08 May 2020

A Little Fabric Scrapbook—for My Mom

I’m not sure what to call this kind of project, but so far I guess ‘little fabric scrapbook’ covers it best. I’m also not entirely sure yet where I’m going with these, but it seems to me to be the start of something interesting (and especially relevant to my interests here), so I thought I’d share where I am in this process so far.

If you’ve been checking in with me on Instagram, you know I like to sew every now and then. As much as I love to think about “intangible” things (theology. philosophy, languages, aesthetics, etc), I also love making very tangible things; now I feel like I’m *just* starting to see how it actually *is* possible to bring together a lot of these various interests (fabric craft, paper craft, drawing, lettering, bookmaking, -even jewelry- WITH church history, theology, philosophy, music, art history) into little creative projects. I feel like it’s a good start, anyway! I mean, I guess I never saw it as impossible, but I didn’t myself really value my own potential contribution; now, I am starting to value it [based, in part, upon the feedback I received from my mom on this book I made for her—it made her cry, so, mission accomplished! ;) :D love you, Mom!!] I just don’t necessarily have any more time than I ever did...But it’s worth it to try to find the time where I can, so I am trying!

Like I mentioned, my mom received this little book I made for her as a surprise custom thank you  present this past Christmas. There is one basic main theme running through it, specifically chosen for her... If you’ve met my mom, you will know that she talks. :) Gregarious, animated, empathetic, friendly, thoughtful, goofy, loud—whether she’s singing, joking, storytelling, lecturing, debating, or just saying hi, my mom is TALKING. She’s listening, too, of course—but she’s also very much talking [:D], and when she talks, she *says something.* “She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come to her dependent upon her to dispense me some of that mom-ly wisdom, and I can’t think of a time she’s ever let me down. In caring for and teaching my own kids, I think of her and hear her voice, even, her own word-for-word words, in my own memory. Did she misspeak sometimes? Of course. She has and she will—but she confesses her sins and confesses faith in her Savior, and that’s what we Christians (mother or not) are all about. Over and over, *out loud,* forever and ever, Amen!

Here’s a bit of a peek through the book...


















16 July 2019

Commemorations printables!


Hi! I’m doing a bit of intermittent internet fasting in order to better prepare for some upcoming / impending family transitions, and working on all kinds of things, so I’m checking in again (before I check out again;) with a little announcement: the first LSB monthly Commemorations printable is ready to download, print, color/decorate/annotate! I’m very new to digital art, and am learning somewhat slowly, but hope to get more of these up as soon as I’m able. Thanks for your patience!
Here’s a link to the January Commemorations PDF (also available on the Free Printables page here on the blog).


21 July 2018

On Names and Namesakes (a bit of backstory on my namesakes project--with a lot of personal opinions you can take or leave:)

I love learning about names, given names, surnames--words in general interest me, but names, especially, because they are words with extra special significance and beauty--and, of course, they are person-al, linked to individuals with actual behaviors, attitudes, voices, faces.

I was born into a family of seven, and so the first names that piqued my interest were my parents and siblings' names, firsts and middles (especially since I was often addressed as "Cath--Chris--Lor--Val--Stew--Ali!"). As I grew, I listened in on discussions about how my parents and siblings got their names:

"you were named after both your grandfathers,"
"my best friend's name was Valerie,"
"Grandma's middle name is Loretta,"
"I was the only 'Mary' [Ruth Marie] born at that Catholic hospital in the month of May; the nurses - who were also nuns - were absolutely thrilled!"
"...they would have named me Arthur James, rather than Arthur Wilbur, had he not..."
"If we had had another boy, I would have liked to have named him Adam."
"There was a girl at church whose name was Alison Kay; we thought, that's a pretty name..."




When I was little, I was amused by how our stone-arched nave/sanctuary hung on to the 's' sounds our congregation made together, as in the word "mercy." I remember, as a very little kid, telling my mother that the word 'mercy' reminded me of 'Chrissy' (my sister's name).




And, even though there's no etymological relation, I will always associate my own name, Alison, with eleison, ever since my sister repeated the refrain to me sing-song style one Sunday after church, as if addressing me personally (no blasphemy intended; she's just a goof).

Associations are fun, and can even be kind of helpful, even when they're not quite right.

