Tempus fugit.

Time usually creeps by on Friday, but today has kind of gotten away from me. Wait, let’s try that again: I have a desk job, and I lost track of time? Doing work? Now there’s a nice change. :)

[I’ve been putting together my grad program’s new recruitment brochure, which has involved a lot of toggling between Photoshop and InDesign, and either one of those beats yucky Excel or Word by a long shot. Some days I get to pretend that I’m a graphic designer who does a little bit of office work instead of vice versa.]

I did manage to finish my little paintings during lunch, but they both need a little fixin’ up and I didn’t have time. So I’m going to show little peeks only.

New painting detail.

Yes, there are birds in both. And trees.

New painting detail.

Bonus points if you can actually guess what the scenes are!

This weekend will be full of Etsy-ness for me…I’ve got a little “business plan” in the works (decided it wasn’t a bad idea to look at my projected expenditures vs. income) and I need to order some supplies. And I realized that my little craft room was never meant to hold all the stuff I’ve been cramming in there, so a little de-cluttering is necessary. Need any fabric? On Monday I’ll post the stuff I’m getting rid of…

Have a good weekend!

P.S. Thanks for the kind feedback on the lensbaby photos – I’m glad you like them.

What a lens, baby.

I’m back in the ol’ office today. My inbox is happy to see me, but I can’t say as I return the sentiment…the day has had a great-to-see-you’re-feeling-better-here’s-some-work vibe to it.

But on to the photos I mentioned. One of my bosses loaned me his Canon EOS 10D and a lensbaby last weekend. The camera is, obviously, pretty sweet, but it was the lens that provided most of the fun.

The local produce market.

I’ve seen a lot of lensbaby shots before and can’t say that I always love the look, especially if it’s used in every single photo.

Next to my bus stop.

But that’s before I tried it. The thing is addictive.

Next to my bus stop.

I didn’t realize this before, but the lens is attached to an accordion-like piece that screws on to your camera where the regular lens goes.

Signs of fall.

Once it’s on, you create the focus manually by pushing and turning the lens.


This is about as manual as it gets these days, people, and it’s harder than it looks! (I took a lot of shots where nothing at all is in focus.)

Bean after her bath.

(Yes, the dog got a bath last weekend – Stinky Bean needed to become Clean Bean.)

Country driving.

I had the camera with me in the car when Josh and I got stuck in traffic next to some wheatfields (ongoing construction, don’t ask), so I thought I’d put together the little set of small-town/driving images that you see here.

After the harvest.

Harvest is over, so we’re surrounded by fields that look like this.

Husband in the car.

Husband looking pensive as he stares at the immobile car in front of us.

Self portrait.

I don’t usually take self portraits, but this was just too convenient. (You can see my fingers holding the lens in focus.)

That’s a lot of lensbaby, I know, but I kept going because it felt so, so….undigital. If you come across one, make sure to give it a try. :)

It’s no fun being sick.

You know how sometimes you’re just sick enough to stay home and not infect everyone else but not so sick that you can’t catch up on that little pile of unfinished projects? This is not one of those times. I made the strategic error of checking my work email this morning instead of pretending it didn’t exist (as my pounding head and throat suggested), so the day hasn’t been entirely work free. But other than that, I’ve managed to read. And drink 7 Up. And languish on the couch. Will show some nice fall pics taken with my boss’s camera as soon as I’m up and about, but at the rate things are going that probably won’t be for another day or two. :(

In the mean time, some cushions and a novel await.

A little spacey.

Since you can see it for yourself, I guess the new header doesn’t need a lot of explanation. And I’m out of lunchbreak. (TGIF, eh?)

I’ve got a lot of computer work planned for the weekend, but I hope to find time to work on a new piece or two and snap some photos of our lovely fall weather. Thanks again for all your input this week, and I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Input appreciated.

Wow, guys + gals – you’re the best. Thank you for all your comments!

Y’all made some good points about the color…I lightened the background and darkened the second line of text so it shows up better. I think I like the two-color format better than just white, although white’s got a lot going for it.  And the corners will be rounded. :)

Business card 3.

