New Specs

Change is not easy for me. Not one bit. When it became obvious that my beloved red thin glasses were not helping me to see well either far away or close up, I waited a very long time (about a year) before doing anything about it. I knew that I would have to let go of the shape of those glasses since they were not deep enough to accommodate the graduated lens I needed for close up work as well as long distance sight. Although I really wanted red glasses again, I wasn’t willing to spend huge amounts of time looking for red ones with just the right shape. I decided to be decisive. To take the first pair I liked and which felt comfortable on my face. Of course…the lens had to be large enough for my aging eyes.

The same thing is true whenever I feel the need to take inventory in my creative life. I have at various times over the years, felt overwhelmed by all the creating, all the online sharing, all the many avenues of living an Artful Life that I’ve established over the years. Just as my eye glasses were not fitting my needs for seeing clearly, so too the shape of my creative life was blurring my sight, hindering me from being able to focus in any direction.

I took some time for this. Indeed I’m still working through it all as I journal daily and really hone in on what my WHY is, what motivates and underpins all the artistic pursuits I love. I keep coming back to my sketchbook practice. It is from this daily lens on life…sketching my world…that all the rest flows. And it is this lens that I am once again focusing on, letting it be the One Thing that I keep first and foremost as an artist. Drawing my life. Drawcumenting the Days.

Oh to be sure, I’m knitting and crocheting, and teaching my lovely classes of women who want to learn. I have a commission painting going, and ideas for trying out some abstract acrylics on canvas. But these are secondary to the sketchbook lens through which I can see my life for the beauty that is there. It is this focus that is enabling me to shed a few pounds of extra weight online.

To that end, I’ve trimmed and sorted, weeded and organized it all. Well, most of it. You might like to spend some time browsing around jenniferedwards.com to see what’s here. And please do subscribe to my blog/website as I will no longer be sending out the Artful Lifeline weekly newsletter. Indeed, I haven’t done so in many months. I’ve realized that this blog and website can be exactly as my newsletter was…a place for folks to subscribe and receive encouragement and art news right in their email boxes. So please do subscribe here if you haven’t already! Click on the highlighted link above or find on the Home page the spot for signing up. Thank you so much for journeying with me here!

If you enjoy drawing your life in a sketchbook, check out my You Tube Channel for the Sketchbook Chats and other drawing videos. I have spruced up my Channel and am planning on adding other Sketchbook Chats in the near future.

And I am always active on Instagram. Such a fun place to hang out with other artists! I hope to see you there!

But now…it is snowing outside! Yes people….you read that right…SNOWING!!!!!! IN MARCH! So I must go draw it!! My new sketchbook is calling to me and I can see it ever so clearly now! I hope you are finding joy in living Artfully, following the lines of your life in a sketchbook filled with color!

Draw On my friends…Draw On!

Jennifer

Whoa and Wow

2018. Wow.

Am I just now realizing the magnitude of this? Nearly two and a half months into it, this number, a big one, it tells where I am, how far along I’ve come since 1965. This year, this 2018, I will be 53 and will celebrate 30 years married and will see my children turn 24, 21, and 16. Lord willing. Wow.

That’s all I can say…wow.

Couldn’t I just spend my days marveling at where I am? Could I not just take a moment, a year, a rest-of-a-life to say whoa.  Stop right here. Let’s pause and gather it all in and look deeply into one another’s faces?

For it shall not stay like this. I feel it already, the pull of years to come. Like Marty in the Future photograph, beginning to fade. Or like the moment’s before Scotty beams us up, pixels waving farewell. Can we not stop the world and get off for a moment to hold one another’s faces cupped in our hands and look, really look and say I love you and always shall?

Please do not forget.

Today, let me do just that with my pen and brush. Let me caress these faces I love, the landscape of Backyard, the hay bales of Silver Dapple. Let me hold them even if for a fleeting line to say I love you and always shall.

To say, if only to myself, please…please do not forget.

This act of loving is feeble and flimsy at best. Pieces of paper in a bound book. But it is how I know to say whoa and wow to 2018. It is my way of cupping my hands around the faces I love, the place that I live, the life that I have. There are miles to go before I sleep, as Frost would say, and there are miles of lines to log in my book through 2018 and beyond.

In this way, drawing and painting my life, I will not forget. And perhaps, when I fade from the photograph and my pixels wave their final farewell, these books will remain,

saying I love you…

and always shall.

-jpe

The Verge of Chaos

I sat there in front of a photograph on the wall.

Straddling a cushioned cube at a local hangout spot, I was drawn to draw him. Ruffly shirt, dark eye peering out of stark value shifts. My own eyes tracing the shapes, the connections between shapes, the value shifts, squinting in order to see better.

What shall I use? Emptying my zippered pen/marker/pencil pouch, I didn’t realize I was talking out loud. One of my fellow drawers offered – “Use charcoal! It begs for charcoal!” Yes, I know…but I don’t wanna use charcoal…I feel rebellious.

