My Inspirational Retreat

mtrainier My whole life I've wanted to live somewhere other than NY and Rhode Island. But it hasn't happened, yet. This summer I decided to just pack up my supplies and rent an Airbnb, get on a plane, stay for 3 weeks and see what happens. I'm still in the middle of it so I don't have perspective but so far I can say its been wonderful for the change of pace. I'm on Vashon Island which is a little island a ferry ride from Seattle. This is my view from the deck of my house and from the work table I set up in front of a big glass window. Different, yes!!!


The first day I was nervous, I had a stomachache because of it but as I adjusted to the situation I felt myself relaxing. Sort of luckily a few jobs I have got delayed a little bit so I really had time to explore the island, see new things and play around with painting. I've been wandering the roads and the beach and collecting wildflowers and rocks and seeds, so many little bits that inspire me. My eyes are open wider.


There are really nice houses here, cute cottages, gardens that are out of this world and amazing views. I take lots of pictures so I can refer to them later for reference. I also have done a lot of plein air painting which I don't get to do very often.

Jennifer_OrkinLewis_vashonlandscape2.s JenniferOrkinLewis_vashonlandscape1.s

I've done many loose, slightly abstracted  watercolors in a cheap sketchbook just to get going. for me, if I work in a very quick way, without regard for the final outcome I can find new ideas and directions. Even here I still have times where I have no idea what I want to paint, what is inspiring me. But I go take a walk along the beach, or a hike in the woods. Or go to a cute cafe and sit for tea. These small mindful things are so necessary to the creative process and sometimes in the business of everyday life I forget to take time for myself.





And I've met the most wonderful warm, kind people. I've been invited over to so many incredible homes. With all the stuff going on in the world right now it's such a pleasure to turn off the news and just enjoy simple, beautiful, generous humanity.



Reflections on a Year of Daily Painting

SBfinal2014 I am looking at 2 sketchbooks with 365 paintings in them. Last January I set the goal of a 30 minute painting a day in these particular books. You can read about my process here.



I have never filled a whole sketchbook before but choosing to do this felt right and I knew it would happen. I enjoyed watched the girth of the book grow everyday.
It took amazing discipline and energy to do this, I had some migraines, I traveled, I was busy with other projects and some days I just didn't have the will to get up and do this. But I did it anyway, every day. And I loved it, even the hard times.There were only 2 exceptions where I painted the night before. I was beyond busy and didn't want to forfeit the day.
The project is a little insight on my life, I paint what I see, what I'm feeling, who I spent time with, myself and my thoughts. I tried out color combinations and ways to work my paintbrush. I got lazy sometimes and didn't put my all into it, but those days I learned things too.
Some days I just couldn't think about color and I just drew with gel pens on a color background, some days I started over 4 times before I realized my 30 minutes was almost up, then I just mushed paint around. But I found my style and my joy. I truly love to paint, I love color, I love creating something on a blank piece of paper.
I learned that I have discipline, I wasn't so sure of that! I learned that it's really ok to make mistakes, to hate the piece I did that day, to find a little magic in the hated piece and move on and paint something I love.
I love my community of friends and followers on my social media pages. The encouragement and comments and "likes" all kept me motivated to get up every morning to paint more. Thank you so much to Janine Vangool of Uppercase Magazine who featured my sketchbook way back in Issue 21 in the spring, And Lisa Congdon. who encouraged me and gave me so much exposure on her blog, and Laura Tarrish who interviewed me for theDesign Observer blog. And so many others. (Now I sound like I'm accepting an Oscar) but I'm truly grateful!
I learned that I love to inspire others and I hope everyone will start a daily practice that fits their passion and lifestyle.
I never really felt like an artist until this year, even though I've been painting and drawing since I was a child and spent many years working in the textile industry as a designer and stylist.
This year I found what I love and what I am seeking. It's a great feeling.
In 2015 I plan to continue 30 minutes a day.. But I want to branch out from only painting in the sketchbook. I want to see what happens when I paint for 30 minutes but the paper is much bigger? What if I use the same paper 5 days in a row and build up layers.  What if I use more mixed media? What about using black or a different colored paper? I might draw more in the paintings. I haven't quite decided how to proceed with the details but I'm not going away, it's changed my life. The constant will be 30 minutes a day.
I'm taking off January 1st and can't wait to start a new chapter on the 2nd, Happy New Year!!
xo Jennifer