Monday, November 22, 2010

Over That Particular Hump

I've come to terms with the fact that life is all about this baby for the next little while.  He's a feisty one, seemingly unlike the mellow baby sidekicks of creative blogging moms out there like Janine.  Robert's feedings are very, very frequent, especially during the night, and peppered here and there with bouts of acid reflux.  I spend one hour sleeping, one hour feeding him and trying to get him comfortably back to sleep, an hour sleeping, an hour feeding, and so on.  Of course, all of this is normal, healthy new baby stuff.  It's not as though we have a sickly or colicky baby.  In fact, he seems to be a sort of super-preemie.  But when you throw in the additional (and somehow unforeseen) necessity of feeding and taking care of myself, it's enough to put my productive artistic life on hold for a bit.  Another reason that I haven't been posting much is that I've been struggling emotionally with absolutely ridiculous, nearly crippling amounts of post-NICU anxiety.  And, ugh, who wants to read about that?  But I'm beginning to feel like a rational human being again.  And I'm ready to start looking around the wide world again too.  Because I trust (without having to check every five seconds) that he's still breathing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Proof of Life:)

On October 8th I spent the day at the fair.  I LOVE the fair.  And I meant to post all of these photos later that night, but things came up--like my premature water breakage and whatnot.  You can read a nice, concise version of my birth story here if you'd like. 

In any case, October and half of November have flown by virtually unrecorded on Birdwoman.  So to catch up a bit, I spent most of October visiting my brand new, shiny baby in his fancy river view suite at Mass. General.  And when I wasn't there, I was on my way there.  Or on my way home from there.  Or I was home and chained to my fancy hospital-grade breast pump.  Which, despite its fanciness, is not hands-free.  And so I spent most of October unable to type.  And I've spent the first part of November adjusting to life at home with a new baby, which has been hard.  Sleep-deprived is not a good look for me.  

And so here we are.  And here are some animal friends I met at the fair a few hours before all of the shennanigans went down:

Friday, October 15, 2010

So....A Lot Has Happened Since My Last Post....

I'd like you to meet Robert James Able, born seven weeks early on 10/10/10, weighing in at 4 pounds 12 ounces.
He's doing great and making lots of progress every day.  It even looks like he'll be able to come home pretty soon--within the next few weeks!  The story of his arrival is a good one and I'll share it eventually once things settle down a bit.  But for now, I'm heading off to the hospital for some snuggling!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

IF: Beneath

Here's a little ink and scratchboard drawing that I made in response to this week's Illustration Friday prompt, "beneath."  I think beneath is kind of a creepy word, don't you?  Creepy swimmy things hidden beneath the waves, slithery snaky things hidden beneath the rocks, etc....  What a perfect word to celebrate October's beginning.  I decided to create an illustration of one of my worst childhood fears (there were many): freaky tentacled things hidden beneath the bed.  I was a terrible sleeper as a kid.  It wasn't until I went to college that I stopped being afraid (I'm talking panic-stricken) of spooky things in the dark.  

In other news, my Etsy shop is almost ready to launch.  Almost!  I just have a few more policies to work out and little things to tweak, and then it will be up.  We've been utterly consumed by birth and baby preparations these days.  And napping.  Well, I've been consumed by the actual napping while Charley's been consumed by the act of continuously telling me to take a nap.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A New Cast of Characters

 I'm working on a new mini egg portrait series that I'm going to put up on Etsy along with listings for custom orders.  I'm planning to list some of my small drawings as well.  My goal is to launch my shop by the end of this week, so stay tuned!

 With two months left to go, I'm in the home stretch of my pregnancy (holy crippling exhaustion, Batman!) so it's the perfect time for me to be making small, more immediately gratifying things.  I have a hard time pulling myself away from my work table when I'm in the process of working through a problem.  And since making little things inherently requires less problem-solving than making big things, I can pull myself away more easily in order to give myself little rests throughout the day.    

Thursday, September 16, 2010

IF: Proverb

Here's my interpretation of this week's Illustration Friday theme: proverb.  The silver lining came out a little more gray and mushy than I intended, but I didn't want to let the perfect be[come] the enemy of the good [enough].
And here's where I am with my tentacle illustration.  If you click on the images you can get a better look at the details.
I think that tentacles might be my new thing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In the Beginning

Yesterday I came up with the idea for this new piece and began working on it.  I'm sort of in love with the drawing.  We'll see how it translates into the finished painted version.  I was tempted to leave the white ground alone and only paint the suitcase and tentacles, but I decided to take a leap of faith and see what happens:)  If this turns into a flaming failure, I'll just redraw it.  
Here's where I left it yesterday afternoon.  Today I'll start by calming down some of the blooms and salt effects, and lifting some of the darker areas that are interfering with the composition.

