Big Ol' Catch-Up Post

Friday, September 30, 2016

I'd be sad I didn't get more writing done, but there was this.

The Pacific Northwest in the autumn is amazing, y'all.  And while Wander Week didn't start until today, technically, I'm all about the spirit of the thing versus the letter of it.  My whole purpose for these weekly themed "retreats" is to try and give myself dedicated time to focus on one thing at a time, and to make sure I still have a breadth of exposure to the things I love doing.

And if I'd missed this, I'd have missed something I love.  I need more experiences (thus, the focus weeks), not fewer.  So this.  This, this, this.

I decided to head up the mountain one day on a whim, and ended up hiking by an insane drop-off into that river valley below, surrounded by giant Noble Firs and patches of wild carrot.  I sat on a log by the beach at Coldwater Lake and drew the path.  I logged an insane number of fitbit steps.  :D

I wandered.  I invoked the spirit of Walt Whitman and Thoreau (and probably a little Bill Bryson, because it is me we're talking about here), and gallivanted off into the wild.

I loved every minute of it, too.

I also read all of the writing-related books in the house, save a half-dozen that I put aside for next time.  The rest are being passed on to new homes, because the Giant Declutter is still A Thing(tm) around here.

So this week was Art Week.

I did a few things over the past couple weeks.  (A few things that have all but filled a sketchbook, which I'm calling a huge victory.)

*  I've been touristing in my hometown, practicing some things I read about in some urban sketching books.

*  I've been participating peripherally in #worldwatercolorday's monthly challenge, which was kind of summery-themed this month.  (Lots of seaside topics, which is totally cool with just seems a little more July than September to me.) 

*  I even tried to make my own watercolor paint.  I already had the glycerine and gum arabic, and after remembering that eye shadow is essentially just pigment and binder, I crushed up a couple shadows and went for it.  And it worked!  Not the best saturation (while it's pigment, eye shadow is pretty diluted so it doesn't kill your eyes), and way more sparkle than I usually look for in a paint, but it totally worked.  I'm trying not to go insane and buy pigment to play with.  The struggle is real.

I also read through the last of the art books that I'm getting rid of.  (Which is all of them, save seven -- one on anatomy, one on botanical illustration, two on urban sketching, one on sacred geometry, one on keeping a nature journal, and the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing.)  The ones left over are foci for upcoming Art Weeks.  It's nice to have a focus and not feel so overwhelmed with the possibilities, I have to say.

Technically, wander week starts today.

I'm planning on going out today and drawing more things, if the weather holds.  (It's threatening to rain as I write this.)  My friend Laurie, of Glitterfoot Studios, is heading up to hang out and be all creative and junk together.

But most of this week is the final book push.  I've got a small stack of ecology-related/wander-y type things/transcendentalist lit still sitting here that my brain refuses to let go of until I've at least speed-read through them.  

(For the record, once that's done, I've got fiction left in the house, and a scarily small pile of nonfic that I still want to get to.  And I'm done.  I've completely cleared almost a dozen shelves, not including the art supply shelves.  Not even kidding.  It's crazy.)

And maybe -- just maybe -- I can get back onto a mountain somewhere before the snow flies, too.

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© G O * E X P L O R I N G Maira Gall.