over the river and to the beach

snow-transparent-2017

For the past four years or so I’ve sent illustrated Christmas cards to friends, family and clients.  Last year I also made ecards, basically, adding snow and creating a gif then emailing or texting to the people that cheer me on throughout the year. Since we’ve moved to a new house I decided that I’d feature my furry babies with a packed car and Christmas tree, 2017 on the license plate. Not to get too “deep” about it (yes, I know it’s “just” a cartoon) but it’s a transitional time for us and a the car makes sense in this way…the inside of this year’s card continues the theme with an illustrated version of our new living room:

2017-card-©AimeeMcEwen

It’s Saturday and I’ve got a million things to do but first I’ve got to get dressed and drive out to the beach to talk with a client about a new project – which sounds much more glamorous than it actually is, really. Then I’ve got to go to the tiny townhouse to continue packing. Can’t get the big stuff until next weekend so I’ll be cramming boxes into my teeny Nissan with all my might.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, guys! ♡

 

merry and that

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Almost completely moved in to the new place (did I mention I’m moved/moving?). I put up the tree and hung the wreath. There are boxes everywhere and lots of things need to be done, but I’m damn tired and doing my best.

Which is all you can do, right?

2017 has drained my energy and I’m running on empty. The internet trolls, the hypocrites, the ugliness of strangers toward other less fortunate strangers (or sometimes it’s been the other way around.) The complete LACK of fucking EMPATHY that we’re witnessing on a daily basis. The casual coldness of an internet comment that lays waste to group or community’s struggle in such a way that makes you wonder if we’re all just monsters in people suits.

Nice suit.

If you’re dealing with something like shame or anxiety or regret right now (or always!) please know that your struggle (WHATEVER IT MIGHT BE) is VALID. You are flawed AND beautiful and I truly believe that if we can see that those two things are not mutually exclusive in others maybe we’ll finally be able to accept that it is TRUE for ourselves as well. I friggin’ love you, y’know?

Stay warm, practice gratitude and show empathy toward one another and let’s hope for the best together in 2018. ♡

made it!

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Inktober is officially over! We made it to NOVEMBER! Only one month left in the 2017 Hurricane Season! (Hurricanes, BOO!)

Speaking of boo, last night I attempted to give out candy for Halloween. It was the first time in a while (ahem, 6 years) and I had a “perfect” plan for participating without having people knocking on the door and completely freaking out my poor beagle (also, if you don’t answer the door there’s no murdering…I mean they’re safe from me and I’m safe from them, this is commonly excepted, sound hermit logic.) Back to my plan…

STEP ONE: BUY CANDY, MAKE A SIGN (see below)

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I got some decent candy, you know,  stuff I already like in case nobody shows up and I “have” to eat it all myself. Kidding, sorta.

STEP 2: ATTACH SIGN TO BOWL, FILL BOWL WITH CANDY

I didn’t put ALL the candy in the bowl, it was a modest sized Trick or Treat pail that I removed the handle from – to discourage traveling…

STEP 3: TURN ON LIGHT, LOCK DOOR (recheck locked door, check window 16 times)

That’s it! I quietly sketched my very last Inktober drawing while listening to small children and their parental units read the sign and choose their candies (perfect!). Some complained that they could only take one, some were clever enough to note the cheeky (okay, two!)…I sat there, Ghostbuster’s DVD playing in the background, feeling mildly proud of myself for finding a way to keep the dog calm AND give out candy to possible murderers but probably mostly costumed children (sigh).

TEENASAURUS REX

Halloween lasted about 30 minutes, my friends. The first group of teenagers that showed up grabbed the entire bowl and ran. Yeah, I wasn’t shocked, but still, it was a little soul crushing. After that, I personally handed out candy to a few more groups of tiny humans while the dog screeched from behind my front door.

Once the candy was gone, I went inside to finish drawing and console my beagle. I’m proud of myself for making the effort, quite frankly. Teenagers are actual monsters though. But, I’m sure you already knew that. ♡

 

artwork/images © Aimee McEwen, if shared please link back to this post

faux fall

windy

There was a time when I posted at least every Friday here about my week or the weekend or just silly thoughts that had been rolling around in my brain. I’m getting myself on a better schedule so I can go back to regular posting in November through to the new year. Hopefully they won’t all be about the weather. After inktober is finished I’m going to find another art prompt or make one of my own. Last night my drawing took a lot less time than usual…maybe I’m gaining momentum?

