I had a good reason for putting Illustration Friday on the backburner; nobody would argue. For those of you who don’t know, my daughter was hospitalized the last few weeks of summer back in August, at which point I stopped submitting work into the online illustration community, Illustration Friday. (The community to thank for my “meeting” dozens of professional and aspiring illustrators alike, dedicated enough to be living my dream, who inspire and even personally encourage me tremendously… and who even surprisingly gave a shit when I stopped submitting.) Once we got back home, any kind of unnecessary deadline that detracted from the attention I could give to my family just wasn’t a priority anymore. I decidedly never painted unless she was asleep and Matthew usually painted with me, but still: my daughter was on a feeding tube. My life wasn’t exactly an irrupting source inspiration.
The very last painting I did before our stint in the hospital was this breastfeeding portrait, which made a little bit of a buzz. I think it took me a single morning to throw together in time to meet the deadline. As luck would have it, my favorite blogger ever, (actually one of the only more professional blogs I read) and someone I very much admire on a personal level, unexpectedly took the time to notice it and even dedicated a post to it! (Sarah has about a gazillion dedicated readers, so that was pretty cool!) And since then a few people have even paid me to mail them copies.
Then, I joined Pinterest.
And turns out, our breastfeeding momma has made quite the impact over there too! A friend of mine recently pinned her, maybe a week ago, which of course, I thought was a super-sweet gesture, and I thanked her for at once. Turns out though, Breastfeeding Momma was actually pinned quite a number of times - the original pin dating back months ago! And has been re-pinned in total something like a hundred and fifty times. (Seventy-four repins from one original pinner, twelve from another, thirty-six from another.. I don’t even know how many times it actually has, because every time I try to search it, a different pinning pops up!) I mean, WOW. Just. WOW.
It hit me all at once when I told my husband about it happening: that was the last painting I did before I stopped. I’m ready to get back on the horse. Now is not the time to sit idly by, upholding myself with a bunch of reasons.
Obviously, Scarlett has been very healthy for a long time. But the issue now has become that she’s no longer the easy-going, dilatory nine month old baby she was when I left off. She’s seventeen months and thirty solid pounds of yappy, grabby, filth-generating destruction. (You know, the good kind, though.) Take it from me, the only thing kids know how to do quietly is kill themselves, and at this age, it’s practically a hobby. Take your eyes off of her for fifteen seconds, and she’ll find thirty ways to kill herself without you ever hearing a thing. Plus, Matthew’s a four year old boy, which basically means he’s got the energy level and capacity for obedience of a rabid squirrel, and doesn’t nap unless he’s treacherously ill. Mary may not beg for my attention, but she needs it all the same. And Spencer actually kind of expects me to… you know, DO stuff while he’s off working 60 hours a week to pay the bills.
But DAMNIT, I really, really miss painting.
So yesterday afternoon I looked up the topic. “Intention.” I brewed a pot of half-calf Maxwell House, drafted up an idea on a sheet of Bristol board, and painted until Spencer came home that night with dinner that didn’t have to be cooked. (Score!) The cool thing is that ten minutes in, Matt hopped up into the chair across the table from me and started drawing. Twenty minutes after that, so did Mary. At one point, Spencer even set Scarlett up at the table with an abandoned No. 2 and let her go to town, delineating a sheet of printer paper next to mom.
There’s a reason I miss painting so much. And it’s got very little to do with anything artistic. Illustration Friday, I am back.
(Submission to follow... I'm just too excited to wait!)