Where creativity grows

Author: Jen (Page 1 of 6)

Just show up

I’m running my third half-marathon on Sunday, November 7th. I am training my butt off right now and it is really hard— especially with the start of the new school year and all the chaos/mental exhaustion that entails. But I really want to do it— and not just do it, I want to beat my previous PR (personal record). So I show up four times a week and I train my tail off. I run grueling intervals on the track every Thursday night. I drag my exhausted body out of bed early on Saturday morning to do my long runs. On Mondays and Wednesday nights I enjoy what is supposed to be an easy run with some crazy mixed in. I show up day after day— no matter how tired I am, no matter how crappy my day was, no matter how many steps I already got in, no matter how badly I want to curl up on the couch with a bag of chocolate chips. Running this half-marathon is a priority for me and short of an injury nothing will stop me from reaching my goal of a sub 3:00 finish time this fall. Most people say they could never do what I am doing. I tell them that they are absolutely wrong. What they mean is that they don’t want to do it. If they want to, there is really nothing that can stop them from doing it. I am 100% evidence of that fact. I am NOT a born runner. I don’t look like an athlete…and I really like food…and not the fueling kind. But I really want to do this and I am showing up to do it.

The same intention has to be there for your creativity. So many people tell me that they are not creative. Most people mean that they are not artistic, but I don’t even really believe that either. Every single person on this planet is a problem solver of some sort. Whether it is figuring out how to level up in a video game or how to get six kids out the door in the morning and to three different schools or some other conundrum— we are all problem solvers. How we solve those problems manifests itself in a variety of ways. In Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert she talks about how creative energy is floating through the universe looking for a viable host. When it finds someone who is open to its idea “inspiration strikes.” While you are waiting, you put the work in. If you are a writer, you pick up that pen or click on those keys daily. If you paint, you pick up the brushes every day and you put yourself out there. You let the world know that you are open and ready for ideas. You read blogs. You read inspirational books on creativity. You follow incredible talent on social media. You take yourself on artists’ dates. You write your morning pages. You show up for your creativity and you make it a priority. That hard work WILL BE rewarded! And by rewarded I am not talking about selling a canvas for 50,000$ (congratulations, Callen Schaub!) or getting your first book deal (or 100th!). You will have shown up for yourself and you will be able to answer Elizabeth Gilbert’s question: “Do you have the courage to bring forth the wonderful treasures that are hidden within you?” with an emphatic HELL YES! 

I hope that you will show up and make exploring your creativity a priority. It will enrich your life in ways you may never have imagined. 

This week despite incredible exhaustion: I wrote two new Oodle Stories, I continued my book study of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, I listened to a myriad of podcasts about creativity, I painted my final fan blade and I did some watercolor blob sketching. 

How did you show up for your creativity this week?

Why I’ll never read another menu again

It has been a rough week here in the oodle universe. My summer break is rapidly drawing to a close and while I have had a full summer, I am far from feeling ready to start my 18th year of teaching. Yesterday I did what I do most Saturdays—rolled out of bed and met my running tribe. We ran just shy of six miles and I was feeling reenergized and excited to be alive. I got home and asked Tom if he wanted to go out to breakfast— to try a place called SYRUP in St. Charles. Two of the most powerful aspects of the creative mindset are: 1) expose yourself to new environments and 2) have new experiences. I was hoping that a breakfast outing would kickstart a mini creative adventure— I was not wrong! 

We arrived at SYRUP smack in the middle of the breakfast rush. Every table was full and there was a long line of hungry diners stretching out into the parking lot. The staff was bustling from table to table. The food smelled and looked delicious! After a short wait we were seated— a gigantic menu placed in front of each of us, but neither of us looked at it.

Our server, Amber, greeted us with an offer of coffee and juice. While waiting for our drinks, Tom asked me if we wanted to do our standard of ordering one sweet and one savory dish and sharing our meals— of course!  When Amber returned, we popped two questions that we ask every time we dine out: 1) What is the most frequently ordered item on the menu? 2) What do you think is a hidden gem that is not ordered enough? The first question yielded five or six relatively normal responses (it’s a HUGE menu). The second question is really the money question— where the unique and amazing culinary experiences are hidden. She suggested two items: 

Without even knowing it, Amber had suggested a sweet and a savory and two items that we NEVER would have picked out on our own. We love eating, but never would have looked at the items listed as “healthy.” Without even blinking, we ordered one of each item and grinned— excited to see what this adventure brought.

