It’s a delicate balance, this work thing.  On the one hand, over-scheduling myself can put me in the position of not having enough time and energy to make quality work (while still keeping up with life itself.)  On the other hand, too little work to do makes for artistic stagnancy and that can quickly spiral into dangerous psychological territory.  Ideally, if I can pluck away at some larger ideas while staying loose with smaller daily things I can stay balanced enough to do my best work as artist, mama, wife and friend.

Recently I signed up to be a part of The Sketchbook Project out of Brooklyn, New York.  This is a really great project that I consider to be something of a community art project.  None of the artists donating sketchbooks to this project are getting paid, in fact we paid to do this.  But here is how I look at it.  It’s exercise.  People spend billions of dollars each year on exercise for their bodies, why not pay a small fee and a bit of time each day to exercise your inner artist?  The first step in all this for me is to gesso all the pages in the book which is a moleskin brand blank book.

Generally I don’t use the moleskin books because of the paper.  Great for writing or even just pencil or pen drawing, but it doesn’t take watercolor very well.  With the gesso on the pages, they become more like blank slates that I plan to do collage work and maybe some paintings as semi daily exercises outside of my own sketchbook work (which try as I might not to, I still can take too seriously).  The book is due back to Brooklyn by January 2011 and will have a life of it’s own once out of my hands.  It’s good for me to do this sort of thing and let it go.

My theme for the Sketchbook Project is “I am a Scavenger”.  This is pretty much true, from nature bits to quotes to my own ideas, I am constantly scavenging around for new and potentially usable stuff…

Meanwhile, I have been working on an embroidery for a quilt I am making for a special show in the fall.  Here is the beginning…. just blocking in colors and getting the generic form of a howling wolf into place.  Already I love her and she seems to have some wonderful personality.  I will post more on this project as it comes nearer to fruition.  If any of you blog readers are crocheters or thrift store shoppers, I am looking for crocheted doilies (approx.3″-8″ diameter) to be a part of this piece as well.  Please contact me if you’d like to contribute!

But for now, I am back into the studio to draw my new favorite thing I read about in a book last night…. cave pearls!!!  (I think cave formations will translate nicely into wax this fall!)

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