No excuses . . . Family, life & work have been the focus the last few years.
BUT, I'm excited to be at a place in life now, where I can devote focused time to creating.
Totally friggin' giddy!!!
Having a new space to create is a major bonus. (New studio pics coming!)
I've been working hard on new designs & techniques which I am looking forward to sharing. Hand & brush lettering with watercolors have been my latest obsession. I've also been pushing myself away from GIMP & MS Publisher to learn Illustrator & Photoshop.
Yep...Still crushing on Mexican folk art. I love this style and how easy it is to create a uniquely personal piece of colorful & whimsical art. This piece was created for my fabulous Aunt on her 60th birthday.
I was able to depict her love of horses and riding, her 4 Aussies and an agility course, my cousin's wedding, our recent trip together to La Quinta (fountain/Marichi band) , CA, her love of the outdoors fishing, entertaining ...It was a blast to create.
We are just a week out from having floors in the new part of the house! After much dreaming (and WAY too much Pinterest pinning) I am close to having my own space to create and paint! A year without a desk is too long. I am so excited to begin creating on a more regular basis again. Pictures of the new studio space to come! Most likely will be sharing with both daughters . . . they love to steal my paint brushes. ") We did the painting below for Great Grandma!
My daughter is gearing up to compete at our regional Oireachtas with her Irish Dance team. Many of our dancers are competing solos for the first time. We are so proud of them and how hard they have worked! I created this background using the beautiful solo dresses from Doire Dress Designs. I cut out the background in GIMP and pieced them together as a line of images in Publisher.
Then it was time to play in GIMP! I am still working on the mask effect, but not bad for a first try!
Inhaled this fascinating book in 24 hours. Thank you Grandma Jean for the recommendation!
Book summary from Amazon . . .
The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war—a rare achievement for any Afghan woman—Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. Former ABC News reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spent years on the ground reporting Kamila's story, and the result is an unusually intimate and unsanitized look at the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. These women are not victims; they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation. Afghanistan's future remains uncertain as debates over withdrawal timelines dominate the news.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana moves beyond the headlines to transport you to an Afghanistan you have never seen before. This is a story of war, but it is also a story of sisterhood and resilience in the face of despair. Kamila Sidiqi's journey will inspire you, but it will also change the way you think about one of the most important political and humanitarian issues of our time.
Crazy describes life most days, so a day at the beach was just what we have been needing. It was nice to unpack the watercolors and doodle for the first time in AGES. My kids even treated me to a sand spa! ") Later the tide cooperated and we were treated to some epic tide pool investigation. A great day.
It has been a crazy year so far, but with lots of good to report.
Our little one is doing much better and is back to her normal bubbly self. I still have moments of panic if she gets too tired or is not eating with her normal gusto. But the 4 year old is training her Momma well. She is such a trooper, and is way too patient with me. We went in for a blood test last week and she barely batted an eye. Too busy making sure all the nurses had a piece of bubble gum.
I haven't had a whole lot of doodling time, but managed a late night and whipped out 3 new designs that will be posted shortly. Other ideas are creatively percolating, until I can get my hands in some paint for an extended bit. Lots of inspiration from a recent trip to Hood River, OR. Best hiking ever!
My favorite moment in these last few months was on Mother's Day. I sat outside, between hail storms, drinking my coffee and enjoying the garden, when I heard the girls giggling and laughing inside.
Best sound ever. ")
My youngest little gal has been ill and was recently diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. It has been a long last 3 months. (Thus the lack of blog updates.) There have been a lot of sleepless nights, procedures, tests, "yucky" meds and just feeling rotten.
In all the "yucky," we have been trying to focus on the positive and trust God with the details we can't control. In the midst of it all, we have a lot that we are tremendously thankful for:
1) Our pediatrician, who gave us a speedy diagnosis, his desk number for emergencies and who got us hooked up with a great specialist right away. We love you Dr. Dean!!
2) Dr. Marshall (mentioned specialist) who has run herd on two shell shocked parents, keeping us sane and optimistic.
3) Family, who we would not have survived without! Thank you for listening, your prayers, giving us breaks to process and recoup. You are invaluable and adored!
Our daughter is now on the road to recovery. She is two weeks away from being off the steroids. They have been hard on her, but we are thankful they got the flair (symptoms) under control.
To everyone else . . . never give up hope. There is a God who will meet you right where you are, and bless your socks off in the process. He has heard plenty of my rants and sobs lately, and I am thankful that he takes me just as I am, runny mascara and all. ")
Looking forward to getting back in the saddle and sharing more art with you soon.
Have a wonderful holiday season!