When the food arrived, I told Amber I might just hug her. The Home Sweet Home was exactly what we were looking for— a uniquely flavorful AND savory delight that introduced us to a new breakfast experience. I cannot overstate how delicious this entree was. We both had to stop ourselves from just shoveling it in our mouths. The Lemon Berry crepes were equally as heavenly— the perfect compliment to the savory Home Sweet Home. We both made mental notes about how we could recreate both of these items again at home. 

We have been asking these questions for a few years now— ever since Tom read about it in The Four Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss. If you are in a high-end restaurant, you could ask the server to ask the second question to the chef. Those two simple questions have completely changed our dining out experience— so much so that we have pretty much sworn off looking at menus. Sure sometimes we get a server who simply suggests the most expensive item on the menu, but in most cases they are tickled to be asked their actual opinion. Amber was grinning ear to ear as she was telling us about her two favorite items. She even went back and asked her manager the same questions— who was intrigued by the questions! We had an amazing new breakfast experience and we brightened what might have otherwise been a super busy and stressful morning rush at work. We have tried this out in restaurants throughout our travels and we have NEVER been disappointed. We tried Tri Tip in Wyoming (didn’t even know what tri tip was), lamb at an Afghani restaurant in Montreal (Tom NEVER eats lamb) and so many more! 

Give it a try! You’ll likely discover something you might not have otherwise had. Who knows where that creative exploration will lead.

Until next time, oodle on!

Jen

My Artist’s Way Journey

The 25th anniversary revision of The Artists’ way by Julia Cameron has almost five thousand 4.5 star reviews on Amazon and a 3.9 rating on Goodreads with 100,000+ votes. People like this book and many people swear that it has changed their life forever. I definitely do not fall into that camp. I have my issues with the book’s religious preachy tone, but there are two aspects of it that I love: Morning Pages and Artist Dates.

Morning Pages

The Morning Pages do not let you hide from the things in your brain (at least if you are taking the exercise at all seriously). Cameron points out that people often fall out of this practice when things are going well because they don’t feel the need to get anything off their chest. When they are feeling bad, they don’t want to face whatever is haunting them. Over the past five weeks of working my way through the book, I have 100% fallen into this camp. The past two weeks have been full of incredible highs and lows. During the highs, I felt I didn’t have anything I needed to write about. During the lows, well those were better locked away inside my brain. The resulting complete meltdown was evidence enough that I should stick to the daily practice to help me maintain an even keel. I started the Morning Pages thinking they were supposed to help with my creativity—not my mental health. What I did not realize was that by calming my heart and mind that I WAS helping my creative mojo. I have put my journal back on top of my desk and it has resumed its place on my daily agenda. 

Artist Dates

I did a lot of research on date ideas during the first week so that I could make sure I didn’t have an excuse to not go on one. My list has around 30 different ideas on it and ranges from trips to art stores to watching documentaries and people watching in the park. I specifically did not want to have my dates focused on spending money, but rather being inspired. My five dates have been VERY different, but have done exactly what they were intended to do—inspire me to delve deeper into my creative pursuits. 

I got a lot of my ideas from these lists: 101 Artist Date Ideas and 48 Artist Date ideas.

Date #1: Twisted Stitch in South Elgin, IL

I do not quit or sew— despite having a nice sewing machine. I walked in with no notion of buying anything, but just to see what creative chord it might strike. I left inspired to tackle a simple project for my niece’s birthday made of materials I had sitting at home. What was most amazing to me about this project was that I had to adjust it to work with the supplies I had. I could have returned to the store, but I didn’t want to. Could I make it work.? Holy moly, I created a super cute stuffed owl that I can’t wait to send to my niece for her birthday.  

Date #2 The Tea Tree in Batavia, IL 

I LOVE tea and have a ridiculous collection of leaves because I am incapable of passing up on something that will make a lovely pitcher of iced tea on a hot summer afternoon. I arrived after a short walk around downtown Batavia on a gloriously sunny day. The owner was excited to geek out on her offerings— and I was more than prepared to take it all in. There is nothing more inspiring than seeing someone get over the top excited about something— even tea leaves!  Her storefront has a beautiful patio that is shaded by a gigantic tree. I took my canister of tea and found a spot to take in all the textures and shapes on the patio with my sketchbook. 