(I fixed the little text problem, too. It’s amazing how many things you see right after uploading an image.)

Now that I’ve got the card mostly straightened out, I put together a matching banner for my Etsy shop.

Etsy banner (coming soon...).

And I’m working on another banner for this blog, since the blockprinted cards aren’t really what I’m up to at the moment. I inked the drawing during lunch and will hopefully have time to paint it tomorrow…so be prepared for a new look on Friday!

A quick comment about Jason’s suggestion to use my own letters for the text. I had been planning to do this, but they lose their definition when I make them small. Kind of disappointing – I felt like I had invented my own font for a while! But I think the P will pop up from time to time (as an avatar, perhaps).

Alphabirdybet P.

Once again, thanks for all the feedback. And let me know if you can think of any more great improvements!

Input needed.

So I’ve been working to develop a business card for the past few weeks, and it’s been a bit of a challenge. The problem with a business card design is that you want it to be The One because you’re going to print a jillion and don’t want to have to re-do them. Ever. This requires finding an image and a design that you can live with for a long time.

I’m not sure this is “it,” but I thought I’d stop and ask for your feedback before getting any farther along.

Business card, version 2.

Do you like the blue or the white better? Or do you think both of them are boring? I want the design to go with that of my Etsy banner (also in progress)…and as you can tell, they’re both birdy-themed.

Business card, version 1.

Er, I also thought I’d add a note about the shop name since birds are everywhere these days. I don’t draw/paint birds because they’re trendy. Paulabirdy has been my email address for about four years now, and I’ve loved birds since I got the Audobon guide to North American birds when I was six. I just wish it didn’t feel so un-original to do the bird thing. :(

I can’t guarantee that I’ll follow every bit of advice I receive, but if you could take a moment to chime in I’d appreciate it.

Thank you!

The rest of the Alpha-birdy-bet.

I don’t know about you, but I had a lovely weekend. I meant to take some photographs to share, but I discovered that my carefully-charged batteries were dead (??), so that’s not going to happen. Hrumph. The camp where we were staying was next to a river, the weather was the best sort of almost-autumn, and I got to hang out with and talk to some of my favorite people…what’s not to like?

But on to the rest of the alphabirdybet letters. I’m not done editing these by a long shot, so if you see some extra blobs or dots, never fear – they’ll be cleaned up before they go in the shop. (Unfortunately, prints always seem to be about half creation-on-paper and half editing-on-computer.) I don’t want to edit out all the character, for sure, but I can do without pencil smudges.

Alphabirdybet E-H.

Some of the letters look more evenly spaced than others, but that will also be fixed in the poster.

Alphabirdybet I-L.

Now that I see them all together, I suppose I patronized the letters in my own name – the P, A, and L are some of my favorites.

Alphabirdybet M-P.

Er, maybe the G, too. And the huffy little bird on the O.

Alphabirdybet Q-T.

Perhaps the S as well…?

Alphabirdybet U-X.

Okay, I guess I like them all.

Alphabirdybet Y-Z.

(The G-birdy and H-birdy are below.)

Alphabirdybet E-H detail.

Thanks for all your birdy-love, by the way. I really appreciate the comments! I am trying to reform my antisocial blogging ways and comment more – I’m so terrible about stopping to say anything. A lot of times I feel like everything’s already said and one more “cute girl drawing…” isn’t going to make someone’s day. But your comments make mine, so I’m re-thinking that mentality.

If you take a look at this photo from the Enormous Tiny Art Show II opening last weekend, you can see my paintings framed and hanging in the background. And…it’s hard to describe how happy I am to say this…the sealion + penguin painting has sold already. This is my first gallery sale, so I’m going to go ahead and feel really, really excited about that even if it’s kind of dorky. My deepest darkest fear when I sent the paintings off was that no one would like them and none of them would sell. But at least one has!!

Now that the alphabet is finished and scanned, I’ve got some computer work cut out for me. But I’ll try to get another drawing or two up this week, and I’ve been pushing around business card designs all weekend. Maybe you can give me some feedback…

Sneak preview.

