When I’m Not Writing, I’m Doing Something Useful (Writing 101, Day 11)

Someone once asked me why I didn’t have any useful hobbies.  I didn’t respond to the question.  It wasn’t worth my time.  In response, though, I have some questions of my own.

What is more useful than learning to see things from other people’s perspectives?  Reading does that.

What is more useful than creating something beautiful?  This happens every time I pick up a paintbrush.

Lately, I’ve spent a great deal of my free time writing.  I mean… what do you expect when your course is titled Writing 101?  But writing isn’t all I do.

I love books.  Those three words don’t even begin to describe my love for the written word.  I count myself among the world’s bibliophiles.  To read a book is akin to breathing.  As long as I can remember, I’ve been a reader.  Nothing has changed over the years.  College was awesome because it gave me an excuse to read all kinds of interesting books and get graded for it.  I used to be a one-book-at-a-time kind of girl.  Now I usually balance two or three at a time.  My bedroom has no less than six shelves–all full to the brim.  My “To-Read” list is endless.  In case you were wondering, right now I’m balancing a book of feminist essays, Love Does by Bob Geoff, and some fluffy YA fiction.

I also love art.  One of my favorite places during my semester in London was the National Gallery.  Whenever I had twenty minutes to kill, I’d duck in and spend time with Monet and Rembrandt.  But my love isn’t limited to viewing art.  I love creating it.  Like reading, I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember.  I got very serious about it when I was eleven and have been striving ever since.  A year ago, I picked up watercolors.  It’s been a blast learning the ins and outs of the new medium and combining it with my drawings.  My work isn’t high brow, art museum level.  It’s not even Art Major level.  But it doesn’t have to be.  I don’t make art to excel–I make art to fill me up.

Reading and painting bring me life.  They make me happy and they make others happy.  I love giving people hand-crafted art to put on their wall or hold their pages in a book.  What is more useful than touching the lives of the people you love?

This is just a sampling of some of the things I've painted recently.
This is just a sampling of some of the things I’ve painted recently.

This post is inspired by an assignment for the Blogging University class Writing 101: Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Sketchbook Corner

One of my favorite features here on Keep Your Feet is Sketchbook Corner.  Since I’m participating in Blogging 101, I feel like I should explain the history of these posts.  They began sometime last fall during school.  Unless the class is completely gripping, I usually find myself needing to do something to do with my hands.  I took up doodling in the margins.  Eventually, I was struck by a thought: Why not share these on the blog?

Thus, Sketchbook Corner was born.  Every couple of months, I like to share the art I’ve been working on.  I’m no studio art major… just a self-taught artist who enjoys creating things.  My primary medium has always been pencils–I’ve been drawing for over ten years.  Over the past year, though, I’ve expanded into watercolors!

At least once a week, I put in a movie and settle down with my paints.  It’s a wonderful way to relax after a long day of work.  I enter my own little world and, for a while, time stops.  I’m always completely shocked when an episode of a show ends–did an hour really just pass?

Enough rambling from me… here is the art!

I’ve recently taken up colored pencils again and have been revisiting some old doodles in my sketchbook.  Here are some colored ones below:

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Top left: Ginny Weasley Bottom left: Random mermaid Right: Some of my original characters

I really enjoy painting bookmarks–they’re functional and make for great gifts!  Normally I paint people, but have recently pushed myself into the realm of flowers.  My dad told me that if I can find a way to market them, I could make larger flower paintings and sell them at our family’s apple orchard store in the fall!

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Other paintings… Be sure to click into the gallery to see my comments about them!

Stay tuned for another Sketchbook Corner in a month or so.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sketchbook Corner (Watercolor Edition)

Or shall I say… Watercolor Corner?

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was a set of new watercolors from my little brother.  For the past few months, I’ve been scraping by on an eight-tint Crayola set that is five years old.  Yuck.  The new set has a massive array of colors and when I combine it with the big set of brushes I got for my birthday, I’m capable of achieving so much more with my paint.

I’ve been exploring some different techniques/subjects, which has been a blast.  Since this is a watercolor-only edition of SK and I’ve put a lot of thought and time into all these works, let’s take things one by one…

(Please excuse the crappy image quality)

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These mountains were the first thing I painted upon receiving my new paint.  I gave this one to my best friend as a belated Christmas gift.

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I had a blast painting this sunflower on Christmas day.  I gave it to my summer partner, Eva, (who loves yellow).

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This is my amateur attempt at capturing The Lonely Mountain from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.  It took forever to paint–so many layers!  I rewatched one of the films while I painted, staying up WAY too late to finish.  But, gosh, am I pleased with the result!  I loved it so much I sent it home with my older brother, who shares my love of Tolkien.

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Okay, so the picture quality is REALLY crappy here.  It looks much better in person.  This was my first real attempt at painting people since getting the new brushes and paint.  I originally started out doing lots of people (see previous Sketchbook Corners for examples), but it was difficult with only one brush to work with.  I started this one on a whim–the basic sketch took only a couple minute.  I finished her up at a sleepover, which was actually pretty challenging as I had to balance the paints on my friend’s couch while avoiding her over-excited pomeranians.

Did this one last night as well.  I wanted to experiment more with painting people, and I'm quite pleased with the result!  I've been reading several YA fairytale retellings, so I imagine she's either Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, or has a story of her own.

I painted this last night while watching the premiere of Marvel’s Agent Carter with my mother. I wanted to experiment more with painting people, and I’m quite pleased with the result! I’ve been reading several YA fairytale retellings, so I imagine she’s either Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, or has a story of her own.

Finally…

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This took FOREVER.  I did the background and sketches of the trees before New Years and didn’t pick it back up until last night.  The details on the trees took what felt like hours.  And yes… it’s inspired by a Taylor Swift song.  (My favorite on her 1989 album).  Painting all the black got annoying and adding words with white felt like a risk, but I’m definitely pleased with the result!

That’s all for this edition of Sketchbook Corner!  Check by in a few weeks to see what else my hands come up with.  If you haven’t seen them, do look at my previous SK posts and see how I’ve improved!

Also, because I’m curious… What painting is your favorite?  Let me know in the comments!