Names have associations; some people feel like their names don't fit, some people seem to fit their names just right (I'm pretty snobbish, unfortunately, even though I'm also pretty shy; definitely an 80's kid; by heritage, a tiny bit, though not very, French).



Do we shape our names (how others perceive us, based upon our names), or do our names shape us? Probably a little of both. See, now we're considering the old nature/nurture psychological debate, and social/cultural conditioning, and even philosophy ('existence precedes essence'--?)--there's a lot in a name!

When a baby is baptized, his given name is 'written in the book of life.' Our confessions say that Christ is the Book of Life, though maybe it's the case there's an actual book with names inscribed? Couldn't put it past God to do that, of course. And we know that when Christ recalls the dead from their tombs, he will address his lambs each by name--your name is for-ever!

Maybe this is silly, but I've always envied people who were named after Biblical figures. The way I see it, you all get to gather together post-parousia in your little "Mary" and "Stephen" and "Jesús" cliques--with the actual Miriam and St. Stephen the martyr, and Mary the Virgin Mother herself (!!)--and Jesus (!!!!!!ad infinitum)--and you all have this instant, irrevocable, eternal common bond: your shared name.

[Like, "Hey, everybody, the Marys are hosting a party on the west bank of the River of Life!--and, oh, don't worry; the Marthas are bringing the food!"]


I always like running across another Alison (whose name is spelled like mine, because of course the other spellings throw me off, as I'm sure mine does the other Alyson/Allison/Allyson/Alisson-s). When I meet one, I look for shared interests and quirks and often find more than a few of them. Names not only give you a personal identity, but also tie you to a community (surnames, maybe more so than given names).

Names tell you about a person, but they also tell you about that person's family. You instantly get a sense of what a person's parents value, their personalities, where they're from, etc. When parents give their children a name with Biblical or Church history attached to it, they're hoping to give the child a personal connection to that history, to tie them up into that story by association to its 'characters.' These parents rightly understand that children are not personal possessions or trophies (more than a hobby, a collector sport, or an item crossed off a bucket list, more than merely a reflection of themselves), but a trust from the God who created them, and a part of the community (just as they themselves are)--members of the one Body.

What better way to encourage your child to read and consider the Bible than by naming him after someone mentioned in it? It's a great daily reminder for parents in the same way, too! And, again, like our confessions say, it is good to remember the saints and imitate their faith and works; how encouraging it is to be surrounded by people whose names are reminders of what it is to live faithfully: whose trials were not unlike our own, who had the same temptations and fears, and yet were still instruments of God's grace to others, even while they themselves were recipients of that grace and forgiveness. We are saints, together with the saints of old, because we have the same Lord and Savior, the same faith. God was with them, he heard their prayers, he saved them; He does (and will do) the same for us, too. All the biblical accounts of men and women of faith uplift and encourage us; how special it is to have a little added connection to this or that 'big brother/sister in the faith' via your own name!


my five children's six Biblical/church namesakes


Now, ultimately, names don't matter; it is the person himself who is of real eternal significance. But, since we'll still be known by our given names in the new heavens and new earth (which will be...forever), I think it is worthwhile for parents (especially Christian parents) to carefully consider their children's names--that is, to consider their *motivations* behind the naming of their children. Whatever the name, it should be chosen for what it is (good, true, beautiful: a worthy name), not for what it isn't (trendy, boring, overused, plain--it seems to me many of us in our childbearing years are leaning toward the obscure, too often for vanity's sake [reactionary tendencies], and not for the name's sake. Uncommon names can be uncommonly beautiful; but there's not much to be said in reaching for the uncommon just for the sake of it. Oftentimes, you know, really cool people have really commonplace and plain names! In short, it's ok to give your cool kids boring and common names. Pretty soon, those will be the uncommon ones, anyway, so if you want to be ahead of the curve...!).

No, I wouldn't argue that everyone ought to have a Biblical name, though I freely admit I wish I did (no offense, Mom and Dad; I like my names well enough:). I would hope/pray there will be a big ol' group of us Alisons (and Allisons, et. al.) to all hang out together--and with people of other monikers, too (as, for once and for all, we will be merely erudite and no longer snobbish!).

27 June 2018

June 2018 - news (shop!), sneak peek

Hey! Just added 5 designs to my *now open* redbubble shop!

