A Watercolor Revival

When I first made the decision to move to Bermuda, I made a list of goals for my time here to stave off a small (ok, giant) panic attack that went a little something like this: I’m going to quit my job. What if I don’t get steady freelance work? I’m not going to have a steady paycheck! What if I get bored? What am I going to do all day? What if I get all clingy and totally ruin the relationship because I’m so bored?!… etc. etc.

So, to pause that downward spiral, I started making a list (it’s still the best way I’ve learned to get a grip: somehow tasks look more manageable when they’re written down with a little check-able box in front of them) :
• Redesign the 622 press logo (check!
• Grow 622 press social media (check!)
• Start blogging again (check!)
• Reshoot all merchandise (check!)
• Grow wholesale market (first round of catalogs are out—fingers crossed!)• Submit my work for blogs and editorial features (working on it!)

And lots of other business-oriented goals like that plus lifestyle goals that I hadn’t been able to do with my very full-time job and my part-time letterpress work…
• Learn a new language/brush up on French (does downloading Dualingo and never opening it count?)
• Volunteer (check and check! I should write about that some time…)
• Work out (hitting the gym 2-3 times a week lately, plus tennis lessons!)
• (And the point of this post…) Draw every day

As it turns out, I shouldn’t have been so worried. For the first three months here, I was so busy with both freelance design work and getting my new life in order—guiding my crate through customs, getting my license, buying a bike, etc., that I actually felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day more often than not.

Now that the holidays are over and I’m smack in the middle of my longest on-island stretch yet (three more months until we have any travel planned!), I’m starting to tackle more of my Bermuda to-do list. To-do is perhaps a bit too hard of a word, as all of these activities are things I enjoy, but have simply fallen out of practice with. Throughout my childhood and into college, I kept dozens of sketchbooks and made art—crafts, paintings, calligraphy, pastel drawings—nearly every day. But even though I’ve been in a creative profession since, there was usually just one day a month—if I was lucky—when inspiration flowed and I got to create something that felt closer to art.

ombre_watercolor_5341It all started with watercolor—for 622 press actually. I experimented with letterpress printing over watercolor, then started with production in earnest not too long after. First, abstract washes of color in the background of these invites and then employing paint as the main source of color in these prints.

quotes_5502Then, one Friday when I gave myself the day off from “real” work, I started painting in earnest. First succulents, which I ended up finishing with colored pencil in the smaller details. Then poppies made with pastels, and wet with a paintbrush for a smoother effect.

succulents_5663 IMG_5664Then, coincidentally enough, a dear friend asked if I could create some art for her new house—she even had some inspiration: feathers, abstracted a bit. So I painted feathers for her.

IMG_5661And then, since I feel bad when I monopolize the dining room table for too long, I cleaned up my paints and transitioned to my sketchbook. My trusty set of Prismacolor colored pencils made the trek to Bermuda with me, but I’ve been sticking with plain old pencil as well. The textures of nature have always spoken to me (my photography professor had to force me to shoot anything else in college), so that’s what I’ve started with: poppies, seed pods, more succulents.

It’s not quite a drawing a day, but it is flexing my creative muscles and waking up a part of my brain that has been dormant for a long time. I feel like my skills in seeing and translating form still need some work, but I’ll keep posting work here—hopefully that will help encourage me to keep at it!

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