Now if you met me, your first thought would NOT be – Wow…here’s one rebellious chic! Middle-aged, ordinary mom, dressed in homegrown clothes…quite predictable I’m sure. But today I did not want to choose the predictable. I adore charcoal. It is effortless and magical and allows you to lay in values and adjust transitions on a dime. What I wanted today was ink and water and pen and watercolor. I wanted to see if I could tame something whose primary property is FLOW (charcoal does not flow on its own), and to attempt to wrangle it into something that looked like a portrait. Yes… fountain pen, water brush, watercolor paint.

There was only a moment’s hesitation before setting my fountain pen to paper. Just enough time to choose where to start my line…on the page as well as the face…right here, I think. Then it was off to the races. Well, the tortoise race of following the contours of invisible lines were values meet. Not drawing a nose, just the shapes, where I see them. No pencil first, just gut and years of experience guiding me.

When all was said and done, or at least when I declared that the sketchbook paper couldn’t take anymore paint, that the flow I had been wrangling and taming was on that lovely verge of flowing right off the page, when I sat back and felt that it could stop in this most interesting place…I knew…

…I knew that it was not correct.

I will not go into all the ways this drawing (painting, sketch, whatever you want to call it) does not “match” the photograph, does not exhibit “correct” values or transitions, does not have perfectly measured shapes. What I will say, is that it delights me. This sketch, based purely on itself and not on any standard or pre-existing image, is exactly what I had set out for –

Unpredictable, full of flow and splash and texture, all within certain quasi-delineated bounds that give the overall impression of a face. Yes. This.

This is why I love to draw. As I peer into another’s face, a landscape, a jumble mess on my desk, I get a glimpse of my own self, of my world, of life. I could care less whether anyone else likes it, or think it’s “good” or not. In fact, I want to care less and less what I myself deem it to be.

What I want is to keep on peering into things, drawing them in unpredictable ways, trying new approaches, and so somehow to live the whole of my life in that chaotic flow, trying to wrangle it within invisible bounds so that beauty can emerge. I want to care less about whether the values are correct, the shapes perfectly measured. I definitely do not want my life to match someone else’s.

I must follow where I am led…riding on pools of watercolor as it flows, blooms, and splatters in unpredictable ways. Following  an invisible line that only my Maker draws out for me. This way of living delights me. Scares me. But fascinates me and keeps me coming back to the pages of my sketchbook.

Charcoal Love

HolidayTrio

I’m working through a batch of commission work, some of which is in charcoal. I love working with charcoal, especially portraiture. It is incredibly fun to watch a face emerge out of the ash on the page and to see personality peer back at you through the values. So much fun!

CloseUpRandyTrio

I realized I never fully shared with you the charcoal piece I created several weeks ago of my husband being a goofy uncle with two of our nieces at Christmas. They love to sit in his lap and laugh with him. The photo I had was the perfect challenge to try bringing to life a fun moment from the holidays.

BrynleyTrio

The easel and charred sticks are calling my name, so I’ll leave you with other close-ups of this three-person portrait.

AddyTrio

And by the way…if you’d like to follow me on my stay-at-home walking/drawing pilgrimage through Lent, I’d welcome your company! Consider joining in! It’s never too late to start a pilgrimage of your own.

UpCloseRandyTrio2

Happy Day to you!  and Buen Camino!

UpCloseAddyTrio

UpCloseBrynleyTrio2

Owls All Around Me

Can you take it? One more drawn “selfie” in a recent knit? I’m not prone to selfies, but if it allows me an opportunity to draw a face and a bit of knitting…well, ok.

OwlsSelfie2

I received this gorgeous dusty blue Baby Alpaca Grande yarn by Plymouth from my mom for Christmas. I knew just the thing I wanted to knit with it–Kate Davies’ Owl Sweater.

MacyApprovesOwls

Macy and her bird friends are seen here approving the yummy Alpaca yarn for the Owl Sweater.

OwlsWatchingOwls

Yes, the sun comes out when I knit. Here’s the post about this collage page. And here’s my pattern for these fun and easy owls to crochet!

OwlChartLove

I wasn’t sure I had enough for the long sleeves, but actually preferred a short sleeve version I thought I could devise from the long sleeved pattern. It worked beautifully. A perfect pattern.

WaitingforButtons

Though next time, I think I’ll  make it without the waist shaping. I enjoy roomier sweaters that flow a bit rather than hug.

OwlAlmostDone

But I like it all the same, even if I do feel a smidge like a football player with owls peering out from every angle around my shoulders! Ha!

Very fun to knit and to draw! Yet somehow my drawing ended up looking a bit, well…bobble-headed. Or like a caricature. I dunno. Something to do with the proportion of my head to that of my shoulders. Anyhoo. Drawing what one has knitted is like the icing on an already delicious cake. If you’re a knitter, you should try it! Keep a little journal of your drawings and sketches of the things you’ve knitted or crocheted. Or better yet, tuck that drawing down in the page protector with the pattern and a little snippet of the yarn you used to create that knit. Make a few notes as to how you modified it, what you would do in future if you made that piece again, and date it. I have several journals like this from years gone by and it’s fun to see what I had made for the kids and when.

