Studio Check-In #10: More Fall-Themed Art and A Project for Next Year

Headed for the gallery soon — Apples 1, as I’ve so creatively titled it.

I was sitting here thinking about what I wanted to share today when I realized that it is ALREADY the last week of October, and thus already time to give you another studio update.

I’ve been chugging away at my fall projects and paintings, even if they’re not going as quickly as I’d originally hoped. I am happy to say that I did manage to finish one of the apple paintings I shared last month, and made progress on the second.

Apples 2, still in progress. The leaves still need paint (in a few places) and more detail overall.

I also drew and painted some pumpkins, which are… not going as well as I’d like. I’m sure that the paper I’m using is a big factor; the apples are painted on Arches 100% cotton paper, while the two pumpkin paintings are on Strathmore paper (left) and Canson paper (right) (both papers are near the top of their respective lines, but still cellulose [plant-based, like most paper] rather than cotton). I’m going to keep working on them, but my hopes aren’t high. I want to include the sketched image in my fall-themed “Paint It Yourself” kit (which is still in the works!) but I may need to do a looser, simpler version for my demonstration piece.

So many pumpkins… I feel like I haven’t really seen non-orange pumpkins before, but they seem to be everywhere this year.
We have two decent-sized maple trees dropping their leaves everywhere.

In thinking about my fall-themed kit, I also sketched a few other ideas for possible inclusion, including some leaves from my yard and a sketch from one of the pictures I took at the pumpkin patch that we visited in Alabama. There will probably be more of these sketches to come, since I haven’t made any final decisions yet. I should probably get moving on that if I want them to actually be done while it’s still fall.

Pumpkins on (and around, and under, and behind) a hay wagon
Imagine a misty forest… (or whatever you want, really). I haven’t decided if I’ll leave this as is, or try and add more to it.

I got a book from the library by Ann Blockley called Experimental Landscapes in Watercolour which I found some time to peruse and try an exercise from earlier this week. The result is pretty rough, as you can see, but it really encouraged me to use the paint in a way that I normally don’t (much more loose and watery, rather than tightly controlled). She has some other tricks and tools farther on that I’m excited to try. I’ve been so project-based this month, both creatively and otherwise, that it’s a refreshing (and necessary) break to do something process-based instead.

Speaking of projects, though, I have one in the works that I can’t fully share the details of just yet, but which will be announced within the next two weeks. It’s something completely new for me, which I am both excited and nervous about. As part of this project, I am hand-making journals again, the prototype for which I finished last week. Most of the journals I make, especially lately, have been experiments in process — aka, I figure it out as I go — and in this case everything came together even better than I expected, which is always so satisfying.

The journal has a fabric cover, and I altered and stitched in a couple of manila envelopes to make pockets in each signature. There’s also a sheet of watercolor paper in each signature along with sheets of drawing paper, which are a little thicker and sturdier than standard printer paper.

I’m considering adding some of these to my Etsy shop next spring with a variety of different fabric covers; in the meantime, I was thinking of putting together a tutorial post which demonstrates how I made this. Let me know here or on Instagram if this is something you’d be interested in!

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