Last weekend Kieran and I made some homemade sugar cookies. After 'we' dumped a bag of flour on the flour we were all set to start rolling. Every cookie we made was a different shape...thanks to the cutter set on at Michael's with 101 different cutters!
Today Kieran had is EYE-DA test, which is to see how he is for kindergarten. Can't believe he is off to school next year! They said he is really good at cutting. We get the other results later. He loved visiting his school, a couple kids even volunteered to show him around a little, very cute.
I participated in my second art battle on Friday. I wasn't as nervous this time, but still a healthy level of anxiety. I didn't get past the first round, but had so much fun, and met lots of great people and other artists.
It is amazing to see what some people can do in 20 minutes. I left feeling inspired to create even more, to practice, and really discover more about my style and what I like to create.
The past few weeks have been crazy and busy between family, work, and just finding time to just be, I have not had much time to play. I woke up at 5:00 this morning, wide awake, so I got up and cleaned my area, painted a unicorn and got the motivation to write this post. I am hoping that I can get up more often early in the morning...but sleep is precious to me and I am typically not a morning person.
What do you do to step out of your comfort zone? How do you get inspired?
I started teaching an afterschool art class yesterday for grades 3-5 and what a sweet group they are. They all came in and read the directions and got started on a warm-up activity with out any help from me. They are determined, curious and excited to be there. I can't wait to see what each week brings.
This week we had fun practicing with watercolor and wax crayons-to play with colour and design. The demonstration project was creating a gecko with patterns using crayons and experimenting with various watercolour colours over top.
I love seeing how different every project is and how they make it their own.
We are working up with all sorts of excitement for Halloween tomorrow. Kieran is very excited!
He is more excited though that his fingernails are painted. Not necessarily for Halloween, but because a little girl at daycare had her nails painted and he wanted his done too. He can't wait to show her, and don't forget the toes. He was very serious as I painted them last night, not wanting any smudges or chips...which is very difficult for a busy four year old.
Popcorn and movie night. What a little ham. He always wants his picture taken, and this is the smile he puts on now. Got some snuggles on the couch while watching some Ninja Turtles over Thanksgiving weekend.
Last week was Kindergarten registration week. I can't believe he is going to school next year. He is so excited to go, and I am having mixed feelings.
Went to my first life drawing event on Sunday in Saint Andrews at Sunbury Shores Gallery. I may have turned the model into a mermaid...
I was really excited to try it. When I got there I went through a whole range of emotions. Mostly feeling like I didn't belong there, that I wasn't good enough to even try this-which is ridiculous. Everyone was friendly and at different levels. Some little voice in my head, felt that this is what the professional artists and "good" artists do, shame on you for thinking you could do this. This voice doesn't come out as much anymore when I create, but she was strong on Sunday. The only thing to get her to stop is to keep going. Every time I botched something the voice would come out and ask what was wrong with me, can't even get the lines right. Sigh. Will the critic ever be gone? Probably not, but I hope that her and I can work together.
I really enjoyed the experience, despite my critic. The critic just didn't want me to look foolish. When really it didn't matter. It was a learning experience and helped me a lot with being out of my comfort zone, looking at shapes and lines, and I really focused on hands and the curve of lines on the body.
The session was a couple hours, no instruction, just drawing what you see. Within the hour we did a few 1 minute poses, 5 minute poses, 10 minute poses, and a couple 20/25min poses. It was really interesting to see what I could do in a short time, keeping the lines gestural. My first one minute pose was unidentifiable as anything, but I felt more successful as I went along.
I found that what I used to draw really changed how I percieved my drawing. When I used marker and charcoal and couldn't erase, I was easier on myself and the drawings were more organic feeling-they were what the were. When I used pencil I has harder on myself, maybe because I could erase and had this thought that I should be more precise. Not sure, but I hope to do it again. I have about 20 sketches now in different poses.
Love that when I leave by boys for the afternoon they get messy creative <3
The past couple weeks have been pretty quiet as we get back into routine. Last week Kieran had a really bad allergic reaction to what we think is laundry detergent. He broke out in hives-this is the worst I had seen it his poor hands, feet and eyes were swollen too, It isn't the first time it has happened, but it certainly had never been this bad before. It is almost cleared up now, just a couple little spots left. We have been trying to figure out exactly what it is, I am guessing it is the fragrances they use in certain brands or fabric softeners. We will just have to be careful and keep an eye out for ingredients.
Went for a three hour excursion through the woods last week. I didn't intend to be gone that long, but once I am in there time disappears...until I have 10 minutes to find my way out to pick Kieran up at the sitter.
