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

white-light

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. ♡

white-light1

 

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

inktober

I set an intention for 2017 to share more of my work. Personal work, not so much the day job stuff I have to do. Graphic design is not as glamorous as one might think…(gasp!)

Self -initiated work is much more gratifying somehow. It helps stretch your brain and, honestly, I often use it to cope with my anxiety and depression. I’m not in a habit of sharing my “process work,” but I’m working hard to become more comfortable posting it to instagram. A lot of the time the work is so personal (or sad) I feel a bit vulnerable about sharing.

To help me get over that feeling I’ve decided to participate in inktober. I’m not as comfortable with ink(or color in general) as I am with plain old graphite so it’s going to be interesting to see how things progress. Today (day 1) I did a pencil drawing then inked over it:

inktober_1

Everyone tags their submissions with #inktober and #inktober2017 so when you have time for a scroll go to instagram and take a look. ♡

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.

 

tiny miracle

mac-POOPED

My beagle won’t poop in the rain. Sunday morning there was a storm that included flash flood warnings. I knew then (at 6am when the obnoxiously loud weather alarm sounded on my cell) that this was going to be a rough day for my little muppet.

I’m not sure if it’s a beagle trait, but Mac has never liked water. He’s the kind of dog that would rather jump over puddles than drink from them. He’s 6 years old though and I worry about the stress of not “going,” ya know? I have a hard enough time keeping him together as it is with all his allergies and chronic ear infections. So I “made” him go out in the rain and eventually (read 20 minutes) he POOPED and I was so proud of him that I posted it on the internet.

Him refusing to do his business in the rain is no small problem. Florida hurricane season is from June until October for gawdsakes. I wrote a poem about the struggle a couple months ago, which I feel is appropriate to share here with you, given the momentous occasion and the amount of strawberry margarita I consumed earlier with dinner. Ahem…

I Will Not Poop
-a poem by my dog

I will not poop,
Won’t even try.
Not in this rain,
I’m staying dry.

I will not poop,
My paws’ll get wet.
It’s raining out there,
Did you think I’d forget?

I will not poop,
Won’t make a peep.
Not ’til the rain stops
And you’re fast asleep.

🐶

 

Simple is good. – Jim Henson

Goodnight and have a glorious tomorrow! ♡

 

hello love – NEW printable!

hello-lov.jpg

Once upon a time…I ran a teeny tiny Etsy shop that had teeny tiny printables for sale that made a teeny tiny amount of money…

I’ve since closed down that little shop. My life got darker and busier and I let the shadow of difficult situations stomp out the light I’ve always carried for these illustrated characters.

To counteract all the darkness and “grow” my light I’m going to share my characters with you here on MOTH + BLOOM from time to time in the form of printable art, stationery, invitations and animated gifs. The little owl you see above is one of my favorites. I do have a thing for owls, you know.

You can click the image above to download the 5.5″ x 8.5″ tiny owl memo sheets. They are set 2-up on an 8.5″ x 11″ page. Look for new downloads monthly. ♡

See also: lemony memos, stay sweet art print and wallpaper here.

credits:
Artwork © Aimee McEwen. Personal use only. Not for commercial use.
If shared, please link back to this post.

quiet not blind

Had a long talk with my Mom a couple days ago. It was nice. I vented a lot, maybe cried a little. She gave me a good pep talk; put me in the right direction, told me I’m the only one that can do it, nobody else can do it for me. Something someone else told me once, somebody I miss very, very much.

It’s a rare thing for me to “miss” someone but here I am. Kinda hate it.

Mom also told me I need to rest and to feed myself properly. Those two things are really obvious but I’m bad at both. I definitely am not sleeping and I can’t remember the last time I went and bought proper groceries. Gotten a bit off track this year.

Been painting more lately and I feel like it’s helping me “calm down.”  This weekend I decided to not work on anything and just rest. Not sure what I’ll do with my Sunday but couldn’t hurt to make a trip to the grocery store and grab some healthy stuff. Two years ago I did really strict meal planning and it was the best thing I’d ever done for myself. Mom also prescribed meditation. That’s a new one. She says medication or meditation…you choose.

Maybe that’s what I’ll do after I get groceries…research meditation or download and app, or just take a nap….;)

 

slow weekend

I’m not even exaggerating…it took me two years to break out my “new” watercolors and paint something with them. Study above is from last weekend. I’ve not touched the watercolors since. I worked almost 60 hours this week at the day job. Yesterday (Saturday) I slept almost the entire day and today my inflammation is up – my motivation low.

Back on the computer now though…because I have a 500 page project to finish and it’ll probably kick my ass but I worked hard all week just so I’d have space to work on this monster. Aside from the tiredness, I’m not feeling terrible. About this time each year I work on a book project and it takes about 35 hours (aside from the 500 page monster, I mean).  That’s time on top of my full-time job and it’s rough on me, but the pay is decent so I can’t turn it down. Not with ER bills piling up due to the rabies vaccination episode in April-May.(oh-my-life)

The usual deadline for my 35-hour project got pushed up a week, so I’m psyching myself up for a lot of late nights. My office is a mess right now. There’s art supplies and paperwork and half-finished projects…I started reorganizing a couple months ago. I don’t usually leave things in such disarray. I’m slipping a bit this year, I suppose.

I’ll work on the 500-pager for a while then paint something(s) maybe read a little. I downloaded a few e-books from Project Gutenburg. I can’t remember how I found the website, but I’m sure I was wandering around the internet and just ended up there…I’m reading Jane Austen’s Persuasion, you know, in my “free” time. (half-hearted LOL) ♡