In 2017 I did a sketch every day for the entire year. When I started this project I never could have dreamed about all the places I’d be sketching and how much I would learn — more about myself than about sketching.
I learned that sketching helps me feel more connected in a way that taking a photo or writing can’t do. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve tried it yourself. Seems like life just goes by faster and faster anymore and this way I can slow down and savor the moments. I found myself noticing the color of a leaf or the curve of a petal and wondering at the beauty of it all.
I didn’t have a plan other than to do a sketch each day. I went about my routine and something would call me to sketch it — so I would. Looking back it would have been better to have a cache of ideas ready to go, as there were a few late night sketch sessions — but I loved the freedom of going with the flow.
Here are a few of my favorites — see the whole 365 project at the #sideoatspaints2017 hashtag. I love looking back through this — I can see the seasons change before my eyes and remember the sights, sounds and smells.
Fall and Winter
Day 365 // went outside to photo this last sketch of the year — 31, rainy, cloudy — the perfect day for staying in and dreaming. Never thought when I started this project all the places I’d be sketching and how much I would learn — more about myself than about sketching. Thinking I’ll write up a blog post tomorrow. For now, I wanted to thank all of you for your kind comments — they really kept me going — more than words can say. 🙏 And set your goals high — you can do it.💙 see the rest of the year here ➡️ #sideoatspaints2017 .
Moonrise over Casa Grande (got to see it while camping ⛺️ this year at @bigbendnationalpark)
And when the night is falling
Down the sky at midnight
Another year is stalling
Far away a good bye, good night
— lyrics from All That I Want by The Weepies 💙
I used a mix of watercolors on this — some that I made myself — still can’t believe I can make watercolor— thanks again, @caseformaking 💙 also used some masking fluid, which I don’t so that often but gotta try more!
Day 342 // seems like everyone has snow ❄️ but me! So bummed I missed the great Austin snowpocalypse of 2017! So I had to sketch some instead. My lil buddy helped too 🤣 PS. Sketched with @caseformaking ultramarine blue — the best ❄️💙❄️💙❄️
Day 360, part 2 // another quick hat, this one inspired by wrapping paper from presents 🎁 from @weiwabo 😘
Day 324 // tiniest leaf ever 🍂
Day 322 // just sharing a peek of today’s sketch of Texas yaupon holly — I’ll share the rest soon — it’s for a guest blog post + video over at @ellenhutsonllc ☺️❤️ #honoredtobeaguest #cantwait
Day 350 // cypress branches foraged at the @texasfarmersmarket at Mueller ❤️
Day 362 // finished off another sketchbook ✨ love the light this time of year ❤️
Day 317 // our backyard toothache tree (Zanthoxylum hirsutum) is starting to do his thing ✨ I wish you all could smell these leaves, such a fresh citrusy scent— one of my favorite things to do while hiking is to grab a leaf and chew it a while 😊 The giant swallowtail butterflies must love them too since it’s their host plant. ⚡️Our tree was a rescue from a construction site, it’s been about 15 years now and he’s finally big enough so that the swallowtails don’t munch all the leaves in the spring. 🤣 #plantsneedrescuetoo
Day 289, part 1 // watching paint dry 🤣
Day 339 // hello from Ohio! Sketched this goldenrod while sitting on the sofa next to my Dad last nite. Love you Dad! ❤️
PS. I used some watercolor that I made from Texas limestone, too ❤️
Day 336 // sketched while listening to the ice skating ⛸ scene on the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack ❤️
Day 165 // was wondering what to sketch today and found this feather right outside the front door when I went for my walk it — was meant to be ✨ anyone know what kind it is? Also, can’t say enough how much I love using this ceramic palette from @caseformaking — using it each day makes everything seem more special ❤️
Day 323 // just a quick lil acorn for today. Only had 15 mins to sketch, so I let the water do its thing.❤️ I made the dark brown and the orangey ocher paints — such a cool feeling whenever I use them. ☺️ #feelingallthefeels
Day 330 // nothing says winter is coming like the smell of juniper 💙 thinking I’ll try this guy again, the berries kept falling off faster than I could sketch them and rolling onto the floor — so distracting because you do not wanna step on one and mash it into the carpet…🤣
Day 346 // still with the leaves ❤️
My Dad and friends started sending me photos to sketch about halfway through the year — that meant so much, especially my Dad.