One of my favourite spots to explore is Rockwood Park from the Entrance by the zoo. It is so quiet there and even though there are cars in the parking lot I rarely see anyone while I am walking. There are so may trails and sights to see. My dad lives near by, so I have many memories going there-to fish, canoe, explore, test the water with my little kid eco-kit, find fossils, streams and listen to underground water falls. Any forest, but this one in particular holds a lot of magic for me.
On Friday, armed with my sketchbook, and pencil, I set off into the woods. I took the side trail around Owen lake, and was struck by the silence when I stepped out into the opening by the water. I didn't realize how quiet it really was until I thought I could here breathing-turns out it was just the wings of a raven flying way above me.
While I am out I like to sketch and take notes of what I see, feel, or what thoughts pop into my head. What struck me again and again was that even though I love the forest and the silence-it was also an uneasy feeling. Any noise I heard would usually startle me-usually just birds hoping through the leaves on the ground, or the feeling that something was always there. My thought was that it is because I am not accustomed to the constant eyes that are probably watching me form birds, squirrels to even the presence of the trees, I am also not use to absolute silence-no vehicles, fans, voices, nothing, just the occasional buzz of a dragonfly, or bird flying and hopping about.
It may sound odd, but often when I am out with my sketch book I try and think of the personality of what I am drawing, or what perspective they might have. I few years ago I studied and became certified in Celtic Reiki (which I absolutely adore), and one of the things I do quite often is check in with what is around me and try to be aware, and witness what is going on; from wind in the trees to patterns of growth. I try to approach everything with curiosity. One of my favourite things in the woods is the way light trickles in between the leaves, or the way it highlights different areas of the forest, or sparkles of a stream.
I love birch trees. I really enjoyed painting the one above. The thought that came to mind as I was sketching it was wisdom shedding, or shedding of stories and experiences, releasing them into the wind.
What do you feel when you are out in the woods, or by the water? What do you notice when you are there? Where is your favourite outdoor place to be? What is it about there that brings you back? What inspires you about the outdoors?
My explorer! He loves to be outdoors.
Here are some conversations from the past week:
Me: Did you have a good day?
Kieran: No it was a bad day. (Then he explained the moment that made it not a great day)
Me: Well, tomorrow might be a good day.
Kieran: Yeah, but it might not
...guess I can't argue that...
Kieran: Mommy look a heart! (He points to a heart marshmallow in his cereal)
Me; Wow, that is special.
Kieran: Yeah, Mommy it is your heart....and I am inside it.
I didn't post very many Mommy Mondays this summer, but we had lots of adventures. Above is a little collage of our time. PEI twice, Ottawa, Toronto, camping and glamping, as well as little adventures around the neighbourhood.
Kieran had his first, plane, train, and bus rides this summer...not to mention a horse!!
He had so much fun, but there is nothing like coming home. I don't know why I was surprised, but anywhere we went there was always a moment or two of "Mommy can we go home now, I miss Rocky and Bobo (aka Baron)". Just so sweet.
This was also the summer of rainbows! both times we went to PEI (once for glamping the other for camping) we saw full double rainbows! Then there was another rainbow in Ottawa. Kieran is going to think these things happen all the time!
While camping in PEI, Kieran was very interested in what people were doing in the other stalls, which lead to quotes like "Who made that toot?" and "why is there a band-aid on her toe", which was then followed by me silently wrestling him to stop him from looking underneath.
Kieran was so excited for the plane to Ottawa. When the plane arrived in Saint John, Kieran was running for his bag and pushing Peter and I to the gate; he couldn't wait to get on. We first had to fly to Halifax which was a tiny plane, so Kieran got to talk to the pilot before take off and got to see the controls the whole flight from his seat. He was also pretty excited for the train to Toronto.
While in Ottawa, Uncle Jon took us to the Natural History Museum. It was amazing. I could not get a single picture of Kieran that wasn't blurry because he was looking and running around so much. So much to see and do there: dinosaurs, bugs, birds, mammals...loved it!
In Toronto we did the zoo from 11:00-3:30 and still didn't see it all. Kieran's favourite was the giraffes and the pandas.
Last week our side yard had some construction done and Kieran was very excited to see some of the trucks. In fact he caught me working on my video and wanted to make one too. So Kieran has his first vlog-which is adorable. We also during the vlog discovered a hornets nest... You can see the video below.
Even though this summer went by too fast, and I am back at work, we made some great family memories.
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Jennifer Russell was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada.She is an Intentional artist who focuses on creating meaning full connections to her work for herself and others. Nothing is more satisfying to her than hearing that her work has inspired someone in their own life.