Check it out (here)!

Wall art is available at a variety of sizes and price points, from postcard to framed art print - and lots of other products are available, too (travel mugs, ceramic mugs, tees, totes [my favorite!], etc.).

I'll be adding more stuff as I have time to make, crop, scan, etc., so check back periodically.

 Here are a few tiny sneak peeks as to what I'm currently planning: a simple approach to individual saint and biblical namesakes / related groups (and, eventually, custom individuals or groupings, available via DM on Instagram or email).


27 May 2018

A little background on my Te Deum Sub-project (with some thoughts on "abortive gestures")

Even though I still feel like #the100dayproject is hanging over my head, uncomfortably, it's been bearable...though I still want to quit! Haha:) I want to quit, mainly because I want to feel free to do other things, I think. But then, I realized, if I want to do other things, why don't I just...*do some other things?*

And that's, so far, the greatest benefit I've seen: lately I've found myself thinking more along the lines of, hey, I've got a few minutes here, probably, so why not try [this or that idea out]. I've been more accepting and willing to try out my ideas than I was before I started the project. Previously, I'd spend a whole day analyzing an idea to death (a very painful death, and more likely than not, undeservedly so), and rather than just sketch it out, keep going down that line of thinking from: idea - idea is problematic - idea is stupid - i am stupid. Instead of spending so much time and energy doing that, I'm doing a lot more sketching (and sharing) instead, and finding that (even though I still need more practice!), I'm much more likely to be practicing / sketching than just 'sketching in my head.' (though there really is some value to that, too; I think they go together) I'm visual, and I do have to see my own ideas in order to see them as 'valuable' (even if their value exists, still, mainly in potentiality--sketches are preliminary studies). Anyway, it's not just that I started being a good person and having better thoughts; I've been reading a good book that's helped a lot--I'll get to that in a minute.

Somewhere in the introductory lectures of his series on J.S. Bach, the prof (Robert Greenberg) brings up the concept of the "abortive gesture." (I think it's the lecture on the Baroque aesthetic.) Ever since he said the words, it crystallized something in my head (on my other blog, I talked about the 'what the hell' effect, I don't know, 3-4 years ago? I don't have a great sense of time...maybe I can dig up the post...it was one of my posts tagged 'artist statement,' I think).

Abortive gestures: the gist is just what it sounds like: mess up a good thing when it gets too pretty or too hard / give up when things are getting along nicely. It's an aesthetic hallmark of modern classical music, Greenberg notes, and I'm sure, if you think of it, you'll see ripples playing out all over our culture. On the contrary, says Greenberg, Bach's music strikes us as timeless, old and new, transcendent and grounded, with NO such shock-value devices as 'the abortive gesture.'

I'm of at least two minds on this (probably a testament to the fact that I'm just a product of my age / interested in justifying myself: I really like *some* [not all] modern, outsider, abstract, amateur art, and don't love all representative, classical art, though I do love a lot of it). I get what he's saying, and in my head I tie it to our throwaway, fractured, consumerist, pop-culture saturated America: we think we don't have time for the good stuff, the old stuff, the slow, tried and true stuff; we're happy to settle for less and give up willingly when we're faced with suffering, hard times, the truth, even, with beauty. [Beauty is sometimes ugly and scary, especially to fallen man who glories in his shame.]

At the same time, there is somewhat of a sweet, childlike innocence, (naivete, even, a purity), to folk art (even the seemingly slapdash, 'shoddy' stuff), especially, where, yes a person could dig deep and really learn embroidery (or painting, or carving, etc.) inside and out and spend your whole life diving into the art of the craft just to make one or a few highly elaborate and flawless tapestries, fit to grace some queen's inner chamber (which will be seen and appreciated by her, and maybe no one else, unless someday it survives long enough to make it into a museum).

Or--you can use your gifts to work at your craft (while you'll overall arc toward getting better) and not worry whether or not the object is 'art.' Folk art is 'amateur'-ish. But not all folk artists are such amateurs; some really do bring their craft to the level of art. Anyway--rambling--but I see myself more on the side of the childlike ever-amateur, and always felt unreasonably guilty over that. I felt like my tendency to 'quit' one thing and move on to the next thing and the next thing (even if I'm happy / eager about it every time), was a reflection of some deficiency in my character. Am I really a bad person, just because I shuffle through so many ideas and projects? My drawings aren't belabored; even when I set out to do a 'finished project,' I'll finish it (from my perspective) in a matter of hours...the masters are supposed to work for years on the same dang thing (I think I would rather just die already)...guess I'll never reach 'mastery!' --and so on, plagued by those kinds of thoughts.