From my Dad in Ohio:
Spring and Summer
I started the sketch project on January 1st thinking I would use a different limited palette each week, but that went by the wayside a few weeks in — there were too many colors I wanted to use. As you can see, I got on a real cactus kick at one point!
Day 301 // a quick sketch of an agarita leaf (also known as Texas holly!) using Mayan turquoise paint that I made earlier in the day. We went on a long hike and I kept looking for something to sketch so I could try it out. ☺️ See previous post for hike pictures and I can’t wait to play with this color more! 🌅📸 Also just had to shout out to @caseformaking to thank Alexis again for the watercolor paint making workshop and sharing knowledge — so amazing to use paint you’ve made yourself ❤️ also can’t tell you how many times that agarita stabbed me OW!!! 😜
Day 135 // Mexican hats! These guys always make me smile. 😊See previous post for a photo 📷 — kinda looks like the top one is tapping on the bottom and saying “hey what you doin?” 😂
Day 207 // this one was so hard to photo! 😜 The contrast between the red anemone and the others really throws off the camera. 😱 Really proud of mixing my own black for the centers ☺️
Morning! Yesterday’s sketch was of a pink evening primrose -(oenothera speciosa) – I didn’t get that front petal quite right, but this sketch is so much better than last year’s — yay! 🎉 Also just had to add that I normally don’t pick wildflowers, but even though they look delicate, these guys are thugs! 😱 One year I had to rip out a whole bunch from our garden, they were smothering everything in sight! 😜anyhow, hope you have a great day with time to stop and enjoy the little moments 🌸
Day 81: wild hyacinth in our backyard pocket prairie! I couldn’t bear to pick one so I got Jason to hold my sketchbook for me while I took the pic 😂 these are super special to me because they’re rescues. A friend organized a plant rescue when interstate-35 was expanding up near Temple, Texas a few years ago. I don’t remember how many of these bulbs we dug up but we have 6 survivors! 💜
Day 131 // brown eyed Susan at dawn ✨ at Nash prairie 💛
Day 215, part 2 // quick sketch of Casa Grande from our campsite ❤️ @bigbendnationalpark
Day 133 // had to sketch these guys (Echinacea atrorubens) at Clymer Meadow. Will never forget all the dickcissles singing and that big prairie sky. Thanks so much to the Nature Conservancy @nature_org for protecting this special place. My heart is so full. ❤
Day 179 // had to sketch a buckeye on my last day in Ohio ❤️
Day 258 // almost forgot to do my sketch yesterday, so much going on! 🙀Wandered around the house at 11 pm looking for something to do — spied this lil guy and did a super quick one — I think being all tired really loosed up the sketch, plus I only had a desk lamp on so I got the colors a little more saturated than what I usually do — but ya know, I kinda like it ☺️
Day 261, part 2 // had to do another cactus today — can’t stop until I sketch my whole menagerie #callmethe #crazyplantlady 😊 I never noticed how much this guy is kinda like a pumpkin 🎃 until I painted him 🤣
Day 233 // August 21, 2017 // blind contour drawings during the eclipse! 🌕🌖🌗🌘🌑🌒🌓🌔🌕A blind contour drawing is when you don’t look 👀 at the paper while you’re drawing, and it was perfect for this since I couldn’t see anything but the sun while wearing those ellipse glasses 🕶 anyhow! Thanks to @ccerruti ‘s class at @creativebug for reminding me of the technique, and thanks to YOU for hanging in there while I get caught up on posting sketches I did during our trip ❤️
Day 203: poppies for @yaochengdesign ‘s challenge at @creativebug — I just may have gotten a little carried away on these! So much better than those water lilies yesterday!
