Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the lawrence visitor guide










i've made no secret of how much i love this weird little city of lawrence, kansas. it's hard to believe we almost didn't move here. exactly three years ago we were in dallas, on the verge of moving to los angeles, when a little nomad came whispering in our ear and asked us if we'd consider coming to kansas instead. at the last minute we ditched the earthquakes in favor of tornadoes and came to the last place on earth i ever thought i'd end up. there is an energy here that i can't quite describe but it took hold of me the moment i arrived and i've felt at home ever since. how could i not? it has a thriving arts community, a fabulous university, odd things in the streets, interesting people from all over the world, and no shortage of good coffee. and parking tickets are only two bucks.

so imagine my thrill when i got to doodle around in this year's visitor guide! i adapted the cover design from the lawrence piece i did earlier this year and lettered some fun tags throughout the guide. i owe the convention and visitors bureau of lawrence a huge thanks for the opportunity, as well as to the great guys at blam creative and flory design who designed the guide and did such fun stuff with my doodles. today you'll find me at rudy's pizzeria, located in the lower right hand corner of that last photo, with their famous wednesday special and a couple of beers. and if you plan to truck through the midwest on I-70 any time, let me know and i'll send you a guide. i guarantee that lawrence is worth the detour.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009



i set out to write about a million things today but really all i can think about is how my jeans might explode at any moment. they fit last week and they do not now. i feel like this. of course it's possible that i put them on high in the dryer for two hours. but more than likely my doodlehours are translating into some extra baggage. nothing new. when i went to college it was the freshman 15. when i was a merchant, rooted to my caboose for 65 hours a week, it was buyer butt. and now it looks like i'm contending with doodlebutt. i am all for personal growth but not in this direction. so i'll see you all later after i drag my big ass outside for a walk. and do not worry about consoling me - i'm laughing through this entire post!

Monday, September 28, 2009

playing it clean



just a quick hello from my scattered head to show you the beginning of my magnets. disappointed? yes, i know there are no bad words in here. but i've said so many of them today that i'm not in the mood to plaster the word shit and the like all over my blog right now. so we'll get back to them later. i've even bought the toothbrushes to clean out my filthy mouth after the next round.

suzanne shared an excellent exercise/tutorial on how to render an interior design scene last week - check it out here and feel free to hang out in her world for a while. not only is she a fabulous sketcher, she's funnier than hell and that's one way to make me stay at a blog for sure. i was a lurker there for a long time and one day she posted something so hilarious i finally had to say something. i love it when fellow bloggers amuse me. the funnier the comments the better. last week one of you wrote me an e-mail so over the top that i had to pull my car off the road into a parking lot until i could stop crying and gasping for air. doodling and blogging are the best therapy i could ever imagine.

(NOTE: YEESH-O-RAMA i did not e-mail and drive at the same time. see commentary. please do not yell.)

i think i'll have something exciting to show you in a few days. i hope i hope i hope!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

wrapping stones


howdy all! i'm so perky this morning i can hardly stand myself. thought i'd share a creative explosion inspired by esti and her marvelous illustrated stones from the shores of spain. she sent me one earlier this year (which is sitting happily in our kitchen) and it put the bee in my bonnet to do something creative with stones, but i wasn't sure exactly what at the time. since stones like hers don't run aplenty on the kansas prairie, i scouted out every landscape place in town and came up with nothing but pea gravel and concrete pavers. then i remembered having seen a few hanging out at funkytown. so i swapped a few pieces of my kids' junk for the stones, stared at them for a while with an empty brain and then realized i could use the old sari yarn from this accident to wrap them. after a few test stones i found a silky bamboo yarn that gave them a much smoother, wavy look. it was a very meditative process, a nice break from my normal manic painting and scribbling.

p.s. yesterday i caught my three year old swiping an oreo from the pantry. i confiscated it and then i ate it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

a colorful weekend






i was barely functional today after a long night with a sick and unhappy little girl (if the insomnia doesn't get me, the three year old does), a traumatic start to the morning by getting someone else's beverage at starbucks, and a gray and fuzzy day in general...but i thought i'd pop in with a few quick pics of our fantastic hike yesterday through the kansas wildflowers, a fun store window downtown, and my little doodlecards which are finally in the shop.