Date #3 Habitat for Humanity Woodstock, IL

I am pretty diligent about only doing solo dates, but I really thought my husband could benefit from a trip, too. The last time I was at our local Habitat for Humanity Restore, someone mentioned the Woodstock store was better. It was a bit of a drive, but it was worth the trip. The store was better organized and it had more selection. While I try hard to not treat my dates as permission to go on a shopping spree, I found an awesome set of ceramic light shades and a few tiles for a whopping total of $5.40. Our trip home brought us along the Fox River, where we discovered an awesome little pub called Rosie O’Hares. We had an amazing lunch straight out of their smoker. From there we headed to Great Spirit Hardwood in Dundee, where we picked out hardwood for the frame Tom is going to build for our Foodie Map. We literally just need the frame and this culinary adventure can begin! 

Date #4 Elgin Farmers Market Elgin, IL 

Despite oppressive heat and humidity, I needed to get out of the house. This is how I ended up at the Elgin Farmers Market, which has really turned into a lovely little market. I completely violated my shopping spree rule, but I was so inspired by the hustle and energy of these local vendors that I wanted to do whatever I could to support their ventures. I returned home with coffee beans, tea leaves, Belgian truffles, Nutella filled cookies, three jars of BBQ sauce and a huge smile on my face. My adventures led to a beautiful home cooked meal with one of the sauces. This event was capped off by learning that someone had purchased one of the bricks I had painted for the Follow the Imago Brick Road campaign. 

Date #5 Imaginary Animals with Carla Sondheim

After the Sketchbook Revival, I signed up for any site that promised to keep my creative mojo flowing. Carla Sondheim was on that list. I try to keep up with the inspirational emails, but most weeks they get a quick glance and then are deleted. Something made me do a double take and keep reading about an upcoming on-line class called Imaginary Animals. The price was right for a 3.5 hour class and I was free. Within the first fifteen minutes I knew that this investment in my creativity was going to be worth every single penny. By the end of the afternoon, I was overflowing with ideas and inspiration to continue my learning. 

Over the next few weeks, I am going to invest time into figuring out r how I will continue my dates once I return to school. That will be my biggest challenge going forward. I have definitely experienced the creative rewards of this practice. It will be a priority without a doubt!

Until next time, oodle on.

Jen

Boost your creativity challenge

I have a card on my shelf right behind me here in The Oodlearium that says Begin Anywhere (John Cage). And that my friends is exactly what I am doing today. I have wanted to do a weekly or even daily creative challenge to help people revive their creative mojo or perhaps even to tap into one they didn’t know they had. Alas life (and a pandemic) happened and here I am a year later and a year wiser. For the last year I have been scouring Pinterest for ideas on challenges (for myself and for others) and I fell into the “pin it and then do nothing with it” black pit of creative sadness. 

That ends today! I went through all of my pins and I created a table of 36 activities that will serve as a creative challenge buffet for myself and hopefully for you. These ideas are supposed to serve as inspiration– as a springboard for you to do whatever gets your creative juices flowing. Yes, some of the ideas are super silly and perhaps even a bit childish. Isn’t a “bit of silly” just what most of us need these days? Don’t like writing? Then don’t do those…or perhaps do something that is a bit out of your comfort zone to shake things up a bit. Don’t have watercolors? Then try out those ideas with markers. Many of the activities have a hyperlink to a website with further explanation and examples. Others are self-explanatory. The activities that say “Be inspired by…” are invitations for you to forge your own path with minimal guidance. 

I’m going to play along, too. I will post my adventures (and mis-adventures) with hashtag #creativitygrowshere. I hope you’ll join me on this journey!

Download the PDF here.

What’s happening in The Oodlearium

Quote I’m contemplating 

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainty. Erich Fremm

I am NOT good at letting things go, but when it comes to creating a pour painting or an alcohol ink tile, I have to let go of any notion that I am controlling the outcome. Yes, I select the colors, but after that it’s all magic and nothing is guaranteed— that is where the fun comes in to play!

What have I been working on?

