Category: Commissions

Life as We Know It

Yes, we still unschool.  Yes, it is still working.  Yes, we still both work from home though it has shifted even more from me working to Shamus working while I hang with the kids and keep the household running smooth so he can focus and be productive.  Yes, I still love our life and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Ice Skating

Shamus is working, a lot.  Things are financially stressful but that is another post (and one I have been pondering for a while but which may or may not actually get shared.  All I can say right now is that God is amazing and much more reliable than any paycheck.)  On that point I want to mention mint.com– if you are having a hard time seeing the big picture of your finances, suck at budgeting, or just like seeing everything in one place then it is well worth a look.  It is working great for this financially challenged family and being free helps.  We had recently discussed the possibility of me taking on  a part time job to fill in the current gaps, but various factors nipped that in the bud.  Mostly the fact that me being here facilitating the children’s learning is key (they would learn anyway but Shamus cannot field their constant questions AND write 3 comics a week, 3 articles a week, and do 30 hrs a week programming not to mention keep up on his blog and several side projects.)

Ice Skating

The kids are happily occupied talking to fellow unschooling friends on Skype and text chat, interacting on FamilyRUN, playing Build-a-Bear (their favorite game to play?  School–“except we know most of the answers already, but we get to learn new things too”.)  They are also occupied playing  Plants vs. Zombies, a lot.  Talk about an educational game that  you don’t realize is educational.  Essentially you could think of it as a fun way to learn financial planning and organizing your resources— of course you could say the same thing about Star Craft and other strategy games. At the pondDue to the snow, snow, and more snow they have been avoiding going outside (especially now that there is no ice to skate on).  The kids are also very involved in a new Lego Quest weekly challenge run  by a friend on Twitter.  Lego Quest carRachel is thrilled to have made friends who can talk when she can, Essie is reading her way through multiple series of books (having read all the Gregor the Underlander books in a week and moving on to several other series I can’t remember) , Issac is building all sorts of things and intent on beating Mario Galaxy on his own.  We are spending a lot of time listening to audio books together, playing games together, talking together.

At the pond
Picnic at the pond

Me?  Aside from all the cleaning and rearranging going on (lots of re-purposing and getting rid of which I find a quick way to beat the urge to go buy something new. )  Now that the website issues have been dealt with I have been free to work on painting (trying acrylics still.  It is interesting but maybe I am getting somewhere?)  I am doing less reading and spending time on the computer  (due to eyesight issues) and more listening to audio books which means I am being more productive– I feel like I need to be doing something if I am listening to audio books.  And since the cd player is in the kitchen and we are being VERY frugal in our meals I am spending a lot of time in the kitchen cleaning, rearranging, and baking.  Yesterday it was no-bake cookies (naturally sweetened, carob, peanut butter, coconut, and oatmeal), homemade granola bars (naturally sweetened with oatmeal, cranberries, peanut butter, cocoa nibs, coconut, flax seed), and lots and lots of bread dough.  The day before I chopped all the raw veggies in the house, making a nice salad mix and freezing the rest.  Oh, and I finished a painting–a commission by my sister-in-law for her employers. Watercolor

2 ACEOs

I have a potential project for which I am doing some ACEOs (art cards–2.5″ by 3.5″).  I am not going to go into it now in case it doesn’t go through but it is rather exciting to me and I wanted to share the results so far.  The ACEOs need to work in black and white so these are ink (Micron pen) with a bit of watercolor wash instead of straight watercolor.

The 2 photos down below are actually larger than actual size–which is why I took a few photos with my brushes and whatnot–to give you context.  After working on the much larger series it was surprisingly fun to go back to working small scale.  Tiny details are fun to do and get lost  and forgotten when working larger scale (when I was working on the large series I was too sick of the painting by the time I was at the end to do small details).  An ACEO only takes maybe half an hour or so from start to finish including a detailed beginning sketch-which I usually don’t do when working straight watercolor.

And yes, as you can see from the photo I like using cheap mechanical pencils (.5 preferably) –I HATE broken pencil led and sharpening pencils and like the crisp line I get from a plain old #2 mechanical.  And the gumband on my paint brush is to make it easier to hold–when my RA is bad thsoe tiny brushes are tricky to keep hold of–most of my pencils and brushes have gumbands on them as grips.

Commissioned House portrait: start to finish

In the beginning there was a layout.

and because it was a rather large, detailed painting there was a printout and tracing,

then reworking and hand drawn details added,

which took longer than expected because there were so many fun little details to add.

Then came painting, and painting,

and painting some more.

Then inking in the fine details and sending the painting out.

*Recently finished house portrait, yeah, its done and sent!