Oh, hi! It’s been a while. A really long while. I’m kind of staring at the screen wondering what to say; wondering if anyone’s still out there after all this time, feeling sheepish for taking so long to get back to this. Well, the only cure for that is to just start writing…
I never thought it would happen to me — I love writing about art and posting my art, and doing the social media stuff. Or I did. But last year, I just sort of hit a wall. Suddenly I had better things to do than spend a couple of hours every day writing blog posts, and to my email list, and posting to several social media sites.
What happened? These:
In late June of last year, we acquired two new members of our family, Boudica (the grey tux) and Arthur (the black tux). My studio had been too long without a feline buddy, and when a friend told us about a litter of feral kittens that needed homes, we were overwhelmed by their cuteness and got two. Believe me, I could have scooped up the whole lot of them, but I’m glad I didn’t. I just had no idea how much of my life they would take up!
It’s been a lot of years since I’ve raised kittens, and never without adult cats around to show them the ropes, and these two astounded me with their creativity in getting into everything! Of course I wanted to spend as much time as possible bonding with them, too (that translates as cuddling) and I figured I’d allow myself a month of “maternity leave”. Little did I know that I would spend the next few months trying to guess what they were going to get into next and trying to rearrange the house before they could think of it!
Adorable as they were, I found myself longing for the day when they would be calm and grown-up enough to be allowed in my studio — because not only wasn’t I finding much time to do all my usual internet stuff, I wasn’t finding much time to do art! I wouldn’t strictly call it a full-blown artist’s block, but it was definitely an obstacle to my work habits.
But at last, they’ve been allowed into my studio. They amazed me by not getting into any of my art stuff (much), but as my studio was the last refuge of the houseplants that they seemed to want to chew on — I already got rid of all the ones that were listed as toxic to cats — I had to build a temporary barricade around those. But we’re working it out. Here they are the other night, keeping me company.
It’s been lovely having them there while I work; suddenly it’s not a place I have to shut them out of, but a place where we can all be happy. They really like my studio lights on my large table, too; I put a blanket there and they bask in the warmth like sunbathers on a beach.
Which leads me to the most recent art project I’ve got to show. You didn’t think I’d just show you pictures of the cats and not post any art, did you? I may be a crazy cat lady, but I’m a crazy artist cat lady. (But what about the beach? Don’t worry, we’re getting to that.)
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a sucker for art challenges. Last year I did a 100 day challenge. This year I decided to go for a 365 day challenge! Yes, dear reader, I vowed to draw every day this year. My muse nearly fainted. The parameters I chose were the same as for my 100 Day Project; I’m doing something, even if it’s really simple, in my sketchbook every day for the whole year. The simplicity of this also allows me to take part in other challenges that I regularly do without having to do two personal play-projects at once — after all, I do have actual work-projects to do!
This year I did the Opus Daily Practice Challenge again. It happens every February, and I always look forward to it. This year I wanted something that wouldn’t be too stressful to complete each day, so I chose a four-panel per page layout, which made seven pages for the month. I wrote a little rhyming-doggerel (catterel?) story based on the challenge’s official prompts, which was a challenge in itself. Then I did one panel a day, just a quick blue-pencil sketch, inked with a brush-pen. I posted them originally like that, then after February was over, I spent a week colouring them with watercolour pencils (watched closely by cats, who seemed fascinated by the process). Here’s the whole finished story:
And of course, it’s a love story between a human and a cat! Influenced by my new studio buddies? Oh, maybe a bit.
You can follow along on my year-long sketchbook adventure in the album I made for it on Facebook.