Monday, September 22, 2014

Birthday Wrap-Up

Sigh. I admit I really enjoyed being, mostly, tech-free for a few days. I've been re-integrating into the real world... the mainland... for a few days now and the island retreat already feels like a dream. Maybe doing this catch-up post will help to make sure it stays fresh in my memory.

Lori (our leader) gave me a quote and some chalk markers and let me draw on the Board!

Aaaah.... the beach was only two blocks from the cottage. Well, we WERE on an island, so there was probably some kind of beach in any direction...

One day was so perfect - sunny and warm - I lay on the sand, writing in my journal. Then, I got distracted by all the beautiful stones (OMG, I love stones).

The stones formed themselves into a spiral and then came right out of the notebook!

I could have stayed on the beach all day. But as always happens, my super pale skin started to feel crunchy... and I had to pee.

One evening, we took the nightly wine and cheese party down to the beach and watched the sun set.

I walked downtown every day and wandered through the cool shops...

...and drooled at the amazing colors and woodwork on the cottages.

Another day, we took a field trip to the other side of the island. Edgartown is like a different planet from Oaks Bluff! Like Martha Stewart and Mary Engelbreit - one is all perfect white Captain's mini-mansions with stores selling crazy expensive clothing - and the other is all multi-colored, frosted, tiny Victorian cottages with towers and balconies and shops selling chai lattes and sea glass jewelry.  Crazy expensive clothing? Yes, for example, I found myself petting the softest sweatshirt ever. An ordinary gray hoody with hand warmer pockets. But REALLY-REALLY soft. Oooo, I want that - but the tag told me it was a $400 cashmere hoodie. Drat. But, seriously. WHO buys a $400 cashmere sweatshirt?!

And in between field trips, I drew journal pages...

This one shows the contents of the goodie bag that was on my bed. (I did finally open it!) Mismatched colorful socks, cool pen, mug, set of Staedtler fine tipped colored pens, cute post-its, and most importantly, CHOCOLATES!

 This one is about thinking. Thoughts Ghosts...

A metaphor for how I have spent this past year. It's a lot of work to clean up a messy spill. It seeps into everything and you can't exactly fly...

 I bought a Mr. Sogs bumblebee doll at the craft shop and drew my customized version of him - I want to turn him into a Bumblebat. I love the way the ghost page is "ghosting" through here!

I was so excited to discover a tiny photo printer, like the Polaroid Pogo that I used to take on trips with me, but one that works with my iPhone! It's an LG printer and I had to order it from Korea or somewhere, but it uses the same Zink ink technology as the Pogo, so I can use up my huge stash of paper.

This one can be thought about two different ways... the stories we tell ourselves, that we need to rewrite in order to move on... and also - the stories that I can use to create books.

 And, when lying near an ocean, most of the silly things I worry about - seem SO unimportant!

Oh - and that page above was done using the lovely pens from our goodie bags!

And then I have a random page of tags!

 Oh yeh - and I did a lot of work too! I spread out all over the dining table, or across the two beds in my room, and wrote out notes on index cards for all the different projects I could think of and added notes from a bunch of sketchbooks and journals...

About 80 index cards!

 I discovered - I have a lot of ideas!! And a ton of book ideas. I also started blocking out text and thumbnails for a kids' book I am working on with my daughter.

And then it was time to go home. We were all sad to be leaving.


This heart was on the steps outside.

Onto the ferry...

And then the island disappeared on the horizon.

I'm already thinking that I need to go back next year. If you are also intrigued by this retreat, it was called "If I Just Had Some Time" and this was our colorful, joyful leader, Lori Stone.

In her real life, Lori does web site SEO and content management stuff that helps to keep her left and right brain balanced.

Meanwhile... back in my regularly scheduled life...

I had a great end-of-Birthday-week-Weekend. And Sunday was pure Nirvana. (Is that a paradox or oxymoron or something?) Alex went off to NYC to march with other HS kids to save the environment. And I was very proud of him. Lilah and I went to church, then to Gould Hill Orchard for cider, an apple pie, maple sugar candies, AND a couple of pumpkin whoopie pies. No, we didn't eat them all at once!

At home, we changed back into comfy clothes (pjs!) and started a Lego building frenzy.
Then Bonnie, my Main Minion, stopped by with another, even better, more juicey, cinnamony apple pie! And she found herself wishing she'd brought her glasses so she could build with us.

My mom posted us on Facebook...

The Lego Grand Emporium has three floors, so we still have a lot of work ahead of us. But we built the escalator and display cases and revolving door... the whole first floor. There's even a Lego guy trying on pants in the dressing room!

I can't think of anything that I love that I didn't get to do this week!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Birthday Retreat

The ferry ride over to Martha's Vineyard was very relaxing after the stressful drive. 
And the cloud formations were entertaining. I saw a snail in that bottom section and it made me think- I should work on the Grumpy Snail project!

