Does anyone else get tree cravings? It must be a form of going stir-crazy, city-crazy, something like that. I lay awake from time to time wishing for trees, not even entirely sure what I want to do with them. Walk among them, climb them, smell them, hug them, build a house out of them in them, cremate them under marshmallows. This craving can get so strong that it physically feels like a thirst, and I wonder how common it is. I should probably read more Whitman.
Fortunately, after a year or two of strong periodic craving, I got to spend the last week before Halloween in a Tobermoy cabin with family, working on my fire-building skills, soaking in the hot tub, harnessing the power of layering, sipping cider and most importantly, hiking. We explored the peninsula between Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay in several multi-hour hikes. Between the changing seasons and the crystal clear water, the colors were just breathtaking.
And the smells of composting leaves! I’d never been hiking before and it was nice to break in my new boots, and breathe and breathe, with no car exhaust stink, no emergency sirens, no trains, no noisy student neighbor parties. There’s nothing like the beauty of silence.
We had a calm day that left the lake like glass, and a windy day that howled and whipped up the night. Sadly, we couldn’t stargaze because it was the week of the full moon, which was like a massive flashlight in the sky whenever the clouds cleared away. Next time!
I also got to test my photographer’s instincts, and in the end took over 900 pictures of rocks and trees and water. I’ll spare you most of them, but here are a few of my favorites.
I have concluded that my instincts are OK but could use some honing.
Nature is the wellspring of artistic inspiration that they say it is, and I’ve had a better fill of fall than ever. I’ll be designing more line art in anticipation of winter all the way up until Christmas time.
Wow, this is exciting! My own website, my own shop, my own blog. My own space to serve as a ‘ground zero’ as I reach my artsy fingers out across the web distributing line art and mandalas. It’ll take a lot of work to get this place fully up and running and I look forward to the experience. I’ll make sure not to let the website development cut into my drawing and designing time too much, though.
I should tell the story of how I started making coloring pages. A few different elements coalesced. First, in February or so, I saw Johanna Basford’s “Enchanted Forest” coloring book while browsing Amazon and had to have it the moment I laid eyes on it. I bought a few mandala books too. Soon after the coloring books arrived in the mail, I started swimming laps nightly at the public pool down the road, and was so blissfully tired when I got home, all I could do was throw on some music and color for an hour or two while I recovered.
I started fantasizing about making my own coloring pages, since I have a creative streak and have been drawing from the time I could hold a pencil — though I’d almost stopped drawing entirely the last few years. Boo! That needed to change. Browsing online, I happened to discover the visionary art of artists like Alex Grey, Adam Scott Miller, Amanda Sage, Android Jones and Michael Divine. My eyes were starving. I couldn’t get enough of this wondrous, intense, profound, brightly colorful style. I also started meditating regularly. Just 20 minutes per day, an hour before bedtime, helped me feel happier, more focused and more relaxed. (I really should get back into the habit!)
I wanted to make some original, creative coloring pages, but I didn’t know how I’d sell my work. Then I discovered Etsy’s option to buy and sell instant downloads. I knew immediately that this was what I had to do with my urge to make some art. And so, in April, I was inspired to buckle down and really get to work. I brainstormed about a thousand potential drawings. I sat down and drew my first coloring book, Hippie Kitsch, over the course of a couple weeks.
During this time I also learned to digitally design mandalas, which I absolutely love doing. The symmetry is simultaneously comforting and invigorating; when it comes to math, I’ve always had a knack for geometry. I love playing with my tools and discovering what shapes come out. It’s a great problem-solving exercise, and the creation process is as meditative as the coloring process.
And now it’s time for me to start listing pages in my new shop! I’ll write again soon. Thanks for visiting. :)