Day 263 // another day, another cactus 🌵// I kinda want to put wiggle eyes 👀on him 🤣 // aaaand I never noticed those brown hooked spines until I sketched him 🙀
Day 259 // continuing on with my cactus theme today with this mini prickly pear — she lives on the windowsill next to the moon cactus in my previous post ☺️👉
Day 251 // why did the turtle cross the road?
To wish J a happy birthday 🎈🎂🎊!
I scanned this guy in and turned him into a card because J actually did help a box #turtle 🐢 cross the road when we were in Missouri ☺️ — yeah he’s awesome like that. ❤️
Day 265, part 2 // I saw this cactus back in August at the Panther Junction visitor’s center at @bigbendnps and it made me think of fall! So waited until today to sketch him. Happy fall, you all! 🍂❤️🌵
Day 325 // elusive blue mist flower— just as I thought I’d finally mixed the right shade it turned out I didn’t.🤔 Oh blue mist, I still like you anyhow — and so do the monarch and queen butterflies. We still have a few passing through.❤️
Day 123 part 1 // the cholla is blooming at the @wildflowercenter 💖 also, while was sketching this I saw a black-chinned hummingbird! 🎉 he was nectaring away — so cool to see one up close ✨
Day 137 // Only had time for a 10 minute sketch today, so ran out in the garden and found this sweet greenthread 💛 they’re all along the roadsides in spring, makes me happy to see them ☺️
Day 80 // our claret cup cacti are starting to bloom yeah!!! See previous post for a 📷 PS. Someone asked me if I sketched everything in pencil ✏️ first, so today I tried not to! It was hard but felt good to be free ☺️ #nofilter
Day 199 // sunflowers 🌻 for @yaochengdesign ‘s challenge at @creativebug — had so much fun with this one! Love sunflowers, they just make me happy. 💛
Day 211 // Can’t believe that today’s the last day of July, or that @yaochengdesign ‘s floral challenge at @creativebug is over. I guess it’s really true — time flies when you’re having fun! I must confess that I did struggle with these peonies, so made a couple versions of them — and started a new sketchbook too! ☺️ thanks again to Yao for a great challenge I learned so much! 💖🌸
Day 123 part 2 // desert savior, sketched at the @wildflowercenter 💖 so cool 😎 to see this native Texas succulent!
Day 235 // camping at Arrow Rock, Melvern Lake, Kansas // annnd this is cool — the sky was painted with sky blue lake paint 🎨 that I made at a workshop at @caseformaking ! 🤣💙
Day 262 // the cactus series continues! 🌵got this guy at @eastaustinsucculents a while back, love that blue color and how it almost looks marbled 💙
Happy St. Patrick’s Day part one! 💚 This was yesterday’s sketch of a shamrock ☘️ I got from HEB and I just had to compare it to our native oxalis from the back yard. I learned so much! For today I’ll be attempting a rainbow — there I said it out loud! 😱🌈
Here’s Day 74 // tried to capture that glowy ✨stemless evening primrose (oenothera triloba) we saw yesterday. These flowers open at dusk and close the next day. Not sure why they’re called “stemless” because they do have stems! 😂💛 PS. Many thanks to John Muir Laws for his flower tutorials– I practiced them earlier in winter and they really helped! 🙏💛
Day 230 // wild petunias in our front garden — love these flowers they always remind me of how my Grandma called my sister and I “Petunia” 😂
Day 14 part one — off to do some more 😎
Struggling with what to say. A dear friend’s finance passed away and my heart and my brush are full of tears. He will be missed. My heart goes out to my friend.
Day 7: using up the last of the paint with some flowers to get ready for a new color combo tomorrow! 💙
Day 2: Orion has been on my mind ever since New Year’s Eve when we went out and watched the neighbors’ fireworks and he was shining up among them // little bluestem from on my walk yesterday. Love this winter light and shadows. 💙
While staying at a friend’s place in San Francisco: