My Life Tapestry

“Peepsqueak and the Furry Friend” is well underway! I found out yesterday that the deadline for this 2nd book is November 15th!  

YIKES!  With the word DEADLINE,  I find myself wanting to go into hermit mode. Hermit mode is shutting myself up in the studio from early until late.  Life revolves around ART each day.  It is hectic and intense. Many times hermit mode chases all creativity right out of the studio!

NO!!  Not this time!  .

Life is not all about work.  It’s about many different activities and people working themselves into a beautiful tapestry called “Life“. I want My Life Tapestry to be colorful, fun and alive! I want to enjoy each part and every person!  I don’t want to look back on my life and remember faithless frustrating broken threads or the dark worrisome knotted areas with holes in themThis is not to say that life does not have it’s dark moments. I believe that even in hard times some of our richest and deepest colors in our life tapestry are made. Through faith, God himself weaves in the most amazing threads of all.  Many times we cannot even see it until the times are past and we stand back and look.

My new book has woven itself into My Life Tapestry today. The sketches are finished, correction notes are in front of me. The characters are coming alive. In the days to come there will be crisp fall morning walks woven in and grandsons in their halloween costumes. There will be music playing and doggies sitting at my feet.  My husband will be starting up the wood stove, there will be soups cooking on the stove, books to read before bed, a house to clean, a wedding to go to, friends to visit.

This book deadline will come and go.  Before I know it, the book will be on its way to the printer and I will tie off that final color on My Life Tapestry and get ready to start a new colorful thread.

Weekend Journey

That's one big painting!

What a beautiful fall morning!  I met with my sisters for coffee today.  What a slice of heaven sisters are!  We talked and laughed most of the morning. They truly inspire me!  On our walk after coffee we came upon this beautiful scene.  Sometimes you just gotta “Get Outta Dodge”!   It gives you new perspective.  You cannot put a price on it!  JUST DO IT!

The Place In Between

In Blue Skye Studio, creativity seems to happen somewhere between MESSY and CLEAN!  If my studio is too messy I cannot work.  If my studio is too clean, I sit there frozen, unable to become inspired.  Soon the sketchbook comes out, the pencil is poised and the wonderful creative process begins!  Before long, ideas begin to flow…. and then, suddenly…..everything is  MESS again!  haha!

The Colorado First Snowfall

Yesterday my husband and I drove into the mountains to hike with some old college friends. With plummeting temperatures and wind, the fall colors in Colorado don’t hang around very long. I am told that the day before we went on our hike, they were fantastic.  Alas, there is beauty in everything if you look for it, even on the cold gray days like this one.  We saw just a few brave aspen trees with tiny bits of color.

Don’t you think these trees look like they have been dusted with powdered sugar?

This is where we turned off the highway. This road looks like something out of a story book.  It’s the road to “somewhere!”  In fact, it is part of someone’s every day life.  There were a lot of mountain homes on both sides of the road.  My thoughts always go to what is inside of each home and what life must be like living in the mountains.

The snow is always deeper off the main road.  There weren’t many cars on this cold weekend.  I think everyone must have been tucked away in their homes drinking cocoa!

I LOVED this fun  “FORK in the road”  … and yes, we took a wrong turn anyway!   Not to worry, wrong turns happen a lot.  Its all a part of the adventure!

Our friends have a lovely home and the crackling wood stove was calling us inside!!   After a short visit we headed out to the trail head. Thankful for warm boots and just the right amount of layers, we wandered through the trees for a couple of hours.  Our friend’s dog, Oscar, ran through the snow with ease! After our hike we drove to the Sundance Cafe for some yummy red chili!  The day was wonderful! Getting “Outta Dodge” is always a good idea!

Which Came First? The Chicken or the Egg?

The P E N C I L !

Many have asked me what my process is for creating my characters.  Here is the low down with my “Peepsqueak” chick.

1. First I sketch him with a simple pencil. 2. Once Peepsqueak is sketched, I lay a piece of tracing paper over the sketch and draw him with an ink line. (I use a #3 Micron pen) This inked-in image is then scanned. 

3. There are always specks and lines in the scan that I might not like. At this point I open this inked-in image in Photoshop and clean it up. You can see in the image below how I cleaned up Peepsqueak.  4. The next step is to bring the cleaned up jpg into Illustrator. I open the image in Illustrator. I select it and then go under Object in the menu, select Live Trace, then Make and Expand.  After that process I save Peepsqueak as a pdf. Look how nice and clean and smooth the line is now!!

The last step is to color him in Photoshop!  Voila!!!

So, as you can clearly see,  the Pencil came first!!  Do you think God sketched us all out on paper before he made us?  Ha!  fun thought!

How to Hunker Down

It was a good day today… it was an “end” tying day.  I had many projects in the house that needed finishing. I found myself floating from one room to the next.  Fall is a good time for this. I feel like I am getting ready for winter! I am ready to hunker down for when the first snowflakes fly. My mother always had some sort of project going in the winter months. She did a lot of needlework when she was a young mother.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the fairgrounds for the annual Quilt A Fair.  It was so much fun.  There were fabric shops from all over who came to sell their goods.  For an artist, it was a feast!!  Pattern and color and ideas were everywhere!  I stopped abruptly when I came to a corner booth displaying needlework.  There on the wall was the cutest little picture of a rabbit holding a cookie!  I had to have it!!  Only…. in order to HAVE it, I had to make it!  I could almost hear my mother’s voice saying,  “go ahead Leslie! This looks like a fun one”.  So, I bought it! It is ready to stitch as soon as I get the thread.

I have other indoor projects for the winter months.  I just have to get them ready to go!  These are projects I can do “after drawing all day” in the studio. It’s almost like a “story book” way to spend the evening….. with a needle and thread.