It’s keeping me sane(ish)

Most days around here are spent boxing up our belongings. I try to do the lion’s share of the work on this end because I’m kind of useless on moving day. So the biggest part of my contribution is the before and after. The downsizing part of this particular move has added the additional responsibility of making sure I love everything that goes in a box. Have I used this in the last year? Will I be using it in the next 3-6 months? Can it be replaced at a later date? And the most important question of all…one a co-worker taught me years ago: If you were going to use it, would you know where to find it? The answer to that last question is usually a no. I like everything to be within my vision, otherwise I forget I even have it.

As of April 3, we have 25 more days before the move. In some ways, that seems like way too short of a time period. In other moments, however, it seems an eternity.

So how do I keep sane within the confines of chaos?

I started keeping a sketching journal shortly before we found out about our move. I’m not faithful about doing it daily, and I’m okay with that. Each morning I wake up, grab my chai tea and land on the floor with the cat. I pull out my book and sketch a little about the previous day – highlights I want to remember.

The idea for the journal came exclusively from Samantha Dion Baker. I have been silently admiring her work for about a year now. Man oh man!, her journals. Each page is a work of delicate art. Her sketches are so unique to her and easily recognizable.

Something I have learned about myself over the years is that I learn a new technique best by imitating something I admire. Some might want to yell, “Hey!, that’s copying!” To which I would reply, “Yes. Exactly.” It is how – in the very very beginning – I learned to scrapbook. There were scrapbookers I really admired so I copied their work until eventually my own style emerged. I have encouraged students who have taken my classes over the years to do the same. For the most part, the techniques you admire in others are the ones that you will most likely gravitate to yourself. It’s within you – the artists you admire can help draw that out of you.

I am hoping that’s the case with Samantha’s work. I have always wanted to learn how to sketch – I love that type of art. And I love watercolor but have never taken any classes to learn how to properly do it. Instead, I have used the UNLIMITED resources online to imitate until my own style begins to set up like Jell-O.

I wrote to Samantha to see what she thought. I told her I wanted to share my progress with my blog readers but would give her COMPLETE credit for the inspiration. She readily agreed and said she was glad to be of inspiration. (A sure sign of a confident artist that isn’t hoarding their talent but eagerly helping others along the way.) I am literally looking at things within her own journals and transferring them as best as I can into my own journal. I’m already starting to see patterns emerging in the way in which I see things. I have a looooonnnnnggggggggggg way to go, but I am completely enjoying the process. It is a way to get completely lost for an hour, concentrating hard and thinking only of the page in front of me. The perfect escape from the boxes and packing tape all around, just out of my periphery.

Because things are so crazy and hectic right now in our lives, some days I only get a pencil sketch down before having to move on. Other pages have the ink drawn in, but no color yet. Sometimes I use colored pencils to add color, other times, Copic markers. I have yet to step into watercolor but mostly because it requires more space and that’s something I have in very small amounts nowadays.

I will occasionally share some pages with you. But for now, here is my very humble beginnings. I have tried to wait for a sunny day to take pictures, but if you live around Kansas City, you know it’s been so dreary and rainy lately, I might have to wait six more months for a sunny day!



I can’t tell you how much this is keeping me sane.
Well, Ish.


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