The Wisdom of Mrs. Lee

Have you ever gotten to a point in a project where you feel like you’ve made a bigger mess than you started out with or that it’s going to be a complete and utter failure? I can’t tell you how many times I’ll start an organizing/decluttering project and when I see everything everywhere, I start to panic and get mad because this is NOT what I wanted to do and I should have just left it alone to begin with.

But then you work through it, and it gets better. Piles form, they get put away, and the space is cleaner and even if it’s not quite perfect, it feels like a breath of fresh air whenever you look at it.

Working on any of my art pieces feels like that. There is ALWAYS a point in the piece where it looks HORRIBLE. I feel like there is no way in the world that this is going to look anything like I imagined and that I’m the worst artist ever. If you’re an artist, you can probably relate to this.

But then the wise words of Mrs. Lee enter my brain:

“It has to get worse before it can get better.”

I may change it up to “It has to look worse before it can look better,” but the idea is still the same!

Who’s Mrs. Lee you may ask? Oh, just my high school math teacher! I’m almost positive that we were working through the quadratic formula or some calculus problem of doom whenever she’d mention this, usually prompted by the look of panic in our eyes. Little did she know that someday, one of her math students would become an artist, repeating this mantra as she created in her basement studio.

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I was working on a brand new painting this morning and I got to this point. I wanted to throw the canvas out the window, wipe the paint off of it, burn it, whatever I could do to get rid of it. But I said those words and pushed through…

It had to get worse before it got better.

And guys, it’s gorgeous. I can’t wait until it’s dry so I can share it with you!

 

Are there any phrases or words of wisdom that you repeat to yourself?

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Office/Studio Tour

The last time I updated you guys on my office/studio, we were working on the foundation. I’d love to tell you that once the foundation was fixed, it was smooth sailing and we were able to finish the space quickly and easily. Oh how I wish that was the case!

We did finish the foundation, and the basement stayed dry…until we got a lot of rain in a very short amount of time and my office FLOODED. Like 2 inches of rain. It’s not much in the grand scheme of flooded basements, but 2 inches is super annoying when you’re trying to remodel and finish a basement.

Thankfully it was a somewhat easy fix as it was just 10 feet of plugged drainage tile that my husband and boys dug up and replaced. Once it was fixed, the basement has stayed dry. Our electrician was able to come and rewire the office, we got drywall up, taped, mudded, primed and painted and I went back to work on the first day of school!

First piece of drywall up!!! The prettiest piece of drywall EVER!
We have real walls now!!!
Starting the mudding process…
Primed!
And painted!

Just to recap, here are some before pictures:

It was like a cave down here…

And noooowwww…

TA DAAAAA!!!!!
This little dude loves hanging out with me!
My co-worker sleeps on the job.
I love having my work table right here. I sit at the computer and print the prints
and then turn around and can cut and assemble them!
My drafting table/illustrating area!

It is working out SO WELL. I was super nervous about combining the office and studio space into one room (they had been separate spaces at the old house), but honestly, I feel like productivity is up because I can reach everything and don’t have to go back and forth between areas anymore.

I still have some things to in the space. I feel like I’m always organizing and getting rid of things! I am going to hang up some pegboard for paintings to dry on, and the hutch piece (it’s actually a twin sized headboard!) on my desk is going away. I’ll be replacing it with a wall shelf for my knick knacks to sit on and getting an additional monitor; all the monitors will mount to the wall or two will mount and one will sit on the desk. I also need a heater downstairs because it’s so cold during the winter, but once the rest of the basement is finished that will happen. We’ll probably do baseboard trim at that time, too.

What do you think of the office and studio space now?

Funk.

Hellooooo blog!

You may notice I haven’t been around in awhile, and it’s not because I shut down my business, pushed it to the back burner because of the hair business, nothing like that at all.

I’m just in a funk and have no idea how to get out of it.

There’s a lot going on with my art that I just don’t share. But in order to fully understand where I’ve been and what’s going on in my brain, I have to share some of it.

Continue reading “Funk.”

Behind the Scenes: Hogwarts

This piece has been a long time coming!

My thoughts behind that is two-fold: first, I’ve wanted to draw the Hogwarts castle for a really, really long time. And second, this drawing has been on my shelf as a commission for a YEAR.

Now I HATE making anyone wait for anything, especially an entire year. But this one was delayed for a lot of reasons: finding the right reference image and then having it sent to me the day before my phone decided to lose EVERYTHING on it, not being able to find the perfect reference image again, me selling and buying a house, and then still not being able to find the right image again. But, it was found and I had the drawing in hand ready for delivery less than a week later.

