Product Obsessions Part I

If you were to look through my desk, depending on the type of person or artist you are, you would either run screaming from my studio, or sit mesmerized with a little dribble of drool coming from the side of your mouth. 

I have quite a collection of art supplies for all sorts of different mediums tucked away in all of the little drawers and corners of my roll-top desk. I am currently subscribed to two excellent art supply boxes that come in the mail once per month, so I get to discover new supplies really often.  More on those boxes later. 

My most recent obsession has been with the brushes I've been using. I received a gift card to Blick's for my birthday and I'm not ashamed to say, I went on the website and made my choices solely on how gorgeous these brushes are. They are from the brand Escoda*, the Grafilo style. They have this gorgeous detailed grip and paint like an absolute dream. It's funny because these are technically supposed to be watercolor brushes (in Tajmyr Sable), known for their superior ability to retain moisture. I have found great use for them in oil painting, because my style is not at all traditional, favoring paints greatly diluted with mineral spirits. The brushes flow so incredibly smoothly, and if I had a chunk of cash I would buy the entire collection. I was sort of waiting to really put these through the mill before I made any recommendations, and they have exceeded my expectations.

Cutting to the chase here, buy one or two of these and try them out. Take care of them and they will take care of you.


*This is not a sponsored post. I bought these of my own accord and with my own money.

Anyway, on to the photos!

I don't know what it is, I have just never had such a smooth painting experience. 

I don't know what it is, I have just never had such a smooth painting experience. 



Lazuli Buntings

I have a question for the artists out there... Have you ever had a piece that you are just SO excited about that the fear of failure prevents you from finishing it? Or starting it?

I started two sweet little buntings on a circle panel a while ago, and when I got to the point of adding color to the birds, I just froze. The painting sat on my easel for weeks. Until yesterday, for whatever reason. 

I think maybe it has something to do with the fear that the end result will disappoint the original vision. It takes a lot to push past it, but it is possible. Just one brush stroke.


Anyway, here's some progress.

100 Days

In the grand scheme of things, 100 days seems like nothing at all. But does it, really?


I recently met an artist named Monika Kralicek, an incredibly talented and sweet person (link to her instagram below), who was in the midst of 100 days of palette sketches. As an outsider you see something like that and at first it's an easy thing to minimize. "Art for 100 days? Any artist can do that, it should be fun if nothing else!" But then, think about it. Does every artist create EVERY DAY? No. Not a chance. I realize there may be exceptions to that, but those are few and far between. Sometimes you need a day off to rekindle your creativity. 

The more I thought about it, the more I found myself making excuses not to try it. "I'm too busy. I have a full time job, how can I make time for art every single day?" 

Monika shared her experience through the process, all of the highs and lows. Not all of the days felt like a win, I'm sure. But I have to say, it was such a joy to watch her work (which I was already completely in love with) evolve with such a concentrated effort over those 100 days. It's also quite an accomplishment, Monika's dedication to her craft is really rather impressive.

Well, no more excuses. I am going for it. I have told Anthony that I need someone to hold me accountable and he has agreed to do it, on the condition that I don't get mad at him when he tells me to go draw something. I told him I might just draw him a middle finger.

I think the parameters to set myself up for success need to be relatively loose. My work doesn't fall into the same genre as Monika's, so I won't be doing palette sketches. To keep myself from getting bored and giving up I won't stick to one medium, I will try as many as possible. I have so many different new brands and types of art supplies in my desk that I have been dying for an excuse to try, this seems like the perfect time.  I will try my best to make sure it happens within 100 days, but my overall goal is to get to 100 pieces of work, one piece per day, in as close to 100 days as possible. 

Follow me on instagram as I try to make this happen. We shall see!

Follow Monika for some seriously dreamy abstracts, and check out all of her 100 days.

The über-talented Monika Kralicek. She makes it look easy! (above).

Several of her 100 days of palette sketches (below).

Pasta Sundays

What it is about starting a new tradition and keeping up with that tradition that really puts a warmth in my heart, I may never know. Crepe Sunday, 4th of july at the Newport Aquatic Center, taco Tuesday, Wednesday morning tea with my little dog... I suppose it may have something to do with the anticipation of something you really are looking forward to. Or, perhaps, adding little reasons to celebrate daily life and the ones I get to live it with. I have always been an advocate for the little things, because appreciating beauty in things that aren't necessarily profound can make something mundane feel much more special.

So, let's talk about pasta Sunday. Oh yes, you read that correctly. Pasta Sunday. Two weeks ago, I attempted papa sisto. a favorite from a small San Diego restaurant called Salvatore's Cucina Italiana. I think I need to elaborate on Salvatore's, I feel it gives a lot of insight into why my Italian heritage is so important to me... We discovered this place on a long weekend in the San Diego area when I made the grave error of waiting until 3pm on a Saturday to call for reservations in downtown... Oops. My grave error led us to choose Italian food, an old standby for us. I found Salvatore's on yelp and by some miracle combination of mediocre reviews and a location slightly removed from the bustling downtown, we were able to make a reservation. 

As we walked through the door, we noticed the sweet strums of a harp in the corner and the whole restaurant was adorned in a rather charming upscale yet old fashioned Italian decor. Upon first glance, one might mistake it for being slightly garish. With closer examination, however, every bit of it is rather purposeful. 

Throughout the course of the meal, we were treated to some of the best service and food we have ever experienced. I decided, for my main course, to try the papa sisto. When it comes to food, I consider myself to be very adventurous. I will try anything and everything at least once. At Salvatore's, however, the papa sisto is so delicious that I haven't been able to bring myself to order anything different on the numerous occasions we have revisited.

Excellent as everything was, the most remarkable part of the meal was the pace. True to Italian culture, we luxuriated over our meal and our time together. The food, though incredible, was "under the table" (more on that later). 

So, back to pasta Sunday. In an effort to recreate the feel of our luxurious italian meals, Anthony and I have taken to getting in touch with our italian roots and making a different dish every Sunday. Cooking together is so relaxing and brings us and our family together in such a lovely way. 

So, what's the point of this? I suppose the point is that building new traditions together serves a vital purpose. Celebrate every day. Find joy in the otherwise mundane. There's always something new to look forward to. 

Not the best photo, but my version of papa sisto. Pretty damn close!

Not the best photo, but my version of papa sisto. Pretty damn close!

The makings of a spicy Calabrese-style ragu!

The makings of a spicy Calabrese-style ragu!