Oh, Graphite.

I have always been in my head. I feel like one of my greatest obstacles to becoming a functioning adult–who cleans and cooks and tends to children–has been to fully inhabit the earth, come into my body, be mindful. The easiest place to slip into is thought. But the ability to reason that I have put so much faith in all these years has little to say about drawing. Why do I draw? I don't know; because I want to. What do I like to draw? Images that portray a certain idea or concept? No, not really. I like to draw what I see, mostly faces, sometimes with bodies. To be honest, I have no reason for drawing other than I feel compelled to. I am not making a statement, other than love, I suppose. All I can really come up with is that human beings have been making marks on surfaces for a very long time. And I am no different.

I've updated my Fine Arts page if you'd like to take a look.

Fiona's Comic

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I just posted this to Instagram, but the small image really didn't do it justice. Fiona and I worked on creating some comics a bit today after she's shown an interest in Toon Books, even asking, Mama, can I have a million comics? Can I have all the comics in the world? Being the sucker that I am (with a very weak spot for books, and a very very week spot for books with pictures...), I said of course, and now comics are the new thing around here.

All I did was create the comic storyboard template and let her go to town. She came up with the story, images and words, just asking for help with spelling. When she finished drawing and writing, she asked me to color it in for her and I obliged. As usual, I am blown away by Fiona's work. I am so amazed that this tiny person has such big ideas.

(The comic goes like this: First, a mama fairy and her daughters are hanging out, then an evil witch zaps the mama. The daughters say, "Oh no!" and, "She's hurt!" Then the mama feels better and the daughters say, "Mommy! You're better!" and the mama says "Oh thank you, kids!" And the evil witch says "Hmph!")

Fiona's Art Shop

We invited family over this weekend to celebrate Fiona's birthday with a morning of food and art. Fiona has been planning and dreaming for months about selling her artwork at an art fair, so for her birthday, we made it happen.

I bought some blank cards and envelopes, set out our usual art supplies of graphite pencils, colored pencils, beeswax crayons and watercolors, then Fiona, along with her siblings and cousins, created designs on the blank cards. When they were finished with their cards, we tied a little string with a tag with the artist's name on each. After cake and singing, the adults were invited to purchase cards for a quarter each.

Fiona loved it. I have a feeling this isn't her last fair.

Family, food and art. Ah yes, good stuff.

Elsa & Clare

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I always question whether to post these little experiments in watercolor or gouache because I have so little experience with the mediums. But hey, what's a blog for if not to document the process?

I enjoyed the drawing stage a lot. I really love drawing with graphite and should do it more, but because I'm not really comfortable with watercolors yet, that stage was kind of stressful. I pretty much felt like I was messing up my drawing the whole time. Ha! I still kind of think that looking at it now. I'm hoping to continue making these little paintings and getting comfortable with watercolors.

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What I absolutely do love about this little painting is that it's of my sweet Elsa and her doll Clare, who used to be Fiona's doll, but has been adopted by Elsa with big sister's permission. :)

Happy Monday, friends! May your week be gloriously ordinary.

Fiona's Cast of Characters

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This is a selection of Fiona's recent crop of characters, drawn over the last week or so. I kind of can't deal with how awesome they are. I make a great effort to act nonchalant about it all. I tell her I love them, because I genuinely do, but not so much that I give her a complex. I am very aware that too high of expectations or labels are not conducive to giving children freedom to create. But seriously, holy crap...

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It is an incredible joy to see Fiona's 4 year old imagination recorded on paper this way. One of these days, I plan to return to my weekly {family sketchbook project}. Her drawings need to be shared!

shop update! new work!

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I am so excited to introduce you to some new work I've just listed in my shop! I've been wanting the broaden my focus since opening House Love Shop and I'm thrilled to be taking this first step.

These illustrations were inspired by simple, special parts of life that mean so much to all of us. From the Bees (above) and Remember the Sea (below) are the beginning of a series called Gifts from the Earth. As a city dweller, I have to be mindful about my appreciation for the earth and all it provides. These illustrations are celebrations of that relationship. We use honey in our tea, muffins, body care products and more, all thanks to the bees, and Remember the Sea is inspired by the peace we find near the sea and a reminder from the earth to bring that peace home with us. The gift tag reads, "remember me, the sea." 

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I've also started a transportation series. I like the idea of creating a story with each illustration, so you can imagine a family spending the day on the water with their dog, a young couple heading to the beach, or a Saturday morning spent biking around town, running into neighbors and shopping at the farmers market.

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I've been wanting to create these architectural learning charts since almost the inception of House Love. I've always had an appreciation for architecture, but wasn't very knowledgeable about the specific styles. This set, Rowhouse Love, is inspired by a love for my own urban neighborhood architecture and the many beautiful custom rowhouse portraits I've illustrated over the last year.

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And last, an illustration especially for Squamies. My own experience at the Taproot Gathering was so meaningful and I wanted to create a little memento to take home a bit of the peace found at Squam Lake.

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All of these greeting cards will be available as 8"x10" prints as well, but they haven't been listed yet. Look for that next week! (Or email me at houseloveshop@gmail.com if you're in a hurry and I'll set up a listing for you!)

As always, thank you so much for the support. I look forward to working with all of you in this new way. Creating illustrations that connect with people means so much to me and I feel incredibly lucky to be doing what I'm doing. Thank you.

The Art Fair!

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My last night at Squam was spent as a vendor at the art fair. It was my first experience as a vendor and it really was the perfect first fair. It was short and sweet; only two and a half hours. I was so busy the whole time, it seemed to be over in a minute! I was nervous going into it and so happy at how well received my work was. It's a scary thing, being out there like that. I'm glad I just went for it. The people were so kind and it was lovely to chat face to face with customers. It kind of felt like a party!

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I split my table between House Love and Miranda Makes. On the Miranda Makes side, I had a lot of new art prints and greeting cards for sale. I sold a ton, even running out of one design! I plan to list these in my shop in the coming months. On the House Love side, I had my portfolio of house portraits along with a few gift certificates for sale.

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The weeks leading up to Squam were pretty intense. As is my typical style, I was in a bit over my head when I first committed to being a part of the fair. There were a lot of late nights and last minute preparations, but it was so worth it. I know that this is a direction I want to move in and I'm glad I got my feet wet. Or, you know, jumped into the deep end. ;)

I am finally catching up on portraits after a super productive weekend. I can't believe I'm saying this, but my House Love wait list is full through the end of the year! I will be making a limited number of gift certificates available in my shop in time for holiday gifts, so watch for that if you're interested. If you'd like to add yourself to the 2014 list, please do email me at miranda@houseloveshop.com!

And today being the 29th of September, it would be remiss if I didn't say happy, happy birthday to my very dear friend, Kimmie! I cannot wait for her visit in a couple weeks. Hooray!

Wishing you all a perfectly ordinary, beautifully uneventful week!