My Apologies

I just wanted to let you know…I will post again. Well I am right now, but this doesn’t really count. I have been too busy lately. I hung one of my students’ shows today and have been totally consumed with getting things ready. I haven’t even opened my journal in 3 days!!! I have hopes to catch up on some challenges and finally do illustration Friday again. Or at least do something. Until then check out this blog. I have really enjoyed Liz’s everyday drawings. I am sure you will too.



I hopped on over to this evening to see if any world wide sketchcrawls are planned for the near future. Glad I did, because the 3rd WWSketchcrawl will be on Saturday May 21st. I am going to try (again) to organize a group to draw in Jackson. The last one I tried to organize was in November and it was pretty cold then so I am glad that enrico chose May 21st this time. If you have never heard of sketchcrawl check it out here and below are some links to some people who have posted their drawings from their sketchcrawl adventures.
Karen Winter’s Sketchcrawl 2 pages
Danny Gregory’s Sketchcrawl 1 pages
Sketchcrawl adventures posted by Ronnie

Unusual Weather

I am a firm believer in recording the out of the ordinary. So I took some time today to do this drawing of a rare site…though not surprising for Michigan weather. It’s still snowing. We were supposed to get more snow than we did, but most of yesterday it just rained so it didn’t accumulate as much as the weather forcasters anticipated. It was definitely weird to see the flowering trees and tulips covered in snow. And I have to admit that I did not brave the elements and draw this “en plein air”…no, I actually drew this from a photograph I took. This is a patch of yellow tulips in my back yard.

Happy Birthday – Julie’s Journal…1 yr old!

(rewritten from my real journal)
I am sitting here…in a room…alone. Julia is off working concessions at the soccer game. Mary is spending tonight finishing up a sculpture to meet a deadline for her class. Cyndi is somewhere with someone else doing something I don’t know anything about. That takes care of us “regulars” and I doubt anyone else will show up.

I take a sip of my Coke from my dinner at McDonald’s. I look around me. I decide to draw the equipment crammed into the corner of our room. A TV, VCR, computer, projector, a podium, a folding chair and an overhead projector (not shown). It makes for an interesting drawing…cords going everywhere…reminds me of Sam’s desk.

My drawing is done, so I guess I will write now.

Being a mom of three young kids and a full time teacher, I get very little downtime. (BACK-UP to one year ago). I found myself longing for opportunities to express myself in creative ways, but every moment grew increasingly frustrated with not being able to grab even one minute to let my creative self free to explore, invent, create and play.

The only times that I found myself being creative at all were in my job as an elementary art teacher making sample projects…and even those were rarely developed and finished.

In the rare circumstance that I found myself with extra time, time for myself, I would become so overwhelmed with the thought of using the opportunity to be creative that I would many times not even be able to decide what to do before the time would quickly pass away.

What could I do? My scrapbooking, which I had fallen so far behind in, provided a time to use my creative side…but I wasn’t consistant in working on it. I remember that when I was taking art classes, I was producing art, and being creative on a regular basis. But then that was most likely because of deadlines and trying to get a good grade. That’s typically a good motivator. Maybe I am just not motivated. So I tried to think of something I could do to get motivated…aha! I will take a class!

So I checked out the classes on the Spring schedule at our local art museum. I read through the course descriptions a few times. Illustrated Journaling stood out. I really had very little idea what illustrated journaling was even about…so I went to Google and did searches for visual journals, art journals, sketchbook journals and illustrated journals. I was blown away by what I saw. Site after site, page after page of people’s lives. I came across an illustrated blog. What’s this!? I had heard of blogs before. But I had never seen anything like this. I had found Danny Gregory‘s site. I was amazed at this world of illustrated journaling that I was discovering. I was inspired and awestruck by Danny’s work. What captured me was how his illustrations tell a story. A story of his life. The drawings were of his family, his breakfast, his journaling supplies, the condiments on the table of a restaurant he ate at, an apple he ate, and items from piles of trash…to name a few. He draws the ordinary things he sees around him.

“Wow!” I thought about this. (Not sure why this was such a new concept to me) Danny is sharing his life with the world through his blog, his many publications and wonderful books. I felt that I could identify with him. I began to understand something about myself.

I had, my whole life, put my creativity, my talent into a nice little box. (Hope this makes sense…I don’t know if I am all that great at analogies) I only allowed myself to open this box when I felt the conditions were perfect for using the contents I held so dear. If I didn’t have a good idea, the box stayed closed. If I didn’t think I had enough time, the box stayed closed. If I didn’t feel good about myself, the box remained closed. I had more reasons for keeping my talent locked away than I did for using it. I created for myself a whole list of unwritten rules about where and when and why I could create. On rare occasions, the contents of this box would leak out and in a spontaneous moment I would find myself lost in joy of creating, playing and being free until reality set in (picture a baby crying) and I would quickly lock it away again to save it for when it was allowed to be used. You can see why I was unhappy, frustrated, tired.

In those minutes (hours?) spent researching and discovering this new concept (new to me) of illustrated journaling, I was finding that there were many other people out there, like Danny, who were drawing their life, expressing their thoughts on creativity and sharing their inspirations with whoever happened across their site. I decided to investigate journaling futher and signed up for the class the day before it started.

The class was a great adventure with other people who shared common interests. I loved each session and felt as if each class were a little vacation for me. The two hours of inspiration and creating each week gave me a kind of energy I had not felt for the longest time. I started journaling…making it a goal to draw & write everyday. I started my own blog…scanning my drawings from my journal. I have finished 3 journals since then. This blog keeps me accountable to keep my journals going…but more than that, my journaling has given me a whole new outlook on life. Seriously. I am not the same person I used to be.

I don’t wait around for inspiration, I find it. Right here in front of me. I notice things that I didn’t even think about before. I record things in my journal, not worrying about if it sounds good or if it is a good drawing or painting. I make mistakes and I learn from them. I draw what I see, what I feel…I draw my life. My journals are so much a part of my life that I can not imagine not keeping one.

It has been one year that I have been keeping an illustrated journal. I have lost that box. There is nothing in it anymore anyway. I use my talent everyday. I may not be creating wonderful masterpieces (right now), but I am spending time each day (even if its just 5 minutes) using the gift that God has given me. I still have so much to learn and look forward to each day and what it has to teach me.

Thank you to all you fellow bloggers who share your life through your drawings. You are a daily source of inspiration to me.

Pac-Man, Bad Guy & Rootbeer Floats

We had a house full of kids tonight. My sister’s 2 kids and the neighbor girl were all over. The big attraction tonight was playing Pac-Man. We have one of these boxes you plug into the tv and it has like 5 old games on it. The kids hardly ever play with it, but every once in a while they get on a kick to play it a lot. So tonight, they were all lined up in front of the tv playing…taking turns…very civilized…not like little kids. It was really funny to watch them and listen to them. Andrew was fascinated with wanting to know why it was called PACMAN…he eventually came to the conclusion that the guy packs the dots. When they would play, they would basically eat a few dots and then the ghost would get them…the games were over pretty quick. They tried DigDug too but they didn’t understand the concept. But they still played nice, helped when they could, encouraged each other and took turns. What more can you ask for? Since they were playing so well, I had to draw them. Savannah and Shelby had dress up dresses on. I started drawing Karson, but he moved while I was drawing him, so he is facing away from the tv…oh well. I love when I can capture a moment of the fascinations of childhood. It’s so cool to be able to draw. I take it for granted sometimes…but it is really something I am very thankful for.

Later Sam came home with Max…and I was surprised to find that Max had gotten a “bad guy” haircut. At first I was kind of shocked and disappointed…but he does really look cute and has a superb hairline for this cut. I had to include it in this post so you could see it. This is his bad guy face. Sam also brought us A&W Rootbeer and we ended the night having Rootbeer floats with the kids.

EM Challenge #9: Organized Chaos (a pile)

Today my sister in law brought me a shoebox filled with these stamps. She got them at an auction for me. They are so cool. But have to be old…some of the images are definitely not recent. Has anyone ever seen these type of stamps? Anyway, catching up on challenges this weekend…I decided to do a pile. Of course, I couldn’t draw one of the many piles we have laying around our house already…I had to create a new one, which is still laying there on the kitchen counter while I am posting this. This is really only about a third of the pile I have…but it’s almost 1:00 a.m. and I am getting tired so I decided to stop…even though the pile looks unfinished (to me). I drew this with a photo pencil (Creative Memories) which worked out real nice…doesn’t smudge. I don’t really know what the pencil is made of but I liked drawing with it. This was a fun drawing to do. Hope you like it too!

My Hand

I ran out to get my lunch today and had to wait in line in the drive-thru. I hadn’t brought my journal, so I found this newsletter and drew on it. This is my hand for the hand challenge. I love drawing hands. Here is a contour drawing I did with a green Sharpie in college…

…and since this entry is all about hands, here is a link to artist Carol Gray’s hand portraits.

Flowers, our New Neighbors, and a Treasure

It’s been a while…sorry. No excuse except that I have thoroughly enjoyed my spring break. The weather was awesome! 60’s and 70’s all week and hardly any rain! I can not remember ever having this great of a Spring Break in Michigan. Anyway, so here are some drawings I’ve done.

Our daffodils popped open on Friday…it was great to have our lawn sprinkled with the cheery yellow flowers. Some friends of ours came over and brought us a bulb garden which is what I actually drew these from.

I have mentioned my drawing class in the last entry. I have actually created a blog for my class. My mom has been following the daily drawing challenges I have been posting and yesterday she sent me this drawing that she made.

I think she did a great job…I really get the effect of the bright sunshine with the shadows on the dirt. My mom has always been pretty creative. She was one of my inspirations growing up. I thought it was cool that she could paint. Years ago she took private painting lessons from an artist in our town. I later took private art lessons from the same artist. I am glad she is benefitting from my little lessons and that I can be an inspiration to her now.

The other day, after getting home from shopping with Cyndi (my sis), I walked over and introduced myself to our new neighbors. (I noticed they had moved in on the weekend). They live in the downstairs of the house right across the street from us. They have been outside a lot and have been fixing up and cleaning up their front porch. It actually looks like a living room the way they have it fixed up. The thing that caught my eye was a little plywood door (gate) they rigged up in the doorway of the porch. It has a cut out wooden painted dog attached to it. Apparently Marilyn is quite the crafts person, now that she has retired from bartending at a local tavern on Michigan ave. (I didn’t realize you could retire from bartending)…anyway, Floyd or Lloyd (can’t remember which) said if we want to sell our house, he’d hook us up.

On Saturday we ended up driving around looking for anyplace that sold junk: garage sales, flea markets, junk shops…whatever we could find. We had fun…it was like the good old days before we had kids when we used to spend whole days garage sale-ing (don’t think thats a word – it doesn’t look right when I spell it). We reminisced about the all the treasures we had found back then that have since been sold in garage sales. The 3 legged deer lamp…the lobster trap table…the owl TV lamp. So anyway our treasure for today cost us .89ยข. It is Jeeves the Butler…a toothpick dispenser. When you push him down, he picks up a toothpick for you. It’s very cool. The kind of thing that makes a good conversation piece. He fits perfectly in our home.