Today I changed my blog header, as I like to do, to effect the mood or portray the shifts that I’m feeling and want to reflect on.  What you can’t see from this closely cropped image of an orange-red poppy blossom and petal-less poppy stem, is that the hand holding the blossom up for the camera has a Band-aid near the tip of the middle finger.  I think I’ll insert the whole thing here to illustrate:

poppy blossoms and bandaids

poppy blossoms and bandaids

This photo is such a fitting illustration of aspects of my life as a mother and artist.  Here I am trying to see and capture in some small way the wonders of the world around me, but I can’t ignore (nor would I want to) the grubby little fingers of my active boys.  The kids are such a part of what I do everyday, and though they make their own whirlwind of messes, tear their fair share of pant knees, and constantly injure themselves in ways that band-aids can help, or not– wonders they are too.

Lately I’ve been trying to work on artist’s books that creatively document the lives that my kids lead and the rites of passage they’ve experienced to this point, while making art and books for myself at the same time.  They outnumber me, so often I focus on the kids first and don’t get to myself, whether for the art I want to make, or otherwise.  I feel like both avenues of processing our lives together are important, so one of my goals is to find a balance between their needs and mine, their stories and mine, and make sure to find time for myself and examining my life too.

With that in mind, here are some of the drawing directions I’m playing with:

another succulent, bottom right

another succulent, bottom right

I love this last succulent, though overall the picture doesn’t work yet, the individual plant drawings have their moments.  I’m deciding whether to cut the whole thing apart or to add darks and shadows under the pots first to see how I like that.

latest plant, sumi ink painting

latest plant, sumi ink painting

I’ve also just been experimenting with a photocopy transfer process that does not require a press, sometimes called xerography or paper plate lithography.  With a regular black-and-white photocopy, Gum Arabic, oil paint or printing ink, the right paper and a spoon, you can make what looks almost like a lithograph.  Here are my first attempts with photocopies of sketches I drew or photos I took:

print with blue ink and xerox

print with blue ink and xerox

print from playground sketches

print from playground sketches

burnt umber print, M at the table sketch

burnt umber print, M at the table sketch

ring around the tree, photo print in blue

ring around the tree, photo print in blue

All of these prints will find homes in one or another of the books I’m working on, and with some practice I’ll hope to be able to control this process  better.  I do like the results so far.

With all of these transfer prints, plus my latest sketch going around in my head, I’m thinking about next best steps.  This last drawing is from yesterday morning is of my middle son, ‘M’, sitting on the couch suffering from whatever “is going around.”   The drawing doesn’t show him to be half as miserable as he was, unable to keep anything in his empty stomach.  The brown staining on the picture I dripped from my morning cup of coffee on my finger as I sat nearby and held out a bowl for him…

under the weather

under the weather

that’s how it goes… around.

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