I've had my hands full lately, trying to get caught up on both business and personal administrative things. I pretty much abandoned the bookkeeping when Connor was born, but now that taxes are looming, I've been working frantically to catch up.
So since I only have an hour or two to work each day, anyway, I've put most other things on hold, including commissions and new projects. To relax, I've been working on Connor's first map, which I hope to finish and have framed in time for his first birthday in June.
I added a few more things by ink after I shot this photo, but now the inking is done, and this week, I'm painting the ocean.
This painting is one of the largest I've done, at 18" x 24", and not for the first time, I'm learning that I must work more slowly with water than I can on a smaller painting. I generally choose not to stretch my watercolor paper ahead of time, because it changes the texture of the paper in a way that makes ink spread sloppily, and if I stretch the paper after I ink it, then I run the risk of it buckling irreversibly. I guess that's not supposed to happen if you do it, you know, correctly, but it's happened to me. So instead, I usually do a sort of post-stretching, in which I saturate the final painting from the back, sandwich it with absorbent paper or cardboard, and weight it down with heavy books so it dries flat. It might not be proper, but it works beautifully for me. (It helps that I have a lot of large, heavy books. I feel this gives them a chance to earn their keep around here.)
This lack of pre-stretching, though, means that it's easy to over-saturate the unstretched paper while painting, so I must work in smaller portions. It's a good exercise in patience and working slowly and methodically, which is not my usual m.o., especially now that I have so little time on my hands.
I'm anxious to be finished, but I'm very pleased with it, and it is a special process to make something for my own child. I hope he will treasure it as he grows older, and I hope that, in the meantime, it brings him hours of happy adventures through imagination.