Hey, things have been alright. I’m busy, but in a way that has been highly enjoyable. I’ve spent nearly every day this last week working nonstop on things I want to display and sell at the art fair in September. I’m thinking my main focus for that fair will be art prints, original artwork, zines, and artist books. I already have some things stocked up from previous art shows and fairs to use, but I’m hoping to expand on those things and include some artwork I’ve long had stuffed in various boxes, sketchbooks, and portfolios. Many of these poor little drawings have not seen the light of day in years and I’ve taken it upon myself to bring them back into the world. I matted and packaged a bunch of them today and it makes me so happy to see them all spruced up and shiny new.

Here’s a couple photos of some those drawings while I was in the middle of getting them ready…

And here are a couple of some drawings all packaged and ready to go!

That may be all I have to share. I haven’t done too much else lately. The smoke from the Canadian wildfires that is currently lingering over my home state has put me in a quarantine-like state. My lungs have made it quite clear to me that they hate this smoke, and that I need to stay inside. Otherwise, I will pay. And in some sense I have already paid, having thought yesterday I could get away with a trip to the grocery store and with running my window a/c unit while I slept. Yeah, nope. Lungs were not happy about that.

Okay well I’ll write again later.

Night Tree Icicles (graphite, 8.75 x 6.5 in)

Hello. I’m all done with this drawing now. It’s drawing #7 of what’s going to be a large amount of drawings (don’t know the exact number yet) for the Taiga Series. I’m feeling pretty tired from working on it, ha. Like I kinda feel like I just got run over by a truck. As much as I enjoyed working on this, I am happy to be moving on to the next thing.

On September 11th I’m going to be taking part in the St. Louis Park Art Fair and I’m so excited! It’s been a long time since I’ve been in an art fair. The amount of things I need to do to prepare for it I’m finding is overwhelming, but I like that. After a year of quarantining and nothingness, it’s refreshing to have a massive to do list. I will do my best to update here more often as a way to hold myself accountable with my progress! I want to be sure I get everything done.

A few weeks ago, I visited the studio and art business of a local artist here in the Twin Cities whose work I’ve always admired, Heather Renaux (https://www.heatherrenaux.com). All I can say is the visit left me incredibly inspired. It also left me with this clarity I have been searching for all the last year, like, I left realizing I knew what I wanted to do with my art. I want to have an art business! Like really have one, not half-have-one, like I have over the years. Getting a glimpse into Heather’s art practice was like getting a glimpse into how I could one day make a full-time living from my art, if I could manage it that is… I’m definitely ready to try. I feel like I’ve been treading water for years, not really knowing how to apply my art to the real world. But now here’s something that’s giving me all the feels and motivation. Maybe this is it!

Finally got the whole composition filled in. I’m still in the early stages of this, though, as one might be able to discern due to how underworked the values are. While there will be a lot of hard whites and blacks in this piece, there certainly won’t be this much. Or at least that is my plan. I guess you never know what curve balls a drawing has in store for you until you’re in the thick of it.

I can’t wait until I get done! I sketched out my next piece for the Taiga Series and it’s going to be a coyote! I really, really want to work on the coyote, so I admit I’m feeling a bit in a rush to get this one done!

Life has felt strange lately. I think it’s because of how transitionary everything is right now. I walk into the grocery store and suddenly I see visible faces alongside masked faces. I drive through downtown during rush hour and find myself in a grid lock because… I’m now no longer one of few people who commutes to work. I see crowds on the TV, in person, I see people out and about. There’s more energy. But also confusion, like… what?

And then there’s just my own self. My own body. I feel like I’m in some kind of transition, too, like I’m trying to acclimate to my post-pandemic self. Maybe I feel like I’m some kind of in-between person. Like there was Pre-pandemic Me, and then there was Pandemic Me, and now here’s Post-pandemic Me, and I don’t really understand her yet. Like she sometimes thinks she can go right back to being Pre-pandemic Me, but then she remembers that Pandemic Me came along and changed her in ways that are permanent. Pre-pandemic Me is somebody she can only have remnants of, not all of, and Pandemic Me is somebody she must accept and invite in, even if that person scares her on some level, because that person was sick a lot. How to integrate the experiences of the last year and a half? How to navigate now? How to just be okay with where I’m at, and where I’m going?

I’m hoping this all gets a little easier with time, both personally and societally. Much of it will depend on the nature of the pandemic here. Will things get bad again? Or will there be steady improvement?