As far as my weekend plans, I’ve got a lot of sorting to do. Toss, donate, or keep? I’m sure the keep pile will be the smallest. I’m just ready, you know? I try really hard not to write about the weather on here…since there are so many other interesting things to write about (are there?). I live in Florida, so aside from natural disasters we’ve got it pretty good here. We had 2 mornings this past week that were a little “chilly” and it was awesome. The cold never lasts though. Still, I wore my fall boots and jeans and a light flannel and pretending it was a mild Fall day in New York, where I grew up. I always hated those cold gray days (which was most days, to be honest). Here in Florida I can pretend it’s “Fall” and get away with cute fall boots, light scarves, fingerless gloves, and not worry about rain and mud and chapped lips and achy bones….but I’m not gonna write about the weather. Happy Weekend, stay warm. ♡

 

catnap fever

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Wow, I’m tired! It’s my own damn fault for staying up too late, working on drawings and fighting with the cat. I’ve slacked off a bit on Inktober this week, recharging my brain I guess. Tonight I’m going to try some ink washes instead of just the ink pen…I’m hoping I’m just a bit tired of the pen.

Thinking about moving out of the tiny townhouse, for real this time, I mean it! There’s so much to get done before I can move, though. I have accumulated a lot of crap stuff over the last 12 years. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what I should let go and what I should keep. I do love dropping boxes and bags off at Goodwill. Decluttering will be good, healthy even! Speaking of which, I’m on an antibiotic this week (don’t ask) and I’m worried the meds are stifling my creativity. Is that a thing? Can that be a thing now? Maybe it’s just affecting my mood/attitude.

Do you ever feel like not getting excited about things because you could “jinx” it? Like, don’t get your hopes up because you don’t want to be super disappointed when it doesn’t “happen” or that you stop wanting things for that same reason? Feels that way right now and I’d like to think I don’t have a habit of feeling that way, I’m not a superstitious person…so maybe it’s just this round of meds messing with me and next week I’ll be my old positive-thinking self. Maybe?

In a couple weeks things will get sorted. I’m afraid to say it, but I am looking forward to a fresh start…Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, don’t jinx it! ♡

what’s this?

SALLY

Day 10 of Inktober already. I’ve not missed a day yet, and I’m also a bit loony right now from staying up late every night. My dog is also not impressed. He has a strict bedtime schedule (10pm on the dot) and I’ve mess that up for him entirely. I still prefer my pencil drawings to the ink…because I am a giant baby and I’m not used to the pen yet. I’m only using a sharpie pen, like a 0.3 fine point. The most difficult part for me has been deciding what to draw. I set some parameters for myself on day one to narrow down the choices….all female (humanoid) characters, posed as if they’re having their portrait taken…and most of them from the shoulders up – unless we need more visual info to help make them easy to recognize because I’m not copying them from pictures or anything, just using my imagination. I downloaded Werble to my phone and added snow to the Sally illustration. Last night I drew Luna Lovegood and added some floaty wrackspurts. So far my Inktober has consisted of Maleficent, The Queen of Hearts, Cruella De Vil, The Mad Hatter (female), Ursula, Harley Quinn, Sally from Nightmare before Christmas, Arwen(LOTR) and Luna from Harry Potter…tonight I’m thinking I’ll do another “creepy” one. Usually decide about an hour before I start drawing. The Madhatter is probably my favorite right now.

I’ve started using some color ink, but only sparingly. The last few days I’ve wanted to use watercolor washes then draw/ink over that…we’ll see what happens. Only 20 or so drawings left! I love scrolling through and looking at everyone’s work. Found so many new artists to follow on instagram, glad I chose to participate. ♡

sketch therapy

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In August I bought myself a small chunky sketch book with light brown kraft paper pages. Since then I’ve been choosing random pages in it to sketch people and animals. The first thing I drew was a horse, then some faces, then a frog and some more faces.

