This.

This applies to anyone pursuing a creative venture. It really hit me hard when I saw it.

A friend I actually know live and in person started following me yesterday on the gratuitous.art Insta. An actual artist. Someone who’s good at art and someone I personally like.

But honestly, I’m deeply uncomfortable with this, simply because I’d rather not be judged by someone I know, especially someone who knows what they’re doing.

Maybe it’s weird, but I don’t necessarily want my friends’ or colleagues’ approval about my artistic ventures. (Or even my websites, for that matter.) I don’t even want them to be aware of them. I simply would rather have this all be a thing that I do without being judged or critiqued by people I know.

(And yes, I realize that this space – and the Insta account – are public. If friends stumble upon them, fine, I guess. I just prefer not to make a big deal about it with them.)

Haven’t had time for any art over the past week; been up late with work most nights. Finally got to log off early this afternoon, and I fooled around with some Crayola Slick Stix that have fascinated and befuddled me for weeks. Been having a hard time figuring out what to do with them.

Still not sure what I’ll do with these black artist tiles with Slick Stix scribbles layered on them; gonna see if I can doodle or maybe collage over them.

Was up late last night after learning of Young’s passing. A lot has been weighing on me in the past week, and his death became a tipping point, of sorts. I ended up doodling on a blue index card, thinking about a zillion things hovering over my psyche.

Art when you can

This piece took a bit more than 5 minutes.

Work and other concerns have kept me from the daily art habit I’ve been trying to cultivate. I’m stepping away from any art challenges for a while because I find myself feeling like a failure for not keeping up with it. (I never felt that way with ICAD, because its creator always made it a point to kept things low-pressure throughout, and I was grateful for that.) So, I’m simply trying to #makearteveryday — any kind of art, whatever I can do, as best I can. That’s as much as I can handle for a while.

As much as art has become a self-care instrument for me, the pressure I’ve put on myself to create despite the demands of daily life is sucking all the fun out of it. I’m just going to have to do what I can and not obsess about whether I’m diligent about making this a daily thing.

Anyway, when I find time, I’m trying to get back to the online doodling class I started a while back. Made this cityscape thing. I enjoyed it fine, but I think I have a lot more fun with flowing lines and spirals.

Another day, another bit of 5-minute art. Rediscovering a bunch of half-done tags and my stash of scraps and stickers for the #tuac5minutechallenge.

Today’s self-care doodle. I thought about doing another challenge; I admit I’m missing the Instagram attention that the ICAD hash tags provided.

But I’m happy right now drifting through artist tiles or whatever strikes my fancy. A piece of art a day is usually as much as I can do during the work week.

My sister sent me some black artist tiles over the weekend. Bought a white Posca pen, used that and a white Gelly Roll pen, and did a little self-care doodling.

Back in the art, inch by inch

Now that ICAD is over, I’ve really been diving deep into the #inchie pool — like, seven of these little guys at a time. (I know, I’m only holding four here.)

Just slathered a bunch with some molding paste I found deep in my stash; not sure what else I’ll do with all that. Going to experiment with Mod Podge Dimensional Magic next.

The tiny art bug is back

Now that the ICAD challenge is over and I can leave my index card burnout behind, I’m turning my attention to my first art love in recent years: inchies.

Created the foundation of the first set from leftover collaged index cards covered with chalkboard paint, then layered with faux postage stamps punched from another leftover card smeared with metallic acrylic paints; each is topped with found words.

The second set is created from a swirly doodle on a 4-by-6 card.

ICADs 60 and 61: Two and done

ICADs 60 (top) and 61; no prompt. Blackboard paint background, acrylic paints.

Tried to somewhat capture the view at the kitchen table in our AirBnB cabin in an attempt to brighten up one of my black mood backgrounds. Didn’t do well, but it was worth a try. Had better luck with watercolors on cut 2-inch square watercolor paper pieces, which I’ll share later.

And with that, I’m done with this year’s ICAD challenge. I’m tired, mainly because we just got home from a meh long weekend that ended with news of another pet loss in our extended family (my sister’s 13-year-old dog—this on top of my mother’s passing in May) and a general sense of frustration that I didn’t get a lot of art done.

But I’m glad I did these 61 days. The challenge has me trying watercolors and doodling and acrylics, in addition to jump-starting my little mixed-media inchie hobby. And I’ve really appreciated the encouragement of the ICAD group on Facebook and, to a lesser extent, Instagram followers. Grateful all around.

ICADs 58 and 59: Lame vacation cards

ICADs 58 (top) and 59; no prompt. Illustrator pen, metallic Sharpie.

Been on vacation. This is the best I could do. Had hoped to set aside more time for art. Didn’t do real well with that.

ICAD 57: A touch of red swirl

ICAD 57/61; no prompt. Illustration pen and Liquid Flair pen.

More swirly lines, this time with a red splash (and I could use better coloring pens) and a little different doodling within the doodling.

It’s amazing what one can do during a staff meeting.

ICAD 56: A dizzying doodle

ICAD 56/61; no prompt. Illustration pen.

