This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "stripes." I just can't resist messing around with idioms, Amelia Bedilia-style. I made this little drawing with graphite on two overlapping sheets of dura-lar:
In other news, I've finally posted some of my bird egg paintings for sale on Etsy!
We're finally starting to settle into our new home in Montana. It's a big change for this born and bred New England girl! I love the house we're renting, with it's big windows, claw foot tub and fancy yard.
And somebody cute turned one this month!
He wasn't sure what to make of the all the hooplah.
Poor, neglected Birdwoman! I miss posting regularly. We're gearing up for a cross-country move to the Northwest Corner of Montana, so I've had to let some things (my blog, par exemple) languish a bit in order to maintain a State of Calm. The details of our move (exact timing, where, exactly we're going to live, etc...) are taking a long time to flesh out because 1) a large corporation is involved and 2) the company is based in Europe, and therefore its employees know how to take nice long, restful vacations.
I have been working a little bit on a series of small graphite drawings.
I love where the work is headed and I have about a million ideas for more images. Once we're settled in our new home, with things nicely tucked away and baby-proofed, I expect to have more time to work, and more time to share!
Progress is slow but steady these days. I blame my baby for being such a fun little guy. Now that we're all finally getting some good sleep, and spending more time laughing than crying, amnesia has set in and I'm ready to pop out a hundred more babies. I have only vague, hazy memories of being completely overwhelmed by the newborn and early infant stages. Was all of that swaddling and yoga ball bouncing just a dream? I still find the occasional earplug tucked in a pocket, or rolling around the bottom of a drawer, that proves it was all real.
I'm also in the process of packing up my studio. I've decided not to renew my lease for another year. There's a good chance we might be relocating out west for a year or so, and even if we end up staying in Massachusetts, it's hard to justify the expense when I'm only going to the studio once a week. I always thought that if the time ever came for me to give up my space, it would be a sad, difficult transition--a regression, or even worse, the death of a dream. So I'm shocked to find that it doesn't feel that way. In the context of everything else, it feels like part of a new adventure.
I've been working on this drawing for the last little while. Deciding to work in grayscale was originally a sort of compromise. It's so fast (compared to painting) that I can complete the kind of large, textured, detailed images that I crave in a reasonably short amount of time. Motherhood is making me practical. And while pragmatism is not the most romantic source of inspiration, I find I've fallen in love (again) with good ol' graphite. Really, I think it's just dreamy.
After nearly six months, I thought I knew all there was to know about baby poop. My education on the subject began early on, when a particular projectile poop incident precipitated Robert's graduation from incubator to open air crib. That day our nurse was the one (and only one) who had a vaguely bad attitude, and who, when she witnessed our little redecorating scheme declared, "Well I'm not cleaning that up. Let's move him to a crib and see if he can maintain his body temperature." Poop lesson one: it's OK to make on-the-fly, seemingly willy-nilly, trial-and-error decisions when it comes to infant medical care.
Well, last Wednesday we had a multi-sensory poop experience unlike anything I've seen before. While I immediately got out my phone, took a picture of the wreckage, and sent it to my husband at work, I'll spare you the gory details. But like so many aspects of baby care and motherhood, it just goes to show, the second you feel like you've "mastered" the twists and turns of this crazy carnival ride, BAM! Everything changes. And we haven't even started solids yet.
Getting a little bit further on this piece. I would have used my studio day a little better if I hadn't had to make an emergency run to Target for some breast pump parts that I'd left at home. It's very difficult to paint while engorged.
Today was my first day back to the studio (in 4.5 months!) without le bébé. My mom is going to take care of Robert every Tuesday so that I can sneak in some studio time. I've had a big undersea piece in my head for a while. It will be interesting to see how the image unfolds, since there will be big, week-long chunks of time between each working session. One thing's for sure: I have never had a more focused work day in my life.
When I first walked into the studio and saw a little rattle lying in the otherwise empty Pack 'N Play, I confess, I got a little choked up. I haven't been away from Robert very much since we brought him home from the hospital. But I recovered quickly, and after about a nanosecond of basking in my glorious aloneness I was all, "Baby? What baby?"
I tried bringing R.J. to the studio with me a few weeks ago. Including our time in transit, it ended up taking me 4 hours to stretch one piece of watercolor paper.
My most astonishing feat on that particular day was getting R.J. to nap in the studio:
The nap only lasted 20 minutes, and I spent its entirety trying to quietly cut a piece of watercolor paper from a giant roll. I've never noticed how loud paper can be......And once I'd managed to cut my piece without waking him up, I realized that I was stuck and would have to wait for him to wake up anyway before I could start rocking the staple gun.
I've been taking these great new mom and baby classes at Isis Parenting. A few weeks ago one of the other ladies in class said, "I just want to take a shower without someone sitting and crying in a vibrating chair outside the door." Even though my literal shower this morning did, in fact, include someone sitting and crying in a vibrating chair outside the door, my metaphorical shower was very peaceful and productive;)
This is the first thing I've created (besides a freezer full of breast milk) since Robert was born. It's a personal drawing, a re-imagined story of this little fledgling.
My son had to stay in the hospital for 18 days after I was discharged, and I wanted to make something to illustrate that part of our story. When the little blue jay bombed out of his nest too early, his mother kept trying to feed him, and would dive bomb anyone who got too close to her chick. The awful part was that she seemed (pardon the anthropomorphism here) so sad. She would perch on the electrical wires directly above him and let out these awful, keening cries all day long.
During our early preemie days, when it was time for me to go home and leave Robert for the night, I couldn't help thinking about that mama blue jay. I probably sounded an awful lot like her too, sobbing my way down the Mass. Pike. And I would think about her each morning, on the way into the hospital, when I would become almost feverish if I got caught in traffic. Once I was in the hospital, it took incredible amounts of self control for me to refrain from body checking people out of path on my way up to the nursery.
But I knew that in the end, my own little early bird was going to be just fine, thanks to all of the high tech equipment feeding him and keeping him warm.
I started this blog as a virtual extension of my artist's journals, to catalogue my studio practices, and to share ideas and bits of inspiration. Along the way, little personal, non-art related anecdotes have worked their way into the mix.