After reading some of my friends’ sailing blogs this morning, I am starting to get some serious wanderlust again. If only I could transport myself back into this photo! We are planning to sail down to Miami in December, and that is not far away, so I am reminding myself to be patient. I need to focus on setting up my art studio in Charleston and generating some new artwork, which I am equally excited about. Well, and moving back onto the boat! We found a wonderful marina to stay at for the fall complete with a pool and a little cafe. It is located on a river between two islands, with little creeks to kayak, a perfect view of the sunset, and outdoor seating; it really seems too good to be true. So why am I having so much trouble living in the moment right now?
I think it has something to do with the fact that Brian and I have been talking about boats again — alot. We keep going back and forth about Illusion: should we keep fixing her up? should we sell her? are we ready to get a more ideal cruiser/live-aboard? are we crazy?? The answer to that last one is probably YES. However, we can’t seem to keep ourselves from looking, and unfortunately — or fortunately — we’ve found a few boats that we just love. I say unfortunately because, well, they are expensive, and we are planning to move back aboard Illusion in one week. We have way too much to do already. With all that we have going on right now, it certainly seems crazy to even think about upgrading boats, but no one achieves the impossible that doesn’t just go for it, right? Hmm. I’m not sure that I should be applying that to a big financial endeavor.
My brain has been in overdrive lately, trying to make decisions that will help me meet my long-term goals. I know that I am not alone in this struggle and it will sort itself out sooner or later, but it’s still hard to know what the best decision is going to be. Should we continue to aim higher? Or work harder to enjoy all that we are quite lucky to have right now?
These photos were taken on Big Farmer’s Cay and Little Farmer’s Cay in the Exumas last February.
It’s usually not the easiest thing to do, even when it becomes obvious; there are time constraints, the necessary need for money, and societal standards to “live up to,” but when it comes down to it, you just have to take the plunge. It’s amazing how, when you follow your dreams, things seem to magically fall into place as they should. Life becomes more exciting and also more fulfilling. Suddenly you have more to contribute to the world around you; you meet the right people, or stumble upon the right opportunities at the right time. You may be poor (or not if you are lucky!), but for the most part happier and healthier. For the past few months I’ve been doing just that (what I love), but I’ve been working out of a room in our rented house. Although I have been meeting so many new wonderful people in Savannah, I’ve also been somewhat isolated. And not only that, but I’ve only been working on the half of it. I love screen-printing, but I am very much looking forward to partaking in an artistic community and working on my painting again. I feel the need to be in close proximity to other people who are doing what they love, whatever that may be.
So you can imagine how excited I was to finally see the Wooden Sheep Wood Shop in Savannah today. This space is amazing! You may have heard me mention Wooden Sheep on Facebook, because they also have a beautifully curated shop that promotes local artists and sustainable practices (and happen to be carrying my shirts). The “shop”, opened by two SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) grads with degrees in sustainable architecture, is a two-part operation. Eric makes beautifully crafted furniture out of recycled wood in a warehouse and Ben runs and curates the boutique/gallery on Liberty Street, which features Eric’s furniture along with a whole slew of other amazing artist-made objects — anything from jewelry to art to ceramics and of course clothing. Brian says that I am their target market, because if I had the money I would seriously buy one of everything in there. Anyway I mention them here because I find what these guys are doing quite inspirational (and at a time when I could use some extra inspiration!). Not only are they doing what they love, but they are also giving back to their community. They have developed a sustainable business that takes waste and creates beautiful useful items; they are supporting local artists and small businesses; and they are participating in community fundraisers such as a project to build doghouses out of recycled materials for animal shelters and rescued pups. Can we give them a high five?
Brian and I have been wanting to visit their wood shop since we first got to Savannah, but we’ve just been too darn busy! So today, as we are preparing to move to Charleston, we decided it was the perfect time to run by before it was too late. The space is huge and, as one might expect, filled nearly floor-to-ceiling with random scrapes of mismatched wood. However in addition to all that lovely wood, they found space for all sorts of cool tools and toys. For starters I saw a pool table; couch; part of a skate ramp; I got to experiment with a wood burner; and oh yeah, they share the space with a couple of commercial screen-printers. Of course. Eric tells us how there are some film-makers in the next building over, another wood shop, and a space that they are trying to turn into a garden. Plus they are also working on building more artist studios. Serendipitous? I think so.
This weekend I’ll be moving into a new art studio in Charleston — one with many similarities to what I just described above. Tivoli Studios and Gardens is located on Upper King Street and offers affordable studio space to a large number of emerging and working artists. They, too, have converted a large warehouse space into a functioning artist community centered around a communal space and a garden. Did I mention that they built a geodesic dome inside (I kid you not!)? It sounds like artist heaven to me, especially as I am trying to get out of my shell a little bit more these days — being shy doesn’t get you very far in the world of art and craft! So I am very excited about the prospect of surrounding myself with other artists that are working hard at what they love. I have much to learn about “making it” in this trade, but I know beyond a doubt that I am an artist — I have that need to create — and it is so inspirational to see other people who are doing it too. If there are other artists that can succeed in following their dreams, then so too can I.