I do use references sometimes, especially for the animals. Even then the references are used quite loosely as recreating something exactly is paralyzing for me. When I sketch faces/people I’m not using references except when I’m having trouble with the expression/emotion. Most of the time the expressions are sadness, or grief.  No, I don’t know these people. That question comes up sometimes: Who’s that? I just shrug and keep drawing or I’ll smile and say: a ghost…as if they live in my brain and I’m just remembering them. Which is creepy, I suppose. If I’m happy with the sketch I’ll add flowers, filling up the page with tangled leafy vines and vaguely familiar blooms, it’s a meditative process for me. I prefer low color work, maybe because color tends to overwhelm me or because…you know, ghosts. ♡

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images © Aimee McEwen, if shared please link back to this post.

battered not broken

batterednotbroken

It’s not unusual for me to take a break from this space in August but this break has been longer and more difficult than usual. Most of the difficulties have to do with Hurricane Irma – which we evacuated from. It’s heartbreaking to see all the damage the storm has done to Florida and the islands south of us. My neighbors were flooded, there are trees down and damage everywhere you look but Jacksonville is slowly putting itself back together.

We fled north west to stay in a hotel, out of harms way – we thought – but the storm tracked more west which meant so did we…frightened for our loved ones that decided to stay – wondering how far we’d have to go to get away from this giant hurricane (how many days could we afford to stay at the hotel?), hoping we’d not run out of gas or break down or get in an accident and essentially stranded in the storm’s immediate path. I’m still not sleeping very much, even though I’m back safe and dry in my own place, in my own bed. I’m thankful for the support system I have here in Florida and for my Mom and Sister who talked to me about evacuation, even offered to come and get me themselves…and for the kindness of a friend’s uncle willing to shelter us – including my furry children; we were actually told “no” by another family member…if you can believe it. I would NEVER refuse shelter to someone fleeing from a natural disaster.

“You can evacuate from the single largest hurricane in the history of ever to our house but you can’t bring your children.” See how stupid that sounds?

Since returning from evacuation I’ve been dealing with my usual stress-related inflammation and fatigue – emotional and physical. Yesterday I learned a former co-worker/friend committed suicide. A wonderful, caring, loving person is gone and I’m gutted, I cry then I go numb then I cry again; wondering how this year has gone so, so wrong. Yet, still, I refuse to lose hope – I’m going to eat, sleep, work and get up and do it all over again until the darkness lifts or the light finds me. It’s all we can do when life stop making sense.

Be extra kind to people in your life – even strangers. I’ve made that my new daily goals. We could all use more love right now, so be THAT person. Okay? ♡

 

September is National Suicide Prevention month.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255
The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Crisis Text Line Text 741-741
If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

 

image ©Aimee McEwen

 

 

work weekend

mishaw

August is my busiest month of the year for contract work. Nothing very creative, just nuts and bolts of book layout and such. The day job has been pretty hectic this month as well with projects I didn’t expect and pressure I really don’t need. I’m worn out, burnt out, and a feeling resentful. Working this hard and still wondering if you’ll be able to pay all your expenses is demoralizing. That and I’ve not done laundry in WEEKS.

It’s not all bad, of course. To cope with things I’ve been painting, sketching and making stuff. Small stolen moments of distraction. I post some things to instagram. I posted something to Facebook a couple weeks ago and the next day a co-worker wondered “Why (if you can draw like that) are you working at THIS place?”

I’m not sure what that means, but it did bother me a little. I mostly like my day job, I’m good at it and I have health insurance. It’s a comfort zone thing. Creating for myself is a stress reliever so I’ll continue. The cat is a thief though so today I’ve got to make a trip to the art store to replace the things he’s made off with (then I’ll probably locate his stash and have two of everything.)

There is a virus going around at work and I’ve made it my mission not to catch it! Which might be futile considering I worked 60 hours this week and sleep has been scarce. I’ve just now sent off the final proof of the book and I plan on getting my laundry (okay, fine – half the laundry) done today, then it’s art store (cue the harp dream sound effect) and straight back home to tidy up and probably eat or something.

I know, I’m so glam.