I finished up my 17th year of teaching on June 8th and it has honestly taken me a few weeks to recover from what was the hardest year of my teaching career (which is why I have not done an update in a few weeks). I taught a dear friend how to pour paint (she loved it so much she offered to host my first-ever Mobile Oodlearium next month!). Last week I was in Phoenix visiting family and I did a painting session with my aunt. She went all in when I first told her about my new found obsession. She bought a basic kit, but then started playing around with mixing her own paints with Flotrol and even used a mini torch to get cells in her pours. She was very exploratory. I showed her how I normally pour and then she did one of her own on a 12×12 ceramic tile, which turned out awesome. Finally, I introduced her to 3D pouring on a plastic mask from Michaels, which turned out AWESOME! 

I designed and ordered my Oodlearium business cards, so that I can hand them out when I am out and about rambling on about my happy place.

As always, you can follow my 52 Frames journey here to see my entry for the weekly photography prompts.

In the kitchen

My best friend and her husband were over this past weekend for patio time, so I decided to try out a recipe I found for baked vegan glazed chocolate donuts. To say these were stupid good and easy to make would be the understatement of the decade. I opted to use the applesauce option rather than track down vegan butter, so I was able to make them with ingredients I already had in the pantry. They were so good that I might have eaten a few too many and subsequently made a second batch! And they got the stamp of approval from our vegan donut lovers!

We continued our exploration of grinding our own meat for burgers. I went out to Ream’s Meat Market and was excited when the butcher gave me a custom mix of meat to grind. We had one pound each of brisket, short ribs and angus chuck. The resulting burgers were excellent, but we agreed we didn’t notice a huge difference from the home ground angus chuck we normally make.

Our creative explorations in the kitchen led us to a crazy idea for a collaborative project. We ordered a map that we are going to use to track our culinary explorations from around the world. If we made a food from a certain area at home that will be one colored pin. If we ate the food at a restaurant that will be another color. And if we ate the food in that place, we’ll have yet another color pin. We are going to design and build a custom frame for the map and it will hang as a conversation piece in our dining room when it is done. Stay tuned for updates!

The Creative Mindset

After all the stress and anxiety of this past school year, I decided one of my focuses this summer would be on getting out into nature as often as possible. I have started back up with my yin yoga practice and I am doing it in our backyard early in the morning. It’s awesome to get my zen on with the chirping of birds in the background and the sun rising. I love this video, but also spend a lot of time exploring Yoga with Adriene. 

Something else I have been working on is doing art anywhere. A dear friend gave me an adorable little cloth zippered pouch with some art supplies. I keep it filled with my doodling pens, a mini sketch book and some note cards. I used these tools extensively while I was out of town. If I was killing time while my niece was taking a nap or while waiting to meet someone for lunch, I would quickly whip out my pouch and doodle for a few minutes—finding inspiration wherever I was. This is how I came up with my design for my Oodlearium business cards!

The Artist’s Way

I am decades late to The Artist’s Way party, but I finally decided to hop on the train and check out the book from the library. It was quickly clear that this book could be profoundly important to my creativity, so I splurged and bought the actual book. I reached out to a group of creatives to see how they have used the book and I connected with another photographer on the other side of the globe in Australia. We have decided to go through the book together and keep each other accountable to the process. I have been diligent about completing the morning pages, which act like a morning brain dump on paper. They have helped me to get a handle on my monkey brain for sure— at least I know what’s bugging me! This week I will take myself on my first artist date— location TBD. The goal is to have a weekly dose of creative explorations that fill your creative mojo cup— you can’t tap into an empty well. Exciting for sure! The first chapter talked about the people who have not supported my creative endeavors. I have been SO lucky that my friends and family have always supported and encouraged my exploits. For this I am so grateful!!!

Until next time, keep oodling!

Jen

#creativity

#courage

#pourpainting

#3dpainting

#veganchocolatedonuts

#meatgrinding

#foodiemap

#foodie

#mobileoodlearium

#creativemindset

#yinyoga

#yogainnature

#sketchbook

#sketchanywhere

#theartistsway

#artistdate

#morningpages

This Week in the Oodlearium

It struck me last week when I was having a conversation with a friend a few days ago that I have been spending most of my creative energy lately on painting. Nothing at all wrong with that, but I am trying to push myself to explore new creative paths. That being said, my husband paid me the best compliment this week. He told me that he got lost on the 52 Frames website looking through all of my images from my 52 Frames journey over the last 3.5 years. As if that were not enough, he said he got there while catching up on reading my blog. He was really enjoying the content! Yay!

