Clutter for cool kids

The second best thing I did for myself this January was start going to a personal trainer. (The first, of course, was Ira.) It’s been about five months now, and I can’t fathom how much stronger and happier I feel. The key, of course, is consistency, and that’s where I tend to fall down. This morning, my trainer had to cancel because his allergies were so bad. “That’s no problem!” I thought. “I can go and do my thing on my own! I love the rowing machine!”

Reader, I am sure it won’t surprise you to hear that instead, I am typing this in my PJs from bed. The same thing seems to be happening this week with my index cards. Over Memorial Day Weekend, a super dear friend came to visit and we probably walked 30 miles or more, if her FitBit is correct. Then I wound up having a bunch of mid-afternoon appointments in Manhattan during the week, and now it’s Thursday and I’ve barely touched my art supplies.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from buying more. I have a cheap set of gouache paints that I’m really excited to play with; last night, my cousin was in town, so I took her to my favorite art supply store and left with a set of stamps, which I’d been thinking about lately. And of course, there’s always collage! As ever, thanks to the U.S. Postal Service for its vital role in that.

Mostly, I am trying not to feel guilty about it. Being a perfectionist has always been a fun part of my life (Narrator: It has not), but it’s possible to fall into a break and realize it’s needed, as well as understandable and fine. Good things are happening outside my normal routine, so if that’s the cause of the interruption, I’ll take it. Back at it soon — so many new things to try!

An update: I am adding in image descriptions only just now, at 10:05 p.m.


031 - Small-town unusual
Day 31: Small-Town Unusual. Some days you find out why you’ve been saving the wrapper from your sushi chopsticks. I really like how many textures I got into this! Liquid watercolor, marker (various), colored pencil and collage.
032 - Most Important Turkey
Day 32: Most Important Turkey. This also came from saving a scrap of paper, in this case, some doodles my friend Abby made while playing with the dip pens. Watercolor, India ink, glitter pen, marker and collage.
033 - Good Dog
Day 33: Good Dog. While I was trying to figure out whether I should design on a theme, I remembered how much I loved stained glass art. Not sure whether I’ll keep going with that, because holy wow, stained glass color arrangements take a lot of decision-making. Watercolor, marker and Micron pen.
034 - Versus the Polar Bear
Day 34: Versus the Polar Bear. The first of these cards that really owes itself to a podcast! In this case, the Science Vs episode about whether polar bears are really going extinct. To me, there’s something sort of mythic (and a little apocalyptic) about this image, even if it’s not Allegorical Art or whatever. I also really love doing collage with art I make, in addition to found media. I’ve been assured that this may pop up in a Science Vs newsletter — if anyone has seen it in their inbox, let me know! Watercolor, marker and collage.
035 - And this old world seemed new to me
Day 35: And this old world seemed new to me. I’ve got this certainty some days that time spent on a card is directly proportional to its quality. Not always the case! Here, I just wanted to see what India ink and black watercolor looked like together. The words are the lyrics to one of the Andrews Sisters’ most famous numbers, “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.” India ink, watercolor and Micron pen.
036 - What's Taking So Long
Day 36: What’s Taking So Long. This squiggle monster turned into a delightful penguin waiter while I was listening to an episode of Hidden Brain about, er, an avalanche and why we fixate on counterfactuals. Of all the things that impress me about this image, the penguin’s preternatural balance is just the Most. Watercolor, marker and India ink.
037 - Rage Monster Destresses
Day 37: Rage Monster De-stresses. My friend Meisje had been trying to get me to the Neue Galerie for weeks to catch an exhibit of German and Austrian art from the 1930s before it closed. I’m so glad she did — it was a stunning experience. She wanted to know if anything had inspired me regarding the cards. The answer is yes, although this guy may be a little more Ralph Steadman than German Expressionism. I still love the splatters, though. Watercolor and India ink.
038 - Go Forth and Know
Day 38: Go Forth and Know. Okay, I am really impressed with this one, to be honest! It started off as random color plus a squiggle, but only after it was all put together did I realize that what I’d thought was a Lovecraftian monster more resembled a person peacefully closing their eyes. This card also benefitted greatly from me wandering away in the middle, befuddled, only to open some mail and receive the perfect additions for the piece. Watercolor, India ink, marker and collage.
039 - Bitter single enjoys a good wedding
Day 39: Bitter single enjoys a good wedding. I did this one a bit hungover, with no idea where any of it was going. The night before, I’d attended maybe the wedding of the century, and seeing my friends that brilliantly happy together made me want so badly to be in love. Watercolor, marker and crayon.
040 - Six-Fingered Art Revolt
Day 40: Six-Fingered Art Revolt. In my head, this is sort of a gig poster, but mostly it’s squiggle art that owes itself to the excellent recent Flash Forward episode about an issue near and dear to my heart — arts funding and the WPA. Watercolor, marker and Micron pen.

Okay, back into it tomorrow, friends. If you want to watch these come out day by day, here’s the Twitter thread where they all live. Thanks for stopping by, and catch you on the flip side.


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