bbq
Sometimes when working within a theme, after you get the obvious stuff out of the way, you can surprise yourself.

I first experienced this when I decided to create and post on Instagram “14 Days of Valentine’s Day” artwork. The first couple of days were easy – hearts! red! Then it started to get a little harder. “What am I going to paint?!” But even though it was harder I found that some of the later pieces were the best ones. (My favorite is the “He loves me…” one.)

The same thing happened with my “17 Days of St. Patrick’s Day” posts on Instagram. At first it was easy – shamrocks! green! Then it got hard. I started thinking, “17 Days is a long time!!” But again, some of my favorite illustrations were created in those later days. When I had to dig a little deeper into the theme. (My favorite is the grouchy leprechaun.)

Yesterday I posted my watercolor American flag for the 4th of July. The weather wasn’t great – cloudy and rainy – so I started to think about what else I could draw. Hmmm. “What do people do on the 4th of July?” BBQ! And so another idea was born.

For my Dad – a painting of memories

dadscard
A few weeks ago I was walking through Barnes & Noble when the book “Wherever You Go?” by Pat Zietlow Miller and Eliza Wheeler caught my eye. I love Eliza Wheeler’s illustrations. I loved that she created worlds and scenes. I was really inspired by her work.

I wanted to try to create my own scene and I decided that a homemade card for Father’s Day was the perfect project. As a parent, I can’t help but think back on my own childhood and some treasured outings with my dad. The yearly trip to his office in Manhattan was a highlight for me – the subway, a street hotdog, his office at the telephone company, etc. I also fondly remember our Saturday morning trips to the beach. My mom was working one summer so it was just the two of us. My dad was the one who taught me to body surf.

The interesting (and unintentional) thing about my card is it really represents my dad – the city boy who ended up settling by the beach. The little boy who went to sleep with the subway rattling outside his bedroom window, who now goes to sleep to the sound of waves crashing.

I am hoping to paint more scenes in the future.

My steps:
1. Pencil sketch. 2. Ink 3. Watercolor
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Some paintings are easy…and then there is this one.

finalsunflower
When I say that some paintings are easy, I don’t mean that there aren’t layers and layers to add, and details to fill in. They just feel easy. Each layer and detail added makes the painting better and better. And you know it, as you’re working.
startofsunflower
But this sunflower felt like childbirth – ha ha. It was the petals! I needed to add something. I wanted the petals to pop – and I didn’t want to add ink details this time. I tried a few grey brushstrokes on each petal, but that didn’t do it. I took a huge risk and added a blue outline to the edges of the petals, all the while thinking, “I’m probably ruining it!”
blueoutline weirdblue stillneedssomething
I wouldn’t say the blue outline ruined it, but the petals still needed something! I added more yellow. I added more white. In the end I added ink lines to the petals. Oh well! 🙂

Sewing project with my own fabric design

sewingmachine
I’m not much of a sewer, but I’m excited to try and make something with the pattern I designed. Seeing a pattern as a fabric is much different than seeing it on the computer monitor. You start to think about what you can make with it. If I printed this pattern again, I’d make the pattern much smaller, so it could be used as a band of detail on a bag, or something like that. At this size, I’m thinking of making a pillow or even a pillowcase. Any sewers out there? Any ideas?

I’m excited to have the sewing machine set up in my studio. My daughter has to show me how to use it. I’d love it if she would take the reins and start sewing tons of cute things with fabric I design. We’d be a great team. She seems to have other plans for the summer. Ah teenagers! 🙂

BTW – I didn’t win the “Sandcastles” Spoonflower.com contest. I still feel a sense of accomplishment – I finally uploaded a design and ordered fabric with my own pattern. I’ve wanted to do that for years!