Cricut

It took me quite a long time to break my brain from being stuck on the idea of using my Cricut Maker for things it was not designed to do. I’ve started playing around with cutting paper, but this week I picked up some vinyl from Michael’s and set myself the goal of trying something out. I popped into the Restore to pick up some tiles. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I did pick up a few 3×12 inch tiles in a variety of colors. They were the perfect canvas for me to play around with some vinyl cutting. I found a few different free SVGs on Pinterest and was super excited how they turned out.  Just goes to show that you have no idea what might make a good blank for a project!

Imago Events Bricks

Yesterday I dropped of the last of my bricks from the Imago Events building collapse. They are asking local artists to paint the bricks and they will auction them off this summer at the local farmer’s market. I was really happy with how these two bricks came out. I love the imperfection of the bricks and how the paint played into the imperfections. I hope that they help to raise funds for this local vendor. Their misfortune has inspired me to explore a “canvas” I never would have considered in the past. 

Tile Pour

Last week Tom and I stopped into the Restore to see what they had in terms of globes and also tiles. I found a really unique thin brick-like tile that looked like it would be a fun pour canvas. I am absolutely kicking myself that I did not buy the entire box of tiles because my first pour turned out so unique that I want to make a whole series of them. I returned yesterday and snagged the last one they had. I pour it this morning, but the colors did not turn out at all how I was hoping it would.

After doing this tile, I decided I wanted to paint the easel. Tom suggested I try pouring on the easel. I won’t lie— I waste a TON of paint when I am pouring. I was sure this was going to turn out like a mucky mess, but I controlled myself and poured from a little take-out condiment cup and I slowly poured just a bit of paint and let it flow. It was not enough of a contrast to use it with the tile, but I will be a fun easel for another project.

Spirograph

Last spring during the shelter in place, I bought a spirograph from our district marketplace on Facebook. It was $10 for a trip down memory lane. I am sure I overpaid, but it’s a fun “tool” to have in my arsenal. Not sure what made me think of it this week, but I thought it would be fun to “draw” a flower design and then watercolor it. This was an exercise in patience as I have a very hard time seeing such intricate details without my contacts in. It was very meditative and I was happy with how my first effort turned out. It’s something I can keep as an idea for a card when an Oodle Doodle doesn’t quite fit the bill.

52 Frames

I try hard not to repeat subjects, but sometimes the themes lend themselves to a repeat and that was the case this week for sure. A spontaneous trip to walk around downtown yielded some of the most beautiful tulips I have seen this spring. I couldn’t resist them!

Last week the theme was fabric and I was struggling for an idea of how to show a piece of fabric in some sort of context. Some family health issues made me think of fabric tearing and I was excited that Tom still had his “frankenpants” to serve as my subject.

Only a few more weeks until my 17th year of teaching comes to an end. I’ve already started my list of projects for my time off. One of the biggest things I want to work on is getting all of my prints out of albums and into photo books that will take up significantly less space. Other than that, I hope to explore more with my CreativeBug membership and hosting some pop-up art classes. Stay tuned for the details!

Until then, oodle on!

Jen

This Week in The Oodlearium

I am bit behind with my This Week in The Oodlearium, but that is the way things go these days. So here’s a bit of a catch up.

A local event space called Imago lost their building when the roof collapsed this past winter. They are currently distributing bricks from their building to local artists to paint. The bricks will then be auctioned off at local farmer’s markets this summer. I started with two bricks to see how they take to pour painting. They just further confirmed how very much I love 3D pouring. I dropped off the first two on Saturday and picked up two more bricks. This necessitated a trip to Michael’s for new paints and I am stoked with how the oranges, golds and coppers turned out. I have one more to do this weekend. Here is an article about the roof collapse.

Graduation prizes

I finally finished my special gift for my seniors. Only four more weeks until we bid farewell to this awesome group of students that I have had for four years. No spoilers since a few of them follow me here. Everything turned out awesome and I’ll share pictures after our farewell event.

Another globe.

I’m kicking myself for not buying every single glass globe at the Restore that day because I am crazy over the moon in love with pouring on them. This picture does not even come close to doing it justice. Tom says something about this one every single time he comes into The Oodlearium. I’m planning to pour one for him soon. I went back to TheRestore assuming they would have tons of globes and they had NONE. Not surprised, they were only charging $.25 a piece. So I picked up one rounded piece and am going to try it out. I have an idea for how to finish it off (and deal with the big whole where the bulb would normally go), but spoilers…

A Huskie Pour.

