art · craft writing · creativity · fear · flow · growth mindset · illustration · painting · watercolor

Watercolor Painting: My First 100 Day Project

Hello Creative Sojourners,

I decided to start a 100 Day Project, have you heard of this?


Last Fall I fell in love with doodling, drawing, and painting, but I took a break after growing frustrated with my how my projects were coming out.

At the beginning, I felt intense joy at making art. I lost myself playing in watercolor puddles and dabbing acrylic paint like a kid. But as my enthusiasm grew, so did my self-doubt. A familiar pattern reared its ugly head. I discovered more and more artists online as I searched for inspiration, lessons, and ideas. I mooned over their work, longed to be better and make more beautiful things. When I went back to my own papers and canvases, I felt stupid at how silly they seemed. Suddenly, the delighted joy I had felt in squishing paint morphed into intimidation as I started to feel that if I wasn’t good enough, I shouldn’t bother. Wasn’t one creative calling enough? I told myself I should probably stick to yarn and not risk embarrassment with my art.

Also, I was confused. I didn’t know what to work on, why I was doing this, or where it was going. I felt confused about starting paintings, building paintings, finishing paintings. With every painting I did, I reached a point where I had overworked it and felt it was ruined. I often rushed, painting in a kind of frenzy, trying to outrun all of these uncomfortable feelings.

Lately I’ve been feeling the call back to paint, paper, and canvas. I was splashing around with my watercolors on Saturday, and decided to write this quotation in paint. If Georgia O’Keefe, the bold painter of flowers, was as afraid as she says and did her work anyway, then maybe my fears don’t have to hold me back either. I’m often a fearful person, but I wanted to be able to say what she says. I tacked this quote up in my studio months ago, and it always moves me when I see it. It’s good to know that successful people struggle, isn’t it?

Thanks to my learning about the growth mindset, I know that the bridge to becoming better at the things I want to do is cultivating a relentless curiosity, accepting my current level of ability, and PRACTICING. If you don’t have time or inclination to read Mindset, Dr. Dweck has done a TED talk that is worth your time.

The growth mindset asserts that our abilities, traits, and skills are not fixed–we can learn and improve at almost anything we decide to practice. We can grow. This idea has changed my life more than any other in the past three years.

Practice, not talent.

Practice, not talent.

Practice, not talent.

I learned it with knitting and crochet, that was the first time I learned something I thought I couldn’t do. For years I said I just wasn’t crafty, I was a word person. This turned out to be wildly untrue. When I learned about growth mindset, I understood that I had felt its power, but had limited it to one domain–needlecraft. I was still thinking of myself as non-artistic, not a “math person,” and socially anxious, and destined to be this way. The book opened my eyes to how belief in our ability to learn and grow could be applied to many more areas of my life, not just fiber art. It helps with relationships, it helps with anxiety battles, it helps with diets, it helps with learning to play the piano, or cook. It gives you hope. You can do the things you long to do, and become the person you want to be. Don’t write yourself off. You can learn and improve. I can learn and improve.

So I will be practicing watercolor painting for 100 days, perhaps non-consecutive days, but I will work until I’ve done 100 practice sessions.

Today was Day 1. I waited until my daughter’s nap time, and counteracted my starting nerves by setting a basic task: a leaf study. I enjoyed feeling like an artist, going outside to our front yard with scissors in hand to snip a couple of leaf samples. By working very slowly, by paying careful attention to the feeling of the brush in my hand, and by watching colors magically transform in my pan, I found enjoyment in the process. I concentrated. I found flow.

I didn’t feel giddy like I have in times past, but calm and focused, and my first leaf went the best!

The fir twig was next. It was difficult, but became a little more Zen as I experimented with different brush strokes to create all those slim needles.

It’s funny how you think you know what a leaf or a rose looks like, but you really don’t until you look at it and see it, like artists say.

By the end, my paper towel looked pretty to me, and I felt very satisfied and relaxed.

Day 1 is a wrap!


I was feeling so artistic, I decided to wear a headscarf.

Thanks for visiting me today. Is there anything out there that you want to try practicing? Maybe for 100 sessions? Tell me! And keep making your life the way you want it.

Yours in Splashes,

Sara Kay

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art · book talk · crochet · doodle · giveaway · yarntoons

Crochetville Blog Tour: Welcome NatCroMo Campers!

Welcome, Crochetville Campers!

