Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I have just written out some very specific resolutions and goals for 2011,
but they can pretty much be summed up like this:

To live joyfully and to dwell in possibilities.

I hope 2011 is a wonderful, magical, happy year for you and yours.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Mapmakers' Ball

Sometimes, in a grand room,
somewhere that may or may not be on a map,
the mapmakers meet
and dance and spin the evening away
while they talk of places far and near,
seen and unseen,
secret and known,
and streets with funny names.

You're invited to The Mapmakers' Ball, my latest Etsy treasury.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Treasures for You

My latest Etsy treasuries...

'Ocean Greens and Sky Blues' by paintandink

An EtsyMom Treasury!

Black Friday - Cyber Monday ...

Dangle Earrings Teal Blue Lu...

My Own Golden Lagoon Pendant...

Ocean Blue Baby Blanket - Ph...

Black Friday Limited Edition...

READY TO SHIP Aqua Green She...

Fused Glass Cuff Links No. ...

Blue Chenille Letter 'W&...

Shades of Blue Beaded Ponyta...

Flower Hair Pins Bright Teal...

The Wedgwood China No. 3 Los...

Black Friday Sale 10% OFF Ha...

Listen to the Breezes - 3x4 ...

Chamomile and Lavender Sensi...

Green Flower Hair Pins - Set...

Generated using Treasury HTML code generator by Whale Shark Websites.

'My, what a tiny tooth you have!' by paintandink

My son's first tooth is poking through, and this tiny tooth has brought a whole lot of uproar to our home, so to commemorate the occasion, here's a collection of EtsyMom Team creations.

The Ultimate New Mother Nurs...

Turquoise Cream Teefer - Too...

One Eye Green Monster Patch

Natural Maple Teething/Grasp...

Baby Bib in Dinosaurs

Fangs necklace - vampire tee...

Paranah- I bite Baby Bodysui...

T Rex Attack

ON SALE Bib with Crocodile i...

Wooden Reversible Teething o...


Teething Blanket


Handmade Green Flame Top Plu...

Boys Surfer SharkTooth STERL...

Generated using Treasury HTML code generator by Whale Shark Websites.

Monday, November 15, 2010


We are right in the heart of babyhood now.

He doesn't sleep through the night - he wakes sometimes six or seven times. Sometimes only three. Oh, those lucky three-wakeup-nights!

He grins at us when we walk in the room, and the joy makes me go weak at the knees.

He drools like a mad man.

He likes to be high up in the air, like a skydiver looking down.

He has a conehead still, from my very long labor. It is not the typical conehead, formed by his skull plates, but instead is a lump of calcified blood, and it might be permanent, so if he ever wants to go into modeling, he might have to model hats. Chances are, though, that it will go away.

He chews on our fingers, his fingers, my hair, my clothing, his clothing, the clothing I was trying to put in the giveaway pile yesterday, whatever he can reach.

I have not yet learned how to balance all the parts of this new life of ours. I feel dizzily overwhelmed most of the time. It's better if I concentrate on what is, and try to move forward, instead of what used to be, not least because used to be might have included a lot more free time, but it didn't include him, and I can't imagine that.

He is learning to play, although he would still rather be in our arms. And I try to soak that up, even if I sometimes wonder if I will ever get things done again, because I know there will be a time when he doesn't want to be held at all.

Already, the newborn days seem like a dim memory.

That could be from lack of sleep.

He works very hard at rolling over. And he is just learning to sit up, if only when I put him in that position. Rolling over and getting his knees up under his belly are his driving ambition. I hope he can harness that same perseverance and determination throughout his life.

His cheeks are SO pinchable, although I tend to pat them instead, he has just started belly-laughing, and I can't stop kissing his head!

Note: I stole my comment from Corey Amaro's Tongue in Cheek for the basis of this post.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sending My Sketchbook Into the Blue Yonder

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

I've just signed up for the Sketchbook Project. It fell into my frame of attention yesterday, at exactly the right time, and I couldn't help but sign up.

The past few years of mapmaking have been amazing, and I have been so lucky to find a way to earn money doing something I love. But success at self-employment, especially as an artist, brings some dangers, one of which is the pressure to perform. Soon, it feels like every minute of time must be productive - every piece must be good enough to sell. Time for dreaming and sketching gets squeezed and becomes less about dreaming at all and more about planning and performing and producing, even though dreaming made the whole thing possible in the first place.

Don't get me wrong - I am not of the crowd that believes that selling art somehow lessens its value or the artist's purity. I believe art is a valuable and necessary contribution to society, and artists should be compensated appropriately. But signing up for a project where the resulting artwork won't be for sale - and I won't even be keeping it - seems like a perfect exercise in creating art for the joy of creating and sharing that joy.

In this new life of mine, with the arrival of the Mapmaker's Apprentice, my time for planning and performing and producing has been abruptly and drastically cut to pieces. Time for artmaking comes in unpredictable fragments. It's rare that I have the time to work on any large chunk of a project, so if I want to make any art at all, it has to be something I can fit into those little fragments. And after a few months of almost no artmaking, I am wary of jumping right back in where I was. I am very proud of the work I've done, but feel like it's time to step back a bit, and reassess my direction and intention and creativity. Sketching is a beautiful way to do that.

I've put a sketchbook in every room, in my favorite purses and bags, and in the car. And in the process, I'm falling in love with my sketchbooks all over again. My desire to sketch has taken on an intensity that it never had before. My fingers itch for a pen, and my brain is constantly throwing out ideas.

Along comes The Sketchbook Project, and I am sold (and how could I resist, since the two main images are maps). It's open to anyone, so even if you don't think of yourself as an artist, you, too can take part.