I finally picked up some more black paint and was excited to do a pour in my school colors of orange/black. I had some extra paint in my cup so I decided to try and eek out every last drop on one of my left over Easter bunnies. It’s quite remarkable what you can do when you are patient…did I really just type that!

Over Spring Break I reorganized The Oodlearium and had to do something to get control over the fact that I had pours everywhere. We repurposed some shelves from another room and I’m super excited to have a display area for some art. We’re also looking for a display for the living room, which is exciting. Do you know when you have a vision in your head and you try to express it to someone…and you end up saying never mind I’ll know it when I see it? That is where I am right now.

Cricut

I’ve been exploring more with the Cricut and trying to learn and experiment more. I need to learn how to use Inkscape, but at this point, I am putting that off until summer. I can’t add another thing to my plate right now.

Ladies Creativity Chat

After weeks of chaos in my life, I finally have rescheduled a chat with my creatives. I cannot wait until I am retired and I can just do this on a regular basis instead of having to “schedule it in.”

Creativity in the kitchen

Tom’s birthday was on the 15th and while he doesn’t love his birthday, he did have simple requests this year. He wanted chocolate cake and something fun to eat. I know that he loves trying new flavors and I love making new recipes. So I invested a bunch of time searching for just the right menu and the perfect chocolate cake recipe. This whole experience was a huge hit. We had Greek meatballs over toasted orzo along with spinach/artichoke puffs and the best chocolate cake I have ever had. He is still going on about how much he loved the cake. Experimenting in the kitchen is one of my greatest joys. Stay tuned for more fun from another oodle room!

52 Frames

This past week’s theme was nature and I was thrilled to get out and shoot the beautiful tulips in downtown Elgin. After the mess that was last spring, I have a newfound appreciation for nature and being outside.

Mental Health Shoutout

Yesterday we had a school improvement day at my school. Normally that means torturous meetings that are stressful and mind numbing. Yesterday was different. The district brought in Marli Williams, who engaged us for three and a half hours on the topic of resilience and she was nothing short of amazing! I need to clean up the notes I took, but I will share them along with the links for things she mentioned. In the meantime, check out Marli Williams

Only six weeks until the end of my 17th year of teaching and the one that required the most creativity and flexibility. I’m very much looking forward to long days and nights spent right here in The Oodlearium.

Until next time, Oodle on.

Jen

#52frames_nature
#pourpainting
#acrylicart
#3Dart
#3Dpouring
#marliwilliams
#mentalhealth
#resilience

Karen Abend’s Sketchbook Revival 2021

When I signed up for Karen Abend’s Sketchbook Revival I was immediately blown away by the amount of content that is offered completely for free. There were two sessions every day for fourteen days. The sessions ranged from 25-60 minutes and they were incredibly inspirational. I knew that I would not be able to participate in all of the sessions, but the ones I did do were amazing and have left their mark on my creative practice. I am so excited to incorporate what I have learned into future projects. I have already purchased my first set of watercolors. I have used what I learned in the one-liner class to create whimsical birthday cards for our nephews and I have so many ideas for the creativity boot camp I hope to host one day!

Check out Karen Abend’s site here. She is the mastermind behind this amazing workshop. 

Here is a list of the artists who were a part of the workshops. Check them out for sure!

Links to all the sessions will be available for free until 4/18/21.

  • Alexandra Gabor
  • Amy Maricle
  • Carla Sonheim
  • Danny Gregory
  • David Drazil
  • Deborah Putnoi
  • Esté Macleod
  • Helen Hallows
  • Helen Wells
  • Jeanne Oliver
  • Jessica Swift
  • John Muir Laws
  • Karen Stamper
  • Kiala Givehand
  • Koosje Koene
  • Mati Mcdonough
  • Neesha Merani
  • Noopur Thakur
  • Robyn McClendon
  • Sarah Matthews
  • Sarah Simon
  • Shari Blaukopf
  • Shelley Klammer
  • Susan Chiang
  • Tamara Laporte
  • Tina Mundelsee
  • Traci Bautista
  • Trupti Karjinni
  • Karen Abend

My favorite sessions were:

  • A Vessel of Voices: Handmade Journals for Capturing Creative Conversations with Kiala Givehand I have been interested in bookbinding for a while and I was so excited to create my own sketchbook. I didn’t use it much for the Revival because it seemed too small, but I did use it to take notes and I will use it to doodle in.
  • You’re A Hoot! with Tamara Laporte. We sketched out an owl and then painted it with watercolors and added fun doodles to it. My first attempt was an abysmal failure. The drawing was fine, but using kindergarten watercolors was challenging. I have since gone out and purchased a nice starter set of Winston and Newton watercolors, so I will be trying that one out again.
  • Quick Character Design with Alexandra Gabor was awesome. We took five seconds to draw a random set of connected lines, colored them in and then turned them into little characters. This was so much fun! She also teaches a class on the app Procreate where she digitizes her doodles and then creates a whole scene. It looks amazing and something that would be the perfect compliment to my Oodle Doodles.
  • Meditative Paint: Holes with Amy Marcle was incredibly therapeutic. We literally drew circles with watercolors for twenty minutes or so. While we were painting she talked us through how to be mindful of what we were doing— how the brush felt against the paper, how we were breathing and so much more. Immediately after doing this session, I was so relaxed and took the most amazing and revitalizing nap. I will definitely incorporate this exercise into my regular practice.
  • Creating Interesting Clothing for Characters with Noopur Thakur was challenging. I definitely struggled with the practice because I was using my Tombow markers instead of the painting colored pencils she recommended. It was an interesting exercise though to think about creating fabrics for the clothes on my characters. Will play around with this more in the future.
  • The final session was One-liner Drawings with Carla Sonheim where we were given a prompt and had to draw whatever she said without lifting our pens from the paper. This was an awesome exercise and so freeing! I drew a cat, elephant, flowers and a toilet. After we did the one-liners we chose one of them to redraw and refine. I was very excited to try out my cat. I created two versions— one that was a watercolor (I love my simple little W&N set) and then one that was a collage (I finally found something to do with a whole mess of old photograph prints I had!) She has some extensive classes on her site that I am definitely interested in. 

I really cannot say enough wonderful things about this workshop. The amount of content is mind boggling. The fact that it is free is just insanely generous. The community that participates in this event is incredible. Everyday there was a ton of activity on the Facebook group where people shared ideas, their work and answered the unending questions by newbs like myself. I cannot wait to sign up again next year!

#sketchbookrevival2021

#karenabend

This Week in The Oodlearium Part #2

My goal was to spend my spring break getting my brain back in working order. That meant I was going to spend a TON of time in The Oodlearium and making art. Here I am on the last day of my vacation and the list of what I did this week was so long that I decided to split my update into two separate posts. That means my mission was accomplished! While I wish I could spend my days making this past week has given me a good glimpse into what our retirement plan will look like and I LOVE IT! More on that idea soon.

Check out part 1 here.

Graduation cards

I have a super special group of seniors in my German 4 class this year. I finally got a start on their graduation cards this week. No spoilers here, but these cards will be very memorable for them. Pictures to come after they receive them at the end of May!

Organized the Oodlearium

I was so excited to have the time to do some reorganization in The Oodlearium. My awesome shelves had turned into a gigantic pour painting display. While I love my paintings, I was starting to feel like I was drowning in them. I took EVERYTHING off of all the shelves and did some organization. It was nice to spread the pour painting love around the house. I need to make a stack of easels for the paintings so that I can easily display them around the house. Originally I thought I was going to ask Tom to build me some simple display shelves on my short window, but I think repurposing a shelf from the guest bedroom will solve the problem and provide me with a place to display my most current work.

Bowling ball #2

I am so grateful that my friend Mary set me up with two awesome bowling balls earlier this year. When I was telling her about my first project she asked what my plans were for ball #2. I told her that I was planning to cover it with these blue glass beads I had from a project that didn’t work out…and that I would love to make the ball for her as a thank you. I spent a bunch of time this week with my favorite E6000 and a bucket of beads. I am SO excited by how this project turned out. I cannot wait to give it to her when we return to school next week. Check it out on Instagram.  