Anyway, that is all I’ve got.

Here’s a progress shot of where I’m at with my next drawing. (It’s cropped – it’s bigger than what is visible here.) I’m not too far, but farther than I thought I would be, as I’ve been somewhat distracted as of late.

Outside has been an inferno. I’ve spent the last two weeks avoiding the outside as much as possible, preferring instead to spend whole days after work beside my beloved window a/c units. These little guys are seriously heros. The places in my apartment that don’t have a window a/c unit? Have been 90 degrees at some points… AKA, not very inhabitable, at least for someone like me. I don’t handle the heat well.

I’d probably be farther along with this drawing if I wasn’t also currently infatuated with sound and trying to make sound art that doesn’t sound bad. It’s been taking a lot of time to learn this art language. Every time I think I’ve got something that’s maybe medicore, I learn something new about sound and music and realize I need to rework what I have and essentially start over. I am amazed by how much new information I have absorbed and how much left there is to absorb. It’ll likely be years before I can get to a point where I can effectively work with sound. And that’s only if I stay dedicated.

Anyway, I’ll be back soon!

Well it’s all done. The crying highland cow. I didn’t get done with this as quickly as I hoped, but that’s alright. Sometimes things take longer than expected. Sometimes things are more complicated than expected. Sometimes the creative journey is filled with mountains, not just fields. Either way, it’s all still fun.

Like really fun.

I’ve been feeling more creative lately. I’ve been playing around in artistic mediums I haven’t ever worked in before. It’s made me feel young, like I’m learning how to make art for the first time. It’s made me remember when I was a teenager and how creating visual art was new to me, how drawing and painting felt like an endless, joyous expanse of exploration and discovery. It’s so fun to be able to feel like this again.

I’ll be starting another lynx drawing this week. Hopefully I will have some progress shots to share soon! =)

Well I’m still working on my commission piece. It’s coming along very slowly. Maybe I can finish it in the next 2 weeks. I am certainly going to aspire to that.

Spring is here and, with that, a desire to go outside. So I have been doing a lot of that lately: going outside. I think this is impacting my ability to finish this piece in a timely manner. I also acquired a record player from a friend of mine who is moving. It’s an old record player and I wouldn’t say by any means its sound quality is great, but it works good enough and has inspired me to start building a record collection, something I’ve been wanting to do since the dawn of time. Yesteday, I ventured out and sought out my first official records for the collection. It was so much fun!

Since I had my second vaccine appointment yesterday, I went with records that are good for listening to while laying lifeless and sore on the couch. These were my choices:

Two artists who are without a doubt beautiful, old souls and extraordinarily talented at what they do. On the left is Weyes Blood’s “Titantic Rising” and on the right is Adrianne Lenker’s “abysskiss.”

Take a listen if you like!!

Okay, that is all I have. Hopefully by my next update I will be done with my commission!

Here’s a progress shot of the commission drawing I am working on. I’m just beginning to make sense of the color scheme. It’s going to have predominately blue hues with purple, yellow, pink, and green hues scattered throughout, I’m thinking.

Crossing my fingers nothing goes wrong. Unfortunately, if something does, I’ll have to start over because I can’t erase colored pencil!

This is a picture of my cat, Marcel, which I took today. It just hit me he is going to be 10 months old next month… Already all grown up. I can tell pandemic time has messed with my brain because it seems like just yesterday I brought him home at the ripe age of 8 weeks. It’s unbelievable to me how much time has passed, as well as all the events that happened within that period of time. Here I am today, walking around and healthy and soon to end my isolation. Didn’t really think that’d be the case months ago.

Hopefully I can get the commission drawing done in the next 1-2 weeks. I wasn’t too productive earlier this week, but have thankfully found some much needed momentum in recent days!

Hi. It’s been an incredibly unproductive week. Certain things have happened in the last week that have made it hard to work, but I’ll show a bit of my progress, anyway.

As you can see, I’ve just gotten started on the commission piece. Very little to show.

On Thursday, April 15th, I got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and I spent a good two days experiencing unpleasant side effects, all of which disappeared this morning.

On Sunday, April 11th, a shooting occured in my hometown of Brooklyn Center, MN, blocks away from where I grew up. A white cop shot and killed a 20 year old black man by the name Daunte Wright. His death was labeled an “accident” and protests broke out in front of the Brooklyn Center police station and have continued throughout the week.