Can't wait for my sketchbook to arrive.

The Sketchbook Project Poster: 2011

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nibs of Steel

How I love the way the Internet brings me in touch with people far and wide - people who share my sense of humor, my hobbies, my interests, no matter how offbeat, obscure or old-fashioned.

A few months ago, Tracy, a fellow Twitterer, sent me a link to a blog post about her new stash of pen nibs. Treasure! And a generous offer. As soon as I realized she was serious about sharing the wealth, I took her up on the offer.

This week, I finally made it to my post office box (it's amazing how an errand I once ran every other day or so has become a monumental undertaking, now that I have a babe in arms), and found the most delightful little package waiting for me.

I spent yesterday afternoon trying the nibs out, while my husband and son spent the day together. It was my first full studio day (not counting snack breaks and lunch for Connor, which required my presence), and the first time I'd done any inking since the little one arrived. Although I've managed to sneak in some watercolor and sketching in little fragments, inking is more of a commitment. A messy commitment. But it was wonderful to put pen to paper again.

Tracy sent a generous handful of nibs, and among them several different types, including the Banker, the Auditor, the Post Office Pen, an Arts & Drafting nib, and one called the Modern Writing nib, which is one of my favorites.

I love this modern world, but I'm also thrilled by the idea of a world in which each profession had its own pen nib.

To my great amusement and delight, they performed to type: the Banker nib was heavy and authoritative, the Post Office Pen precise and straight, the Auditor nib wrote beautifully, but shredded the paper as it went. The Arts and Modern Writing nibs were the smoothest, but I'm also pretty fond of that Post Office Pen.

I look forward to many hours of artmaking with these pens. Thank you so much, Tracy, for sharing your nibs and making my first adventures back in the studio so much fun!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Of Daydreams and Castles

I've curated two treasuries on Etsy this week. Now that we don't have to wait for a treasury to open up and we don't have to worry about our treasuries disappearing, it might be a little harder to get views (and apparently the items disappear when they sell), but it's more fun to make them. Happy treasury hunting!

Early Morning Daydreams

Saturday, August 14, 2010

From Snow to the Long, Hot Summer.


It's been a long time, but I have a good excuse:

Our son, Connor*, was born at sunrise on June 5, and we've been completely immersed in getting to know him and learning to be parents ever since. It's been exhausting. Confusing. Enchanting. Rewarding.

An adventure like no other.

And now I am slowly emerging from the maternity leave cocoon, at least a little bit, with an eye toward returning to mapmaking. I will be a work-at-home mom, so my schedule is unpredictable, but the plan is that the wee one will spend the mornings with me in the studio and the afternoons with my husband, who has changed jobs and now has significantly more time at home than he used to (which was almost nil). Evenings will be our family time. And somewhere in there, we'll have to squeeze in the housework and the like. (Of course, you know what John Lennon said about plans.)

I don't know that it will be easy, especially because little Connor likes to be held almost all of the time, and I don't think that's a bad thing - I'm becoming a babywearing convert - so I am hesitant just to drop him in the playpen all morning. And it's hard to cozy up to a drafting table with a baby strapped to your chest. But I believe that being a work-at-home artist and mother will be possible and, I hope, even fun. I expect I'll spend most of my time with Connor sketching, brainstorming, and tending to business on the computer, and do the heavy inking and painting when he's with Daddy.

I'm kicking it all off by reopening the Interimaginational Institute on Wednesday, August 18, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. For now, the inventory will be the stock I have on hand, but I look forward to adding new maps, including some of my smaller framed art, in the coming months. Please do stop by!

And in the meantime, here's to adventures and exploring and new pathways, to art and joy and to all of the treasure in this enchanted life.

An Aqua Sea
, 3.5" x 5", India ink and watercolor on paper

* Still occasionally called the Blueberry, although we have promised him we won't call him that in front of his friends.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day

And we have snow! Real snow, not flurries on steroids.

I took this photo at 7 a.m. when the neighbors' children woke me up - they were already outside playing. I can't say I blame them - the last real snowfall here was apparently in 2004, and they would have been infants or toddlers back then.

So I heard squealing, then I looked out the window and squealed myself, because I didn't actually believe the forecast yesterday. And then I immediately wished that I had cross-country skis, not that I'd be allowed to use them in my current condition. Pregnant women aren't allowed to do anything. Except eat as much chocolate as we want, which, now that I think about it, almost makes up for everything else. Maybe not skiing.

Gus the Cat spent the day looking out the window, then looking at me, then looking out the window, then looking at me, like, "Do you NOT realize something really weird is going on here? Aren't you going to DO something about it?" Then he ran around the house like a maniac. Finally, at the suggestion of a friend, I brought a bowl of snow in the house and let him check it out. After pawing and sniffing at it for a few minutes, his curiosity was sated, and he has pretty much acted normally ever since.

By the time it got dark, I measured the snow on our patio at 6.5" - not quite the 8" to 12" the forecast predicted, or the big drifts in other places I've lived, but still, a marvelous amount for southeastern Virginia.

I made the most of the day by working on some of my own artwork that I have had on the back burner while working on commissions, and by drinking three cups of hot chocolate.

It's been a good day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Unnamed Lands

I've had a little backlog of finished paintings in the past few months, and I think I've finally caught up on listing them in the shop. These are from my series of Unnamed Lands, which I hope will spark an abundance of imaginative interaction between viewer and map.

Unnamed Land No. 5, 3.5" x 5.5", india ink and watercolor on paper

Unnamed Land No. 4, 7" x 5", india ink and watercolor on paper

Unnamed Land No. 3, 3.5" x 5.5", india ink and watercolor on paper