I’m glad you could join me around my campfire on the Crochetville Blog Tour. Grab a s’more  (B.Y.O.s’more), and let’s visit.

There’s been a lot of action happening around here, and I’m giving away lots of great stuff in celebration of National Crochet Month so we won’t dawdle, let’s get right to it.

♥ ♥ ♥ giveaways ♥ ♥ ♥ 

10 lovely crocheters can win a signed copy of my book, Poetic Crochet! Poetic Crochet is a beautiful collection of 20 crochet shawl patterns. I hope you love it.

To enter the random drawing for your chance to win a signed copy of Poetic Crochet, just leave a comment on this post, like this post, or share this post on social media using the share buttons at the bottom of the post and be sure to tag me! 

Facebook: Sara Kay Hartmann

Pinterest: sarakayhartmann

Instagram: @boncrochet

Next up: YARNTOONS by Sara Kay

My needle crafting life has turned in a new direction with my burgeoning interest in creating art doodles, painting, and  working on whimsical illustrations. This new passion is spining out into a fun side project called  YARNTOONS by Sara Kay.

After my baby girl was born in 2015, I developed De Quervain’s syndrome in both wrists and couldn’t crochet or knit for awhile which left me heartbroken and afraid I wouldn’t be able to stitch ever again.

Thankfully, I learned about it and started to rest my wrists and learned to hold my sweet daughter with my hands in a different position, and the problem cleared up. It still flares up if I do extended stitching sessions, but thankfully it’s become very manageable. Phew!

While resting my wrists, my design energy was going crazy so I had to channel it into a new direction and discovered creative joy in learning about drawing and painting. One thing led to another, and I started doodling and lettering lots of goofy puns and yarn-related jokes and fell in love.

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I opened a Society6 shop where you can actually purchase my YARNTOONS artwork pieces on mugs, t-shirts, pouches, and more! It’s so much fun to make these products with so much personality and yarn pride, and the products are excellent quality. I know because my darling husband bought me a pillow and tote bag as a surprise. He’s a good one.

To learn more about YARNTOONS, click here!

To celebrate YARNTOONS, I’m offering a little freebie for anyone who loves yarn and coloring. A printable coloring page! Just print from the PDF link below, color, cut out along the black lines and frame for a kooky and fun 8 x 10″ piece of yarn-tastic artwork!

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Here is the PDF coloring page download: yarn-yarn-yarn-8-10-pdf

I hope you enjoy this fun little project when your hands need a break from crocheting!

Next up: New Pattern Launch

Meet Louisa: A Lace Shawl to Crochet

I’ve got a beautiful new lace shawl pattern to share with you just in time for the spring winds to start gusting!

Louisa is an enchanting top-down triangle with lovely shaping shells and a fancy shell and picot border available in my Ravelry Shop for just $6.50.

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And finally, my  Ravelry  Shop is doing a BOGO pattern sale for the entire month of March, so when you buy one or more patterns, you’ll get one pattern totally free! This promotion includes all patterns in my Rav shop including ebooks, crochet, and knitting patterns. Don’t miss out!

Thank you for hunkering down around my campfire to hear about what’s going on and come back soon, pardner.

Ever In Stitches,

Sara

 

 

art · business · creativity · crochet · doodle · doodling · illustration · knitting · watercolor · yarntoons

Introducing Yarntoons!

Hey Yarnies!

I am really excited to share my new line of fiber art illustrations: YARNTOONS by Sara Kay! Creating Yarntoons is a new passion of mine.

What’s a Yarntoon? It’s a lighthearted artwork doodle that celebrates our love of yarn and yarn-tastic pursuits. I’ve been creating them using permanent ink, a brush of watercolor, and a splash of wit!

If you like them, you can buy my Yarntoons products and downloadable artwork from my Etsy shop to print on anything you please to celebrate your love of yarn, YARNTOON-style!

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Crochet by Sara Kay

 

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K-N-I-T by Sara Kay
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Knit Fast, Die Warm by Sara Kay

 

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Swatch Out! by Sara Kay
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One More Row by Sara Kay
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Balls to the Wall by Sara Kay

Pssst! Don’t forget to check out the coffee mug department at Society 6:

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I love yarn puns, sheep puns, wool puns, puns about balls, irreverent plays on words, and have many more in the works if I could just stop smudging my artworks right before finishing [true story. yes, more than once].

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for fresh Yarntoons, coming soon!

In Stitches,

Sara