The house for the retreat is adorable! Each room has it's own charm. And there were little gifts for each of us. I haven't opened mine yet. I'll do it soon... But this was the only wrapped gift I got for my birthday! I'm savoring it.

The town is full of tiny cottages with amazing details like shaped windows and towers and little balconies. And lots of churches. I've never seen a Catholic Church with clapboards!
It's a good thing that tourist season is over and it is safe to stop and stare.
I felt I was being watched and looked up... 

I WAS being watched! 

So now the retreat starts - the work begins! The ladies are an amazing bunch and I am so excited to think of what we may accomplish this week. 

I will try to post again later this week, but I am supposed to try to stay off the electronics. So if you don't hear from me, that's a GOOD thing! ;-)

Birthday Week Starts

It technically started on Sunday... The kids came with me and my mom to church... then we went to see the movie "The 100 Foot Journey" which made us really hungry... So we went for sushi... Where Lilah told them it was my birthday... And they brought me ice cream with a candle in it while singing and banging on a gong... And then we returned home and crashed on the couch... Exhausted, but happy. 

Birthday Day Two was the Real Birthday. But I spent most of it driving in stressful traffic (past Boston) to Falmouth on the Cape. After falling asleep at the hotel, I woke to a grumbling tummy and dragged myself all the way across the street to The Raw Bar for dinner. 

Birthday Dinner: huge... HUGE... Lobstah Salad, Clam Chowdah, and Skinny PiƱa Colada. Oh-yum. 

The view. 

Later, I decided I really needed a cupcake to make it a real birthday. So I dragged myself back into the car and headed to Starbucks where I found a pumpkin cream cheese pistachio muffin! Good enough!

Jacque had posted this quote on Facebook and it seemed perfect, so I borrowed it. (Thanks Jacque!)

It's so appropriate too since I'm off on this retreat. 

And then I altered the Starbucks bag...

Monday, September 8, 2014

August Journal Pages

August went very quickly, probably because so much happened this month. I worked on most of these Journal52 assignments outside of my studio, often while sitting on a hotel bed, so I kept the materials really simple and pushed myself to concentrate on other aspects.

Week 31 - Friends

Sometimes... well, let's just say that it would be nice to have a really, really good friend.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

But I realize, after making this piece, that I will need to lower my requirements if I want to make more friends! Drawn and inked with Japanese cartooning ink (I can't read the label, but it is lovely and black). And just in case you miss the subtle joke here... the friends are burying the body in the letter "U".

Week 32 - Favorite Foods

The four food groups - Chocolate, popcorn (veggies), cherries, and apple pie. I drew it all with a brush marker and shaded with a gray brush marker. Then I colorized sections with colored pencils.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Week 33 - Gratitude

The most effective way to learn what you are grateful for? Have a really sucky day and see what floats to the top. I am particularly grateful for the friend who answers the phone. And the one who doesn't say "I told you so." They totally float. ;-)

Papermate ballpoint pen letters and doodles with a smidge of pencil for shading along the edges.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Week 34 - Alphabetical

This was just plain old fun. I just started drawing, with Papermate ballpoint pen, making it up as I went. I added some pencil shading to the background to give it some more dimension.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Sunday, September 7, 2014

July Journal Pages

Hey - why didn't anyone say anything? Looks like in all the excitement of the trip out west, I forgot to post my Journal52 pages for July! Sorry about that - and I'll get August's up here too. I am still quite pleased that I have been keeping up with this. If anyone has ever tried to do something for 21 days to form a new habit (never-mind 52 weeks!) - you'll know what I mean.

Week 27 - Nostalgia

I don't know why, but I really love this photo of me and my brother Dave. It's faded and permanently bonded to the "magnetic" page of the album... but it just seems to sum up my childhood with him. And I like that I am a lot taller than him! (He is now over six feet tall... but I have more hair if that counts for anything?)

I had a scan of the entire album page which I printed out on Sheer Heaven and transferred to mixed media paper. I washed over with muddy acrylics and stamped the coffee rings on. I added color back into the faded picture with colored pencils, glued on photocopies of us, and wrote the text. And ripped the page out of the notebook.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Week 28 - Technology

I worked on this piece every morning before comic camp classes. Which explains the comic-book styling and the "punchline" in the last "panel". (I'm talking about how Enthusiasm is literally pulling the switch - or has just pulled it - or whatever).

I drew it with a Sharpie pen, scanned it, and added color in Photoshop. It was hard not to over-color it with colored pencils, but I wanted the color to really stand out against the gray.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Week 29 - Fashion

Yeh, well, I don't have much to say about Fashion. This quote sums it all up perfectly.
"I base my fashion taste on what doesn't itch." Gilda Radner. Drawn with a brush marker.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew
Week 30 - Positive Words

I admit I had to look up suggestions on the internet. But once you start listing words that strike a chord, it is very inspiring! The words were drawn with gray markers, then outlined and tangled with a Sharpie pen, and finally, shaded with pencil.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew


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