this post contains affiliate links
I've taken advantage of this un-seasonably warm Omaha weather to start another mini-series of cyanotypes. The yupo paper had been prepped a few months ago and showed signs of being exposed already so i knew right away that I would be going over the prints with paint.
I employed an evergreen tree branch cut off from the bottom of my mother-in-law's Christmas tree for both the sun-print and acrylic paint layers. By keeping to a simple color palette, I was able to let the shape of the branch really shine!
I love how the branch keeps a record of the different colors I use along the way. It moves from being just a mark-making tool to a timeline of my process.
Don't miss out on my New Year, New You promotion with Young Living Essential Oils. Click here to find out how you can encourage wellness and eliminate chemicals in your home and save $20. Now through January 15th!
post contain affiliate links
Ahhhhhh! Summer break!!!! We are basking in the routine of sleeping in, wearing pajamas until lunchtime, working in the garden, and then running in the sprinkler to cool off. For two summers in a row I was pregnant and so miserable that I missed out on a lot of the fun that comes along this season but not this year. This year, I am saying no to a lot of good things so as not to miss out doing what I want most.
This morning was to be the start of our drawing lessons. I fell in love with Drawing with Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too by Mona Brookes last fall but couldn’t make it work into our already packed schedule so I shelved it until now. By the time I got showed and dressed my kids had come up with a plan of their own for the morning: making paper crowns. They had paper, scissors, and markers already out on the dining table so I just went with it. Making is making, right?
As goes all craft projects with little humans, it only took about five minutes for disaster to strike. Child #2 made one of his dots bigger than all the others which ruined the pattern he had in his minds so he MUST start over. Then Child #3 colored over the same spot so many times as to cause a slight tear in the paper. There was just no consoling either of them. My mantras about valuing the process, taking risks with our art, and there being no such things as mistakes had absolutely no effect on the flow of tears rolling down their little cheeks.
So I changed tactics. “Who wants to hear about some of Mommy’s art mess ups? Who wants to see what I did to fix them?” They immediately perked up. At that very moment, I was printing a cyanotype on top of one that did not turn out very well. While doing a double exposure was something I wanted to experiment with, I was doing it out of an attempt to correct/improve upon one that did not turn out at all.
In case that example wasn’t enough for them, I pulled out a print that accidentally fell onto my paint-filled palette. “See here, this big blob of pink. That wasn’t supposed to happen, but I kinda liked it so I dropped it again on the paint to make it look like it was part of the design.” Finally, the light bulbs turned on!!! #2 colored the tops of each triangle in his crown with a black marker and began to make a new pattern. #3 used a whole punch over the part that was ripped and then punched over the middle of each point.
Not only was our morning saved, but my kids learned one of the biggest secrets to success in life: resilient people turn their mistakes into masterpieces. This isn’t just a lesson for artists, but for everyone who takes risks, tries new things, and dares to live a great life!
Brené Brown writes in her book Rising Strong,
" The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness - even our wholeheartedness - actually depends on the integration of all of experiences including the falls."
I find it so much easier to be comfortable with my weakness when I am around others who do the same. My hope is that by modeling vulnerability and wholeheartedness to my children, they will grow up to be empathetic and resilient adults!
With the school year being almost over, it is a toss up between me and my daughter over who is the most excited for summer break. She is ready to paint, play outside, and go on adventures any day of the week and well, so am I!
Being so close to the finish means that there are more opportunities for her to study independently, which frees me up to work a bit on the business stuff (like create new listings for my next sale on May 12th) or even make a few prints!
Collaborating between home schooling and traditional brick and mortar schooling has worked well for our lifestyle and the family culture we want to create. It has also decreased the hours I have in my studio to create, but I think the benefits outweigh the costs.
The impending free time seems so close that I can almost taste it. I am daily fighting my tendency to set impossible goals for myself and my time, but doesn't every momma/maker do that?
My dream to do list includes:
I know, too much! But if I don't set stretch goals for myself at the beginning of the season then I will get nothing done! Here is another goal I've set for myself. I am going to try to launch my next collection on Friday, May 12th. Watch for more posts here and on Instagram about what's going to be "in store". Get it? I know! Lame attempt to be punny, but you can't fault a girl for trying!
As much as I love using the ready to use cyanotype papers found at Dick Blick, I've been itching to mix my own chemicals so that I can print on watercolor paper.
Above: store bought paper
Right: hand mixed chemicals on watercolor paper
As it usually goes the first time you try something new, I had a few bumps along the way but I've had a bit of success as well. One of my favorites is this hydrangea print below.
I've also been collaging and painting with some of my other pieces and loving them, too!
This time of figuring out how to best use my supplies is often the most frustrating but also rewarding part of my creative practice!
This time of year where the last days of cold wet weather have a firm hold on the forecast, it can be hard to appreciate the beauty of nature.
|| The poetry of earth is never dead. || John Keats
I think one of the reasons I am falling in love with the cyanotype printing process is because one can take the remnants of last year's garden and make some truly beautiful abstract artwork.
Field-dried hydrangea blooms from my mother's garden, viny weeds formed into twists and knots, sun sensitive paper, and a light sprinkling of epsom salt; these are my mark making tools while I wait for warm weather to become the norm again.