December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas from my New House

October 15, 2015

Cooper Young Festival 2015

I have no sketches from the festival itself. It was soooo hot that day that I didn’t actually stay there long – just long enough to buy a new necklace and some t-shirts from Taropop, and an adorable little purse from Texstyle, and to eat some empanadas, and then go back and eat more empanadas.

I spent most of the day at Shannon’s and Brian’s, drinking their coffee, eating their food, and hanging out on their porch talking to everyone who stopped by. It was a great day.

October 14, 2015

Family Night

October 13, 2015

Some Sort of Festival

I forgot the name of this festival – this was from Labor Day weekend! I do remember that it was fun, and this Mariachi band was fantastic.

Oh - there's the name of the festival!

October 12, 2015

Desk Life

October 11, 2015

Things I Buy

October 01, 2015

Yay for Studio Night!

What a great Studio Night! I prepped for my upcoming class, organized my sketching supplies, cleaned out a fountain pen, started a new tiny watercolor, and sketched my studio! And watched more of season 3 of Gilmore Girls and did some laundry!

I didn't work on my oil paintings, but I also didn't stress out about it - I've got one in progress and I know which one I'm going to work on next, so I am all set!

Now I need to fold some towels...

Inspired by Teaching

I made this during the last time that I was teaching Fast Sketching at Flicker Street Studio. I get so inspired as I show students work by sketchers from all over the world!

I’ll be teaching at Flicker Street again later this month – October 13 – November 3 (four classes total). In the class, Oil Painting from Photos & Sketches, we’ll explore composition and basic oil painting techniques, and each student will make a painting based on a photo or sketch of their choosing. Click here to sign up!

September 24, 2015

India Palace

I like to go to India Palace to place my to-go order, because it gives me time to sketch, and because they always give me some sort of a refreshment. In this case, a mango lassi!

September 23, 2015

Watercolor Sketches

I love this page in my sketchbook. That’s all watercolor, no pen or pencil. It’s a technique I’m really enjoying and encouraging in my Fast Sketching class – mostly making lines with watercolor.

It took me so long to read that book, which I started in Iceland, took to Singapore, but didn’t finish until I got back home. I spent a lot of time with it, and I love the cover, so I sketched it.

September 22, 2015

Medicine Still-Life

A little bout of bronchitis necessitated a lot of prescription medication. And coffee. What was I going to do, not sketch it?

September 20, 2015

Speaking of Reading...

Speaking of reading, last weekend I went to the Mid-South Book Festival and attended panel discussions by these local authors: Richard Alley (my brother!), Heather Dobbins, Craig Meek, Margaret Skinner, David Williams, and Brandy T. Wilson.

I sketched Brandy (right), and moderator Pat Mitchell (left).

Still Painting, and Reading

It has been a few weeks since I got back from New York to deal with my painting slump here at home, and since then I have painted several times, and it has felt good and I’ve been happy with it. I’ve also been reading about art.

When I was in New York I bought a few books, including The Happiness of Burnout, about an artist who suffers burnout. The title spoke to me but as I started reading it, I couldn’t figure out if this book was for real or not. At first it read like a fictional book; maybe I found it questionable that there was an artist who was so successful at being an artist that he suffered from burnout.

Turns out I just don’t know very much about contemporary European artists. The artist Jeppe Hein is, in the words of the Public Art Fund website, “one of Denmark’s most celebrated contemporary artists.” (I guess Denmark celebrates their artists?)

Another reason that I couldn’t figure the book out at first is because the translation is not that great, so some of the language is a bit stilted.

Despite my skepticism, and the not-great translation, and the fact that I could not wrap my mind around all of the philosophical concepts (lots of talk of “becoming”) – that is to say, despite my own short-comings – I enjoyed the book, and I did learn from it. In addition to weaving in psychology and philosophy, Janning compares Hein’s experiences with burnout in fiction, including Graham Greene’s A Burnt-Out Case, which predates the coining of the term “burnout” (thanks, Wikipedia!).
Just leafing through it to help write about it, I’m finding useful passages like this one about Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, “…Esther Greenwood becomes alive at the very end, where she steps out of the role that society has given her. The last line is full of suspense, because being alive, she knows that things might go wrong, she is no longer playing a role where she pretends everything is fine. But they are not; she will have to make them so.” She will have to make them so! This chapter, “Happiness?,” describes how happiness is a skill, “a manner of being that requires hard work and time. It must be learned.”  

I’m not saying I’ve got burnout, but as an artist who has anxiety and constantly questions what I’m doing and why, I found much of this book helpful. As I said, Janning delves into fiction, which I think is one of the greatest tools that we have to teach us how to be human. He also describes how and why yoga and meditation helped with Hein’s anxiety, and with refocusing on what is important in his life and his artwork.

Using my bookclub’s rating system, I’d give this book a solid 3 (would recommend to a friend).

Sketchwork Moved!

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