Finding Creativity in Art – Not Blogging

Towers

So, I have no idea how many people actually still read Pomomusings.

Are there actually readers out there?

I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t read any more. Other than sermons (and reviews for products I’ve received), I haven’t been doing a lot of interesting stuff. Perhaps not much at all recently.

Blogging used to be an outlet for my thinking and creativity, and I loved spending hours fiddling with the design and customizing it. But in the past year, and specifically in the past 6 months or so, I’ve been finding a more old-school outlet for my creativity. And it involves paper. And pens (fountain pens, even!). And watercolors. Colored pencils. Markers. And more!

Ever since being inspired by Mike Rohde and his sketchnoting and continually being amazed at the work of Paul Soupiset, I’ve been inspired to get back into art.

That inspiration led me to apply for a self-care/wellness grant from the Presbytery of Chicago. I was given a large chunk of change to invest in art supplies and art classes – this has opened me up to a whole new world and it’s been really exciting for me. It’s even more amazing that our presbytery has this kind of a program, and I’ve been inspired in some very cool ways that are now allowing me to find ways to use art in my ministry.

One of the online classes that I’m taking (Sketchbook Skool) has introduced me to some really amazing artists, including Tommy Kane, Danny Gregory, Koosje Koene and Mattias Adolfsson (I’d HIGHLY encourage you to take a look at their sites – especially Mattias’s site). And I’ve been inspired to try all sorts of new styles of art, drawing, portraits, reportage and more. I also stumbled into the world of “zentangles” and have done a few of those that I really like.

I still think about Pomomusings often – and usually I feel awful that I don’t blog more. For so long, “blogger” has been a part of my identity, and I feel like I’m skirting some type of responsibility to readers by not blogging. Anyway – those are my issues, and I’ll have to figure out how to deal with them. