Emptiness and Newness

My latest version of painting meditations is to approach it in an art-journaling mind-set. So far I like the result. I made the piece above after contemplating the need for occasional emptiness.

As time goes on I have less to write about. I have long loved to write about nature but I reached a point where I didn’t feel I had anything new to say. More recently I find I have less to journal about because my emotional well-being is very good so I have few things to work out.

I know that the remedy would be to free-write everyday and see what eventually transpires but for now I am content to just keep a diary of the interesting things about the day, a studio journal of what I am working on and plans for how to proceed.

I was feeling uneasy about the lack of productivity but I still have Landscape Diaries to finish editing and Rust to Illustrate. I don’t exactly need a new piece of writing to work with now. My discomfort is a thing of identity, wanting to see myself as an active writer, wanting to imagine a future with more and better work. I have a suspicion that to be empty for a while, to not force things, may create a space for something meaningful to come in. Otherwise my work will stop growing.

The piece below is how I feel about my day yesterday. I was at my day job in a large medical office feeling fatigued and not sure how I was going to talk to people on the phone all day when one of the clinic staff came to shadow me since she is considering working from home as a scheduler after she has a new baby. I was excited for her to start a family and showing a new person what I do gave me some energy which made the day much better.

Today was studio day and in addition to my painting meditations I worked on a large landscape and made more prints for my next market. I was glad to finally have a day in my new studio without having to devote a lot of time to moving. I am really happy in my new home though 🙂

Stephen’s Creek

The other day I made a painting from sketches I did at the headwaters of Stephen’s Creek. It is a luxurious spot of wetlands and trees with a little bench to sit on and admire the leaves blowing about and the birds carrying on in their normal routines. When I go there I feel unusually peaceful and am able to step into the visceral experience of being me: a little human on a grand planet full of growth and miracles and tremendous challenges.

I didn’t start with a line drawing in order to be more painterly. I love how it turned out.

It was studio day so I also cleaned off my large gator boards and stretched large pieces of watercolor paper. This takes up quite a lot of time because I also have to thoroughly scrub and rinse my bathtub in order to get the large paper wet.

Earlier in the day I started some new painting meditations which I am always excited about and in the afternoon I had a call with a business counselor to get advice about how to best approach my art career.

I felt accomplished at the end of the day even though there are still a lot of important things I’ve been putting off while I catch up on painting.

New Small Abstracts

These are my latest painting meditations. I’m going to put them away for awhile so I can better judge which ones might go together as a body of work but they are for sale in the meantime. All sizes in inches.

Today was my studio today. I started the morning off doing some painting meditations and working on two forest paintings that aren’t going as well as I’d like. I stretched some watercolor paper, worked on a couple show applications as well as my career plan and web-site. I also researched some wholesale frame possibilities. Then I made a little illustration just to reassure myself I can paint after working on the not-so-great forest paintings. I’ll post that later, stay tuned!

A Day’s Work

One weekday every week I work in my studio instead of going to my day job. I work on my art throughout the week but I am in much better spirits when I have this weekday to focus wholeheartedly on my painting career.

This week wasn’t my most productive week, I took my illustration to First Taste last weekend and while I had a great time meeting nature lovers and art appreciators I was tired afterwards so I had a slow morning day-dreaming, contemplating, meditating. To be fair these are all important endeavors in the making of good art but I don’t want to render them unrestful by thinking too hard on that.

I’ve been making painting meditations lately in the genuine sense of painting in the moment without trying to make good pieces. Here’s today’s:

I also started a new forest painting from a drawing I made out on a nature walk:

I scanned last week’s paintings:

I also applied for a group gallery show with no resistance whatsoever. This is a new thing for me as I normally shun all types of paperwork.

I got out for a nature walk of course. The creek was high and the song sparrows were hopping all about the undergrowth looking for food. The air was fresher than normal and the forest is finally filling with green after the winter.

That was my studio day. I hope your day was fulfilling! Thanks for reading!

Catching Up

I’m back from Instagram. I miss blogging and I would like to spend less time watching cat videos so I’ll be putting more effort into my posts here and my newsletters instead and less on Meta.

This year I committed to going to more shows with my illustration. I had such a great time at Newport Autumn Fest I wondered what other gems I might find. So far nothing that’s a great fit but I’m excited to try First Taste in April.

Getting ready for shows has been hectic but I learned a lot about printing art, solved some printer problems with the internet and made a table-top display panel to hang framed work on. I am always proud of myself when I can design and make my display elements. The panels I considered buying were 4 times the cost and weren’t exactly what I wanted. However, the making of my panel took an entire day which was a lot of painting time to give up.

I like the idea of offering framed prints as a convenience for people at shows but I can’t afford to stock really nice frames right now so I’m not sure if the is a good business path. I probably have 12 other queries about how to best do shows. Any input you have about what you like from artists at sales is welcome!

In my fine art practice I’m experimenting with doing my painting meditations on inexpensive paper and using the inspiring ones to make finished paintings. The finished pieces would be more accurately described as devotions instead of meditations but are still very soothing to create.

36 x 24 inches Afloat $1200

I’m also toying with the idea of making meditation paintings and letting them sit an entire year before I make any effort at deciding which ones should be shown.