Started a doodling course by Alisa Burke and did something with the first doodle instruction here. I had created another one on a larger card (4x6) using a Pilot G2 bold pen, but since I’ve been using 3x5s throughout ICAD, I made another one here for consistency, except I used an Artist’s Loft illustration pen.

I think I like using the G2 for these better. That said, I enjoyed this as much as I’ve enjoyed the neurographic art—except that staring at these makes me dizzy.

ICAD 55: This card brought to you by a local pizza joint

ICAD 55/61; Community newspaper scrap and metallic Sharpie.

I actually made this a while ago and had intended to do something more with it, but I’m behind again and starting to hit the wall on this whole project. And I looked at this and decided it was fine. So, here it is.

(Incidentally, Two Brothers in Elmhurst, Illinois, does make a fine pizza and has decent Italian food.)

ICAD 54: Something to look forward to

ICAD 54; no prompt. Acrylic paint, Tim Holtz stencils, newspaper scrap, sticker.

Looking forward to a long weekend starting Friday. We’ll be at a remote cabin for a few days, which will put us out of cellphone range for much of the time. This means I’m unlikely to post the last of my ICAD cards till we get back. But I’ll still be bringing my art supplies with me — so with no work distractions, I should have time to relax with some art.

ICAD 53: First go with stencils

ICAD 53; no prompt. Acrylic paint; Tim Holtz stencils; collage cluster using tag punched from repurposed food packaging, scrapbook paper scraps, and a used postage stamp.

Found some stencils my sister sent me years ago and decided to play with them a little. I need practice with them.

ICAD 52: Bright chaos

ICAD 52/61; no prompt. Acrylic paint background, newspaper scrap, flowers doodled with Pilot G2 bold pens and fussy cut from blue sticky notes.

Fell behind on the cards this past week. I’m liking the streaky yellow backgrounds. I think I needed the brighter colors after going dark for so long on many of these cards.

ICAD 51: A quasi-watercolor experiment

ICAD 51/61; no prompt. Gesso, followed by Crayola Slick Stix (watered and brushed), illustration pen.

I probably should have limited the doodling to the “flowers” and left the bottom of this card alone. This is my first attempt at some kind of watercolor/doodle abstract work. It’s not great, but I want to play with this a little more.

ICAD 50: Finally, a smudge- and blob-free doodle

ICAD 50/61; no prompt. Acrylic paint and illustration pen.

Late with this post, I know. Felt kind of off all day yesterday.

Finally getting away from my beloved G2 bolds and realizing that a proper illustration pen (this one from the inexpensive Artist’s Loft brand from Michael’s) is the way to go with the doodling. Far less smudging and blobbing for my left-handed self.

ICAD 49: All about the collage cluster

ICAD 49/61; Sharpie, glitter pen; collage cluster made with acrylic paint, scrapbook and newspaper scrap, bling stickers, and a Japanese postage stamp.

I’ve been hitting the wall on the index cards lately. But I’m enjoying working in an even smaller format with tags and collage clusters. I made this cluster and planted it on a random doodled card from earlier in the challenge.

ICAD 48: A sloppy mandala

ICAD 48/61; no prompt. Acrylic paint background, sloppy mandala made with Pilot G2 bold pen and metallic Sharpies, scrap from a past Sunday paper.

Actually created the messy mandala on a separate card, then cut it out and glued it onto this one.

ICAD 47: An explosion of art material

ICAD 47/61; no prompt. Junk mail scrap, circles punched from an index card brushed with acrylic paint, PaperMate Liquid Flair pen.

We somehow ended up on a mailing list for some fireworks seller in a neighboring state, even though my husband hasn’t bought fireworks in ages. The one mailing we got this summer has yielded some decent art material.

ICAD 46: It’s something

ICAD 46/61; no prompt. Pilot G2 bold pen, Crayola Slick Stix, metallic paint pen.

Back to the neurographic doodling. Not thrilled with my coloring job, and clearly I need to reserve the Slick Stix for larger, less finely detailed stuff. But it’s something.

ICAD 45: A Slick Stix test drive

ICAD 45/61; no prompt. Blackboard paint, Crayola Slick Stix.

A little late with posting yesterday’s card. Decided to check out Crayola Slick Stix gel crayons. Love the feel of these, as well as the price point compared to other such crayons. I still want to try Neocolors and Gelatos when the budget allows.

Not that thrilled with this card—and I think I’m done with the blackboard paint series for a while—but I enjoyed the test drive on it.

ICAD 44: Clusters and chipboard and paint, oh my

ICAD 44/61; no prompt. Chalkboard paint; newspaper and junk mail scrap; and a chipboard tag covered in paint and metallic Sharpie, then collaged with scrapbook paper, snippet from an old Tom Clancy paperback, washi tape, and a Dollar Tree sticker.

Been playing with college clusters lately, especially after I realized that I have a TON of tags that I’ve punched over the years out of chipboard harvested from various food boxes. Decided to work one of these tag cluster things onto a background I created a few weeks ago. It seems to work.