read | challenge 2017.

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In 2017, I agreed to take on a Reading Challenge. I don’t normally participate in those kinds of things because I like to read what I want, when I want, but this one seemed interesting and reasonable and maybe a challenge is good for me.

The 2017 challenge prompted a read every two weeks or 24 books on the year in various categories, including a book translated from another language, one from childhood, one from school days, something more than 500 pages, a book that takes place somewhere you traveled that year…and on.

I started off slow–my first read was Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace, a 1300 page sweeping epic that actually took me well over 2 weeks to complete. And so, I got behind. I picked up steam in the summer, reading well more than a book every two weeks. But, still, it wasn’t enough to make up with starting a new job and picking a number of 500+ page novels.

I came really close. I missed completing the challenge by 5 books. And it prompted me to start a reading journal, in which I keep track of everything I read, when I read it, how long it took me, whether it was a library book, a kindle book, or a book I own, and some general musings on what I liked or didn’t like about it. I’m pleased it pushed me to really start keeping track of my reads in a unique way, and I’ll carry on.

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How do you keep track of the books you read? Do you at all? I never used to. And so, in this space, I’m going to also keep track of that process, too. Because this blog, while I hope I have a reader or two, has been a great long term companion to me, my makes, my likes, my pursuits.

See more (a sample) from my reading journal here. 

 

inspiration | murakami.

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I recently went to see Takashi Murakami’s major exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and it was jaw dropping in its inspiration. The Octopus Eats its Own Leg is staggering and his attention to ancient Japanese practice to inform contemporary work really impressed upon me.

The pattern above now serves as a major inspiration to my work and craft moving forward.

What have you see lately that inspires you?

inspiration | notes.

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I have a lot of sketchbooks. Ones that are half filled, ones that are entirely filled, ones never touched. I start them, I stop them, sometimes, I finish them, whatever that means.

But, nothing is more special to me than the way I conceive of my music podcast, available at my other love, P+C. It’s a labor–and a form of art–to pick the list of potential tracks, to draw out what I think the artwork should look like, and to eliminate and create the final track list.

Occasionally, that book also turns into a sketchbook or a space to dabble–with new, small scale block prints, or quick little drawings.

What kinds of lists and sketches do you keep?

sketchbook | defend.

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I’ve been working on a First 100 Days sketchbook as a way to address my pent up anger and to try and put this time, and these feelings, into my artwork and express.

I recently made a #nodapl block print–an issue extremely close to me as a Native American. It should be an issue important to all Native Americans. This is my sketchbook reaction to recent news that the pipeline easement would be granted.

Resistance continues.

succulents + gouache.

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Sean and I have been messing more and more with gouache painting. Last Saturday, we decided to pain some succulents + cacti. Sean was really deepening his color palettes by layering and I was working the opposite by totally washing everything out since I want to be better with the water side of paints and water colors somewhat frighten me.

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I’m pretty happy with my finished product, but I can’t decide if I should have done a light background on the entire piece. It’s a first stab at the prickly pear and it will probably sit in my sketchbook forever, but it was fun to get painting again.

bedroom.

Sean and I finally decided on some art for our bedroom. It’s one of the last places where we hadn’t picked a single thing for the walls. I think this R.C. Gorman is perfect for the space.

Next spring, we might change the wall color. Home decorating is a process; I’m slow, at times, to make a decision. I try to be thoughtful with every purchase and have been collecting one of a kind antique pieces for years. I think it’s paying off.

perspective.

Trying to get back to my sketchbook. On and off, throughout the years, I have been faithful to my sketchbook. Other times, not so much. But the sketchbook is the opportunity to practice art, doodle, think, write, be inspired. A lot of crazy weird things have come out of it.

So here’s a recent entry, in which I was practicing the art of perspective through a poppies exercise. I kind of like how sloppy it came out; it feels easy.

More from my sketchbook trails here. And drawings, here.

art.

My sister is a talented artist; she can draw and paint anything, but her work as a medical illustrator and animator often plays a huge role in her personal art work, too.

She recently gifted me this drawing of the merging between my favorite: a saguaro cactus and the bones of a hand. It’s brilliant and it now hangs in my bathroom. Everyone should have original art work, even in their w.c.