I finished the Alphabirdybet letters but I didn’t have enough time to scan all of them, so I’m going to give you only a sneak preview of the A-D set.

Alphabirdybet A-D.

I lightly painted over the ink with watercolor and the Bristol board held up pretty well. Although next time I might, you know, plan ahead and actually use watercolor paper.

Alphabirdybet D.

The strange thing is that I am absolutely in love with these little guys. I usually have a very begrudging relationship with my work – I love to paint something, but I usually hate what I’ve painted (at least for a while, and then acceptance sets in). But this time I am so happy with the bluebirds. I feel as though I painted them into existence, as though they’re living happy little birdy lives in alphabet land somewhere. I’ll show you the rest on Monday and you can decide if you agree with me. :)

Also, as a sneak preview of future plans, I have decided to open my Etsy shop on October 12. Alphabirdybet prints will be available as individual letters and as a small alphabet poster, and I’ve got some Christmas cards in the works. And I think I’ll have a big batch of the vintage fabric quail and sparrow cards printed as well.

I’m going to Coeur D’Alene this weekend with the mum + sister, so there won’t be any painting. But I’m taking a new skein of yarn and a sketchbook, so I might have something to show for it.

Happy Friday!

P.S. If you go to my Flickr page, you can see all the Alphabirdybet sets lined up. (At least I can.) It’s kind of fun to see how they progressed.

Still painting.

I’m still painting the Alphabirdybet letters – I tried colored pencil and watercolor on my sample page, and the watercolor looks much better. (Boy, I can’t say how much I’ve appreciated having a “spare” to practice on. Usually I mess up on the first one anyway or just take some time to find my stride, so I’ve started setting it aside as a piece to practice techniques, etc. on. This has saved me from a series of dumb-ideas-that-seemed-good-until-I-actually-tried-them.) Since painting in the evening hasn’t worked out so well, I brought all my supplies to the office and have been trying to squeeze it into my lunch break. My top of my tall file cabinet is currently stuffed with water cups, brushes, and paper, but no one’s asked about it yet…

So I don’t have paintings to show, but I wanted to point out a couple of nice people and links that I’ve found recently:

I’ve got an awful lot of Etsy bookmarks right now that I’m saving for another post. I can see that it’s tempting to spend every cent you earn on other people’s stuff. And I haven’t even earned any cents yet. 

Will try to post some birdy letters tomorrow.

Alpha-birdy-bet in pen.

Progress is in the air….I am almost done inking the letters (just 6 more to go).

Alphabirdybet in ink.

I originally wanted to add lots of leaves but found that the letters started to look kind of furry. So I decided that plain branches would be better.

Alphabirdybet in ink detail.

The birds will be blue with red tummies and the birch branches will be light grey. I want to use watercolor, but the drawings are all done on bristol board and I don’t know how badly it will wrinkle. Anyone ever tried painting on it? Bristol board seems comparable to 140 lb hot press watercolor paper to me, so I’m hoping it will work if I tack down the edges and keep my paint light. If not, I’ll probably try colored pencil instead.

As I’ve been working with pen + ink, I’ve been thinking a lot about perfectionism. It kinda bothers me that the ink lines aren’t perfectly straight or perfectly curved and that the thick/thin parts don’t always fall where I want them to. This is where Illustrator is treacherous for the perfectionist…you can make your lines perfect. Absolutely, mathematically perfect. Set up a grid, set your stroke, choose your color, and go. It’s really tempting, sometimes.

I wish I could say that I thought all vector art was boring and everything hand-drawn is fabulous, but that’s just not the case. It’s not so easy for me to pick and choose what I prefer, or to say that a drawing is necessarily “better” for all its imperfections. I just have to live with it and be grateful that God gave me a hand that wiggles a little bit when I wish it wouldn’t. And fight that old urge to re-do everything that doesn’t look perfect.

In completely unrelated news, I discovered after arriving at work today that my pants have a hole in them. So I asked the secretary for a safety pin and made some discreet repairs. Despite my faith in safety pins, however, I am constantly waiting for a “sproing” and a jab every time I sit down. Is it too cheesey to say that I’ve been sitting on pins + needles all day?