My husband (who also has the same kind of 'problem') alerted me to the idea of the scanner / multipotentialite personality. I've been helter-skelter skimming through this book ("Refuse to Choose," by Barbara Sher) since Josh brought it home a week or two ago, and just started reading through it sequentially yesterday. I'm going to read through the whole thing in order (so committed! probably will take a bit of a break from drawing/posting just to do this), because I found so many gems just in my first reading. She especially won me over with the title to this chapter:



Anyway, this book is helping me understand that there's more to it than just (on one side of it) 'the desire to quit,' and that there's not necessarily a character defect there, but a strength to draw out and capitalize upon. I'm not a deep-diver (a specialist), and that's ok. What might look like an abortive gesture (quitting, flaking out, messing up), might just be a pivot (sorry to use such a buzzword, but my toddler is calling for me and I can't think of a good substitute just to save my own vanity--haha:) in the grand scheme of things.

So, why the Te Deum?

At my church we have communion every Sunday. I never thought I would start a lament with those words, but, here we go! As a result, we never sing Matins on Sunday (or...any other time?), and therefore never sing the Te Deum Laudamus (in the TLH setting--though we've sung the Starke one...working hard now to keep my opinions to myself............can't: I *do not* like that setting. Text is fine [albeit unfamiliar, and the rhyming forces wording that is awkward and sometimes gives a nuance that's not quite right, etc...]. Music is not--SO hard to sing! I grew up listening to Classical music, and already associate the tune with the planets / paganism--definitely rubs me the wrong way in a church setting. Sounds so...contrived?--more than that, just so...Hallmark, or something. Anyway--), so I miss it. It seems weird to grieve the loss of liturgy / a song, but, like anything you grow to love, it's hard to be without it.

One of the main reasons I love the (TLH) Te Deum, is that, at the very first, I did not love it.

It's funny, it's all a blur of emotions, the memory of my first singing: we were at my sister's church...I can't even remember the occasion...my nephew's baptism? I think I was in my later teens / highschool. I was standing by my siblings (younger sister / older brother), and it was also my (our?) first experience with the liturgy from TLH. [Our church used LW, and almost exclusively the setting with 'this is the feast.' We didn't even use that setting, as is, from the hymnal--bits and pieces were cut-and-pasted from wherever into the weekly bulletin, hymn verses included (I didn't even know certain verses of certain hymns existed until much later--).]

So when we all stand up, and the organ strikes up, with this completely unfamiliar tune, and voices all around us break out gushing praises and heavenly shoutouts (while I'm tripping over all the Shakespearean 'thee's and 'thyself's and cumbersome poetic phraseology) and all that jazz--in perfect harmony--my eyes get wide and I and my siblings shift and look at each other uncomfortably, maybe stifling a chuckle.

In my head, I hear myself articulate, with contempt, 'this is archaic!'

Then, suddenly there's this freaky chord change out of nowhere,



and it's telling me something--



I feel a shiver of recognition before I hear myself revisit those words--'this - isarchaic.'



I become aware that I've just run into something priceless.



What a treasure for so many, shared and beloved--for so long!

And--chills turned to a flush--'this was kept from me--withheld from me--for so long, and for what good reason?!' 





The beauty of the language, the power of the imagery (basically the second article of the creed set to music, flanked by doxologies and petitions, bits of the Kyrie, Gloria, and Sanctus), four-part harmony (I always struggled to sing those soprano melodies--there was a place for me all along [the alto line!!!], and I never knew it!)...???!!!

I blink away hot tears and compose myself, and try to follow along to the rest of it, feeling like a brand new, bedraggled refugee to some strange and beautiful country--the place where I always lived but never knew it? Something like that.

Anyway, *I miss the Te Deum.*

Like, A - LOT.

