Year in Review~2015

2015 year in reflection ncwren
2015 was an interesting year around here. I started a new business with my art. The growing pains are precisely that-painful! Trying to keep up with a website, blog, market myself and my art via social media, and deal with all of the government requirements AND produce art have been very full filling to say the least. I have enjoyed learning about each area of this new enterprise (except for all of the government stuff!). My biggest hurdle is changing back and forth between the different jobs I need to do around here.

This was also my first year in attempting to draw or paint everyday. My initial rule of keeping my daily sketches down to one hour didn't work all the time. My 'just another 5 minutes' kept turning into another hour. I did not manage to paint or draw everyday, but I did see a dramatic improvement in time and quality of my work. At first I was thinking that the subject was an easy one, or that I was simply having a good day. Thankfully the progress I have made in those two areas are for the most part sticking.

Just when I was really clicking along with all of these activities my body failed me. Towards the end of September (just getting ready to wrap up the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge) I was put into the ICU for 4 days and spent another 4 days in the hospital. I had a large kidney stone that would not pass. Since it was my first stone I stayed home and tried to push through the pain. Unfortunately I went into septic shock. Thankfully great doctors and nurses were there for me along with prayers from my church, family and friends. I am still have some issues-mostly impatience with getting back to 'normal'. It is a vicious cycle of needing to be active and not having the energy to do so. Being mentally tired is also a new thing to me. I have a lot of empathy now for people with this problem~it just sucks. The whole incident reminded me of riding my skateboard back in the 70's. Getting the hang of balancing oneself on the board and kicking along to get speed. All it took was one little pebble to launch oneself into the air- no helmet or pads...most of the time wearing tank tops, shorts and being barefoot (hang ten).

I am looking forward to the challenges of 2016. I need to find a better balance of taking care of business and the business of taking care of me.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful~Happy New year! :)

Pigment + Palette~Quick Product Review

Pigment and Palette is a monthly subscription box service that I have belonged to for about a year and a half. There have been a few glitches here and there, but they have managed to get them out eventually.

I pay $15 a month, but I believe the current membership is $18. For that you get a variety of artists tools to try out, along with a postcard with a featured artist on the front and a description of the products received on the back.

November was the 23rd edition and had Fright Night as a theme. The products included were a Copic double ended marker, General's Magic Black eraser, Blackwing pearl pencil, and Borden & Riley #123 Artist's book.
Product Review ncwren
The Pros:
  • full sized samples
  • interesting products
  • support of artists through promotion
  • responsive to suggestions
The Cons:
  • boxes come later and later since inception
  • lack of communication 
Every time I think it's time to pull the plug on my subscription they put out a really great box.

*As of December Pigment & Palette are no longer in business. They had a run of 24 boxes before shutting down.

Update on Charvin Water-soluble Pastels

This past summer I reviewed these pastels and compared them to other pastels I own. You can find this review here:  Charvin Review

 I used these exclusively for underpaintings during the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge in September.

Charvin watersoluable pastel ncwren
I found that they worked better with more water than I had been using Before they would clump up and not move around or melt. They are working great as an underpainting. I have still yet to try them as a stand alone pastel.
charvin watercoluable pastels underpainting ncwren
This painting is available for purchase.