I've been remiss in my blog reading lately.  It felt good to check in with some of my favorites this morning and find these lovely bits:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

IF: Dessert

This little watercolor and gouache number is my submission to this week's Illustration Friday theme, dessert.  Delicious!  Tragically, I'm allergic to strawberries, so Justice Strawberry Shortcake there on the right would make my tongue itch and swell up uncomfortably.  But how she tempts me!
Et voilĂ !  I finished this self-promotional piece this morning as well.  Also painted in watercolor and gouache.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dancing light in the kitchen on Sunday morning:
And a self-promotional illustration that I'm working on:
I'm making a series of mock book covers and other illustration-y things to build up my portfolio.  I'll probably finish this one today.  Here are some details:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

IF: Immovable

It wasn't that he couldn't take a hint.  Or even that he didn't want to leave.
This week's Illustration Friday submission for the theme "immovable," is inspired by real events.  Here's the uncropped version:

And here's a little in-studio self-portrait that I shot today.  For posterity.  I've discovered that my enormous pregnant belly makes a pretty good little table when I'm working on tiny things:
The only trouble is that it jumps occasionally;)
These eggs are a commission that will be a gift for someone who is pregnant with identical twin boys.  I'm thinking that I might put some of my eggs up on etsy, and also take custom orders.  I really love making them for specific people, even if I don't know the peeps personally.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Cat Among the Pigeons and Crocodile Tears

Here are two more idiom drawing/paintings from last week:

I mounted them on panels that I'd coated with a deep, dark blue acrylic mix.  Then I glued the paintings onto the panels with matte medium.  Once the matte medium had dried a little, I coated the painting with two coats of a thin, watered-down layer of matte medium.  The matte medium securely fixes the watercolor and gouache, and should give the piece some UV protection as well.  You just have to be very careful to spray fix the painting before you apply that top coat, and then be very, very careful and gentle as you brush the gel on top.  Otherwise the gouache will smear like crazy.  When that happens I just touch up the painting with some acrylic.  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

IF: Atmosphere

A super quick watercolor sketch for this week's theme.  I was musing about medieval and futuristic conceptions of the universe.  Ew, that sounded really pretentious;)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Little Balance Goes a Long Way

I made this guy today.  I'm kind of in love with the way he turned out.  I think he'll look really snazzy once I mount him on a panel.  The boxes that I've been painting for the Teeny Tiny Art Show are more labor intensive than I realized they would be, and I've been fretting about finishing on time.  I've also been feeling a little bit exhausted and icky lately.  So I spent some time last night and this morning regrouping, and trying to think of a way to simultaneously give myself a break and make really good work.  I decided to make a series of simpler, small works on paper to go along with the three boxes I've finished so far.  I let myself (forced myself?) to be a little looser than usual with the ink and paint.  I felt really balanced while I was making this piece–like I was painting skillfully without working myself into a frenzy of crazy perfectionism.  I'm going to try that again tomorrow:)

Here are some shots of the boxes I've finished since my last post:
 Anya guessed the idiom!  That ghostly subtitle at the bottom reads: "The Tale of a Dubious Friendship." It opens up to this:

This next one is super tiny:
And the idiom is harder to guess.  But can you?  I'll give you a hint:  what is the malevolent-looking girl on the left doing?  The word "gesture" in the title is also helpful.  

Friday, August 20, 2010

Slow Lettuce

Last week my stepdad told me this story about a Bonobo named Kanzi, who was taught to understand and identify a limited English vocabulary.   He expresses himself by pointing to words on a chart, creating whole sentences and even forming his own, new "words" by compounding those in his existing vocabulary.  When he didn't have a word for kale, he named it "slow lettuce."  How beautiful is that?

And here's a little peek at some more painting progress:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Idiom Earnest

I'm back in the studio with a vengeance!  I've finished the first of my Idiom Series for the Teeny Tiny Art Show.  The idea behind this body of work is for each painting to invite physical participation from the viewer.  Each piece will be mounted on the wall like a traditional painting, but with little lids and flaps and such that the viewer can open and close.  The text on the outside of the piece above reads, "Adventure on the High Seas: A Cock and Bull Story."  Here are some side views:
I got started on my next Idiom piece yesterday.  I recorded my progress throughout the day:
This one will have a lot of text.  In case you can't read my messy journal scrawl, this piece will read, "Although he liked them very much, Reginald felt a bit awkward among(st?) his new companions.  Whatever the occasion, he always seemed to be a little overdressed."  I need to refresh my memory when it comes to "among" vs. "amongst."  Can you guess the idiom that sparked the story? 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I've finally finished the inside of this piece.
The outside is still in progress, but I've sketched in the basic idea.
My latest crazy nesting project has been a merciless attack on my home workspace.  In the two years that we've lived here, this little corner has functioned primarily as a sort of office supply and paperwork wasteland.  And of course the place from whence I blog;)  With a tiny baby well on his way (he's technically viable this week!), I've decided to make my home office corner more conducive to art-making.  It's really nice to plunk down and just start painting in the little bits of time that I manage to scavenge before going to work in the morning, while dinner is roasting in the oven, after I brush my teeth at night.  And maybe, come November, between feedings?