I miss TLH! --yeah, sure, I'd miss LW (even, stinkin' this is the feast, grumblegrumble) if I couldn't sing it, either, I'm sure--and, yes, I'm just the kind of person who's always grieved about one thing or another--but I'm learning to be picky about my grievances, and I've concluded that this is a worthy injustice to commemorate, and not just cry over (though, really, I've got such an extensive liquid portfolio!--but you can't see it ['cause transparent *rimshot*]), but maybe even give a little new life to. (Not that what I'm doing is the timeless and enduring kind of thing--really my sketches are either throwaways, or just sweet little malformed (untimely born*) beginnings--but in this throwaway culture of ours, if I can be just a little finger pointing to the timeless, enduring thing, then I consider I'll have done my job! We don't all get to be Bachs, and that really is OK, too--more than just OK.).

You'll note (if you follow me on IG) that I'm going through the Te Deum backward: I'm still learning Instagram, and, from what I know, presentation matters. If you'll scroll through my feed on my profile, it's in order (making casual visitors sing the -- Book of Common Prayer [public domain text:/] -- Te Deum as they view--haha! (Like all those Catholics with their sneaky ways of making you read the Rosary--I'm thinking of those roadside signs...I read them as if expecting something different [but, alas, no abortive gestures--such integrity, those Catholics!]--bah! they get me *every time!*)


*Maybe I should consider St. Paul for the next Saint namesake?

07 May 2018

+ Joshua, Ruth + (May 2018)

Two experiments (not the first, and not the last) - every piece is a great learning experience (by which I mean: in every piece I make so many mistakes!). Still learning the medium, and still working out the ideas, but here are a Joshua and a Ruth: two of my own children's namesakes. :)


May as well follow these up with the next namesakes: Matthew and Andrew. (I think I prefer working on two at a time, as I get to not 'limit' myself to one concept/work, and, on the other hand, working on more than one at a time helps prevent me from overthinking/overworking any one piece.)

Not decided if I want to continue practicing watercolored drawings or something else, something more loose and painterly...

I asked Google and she said there are 30-something weeks left in the year...if I do up one saint per week (these two took less than a week, closer to 4-5 days altogether), I'll have finished 30 (maybe 60!) little pieces in the year! So that's my general goal for the remainder of this year, as far as this namesakes project goes (for the foreseeable future).

P.S. I still want to quit #the100dayproject, and I still won't let myself! Aaaaarrrrggghhh!

 I feel a little better now. :)

But, still, I'll be SO glad when that thing is done and over with. I know I'm horrible for saying that, whatever--but, seriously, it's definitely a 'take your medicine' kind of thing for me. I know it's a good idea and all, it's just *hard.*

But I just read a few little snippets - from this book - and found them encouraging: you already know the Aristotle one, and then, this (basically, a restatement/rewording of the same thought, but gives a slightly different emphasis)--"Small actions, repeated over time, transform us." Just going to let that one sink in...

25 April 2018

Myrrhbearers (progress #1)

I've been trying out different media / approaches for the saints and Biblical namesakes project - here is a sneak peek of St. Mary Magdalene, two ways. I did these up sometime earlier this month, but my way is to do a thing and then sit on it for a while.

monochromatic pen and watercolor / tricolor pencil

Since I'm on the topic (of projects I've been quietly sitting on--mother hen is my spirit animal?), I'll mention that I'm also planning out (working on) a few illustrations of quotes from the BoC that had to do with art...there really are so many good quotes about works that apply very readily to the Christian artist, but I found four that are most specifically art-related (one is a bit of a stretch, but I'll probably run with it anyway). I looked all over for the sketches, but couldn't find the one I really wanted to share (on 'imagination,' from the Large Catechism...do you know the one?), so I'll look some more and post it later. That'll give me some more time to come up with a few more-polished versions, too.

13 April 2018

Thoughts on #the100dayproject (Day 11)

I follow a number of artists and illustrators on Instagram (which is, by the way, so inspiring and so fun! people are awesome:), so I knew from their posts about it that this thing called #the100dayproject was about to begin, so I decided I'd try it, too. And I am. And it's inspired a range of thoughts and emotions, so I wanted to journal it up here (and share some recent pictures of little concept-y things and works-in-progress) quickly before I forget.