SelfieinOwlSweater

Here’s a little treat for you knitters… if you do take a fancy to this idea of keeping a binder full of your knit and crochet patterns, both finished and not-yet-made. I like to buy the three ring binders that have a clear plastic overlay so I can slip a title page down in it for easy recognition of what’s in it. Here’s one for you to print off for your binder.

Knit. Draw. Document. Repeat. 🙂

It’s Christmastime!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Come With Me

I have so much to share with thee,
my online reader and friend,
I think I shall post–’til the day that I toast–
the New Year coming ’round the bend.

So here I go a rhyming
sharing poems present and past.
So we can enjoy the season
making merry with mirth ’til the last.

I hope that you’ll join me each day
right here on Drawn2Life.
Set aside the crazy to-do list
and if you can, all suffering and strife.

For this is a season of Jolly
Glad tidings are coming to be
Hope and Love in Emmanuel
is becoming reality!

-jpe

12/1/3013

Portrait #22: The Happy Couple

Back in September, my husband officiated the wedding of some sweet friends of ours.  This was perhaps, aside from my own wedding, the loveliest wedding ever! It was held at the beautiful Dewberry Farm here in Kernersville.

This portrait is not intended to be a detailed description of the individual faces of the bride and groom, but rather a portrait of the sheer delight and happiness they each had for each other on that day! And when I see them on Sundays, that delight hasn’t paled at all!

I wish Will & Kelly many, many days of happiness to come!!

My Delight: Portraits #18-19 & #20-21

It is my delight and honor to be asked to paint a portrait of someone’s children.  I can’t really describe why…something to do with the privilege of trying to express the personality of the kids coupled with the love the parent has for them.  It seems a tall order.  One that excites and energizes me! And one that causes fear and trepidation!

I learned something anew with this commission to paint the beautiful Summerell children, Robert and Catherine.  I learned afresh that my calling is simply to show up at the blank page.  To do whatever it takes to be there, facing the pristine 140 lb. Cold Press Saunders Waterford paper…and begin.  I knew I would be given what I needed to accomplish the high calling of portrait painting.  I knew that help, in the form of ideas and ways to solve “problems”, would show up when needed.  I knew it would be ok. I just had to draw. And paint.

Now before you gag on such artsy fartsy lingo…i do acknowledge that I have studied and continue to study how to paint portraits. I do practice. Daily. I do continue to learn and evolve.  I put in my time.  But when it all comes down to it, when the commissioned portrait is about to begin, I have an overwhelming sense of being woefully inexperienced and inadequate to the task at hand! I simply must rely on the truth that my part is to just SHOW UP.  Of course, I will apply all that I have learned and am learning to the task.  Of course, I will wrestle with, undo and redo what I feel is necessary.  But the one thing I am responsible for is to be faithful to show up to the page.  Whatever else happens feels a bit like magic…something out of my hands, outside of my ability or experience level.

And when the parents view the portraits and are pleased…When the mom has tears in her eyes…I know I have done my work and it has been somehow translated beyond my own contribution to the page.  Art has happened.  That inexplicable, wonderful communication between the paint and paper to the viewer.

My delight becomes their delight! And I couldn’t be more delighted.

**To view more commissioned portraits, click here!

Portrait #17: Letting Go


Sometimes

when we let go

we catch a glimpse

of our truest selves.

-jpe

Psssttt…how do you like my new WordPress Theme? I needed to let go of the dark background.  At least for now.:)

Mr. Whicker & Maddie: A Diabetes Story

In early December of 2009, Mr. Whicker knocked on our front door.  My parents answered the door, as Randy and I and Maddie were not there.  My parents had come to stay with our two older children since we were at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital.  My parents told Mr. Whicker where we were and why. Maddie had been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.  Mr. Whicker’s eyes filled up with tears and he stood in our doorway and wept.

When my parents recounted this to me, at first I marveled at his compassion. And as my dad continued to tell me that they reassured him things would be alright for Maddie, it dawned on me that in his generation, children who were diagnosed with juvenile diabetes often died, or at least were bound to develop all kinds of eyesight, heart, and nerve problems due to the disease.

We live in a grand time when insulin and so many other discoveries and technological advances have made it possible for children and adults who are diagnosed with this disease to LIVE!!  Not only that, but the efforts of JDRF and others, have made living with Type 1 Diabetes so much less cumbersome and allow for a greater degree of “managing” the blood sugar levels.  As blood sugar levels are maintained within a healthier range, the debilitating effects of diabetes are lessened.  It is still by no means an easy disease to live with.  Compared to “normal” kids, even today’s technology seems cumbersome.  But compared to what it used to be like…we have come a long way!

We celebrate today that our daughter LIVES!!  She enjoys the benefits of so many things that JDRF has played a vital role in providing for her.  Here are just a few:

Maddie’s Test Kits

Won’t you join us in celebrating the HUGE advances the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has been a part of?  Consider donating a few dollars to this organization so that they can continue down the path of finding a cure!

Mr. Whicker and Maddie will be so glad you did!

So will I! 🙂

Maddie’s Pump and Inset

Remember! We Walk for the Cure on October 27th!! Come join us if you’d like!