here are a few gems from my local lovelies that i keep meaning to mention - heather did a post on her stunning handmade watercolors, and christy just launched a gorgeous new storefront for the petite press. (if you are a letterpress addict, beware.)

hoping tomorrow will start off on a more colorful note. thanks again for all of your wonderful comments on my last post :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009



long ago i kept my journal entries in swirling black and white fragments of phrases. i drew this piece in 2000, not long after i finished my MBA with a minor in doodling (just kidding), and took a job in management consulting. i was living in minneapolis and commuting to work in seattle every week. with a nearly four hour flight each way, i had plenty of time on my hands to doodle, and doodle i did. i hadn't looked at this page for years, and wow was it fun to pick through it to see what i remembered. there are bits of songs and films i loved, snippets of languages i was learning, and names of places that were important to me, including 'simon delivers', the name of the local grocery delivery service i used because i was too damn lazy to go to the store on my own.

but what i see more than anything here is restlessness. there's a lot about upheaval, change, fear of darkness and the search for light in this piece. my life was good. i had a great job, great pay, great benefits. but as the story so often goes, it was someone else's life. i wanted out, wanted to follow my heart as an artist but had no idea how or in what way. i can still feel how desperate i was at that time to break free but was too afraid to do it.

while creating this i visited one of my best friends in rome who was doing her dissertation research at camp vatican, as she called it. she showed me a beautiful carving on a chapel wall with one of my favorite phrases to this day, 'post tenebras spero lucem', (latin for 'after darkness i hope for light') which i am sure is tied to a biblical story but to me was simply a beautiful metaphor. that is in here, as well as another favorite, 'notice the lighted display for the next destination' which came from the automated voice on the tram at sea-tac. i heard it enough that i started believing i'd see the light one day. i had a lot of time for navel gazing and dwelling on metaphors back then.

looking back on this piece makes me feel like i've done the right thing following my path as an artist. back then i felt like i was spinning my creative wheels and going nowhere with my art, at times in a very eyerolling twentysomething angst kind of way, but it really was devastating to me at the time. who knew that nearly ten years later i'd feel younger and happier than ever, and that i would look back on that career choice with gratitude. if i had started making art full time back then, i'm not sure it would have been as fulfilling to me as it is now. by taking another path i learned things i never would have learned, met people i never would have otherwise, and it afforded me the opportunity to travel.

i wish i could go back in time and tell myself that everything was going to be OK. i was working toward something even though i didn't know it. right now i'm working toward something even though i have no clue what it is. but i do know now that every fragment of life leads to something else.

see more interpretations of the word fragment chez nathalie.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

short circuit

insomnia beast

alas, the insomnia beast has returned - i'm working through lots of fun ideas at the moment but they're all bottlenecking and i can't shut off the mental pinball at bedtime. in fact i'd really rather not sleep at all. but today i am short circuiting all over the place. i'm only processing tasks in 30 second increments and just realized that i've been wearing earphones for the last hour and i'm grooving to music that's not even playing.

my train of thought is quickly coming to an end so before i disconnect, please stop by the facebook journal pages group for an excellent interview with orly avineri, whose gorgeous blog one artist journal is featured in the current issue of artful blogging. francie and i have just started this regular 'artist spotlight' feature on members of the group and so far it's been really well received. and our little group isn't so little anymore - we've grown to over 450 members. please join us if you

(thought truncated)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

(not) really working

whoa! this is my 300th post. i can't believe i made it this far without deleting the thing, but i am just having way too much fun in artsyville to quit. we'll get back to the magnets soon, but today i thought i'd jump in here with a hearty salute to those of you who work from home, whatever your style may be. jen sparked this idea - i'll let you ask her whether she's the productive busy bee or the big-time slacker. these are now in the shop, just in case you need to remind others to leave you alone while you work or goof off.

here are a couple of excellent reads before i go - ricë's thoughts on how to behave at art fairs, info on christine's fabulous collage book which is now available for pre-order, alexandra's newest installation in her art as business series which pries into the mysterious world of galleries, and inner toddler's hilarious birthday debacle which is still making me howl with tears one week later. enjoy!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

on my radar today

journal pages in progress

new inked backgrounds waiting for something.

please speak up

if only people would speak more loudly in public about their personal lives, i'd have more to doodle about.