Are you a marathoner or a sprinter? I am neither. I hate running--mainly because running makes me breathe hard, and I don't like breathing. Walking I'll do if I can meander with no agenda or destination in mind. But it's gradually sinking in that walking like that won't really get me very far in the long run (ha.), if I do, in fact, have goals I'm interested in meeting (and in spite of my natural tendency toward inertia, I do have goals!...strange but true). 100 days...probably qualifies as at least a half-marathon? At any rate, it's kind of a big deal (for me, anyway).

I have to actually *walk my self* toward those goals, step by step. *I* have to do it--every little bit. How do you eat a whole elephant? Impossible! Just thinking about all the bites/steps involved can be a big de-motivator, and that's why signing up for something called 'the hundred day project' would naturally be the last thing on my to-do list. On day 3/4, I regretted the whole thing and (really really really) wanted to quit. That's when I knew I was (really really really) on to something and therefore couldn't let myself quit.

So I'm in it for the long haul, time and opportunity allowing for daily posting (got an out-of-state wedding in the middle which will require some working around, etc). Here, so far, are my own personal little hacks (more like, mind-setting talking points) to make the 100days experience more pleasant:

1. Don't think about all the days until July xx (whatever date this goes thru; I can't remember); only think (at most) 1 day ahead
2. Plan for the next morning (only) the night before*, and stick to it / don't improvise concepts last-minute / stick to the plan as much as possible: keep a simple goal in a short (24 hour) timeframe.
3. Keep subject matter as simple/natural as possible (do what I would find easy to do, or what I'd end up doing anyway, whether I'd signed up for a commitment to do it or not).
4. Keep in mind that it's voluntary, not compulsory (no one really cares like I do to the extent that they have the expectations that I have for myself; conversely, most people are delighted to 'see what's new every day'--it's like giving/getting a little gift).
5. Draw and post as soon as possible after waking to facilitate the 'just getting it done' aspect of the thing (habit-formation)
6. Keep in mind that the main purpose is the establishing of a habit (daily practice), and the nurturing of character qualities that support the long term goal in the short term
7. The purpose is not to make art but to (establish a good mindset and) make a habit, and that's ok and good (even if it sounds excessively pragmatic/utilitarian); I can make 'art' on my own time
8. Potentially missing a day =/= end of the world
9. Daily drawing will contribute to more productive drawing/brainstorming for my personal projects (momentum begets momentum)--and, surprise surprise!--it has! So, further evidence that this is a good idea and I should keep that in mind (if nothing else) when I'm lazy or overwhelmed by life/myself and considering quitting.
*10. I have a master list of every symbol I'll be doing for each of the 100 days, and, after rearranging it twice, I'm no longer going to be changing anything (adding/subtracting/shifting around items on the list) last-minute, other than deciding the night before as to the specific approach I'll take with the day's subject.

That last point has been the biggest benefit I've seen so far. Instead of just thinking about (more like, thinking down) my future projects, I'm actually beginning to work on them! I'm starting to notice more when I'm overthinking (doom-casting) a project to death, and replacing that with more rational, balanced thinking.

thinking about the Myrrhbearers

It's also translating to more openness to trying approaches to my subject that I for whatever stupid reason thought were off-limits--and this deserves its own paragraph so:

I have so many of these arbitrary art/creative do's/dont's floating around in my head, but here's a big one: "you can't make art with crayons! who does that?!"(--actually, I do, and I will, and furthermore, I like it! so there!--and crayons aren't nearly as gauche ('crayola', juvenile) as many may think; they've even got somewhat of a professional pedigree:

many artists use wax medium with their oil/acrylic paints, and the ancient practice of encaustic--basically painting with melted crayons--is a thing, and did you know Picasso had oil pastels invented/made especially for him, and you can still buy them (and they are delicious--much much nicer than those smelly multi-color lipsticks you drew with in elementary school--but also pretty pricey)? Well, if you didn't know, now you know.

Madonna & Child doodle--
crayon (water resistant wax pastel) over gouache

I can't say for sure that signs of spring returning haven't contributed to my upsurge in positive/rational thinking (it's been gloomy and cold here for the most part yet, though it has been very refreshing to get outside when we can--even in the hail)--


--but I can't help but attribute it at least a little bit to the fact that I am actually taking a more active role in shaping my (and my family's--I've found myself actually thinking harder about how I spend time with my kids, and doing some things--like reading aloud, even a little bit--that I haven't done in...months?) day and by extension my life (alongside the five children who do a real good chunk of the shaping of my day/night for me).