Continue reading “Behind the Scenes: Hogwarts”

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: What I Learned, How It Went

Is it really over???

I know I’ve said this a lot, but man, it feels like the challenge just started, yet somehow it feels like it went on forever.

I was so tempted to surprise you all and do one more week of the challenge to do some of the top requested drawings that are left, but my family is home on vacation this week and as our youngest has a birthday this week as well, that had to be my priority. I promise to get to that list soon though!

On to the recap!

What I learned:

The biggest thing I learned was that taking almost a year off from working is not good for me mentally. Every time I saw the boxes for my studio and office still in the sunroom waiting to be unpacked or my future office/studio still in shambles, I’d get more frustrated, anxious and agitated. Every day that I got to do a drawing, I felt all of that melting away. Yes, my boxes are still there and the office is no where near finished, but I had my joy back.

Continue reading “Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: What I Learned, How It Went”

The Wrong Direction Easter Eggs

This blog post is extremely overdue. However, it’s Easter weekend, so I thought it might be appropriate to finally post now!

The Wrong Direction is the 3rd installment of the children’s book series The Adventures of Boathouse Mouse, and I have the honor and privilege of illustrating them. This book came out in April 2017, almost a year ago!!!!

While I was illustrating this book, I had some fun with it and included Easter Eggs, just like I did with The Cat and the River ThamesIf you’re unfamiliar with Easter Eggs, they’re fun little details included in movies, whether it be hidden details or references to other movies (Disney and Pixar are well known for these!). One thing I’m trying to add in each book now is a cameo of the person I’m dedicating it to. I didn’t do it for Book 1, and Book 2 was my parents.

Book 3 was originally going to be dedicated to my daughter. I was going to go in age order for the kiddos, but once I read the book, there was one scene that changed my mind:

Continue reading “The Wrong Direction Easter Eggs”

Sick Day Painting

My youngest was home for a couple days this past week with a fever. After what felt like his thousandth movie, he decided he was bored and was looking for a change of scenery. He loves to paint, and as I was behind in Boathouse illustrating, I suggested breaking out our watercolors. He jumped at the chance, and we got to work.

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Sick day snuggles

It was so much fun watching him be creative! He puts colors together that I wouldn’t think of, puts more detail and thought into each painting than I would imagine, and even watching him try to work through his struggles inspires me.

Continue reading “Sick Day Painting”

My Most Challenging Commission To Date

Usually when I get a commission, I’ll have some sort of idea of how challenging it will be. There may be aspects of it that I’ll expect to be easy, and others that I’ll know will be harder. Most of the time I’m fairly close in my assessments, and there will be some areas that will surprise me a little bit.

But this one? This one was completely off base.

This was my biggest jewelry commission to date: 6 cardinal necklaces, with 3 oval pendants with my current Cardinal design, and 3 round pendants with a new Cardinal desgin. I assumed that it would be pretty straight forward and simple: make up a new cardinal painting, print out both cardinal paintings as smaller pieces, glue them to the glass domes, insert into the metal trays, and boom, done.

Easy peasy, right?

So very, very, wrong.

Continue reading “My Most Challenging Commission To Date”

Behind the Scenes: Horses

I hate letting my customers down. I really do.

When I say I’ll have a piece done by such and such date, I do my best to make it happen. Usually it works out well, but there are times where life decides to get in the way.

I got this commission around the same time I was asked to do Lassie. They were both on track to be finished by the appropriate date, but if you recall from the Lassie reveal, life happened and I hurt my drawing hand. Both pieces were forced to go on the back burner for a lot longer than I had hoped while I healed.

Finally, I healed, was able to finish both pieces, and then had to wait and wait until this one was hand delivered a few days ago before revealing her. It’s been a long time coming to get here, and I’m pleased to share with you this drawing:

Continue reading “Behind the Scenes: Horses”

Behind the Scenes: Lassie

Waaay back in April of this year, our church held it’s annual short term missions auction. I entered a gift certificate for an 8 x 10 unframed drawing again, and anxiously awaited it to sell so I could start planning a new drawing.

This year was a little different; normally, the certificate will sell, and I will have absolutely no idea what the drawing will be until I meet with the winner (like any normal commission I do). However, I knew what it would be before the winner even was presented the certificate.

Don and Linda are dear friends of ours at church. Earlier this year, they lost their beloved sheltie, Lassie. As soon as I saw Linda bidding on the certificate, I knew I’d be doing another pet portrait if she won:

Continue reading “Behind the Scenes: Lassie”