Dear readers,

Has it really been four months since I opened the virtual door to my studio and shared what was going within it? Wowzahs.

Let me tell you, I knew this year would be busy but I really miss sharing my day to day – or at least week to week – progress with you. I don’t think there is an easy way to catch you up on all my work but I will try my best to give you a taste. I apologize for the poor quality of the photographs : I’m using my phone camera to maximize efficiency!

1. Illustration for the biology textbook has been an ongoing project since the Christmas/holiday season. This consists of researching, traditional sketching and working with digital illustration programs. I usually spend my mornings on this project. Below is a drawing in progress from the past week.

biology textbook illustration in progress

biology textbook illustration in progress

2. Next, I give you three 8 x 10″ oil paintings in progress that are being worked en plein air in my town, Portales, New Mexico. (They’re just sitting on my easel to dry between painting sessions… it’s the only place my cats don’t seem to mess with them!) They belong to a series of paintings of the Southwest I have been developing sporadically for the last few years . Working on them has been a nice complement to my “Portraits of Portales” project which I focussed on all autumn, and have tried to make a bit of time for in 2014.

en plein air paintings from Southwest series - in progress

en plein air paintings from Southwest series – in progress

I believe I have mentioned the “Portraits of Portales” project before and will certainly mention it again. My intention is to publish them in book form, rather than display them in a gallery. This will heighten the intimacy of the pieces and embrace my intention of creating a “keepsake” of this small town. But I will share more on that project at a later date. This week it has not been worked on so no progress pics here for you!

3. Also still in the works is my Crafty Coloring Book. I only decided this week that it needed to be pulled to the top of my priority list after the biology textbook illustrations. It’s delightfully fun to work on and provides a break from the technical illustration while still keeping me “in shape” drawing-wise.

portion of a coloring book drawing in progress

portion of a coloring book drawing in progress

4. Lastly, I have been spending my evenings finalizing three new knitted shawl designs. Two are in the test-knitting phase and the third is close behind. The motivation behind this project? A fast-approaching deadline!

Detail of the Happy Happy Shawl in progress

Detail of the Happy Happy Shawl in progress

On April 1st the Multicraftual Podcast Ravelry group will be casting on any of my knitted designs. For two months participants will post their progress and finished object pictures in the corresponding group discussion threads to win prizes. There will be coupon codes for discounted pattern prices and other random goodness distributed via the video podcast I host with my long-distance bestie Liby Ball. If you are interested in watching our podcast while sitting down with your own knitting or crocheting, go check out the Multicraftual blog or subscribe on iTunes!

As you can see, if you’ve read this far… I’m keeping busy! In fact… a little too busy. I’m the kind of person who can sprout in every direction and need intense pruning to look at all respectable. I’m currently reading “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen. Perhaps I will give a review on that when I finish it… hahahahahaha… first I will have to learn how to reign in my many projects, harness my creativity and GET THINGS DONE.

Wish me luck!!

If you’d like, tell me about what projects you’re working on and what creative activities you’re most excited about in the comments section below. Are you a see-one-project-through-to-the-finish-line kind of person, or a wildly-sprouting-crazy-face like myself? It’s time I get to know YOU more and try to enhance the online creative community.

Thanks so much for reading!

Jessie

I’m very excited to be included in the upcoming group show: FREEZE. There is a great party planned for those of you who reside in London, UK – details below the poster!

To view my artist page on the gallery’s website, as well as check out the many other artists taking part, visit wearesweetart.com

Freeze invitation

Freeze invitation

Join us for a mince pie and mulled wine around the Sweet ‘Art Christmas tree next week and sample our next instalment of thought provoking, dynamic and playful artworks at our ‘Freeze’ winter show.
This Christmas we are supporting the charity Shooting Star Chase, a London based children’s hospice service and so are pulling out all the stops for our hotly anticipated ‘Freeze’ show for this amazingly worthwhile cause.
At our private view there will be Christmas drinks from our sponsors Sipsmith, edibles courtesy of Ocado and the usual Sweet ‘Art freebies and surprises to enjoy while taking in the awesome talent and a range of works by over 40 artists from all over the world. This will include fun winter themed instillations including a magical kinetic interactive snowstorm!
All works are size A3 and under, with the aim to supply London with a choice of art Christmas gifts that you can carry home on the tube! We will also have a shop-in-shop from hot designer brand Maison Twenty, with art t-shirts also for sale, and will offer all of our visitors ‘art gifting’ advice throughout our show.
This is set to be one incredible arty party!

This painting has been a few weeks in the making. I took some progress shots along the way and made them (the technical genius that I am) into a small video of sorts. Enjoy.

Me at work

Me at work

Faded in Sun, oil on canvas, 2 x 4'

Faded in Sun, oil on canvas, 2 x 4′

It’s been a few filled-to-the-brim art weeks… so much so that I haven’t had the energy or will to post about my progress on the blog by the time evening rolls around. Sorry!