I may actually get my redbubble shop up and running soon, God willing! So far, it's looking like a distinct possibility, and not just wishful thinking. All I know is I'm committed as I can be to the little somethings for the 100 days; the rest I'm going to try to let happen as organically as possible (meaning, try to keep staying out of my own way as much as I can!).

Yesterday, I even made up a couple bookmarks to laminate and send along with my goddaughter/niece's confirmation card (which I also made that same day--so productive!--now to make the envelope...).

her middle-name-sake
(it's a well loved and frequently used name throughout our family tree:)

It'll be her first Communion the next weekend? I think?
--so, Chrysostom quote (copied from TDP, February reading) <3

her confirmation verse (card)

07 March 2018

+ St. Valentine +


St. Valentine, February 14. Not much is known for certain about him (priest? bishop? giver of heart-shaped slips of paper?) other than the very likely fact of his martyrdom, so I have my Valentine simply dressed in a white robe with a palm branch, hand held over his heart (to offer a little nod toward his day being recognized as a day of love).

06 March 2018

WIP: Sts. Valentine and...

(...can you guess who's next?)


Doing a few things differently this time around: cold press watercolor paper--thanks, Karin!!:-*--painting the whole background first...which has already made things...interesting. 

Gouache reactivates with water after it's dried, so that's reintroduced underlying color into the colors I attempt to layer on top, which is something I realized would happen, but since I've never actually seen it happen (or done it)...yeah--like I said, it's been...interesting. 

I'm not sure whether I want to correct the color mixing that happened that I wasn't anticipating, or leave it (cause more of it?) as happy accidents... Think I'm just going to have to figure that out as I go. 

Gouache is fun! I don't know why I like it so much more than acrylic paint, but so far, I really do. I heard that it's good practice for oil paints, because with oils you have a long open time for mixing paints right on the canvas. Someday I think I'd really like to do that (especially for portraits), but for now I'm glad I have this medium as an option. 

St. Valentine, detail


25 February 2018

+ Perpetua & Felicitas +



The Church commemorates Perpetua and Felicitas (martyrs) on March 8th, so I thought I'd start off my project with them. I even have them ready ahead of schedule! I haven't figured out yet how to make them reproducible (and whether our scanner is up to the task), so they're not yet ready for distribution, but we'll get there eventually! I'm looking into art print outlets online, and so far leaning toward redbubble...but we'll see.

So, anyway, here we have 'Perpetua & Felicitas,' a folk art illustration in (mostly) monochromatic gouache.

Why monochromatic?

For a few reasons, practical and symbolic: to simplify things as I am a novice painter (and completely new to gouache - that opaque watercolor paint that my father and many other illustrators traditionally have used), for value study, to further emphasize and draw out the symbolic aspects of the subject (limiting the color scheme is one way to 'flatten' the subject / 'flat' subjects lend to abstract communication / analysis), for visual continuity and unity.


Compositionally, I selectively chose elements to contrast or unite the figures - overall I wanted a balanced, but semi-asymmetrical look. The little differences in the two figures appearance (faces and posture) & dress are supposed to highlight their respective earthly vocations: I gave Felicitas a shorter hem, but kept the sleeves the same because I liked the billowy repetition; Perpetua has a era-appropriate lady's up-do. Felicitas is turned toward her lady Perpetua, reflective of her loyalty, willingness to serve; Lady Perpetua is face forward, but her nose is angled toward Felicitas. Maybe they're talking together. We remember martyrs for their faithfulness; these two, it would seem, were faithful friends as well as sisters in Christ.

The symbols of their martyrdom and their holiness in Christ, however, are almost (again, not completely; more for stylistic reasons than any other) identical: palms are the martyr's symbol; laurel wreaths / crowns were awarded to (placed upon) victors at the end of the ordeal; the nimbus is that stylistic cue that you're looking at a person who is holy (especially departed saints in Christ).



Next up: St. Valentine (by special request)!

A Little Fabric Scrapbook—for My Mom

I’m not sure what to call this kind of project, but so far I guess ‘little fabric scrapbook’ covers it best. I’m also not entirely sure yet ...