goodies from jen

i won jen's fabulous giveaway with a story about my lousy first day of seventh grade. i've watched her make these books in person and now i'm thrilled to own one for myself, as well as these other bitty bits of fun that she brought back from her trip to california a few weeks ago.

painting from soulbrush

i keep gazing at my new painting from soulbrush. many of her colorful pieces are influenced by the years she spent in south africa. i love seeing how artists' work are shaped by their environment and experiences - especially hers. her soul really does come through her brush.

lettering project

and now i'm gearing up for a big doodleproject - back to rapidographs, watercolors, and no room for error. no photoshop to catch me if i fall. i need to add a paper bag to my supplies here in case of hyperventilation.

i apologize for my bloggy laziness this week - i'm having the time of my life making magnets with bad words and deciding whether i should show them here or not. have a great sunday!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

september so far

memory problems

groovy doodle stuff in progress

groovy doodle tags

groovy doodle labels

groovy doodle packs

groovy doodle stuff

so far this month i've been lost in groovydoodleville, getting my little giveaway packages ready and out the door. these were so much fun to put together that i'm going to put some little groovy doodle bundles in the shop soon. now, my next obsession? making magnets. have any of you tried the xyron laminator/ magnet machine? i just bought one, so if i disappear for a while, i'm probably messing around with it. so far, it makes great stickers - my daughter and i have been feeding pieces of her old artwork through the machine, cutting the sheets into little pieces and making collages out of them.

as for my car, i have a consistent track record of losing it. i NEVER remember where i've parked. i've fled into security offices in parking garages in a panic convinced that my car has been stolen, another time i took a taxi home in frustration after a fruitless search... different story... better hit publish before i get too far into this one...

Friday, September 4, 2009

a doodleview for violette

if you have a moment today, grab a cup of coffee and swing over to canada to say hello to the endlessly creative violette, who featured a little doodled interview with me this morning. like my other doodleviews on artists who blog and pecannoot, this one was quite an honor to do - i've admired violette's expressive art and journals for a long time, and i'm especially taken with her way of weaving creativity into every part of her life. it seems like everything she touches turns into art, and everyone she meets comes away inspired by her.

you can see more of violette's beautiful work in her new book journal bliss, her colorful journal pages and illustrations, and in her online tutorials and workshops. my little girls are captivated by her videos and i think they'd do just about anything to see violette in action. and i know we'd all flip if we got to see her magic cottage and glittergirl van!

the comment section on her blog requires a quick account setup, which you're welcome to do - you can also send her an e-mail at violetteclark(at)shaw(dot)ca, or of course you may come back here to leave your thoughts. hope you enjoy it! thanks for the honor, violette - and if you are a new reader via violette's blog, welcome - so glad to have you here!

until next time, doodle-oooooo.....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

traveling bananas

bananas look nice, but everything else about them i can't stand. even so, caring mother that i am, i'll let my kids have them. the night before our last minute road trip to texas last month, i packed the car with the necessities, including a bunch of bananas, so we'd be ready to go first thing in the morning. the next day i opened the door to put the rest of our crap in the car and nearly passed out from the banana stench. i opened all the doors, put the offenders on the roof, and you know the rest of the story. i got sidetracked with the kids, wrestled them and the rest of our belongings into the car, forgot the bananas, and took off.

but wait! it doesn't end there. the bananas didn't land in our swampy alley or on some poor soul's windshield at 9th & kentucky or even in a student's front yard. no, those bananas were along for the ride. they lasted until i reached the edge of town, nearly three miles, when they were spotted by an old couple turning at the intersection. i saw them gaping and pointing animatedly at the roof and of course at that moment i burst out laughing because i knew what had happened.

now - our winners! i said i'd pick two, but i always draw more than i say i'll draw, so i picked five. ze number generator has told me that desiree, cristi, silke, jenn, and sue will each get a little packet of groovy doodle goods. please e-mail me your address by tomorrow so i won't forget to mail them - as you can see from my banana episode i have a very short attention span. thank you, THANK you to all who commented and participated!

and oh, oh, OH! before you go, please welcome bella back into doodleaction! she posted a drawing yesterday that will have me smiling for a very long time. thank you, bella. it's good to have you back.