The activity responsible for all the successful art-making? Morning sketching.

I’ve been spending every weekday morning after Spanish class driving around town and sketching from the comfort of the car.  Drawing from life brings me such a feeling of safety and contentment. And, I believe I need those feelings before I can feel inspired. Sooo… naturally, all these mornings drawing have led to many afternoons in the real studio oil painting. Hopefully I will share my oil painting progress with you soon!

Here’s a fun pic of my morning studio – the precious Mazda – complete with audiobook cds and a pear for a snack! Also note that my water dish for making watercolors is a tennis ball canister. Nice and tall to hold lots of water and yet narrow enough to fit the cup-holder well.

Traveling studio

Traveling studio

After two weeks of drawing it was nice to get back to painting today. I’ve had these images in my mind for weeks, so it was a relief to get the chance (and have the energy) to turn them into paintings:

painting in progress with kitty

painting in progress with kitty

Window in shadows, oil on canvas, 8 x 10"

Artist’s window in shadows, oil on canvas, 8 x 10″

Backyard Sunflower, oil on canvas, 8 x 10"

Backyard Sunflower, oil on canvas, 8 x 10″

I’d like to give you glimpse some of the sketches I made yesterday from around town.

While I sketch I either listen to the radio or a book on CD. Right now, it’s “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.” hahaha. I find the strangest things at Goodwill.

I’ve decided these works will be best displayed in published book form, rather than hanging on any gallery walls. This also means I’m free to work on both sides of the pages in my sketchbook, without worrying that later, one will be hidden in the back of a frame somewhere.

It also means I am not uploading the best quality photos on my blog. Nor am I posting all of my drawings, only some. Otherwise, what reason would you have to buy the book?

Main Street, sketchbook

Main Street, sketchbook

Daylight Donuts, sketchbook

Daylight Donuts, sketchbook

Pumpkins on the Porch, sketchbook

Pumpkins on the Porch, sketchbook

Crumbling, sketchbook

Crumbling, sketchbook

 

Hiya!

While making a concerted effort last week to work more in my sketchbooks – they are invaluable tools for artists: they help one learn to see, think, play, practice and hone… I could go on but it could turn into an inarticulate ramble so I will move on to my point.

I discovered that I have been really wanting to make a “Portrait of Portales”.  A collection of drawings or paintings that describe the personality and character of my town.

This is a project I sort-of began over a year ago with small, “en plein air” oil paintings done from my car, of scenes around town. Let me jog your memory with a photo-collage:

8 x 10 oil on canvas paintings

8 x 10 oil on canvas paintings

Grated, the above could really be paintings of anywhere in New Mexico, so common are the scenes of yellowed grasses, cows and crumbling adobe structures. Many of my new works will be specifically Portales, its stores, real estate, lawns, animals, abandoned buildings and neglected alleys. And as the title of this post suggests, they are being worked in my sketchbooks.

So now I’m back to venturing around town in my little mazda, and at the risk of looking like a creep-o or a cop on a stake-out, parking and sketching from the car. It really does make me feel like a cop… or okay, more like Stephanie Plum…

It is SO MUCH FUN and really IS showing me more about where I live. Nothing makes me appreciate a place more than painting it.  Here are some examples of my work so far. I will share more detailed/close-up pictures of them in the future. For now you just get a taste:

sketchbook pic A

sketchbook pic A

sketchbook pic B

sketchbook pic B

sketchbook pic C

sketchbook pic C

Here is a sketch I made yesterday from a rocking chair on my front lawn. I know you can hardly see what it is of but that’s not the point. (It’s a house and some trees at the end of our road.)

The point is that I remembered some of my old blog posts being titled: “sketchbook saturday” or “sketchbook sunday” and like the idea of using my sketchbook each weekend… religiously shall we say.

in the neighbourhood, graphite

In the neighbourhood, graphite in sketchbook

 

Today you get the view from my computer’s camera of what I’m working on. Can you spot the cicada? I’ll give you a hint: it’s front and center.

Insect Illustrations in progress, graphite and ink on paper

Insect Illustrations in progress, graphite and ink on paper

I’m working on illustrations for a biology textbook today, while the kitten is  hard at work grooming.

Can you see the beetle on the computer screen? I totally took a picture of that beast yesterday… it was very dead and preserved nicely in the ENMU biology lair of course… but it was still fantastically cool.

It’s the good life.

Yes, that is a drafting table to the right… I just haven’t quite made the transition to drawing on it full-time yet… it takes some getting used to after more than 25 years drawing on flat surfaces. That, and who could kick that adorable kitten off the drafting chair? Not me, no.

Illustration in the studio

Illustration in the studio

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