The Sketch Book

January ’14

Welcome to the first month of the 2014 Calendar! So sporty and confident, just like me when I go skiing…

It’s true, I’m an amazing skier. I never complain that everyone else is going too fast, or that I’m cold! I never even complain that “I am not going down that one, absolutely not, no no no!” while standing at the top looking down a run and I certainly never tell anyone repeatedly that my fingers and toes are numb. Truly, I am a joy to ski with…

You probably detected a hint of sarcasm there.

Ok, I admit it, I’m no Lindsey Vonn. But, I do know a good ski out fit when I see one and I know my limits and respect them fiercely. Safety first! While you enjoy rocketing head-first towards the powdery abyss below, I enjoy taking in the view as I make horizontal cuts at the mountain while enjoying the scenery and knowing with full confidence that I will not spend six months recovering from a torn ACL. There’s nothing like devoting a solid 40 minutes to not falling while breathing in the majestic beauty all around you! And of course, if things are looking dicey, I’m not afraid to ask for help. I once called the police from the mountain top to inform them that I was preparing to hurtle towards a serious injury in the hopes of getting airlifted out of a mogul situation. Sadly, I did not get airlifted but I did get a vail ski patrol escort down to lunch.

If you ask me, skiing is all about risk awareness and avoidance, truffle fries after a hard day (hour) of hitting the slopes, and most importantly skiing – like most situations in my life is mainly about the outfit.

Happy January!

Auld Lang Stye… that can’t be right can it?

Well. We made it. It’s the last day of the year. It’s time for champagne.

I don’t remember a New Year’s Eve that wasn’t cloudy and cold. I love that feeling, like the whole day is just a breath away from night time. It’s always a little bit melancholy and a little bit expectant. The greenery is still up but the Christmas reds are replaced with gold and silver sparkle. Is there any thing prettier than greenery and gold and the strains of auld lang stye drifting around like lost snow flakes (is that even how you spell the name of that song? does anyone really know? one of life’s great mysteries… I realize how much this blog could be written by Ron Burgundy sometimes. My fact checking is spotty at best)

Anyway, as I said, I love this day. I put a lot of stock in the mystic, the superstitious, and the greater beings that inspire belief. Did you know this about me? I worship at the temple all sorts of spirits and the light shining within me honoring the light within you. Namaste.

And New Year’s Eve is the perfect time for one last yoga session to really luxuriate in both spinal twists and all of my feelings about the year that is coming to a close. So many feelings! Enthusiasm and love mix with seething anger, joy and trepidation intermingle. There is much to sort through. 365 days ready to be reflected upon. So, every December 31st I take time to check in with all of my goddesses and inner spirits and take stock of the year.

Last year I believe I wrote a blog post bubbling over with blissful naiveté about how I didn’t have a plan for the year ahead. Let me just check back in and let you know how that went – not my best plan. That blog post was so clearly written by the innocent novice I was pre-engagement. A woman lost at sea*. This year I am wholly new in my perspective towards whats to come. Bridal zeal has infused my outlook with unprecedented levels of enthusiasm**

After mining all these feelings and distilling for meaning, the thing that rises to the surface is gratitude. Also, determination much like what Braveheart felt with the blue face paint and the stoic facial expression…

But mainly gratitude. Gratitude that you all keep showing up, gratitude that I get to spend each year doing something I love and gratitude that you made this painting my best seller of all time.

So to thank you, I thought I’d honor that ever-popular sketch with a new version and in this one I’ve decided it’s time to live a little. Forget the coffee date, let’s move on to something a little stronger. Cheers to a new year full of gratitude… and battle-ready bravery, but mostly gratitude.

* I could have really let loose here with a lengthy sailing-themed metaphor about how I now have found true north, or that the wind is at my back, or that I have set sails for glory… but I spared you

**I must remember this feeling and harness it! Perhaps teach a motivational class about it!

***buy a print!

home for the holidays

Here’s a merry doorway I painted for a Christmas Card design.

This is for a lovely couple who happen to be good friends of mine. Every time we ran into each other at weddings this fall, we would brainstorm about what I should paint for their card. Partridges in a pear tree? Pheasants in a snowy wood? There was a lot of discussion of birds…

Ultimately though, when it was time to sit down and paint, I thought of their charming, beautifully decorated Charlottesville home and how festive it could look decked out for a rustic, snowy Christmas.

Of course, my artwork couldn’t hold a candle to the adorable picture of their puppy inside. I can’t wait to send a Christmas card next year after the wedding when it is finally socially acceptable to send a card from the royal us. Sending a Christmas card is one of my main motivating factors for getting married. I have had our first Christmas card illustration in my head for about three years…

Ella & Rue wish you a Merry Christmas

Merry merry from Ella Rue, my favorite vintage shop in Georgetown.

Sisters Krista and Alexa Johnson are the creative lovelies behind this cute, eclectic and designer packed shop on P Street. They were some of my very first commission clients and I always love working with them. I think their holiday card this year might be my favorite yet!

That’s Krista on the left and Alexa on the right. And notice Ella and Rue, the store’s namesake pups, peaking out around the tree!

oh baby!

Guys. It’s all happening.

My friends are officially having babies!

I mean, not all of them at once. It’s nothing like that group of 16 year olds that had a pregnancy pact or anything, but the first of the baby bumps are starting to appear.

I thought I was excited about everyones’s weddings, but this is even better. I am really looking forward to this next chapter of celebrating new beginnings and excuses to go in expensive baby clothes stores. And better yet – excuses to design more illustrations for baby shower invitations like this one!

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