On art, and leaping, and pirate-assassins

As of July 22nd, I have sixteen original watercolor illustrations on exhibit in downtown Livermore. It’s exciting news and I want to tell you how it happened in a story that has everything – pirate-assassins, car crashes, dastardly deeds, heroism, and a sparkly emu named Jasper.

Are you ready? Okay, let’s do this!

Once upon a time (in early June), Berkshire Hathaway Home Services (a downtown business that regularly hosts shows to promote local artists) invited me to do a summer show. They said they wanted 10-15 illustrations by the first week in July. Having spent the previous 18 months inking coloring book and art journal illustrations, I asked, “Can these be watercolor illustrations?” They said yes… and so did I (even though, at that moment, I had zero watercolor illustrations to show and no idea if I could deliver).

But I wanted to work with paint. After a year and a half of working almost exclusively with ink, I was ready (and a little nervous) to try a different medium. I knew a deadline would force me to work through the inevitable fear and self-judgy frustration that comes with feeling like a beginner again.

For the next month, I painted every day. It was exhilarating and, yes, often frustrating. I watched tutorials, tried new things, and wondered (as I so often do) if this was the time I shouldn’t have said yes. Fortunately, I was simultaneously finishing up illustrations for my third coloring book with AARP and HCI Books (dedicated to caregivers and due out in November), so I didn’t have time to dwell on my failures. It was frantic, and not a very Zen way to approach my work, but it did keep me moving forward, and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this: You will get better at anything you do every day.

Here are some art-in-process pictures for you.

The very first painting I did for the show was based on an old illustration of mine, inspired by the song “My Beloved Monster And Me.”

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I loved creating the monster so much, I did another.

Final Illustration

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And then I did two more…

My Beloved Monster & Me

And then some French animals (because I love saying and writing the French word for “fish”)…

French Animals

And then some happy girls because the news out of Washington was making me crazy-sad-angry-anxious…

Happy Places

And then a neighborhood of houses and some flowers in containers because drawing doodly houses and flowers in containers is good for my blood pressure.

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And now…

A quick break from our story to tell you that all of the illustrations from the show are available as limited edition prints in my Etsy shop.  Limited edition prints come on heavy weight matte paper to look and feel like the originals, and every print will be numbered and dated on the back.

For the month of August, in celebration of my first show, use the coupon code ARTYAUGUST to get 20% off anything in my Etsy shop.

Okay, back to our story!

The reception was held on the 22nd, and it was attended by just the right number of people (many of whom were people I love).

AND THEN, just as the evening was wrapping up, a sports car-driving pirate-assassin crashed through the front window! Laughing maniacally, he stole all the art, and was on his way back out before I remembered the lasso I was conveniently carrying behind my back. I lassoed him, called the sheriff, rehung all the illustrations, and rode my sparkly emu, Jasper, hero-style, into the sunset.

THE END

(You didn’t think I’d let you down, did you?)

xo

p.s. If you’re interested in purchasing an original, contact me.

p.p.s. My illustrations will be up at Berkshire Hathaway for the rest of the summer. If you’re in the area, stop by!

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