So without further ado, I present you with some images of the Wooden Sheep Shop, but you should really check it out for yourself.
I recently began working on sketches for a couple new design projects, and it got me thinking that maybe I should include a few posts about my creative process. As you know, most of my ideas are taken from plants and animals that I encounter. I can usually find a nice place to sit while I sketch the vegetation, but drawing moving animals is not an easy thing to do. My camera serves as a way to record those fast moving critters or to remind me of specific details that I want to record. Often I will pull from several different photos to put together a full composition, but I usually just start by sketching one subject in many different positions and poses. About half of the time, my first sketch turns out well enough to use in a project, but other times it is the process of drawing a particular form over and over that allows me to figure out the best way to present my subject. If need be, I will turn to images on the internet to find an animal in a particular position, but only if I can’t get a good photograph myself or, if part of my photograph is blurry, I will supplement to fill in an important detail.
When I was serving in AmeriCorps *NCCC in Washington, D.C., I used to take the metro over to the Botanical Gardens with my sketchbook. This was back when I first started drawing, and it was a great place to practice. I loved sitting among diverse varieties of lush flowering plants. The air was fresh and moist with the smell of the damp soil; I easily spent hours in there. More recently though, I had the great opportunity to take my sketchbook with me around a beautiful island in the Bahamas (easily the best place I’ve done art research!). While in Georgetown, Brian and I made friends with the owner of the Kevalli House and his girlfriend (who happened to have grown up in Savannah and then lived in Charleston while we were living there!), and they graciously allowed me to explore the area around the house and up at their gazebo, which overlooked the beach on the east side of the island. It was a two-day scouting mission to see what sort of plants and animals I could find for future painting subjects.
I am always drawn to interesting organic shapes, so some of the vegetation really drew me in. I drew the big green leaves of the sea grapes, the thin curling leaves of the seven-year apple, and the tropical red flowers that were in full bloom. The environment was composed of mostly shrub bushes, the tallest trees being of the palm variety, but the place was alive with the sounds of scurrying lizards and buzzing bees. Small birds flew from tree to tree over head, and as I sat sketching a red flower, a bananaquit flew over to sip nectar across from me. Later, I captured a tiny green hummingbird doing the same. I don’t know beforehand what I will be inspired to draw, often for me it is the experience that informs the decision or a connection that is made during the initial observation. In the final stages, the drawing itself will inform the design aesthetic.
What do we do on a hot summer day when our sailboat is on the dock? We find a quiet little sandbar to enjoy by way of our friend’s motorboat. Last weekend one of our friend’s had a birthday, so per his request, we grabbed some lunch at his favorite BBQ joint and the four of us piled into his skiff to search for a quiet beach. Armed with a cooler and a set of Bocci balls, we flew along the ICW at speeds of upwards of 30 mph (that is fast when you are used to moving at 5.5 knots!). I should mention that the Intracoastal Waterway is perfect for a little motorboat and Brian has been dying to get one ever since we got back from the Bahamas.
When we reached the backside of Wassaw Sound, we pulled up alongside a handful of other boats right onto to the beach and hopped off. We played a little game of Bocci ball, enjoyed a leisurely float in the sound and tidal creek, and after several hours in the sun, we raced an afternoon thunderstorm back to the dock. It was a typical summer day on the water. However, as many boat owners already know, you can’t go boating without something breaking….insert sigh. So alas, the carb on our friend’s motor get clogged on the way back and we had to get a tow in. Like I said, it was a typical day on the water.
You may have noticed that in addition to being armed with a set of Bocci balls and a cooler, we also had four freshly printed Forest and Fin tees. The tees were a gift to our friend to celebrate his day of birth, but we thought it would be fun to do a little “photoshoot” while enjoying such a beautiful little spot, so Brian and I each wore a shirt, too. First off, the girl that served us at Sandfly BBQ thought we were in some sort of bird club. Secondly, we probably should have shot some photos before we all got wet! But hey, it was fun to say the least!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I LOVE our Advanced Elements inflatable kayak. Yesterday, after driving out to Skidaway Island State Park and going for a two-hour sunset paddle, I found myself thinking about all the wonderful mini-adventures we’ve had with it. It is a seriously amazing toy, especially because of the ease with which we are able to tote it around and set it up virtually whenever and wherever we want. It was a wonderful companion to our sailboat and now a wonderful companion to the jeep! To honor the ‘yak, I put together a photo gallery of some of the great times we’ve had with her. Enjoy!