I could write forever about my reaction to this tragedy, but I won’t. All I will say is racism is taught. And when it’s taught to children, it’s absorbed so quickly and potently that it remains in those children’s bodies for the rest of their lives. And if those children grow up into adults who continue to be taught to be racist, they turn into someone like Kim Potter, someone who takes the life of an innocent person because they were never truly challenged, they were never truly held accountable for the harm of their racist words and actions.

While it may be true that Potter didn’t intend to shoot her gun, I believe a racial bias underscored each decision she made that Sunday afternoon. Growing up in Brooklyn Center, I watched the white adult figures in my life, including policemen, treat black people unfairly, both explicitly and implicitly. As a child, I was role modeled racism by these white adult figures I was told were my leaders, and, as a result of that, I have spent and will continue to spend my adulthood trying to purge this racism from my body and soul, this garbage that in a better world I never would have absorbed.

Unlike myself, who has been challenged and will continue to be by my community, those within the police force appear to inhabit something of an echo chamber of racist attitudes and beliefs.

I hope with all my heart Kim Potter is convicted of her crime. If she has her dignity intact, she will plead guilty.

And I hope with all my heart that the family of Daunte Wright is surrounded by love and warmth. It is undeserved, what happened. No family should have to experience this.

Hello! Long time no see. It’s been an intense couple weeks.

I’ve spent the majority of my time sketching. I was able to complete a sketch of a commission I’ve been asked to do. I was also able to compelete a sketch of the next Taiga Series drawing I plan to do, which is going to be of another lynx. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to start the final drawings of either these sketches, so I have no in-progress drawings to show. I’m thinking, then, as a way to show more of my art making process, I’ll post the two sketches, which are rough digital collages I made from personal and copyright free photos and will serve as references for the final drawings.

This is the sketch for the commission, the first drawing I plan to do. The prompt for this commission is a blue hued colored pencil drawing of a crying highland cow.

This is the sketch for the next Taiga Series drawing depicting a lynx.

Both these sketches aren’t completely indicative of what the final drawing will look like. Sometimes I make changes, both major and minor. I also do my best to better blend the collage elements together using color pencils or graphite.

Hopefully I can show some in-progress shots in the next week! But maybe I won’t. I’ve been extraordinarily anxious lately, like there’s a ticking bomb inside me and if I spend any time relaxing, I’ll blow up. So, lately, instead of working on art, I’ve just been running an insane amount of errands, compulsively walking and driving, doing all the laundry, etc, because I don’t want to blow up. I’m scheduled to get my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine next week and, for whatever reason, this has brought up all kinds of feelings of terror. What if I have a rare allergic reaction to the vaccine and, yeah, die? What if my immune system freaks the **** out and I spend another couple months in some kind of Long Covid limbo? What if I get COVID-19 while waiting in line to get vaccinated with all the other people waiting in line to get vaccinated? What if I get COVID-19 before I’m even able to make my appointment? What if all the doses at the vaccination center get destroyed and my appointment gets canceled? What if, what if, what if?

Maybe I feel this way because I believe I am so close to finding my resolution to this pandemic. Getting the Pfizer vaccine, to me, is symbolic of stepping out of the shadowy land of self-isolation I have inhabited for the last 13 months. It is symbolic of warding off the most severe form of COVID-19, allowing me to work my day job with less concerns, less anxiety. I am five days away from getting my first shot. Given how unpredictable life has been throughout this pandemic, five days seems like a long time, a period in which anything could happen, and I’m really struggling to be patient and acknowledge that it’s possible for things to go smoothly.

All that said, I will still do my best to get some drawing done.

“Moonlight Watcher”
7 x 8.25 in

Here’s my 6th drawing for the taiga series. It’s titled “Moonlight Watcher” and is a graphite drawing based off the lynx I saw at the Minnesota Zoo. I had so much fun doing this. It felt refreshing to draw an animal that isn’t a deer, haha. While I absolutely adore deer, I realize I had recently gotten a bit bored of drawing them.

I’m going to be taking a detour with my next drawing. I have a comission next. This comission is going to be a small drawing in blue hued colored pencils and will feature a crying animal. That’s all I know for now.

I am not as familiar with colored pencils as I am with graphite, so I am looking forward to the challenge! Some part of me is thinking it’d be fun to include colored pencil drawings in the taiga series, just to add a bit of color. This commission will be a great way to test whether that is something I want to do.

See ya!

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