More Glass Beads

When Tom got the ball out of the garage this morning so that I could fix it, we were both mesmerized by how beautiful the beads looked in the sunlight. I love my washer gazing ball, but this looks so awesome. It reflects everything while also highlighting the color of the ball. I had already asked around to see if anyone had another bowling ball they were looking to get rid of, but no dice. When I finished the second gazing ball, it gave me the idea that I would love to do something similar, but I wanted to incorporate lighting into it. Tom gave me the idea to check at the Restore for glass globes. I took a quick ride and I am SO glad that I did. I got four different globes (including one that is an actual light fixture) for ONE DOLLAR total! I started gluing the beads this afternoon and will likely finish it tomorrow. My fairy light strands are charged and ready to display this new piece! I’m so excited to see how it turns out. It will eventually get a nice wood base, but that will have to wait its turn in the project cue! 

Cricut- another wood failure

I know that the Cricut is not meant to be used for wood. It can be, but it’s not ideal. I tried one more time today to cut out some letters. It was not as epic a fail as my first attempt, but it was not great either. I’ll have to stick to paper ideas for the time being. It doesn’t look like a failure when I look at the picture, but trust me, this was a pain in the neck!

More 3D Pour Painting

When I went to the Restore to look for a glass bulb for my light bead light, I ended up coming home with four different options. When it was clear that the first one was going to work out just fine, I decided to try out another 3D pour painting. I have wanted to do a black, white and orange painting (our school’s colors), so I mixed up a tray of paint and gave it a whirl. What a fun 3D piece of art I ended up with. I suppose in the future, I could try and do this for an actual light, but for now this one will sit on a shelf and remind me of my Huskie family.

Oodle Doodle Stories

Yesterday I finally had some time to sit down and look through the Oodle Stories I had started in my journal. I was surprised there were quite a few stories started there. Time to get back to those because they bring me SO much happiness.

52Frames

I was sure that my picture for this week was going to have something to do with our new kitchen faucet, but that didn’t work out. That meant another opportunity to whip out the wine charm guys and do some splashing around! This was my alternate shot only because the one I submitted had a better splash. 

I am not in the least bit looking forward to returning to work this week after an amazing week of creativity and making. BUT I will be done with this most challenging school year in 65 days…approximately 45 school days! So many ideas for summer for sure!

Until next time, Oodle on!

This Week in The Oodlearium Part #1

I am grateful that I put together an extensive list of things I wanted to do over spring break so that I could make the most of my time off. My list was ambitious, but I have been plowing through items and I have spent more time than ever in The Oodlearium…and it has been AWESOME! So much happened this week that I am actually going to split this into two different posts. Enjoy!

Check out my separate post on Karen Abend’s Sketchbook Revival, which was in one word- AMAZING! 

Kick In the Creatives

One of the most amazing aspects of the Sketchbook Revival was the Facebook group where people were sharing so much information. Someone mentioned this website that is a treasure trove of challenges and exercises. They even have a podcast and a YouTube channel, so be sure to check them out.

#100dayproject

I was looking through the challenges for April and I am really intrigued by the #100dayproject idea. My husband always teases me that I like lists and challenges that are a certain length. I do and I think I am going to hop in on this one, but I have to come up with my idea. Right now, I am thinking that I might use it for my Index Card Art. I can easily build that into my daily routine—even at school. Stay tuned for more info as my idea takes shape.

MyModernMet

I am a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin’s happiness work. I love her podcast and weekly newsletter (5 Things Making Me Happy….). She talks a lot about her daily visits to the Met in NYC. Somewhere over the last few months I signed up for their newsletter and every single issue is chocked full of useful bits to supercharge your creativity. I found the article on watercolor sets particularly helpful. 

Mobile Oodlearium

This summer I plan to start some pop-up art classes. This week I had the opportunity to teach a friend how to do a pour painting. The weather was not ideal, but we made the most of the situation and we had SO much fun. Eva was an enthusiastic learner to say the least. She was absolutely mesmerized by the process of layering and moving the paint around her canvas. Once she did the main canvas we moved on to wooden easter bunnies. I was sure that she was not going to have enough paint left over from her main pour to be able to cover the bunny, but she totally proved me wrong! One of the most frustrating aspects of pouring is that there is quite a bit of waste. She literally had three or four drops! It was awesome!!!

Easter cards

Our Easter cards have hit the mail and there is really nothing I love more than the texts and emails I get from people saying how much the cards made them smile. Mission accomplished! I used a few of them for The World Needs More Love Letters notes, which will hopefully spread the smiles even further.

#sketchbookrevival
#KarenAbend
#kickinthecreative
#mymodernmet
#mobileoodlearium
#EasterCards
#pourpainting

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