I just completed an art submission with my abstracts. I haven’t replied to a call with my fine art for a while. The neat thing about applying is the motivation to flush out my ideas around my work and inspires me to start adding more conceptual information with my pieces on my website. This also makes it appealing to hold my paintings for a year because it takes time for me to discover what they are about.

My day job is taking a toll on me right now. I don’t know how the ER nurses are holding up. I just answer the phone in an outpatient clinic and I’ve been in a state if burnout for almost 2 years now. I won’t go into a complaint litany as my life is relatively very good, just adding that to the scene that I feel like a pile of cooked spaghetti a lot of the time. The only reason I haven’t left the job is that I spend my free time painting instead of looking for work but this may not be the best long term approach.

Barbur Dawn, illustration inspired by my work commute

I’m still chipping away at revising my essay collection, Landscape Diaries and just today I got back into my book project, Rust. I was going to try to have these published but now that I’m getting into shows I’m thinking I might just make them myself because it sounds more fun.

You are caught up on my studio practice! I hope this post finds you well ❤️!

Upcoming Illustration Shows

Hi! I have some upcoming shows that I am taking my illustration work to. I’ll have an expanded booth with more tree cards, 8 by 10 prints and framed prints. These pics are from my last show, Newport Autumn Fest. I had the best time 🙂 There is also a shot of my new card designs coming to life next to some established faves. I hope to see you at one of these events!

March 12th and 13th Maizee Mae’s Vintage and Collectible Market:

Hilton DoubleTree, 1000 NE Multnomah, Portland, Oregon 97232

Saturday 3/12 9 am to 5 pm

Sunday 3/13 10 am to 3 pm

$3 admission

March 26th and 27th Mt Hood Center Spring Craft and Tack:

29450 SE Lariat Ln, Boring, OR 97009

Saturday 3/26 9 am to 5 pm

Sunday 3/27 10 am to 5 pm

April 15 & 16 First Taste Oregon:

Oregon State Fair & Exposition Center, Columbia Hall
2330 NE 17th Street, Salem Oregon 97301

Friday 4/15 4-9pm
Saturday, 4/16 12-9pm

admission $8-15

Painting Meditation Journal

One day I found myself a little bored of painting meditations so I decided to treat them like an actual meditation practice. A person doesn’t find much peace just meditating when they feel like it.

This inspired me to make a meditation journal out of Arches 90 lb and an old hard bound book from the thrift store. I am enjoying creating in this!

When I fist started making painting meditations I would start out very pure—painting just to paint with no expectations. When the pieces started turning out good, however, I started wanting them to turn out good! This wasn’t a problem, I would just reset my intentions when I noticed myself slipping. Creating lovely abstract paintings was a welcome side-effect to the endeavor.

But painting in a journal has allowed me to become very good at painting in the moment without trying to be good. I came to miss making good paintings. I decided to separate the endeavors so that I have an actual meditation practice painting in my journal and I also make abstract art works while trying to be very present with that process as its own thing.

I seem to be in an awkward growth phase since deciding this. It’s like I am trying to copy my own art. I trust I will get though it. I have been through a lot of change lately, mostly good things but some challenging things. I am ok overworking a bunch of paintings while I settle into a new life and a new painting practice.

“How the Moon Tends the Flowers” and “Being Here”

Above, “Being Here” approximately 7.5 by 6 inches on an 8.5 by 11 piece of watercolor paper and includes watercolor and ink. Below, “How the Moon Tends the Flowers.” approximately 7 by 6.5 inches on an 8.5 by 11 piece of watercolor paper and includes ink and colored pencil.

I made a couple new watercolor illustrations from workbook drawings. I really like them both and it feels like I am making a lexicon of sorts. If you would like one send me an email, they are $50 each.

“Tenderly” New Illustration

This is a watercolor illustration of how I feel about life. I made it from a workbook drawing and I feel like its progress in bringing my painting meditation practice into my illustrations, I am really happy about it.

I am moving next month so my studio is half in boxes but I still have my painting supplies out. I am mostly painting meditations because it’s hard to focus on my current book in a room that is complete chaos. I am excited to move. I really like my roommates but I thrive on solitude and it has been a tiring 3 years of not being able to live out my values as much as I am used to. I am very sensitive to certain things I had no knowledge of previously. I am grateful to see but I make so much joy for myself when I live alone just tending to the basics, keeping up with chores and minding my environmental impact as best I can. I feel like it will be a very healing thing to return to my own ways.

Wings and Waterways: New Paintings

acrylic painting of a crow with yellow leaves fluttering about it and abstract designs

I am working on incorporating my approach to painting meditations into my illustrative work. The above painting started with a line drawing from my workbook. The painting below I started by making a line drawing directly on the paper and then filling it in. I like the approach of the top painting better. I feel it allowed me to be more painterly and there is no pressure whatsoever to make good drawings in a workbook. It is harder to relax completely and to let go of wanting it to make a good drawing while working directly on nice watercolor paper. I really enjoyed both approaches though and will give each some more time.

an acrylic painting of pod people in a cityscape with water flowing through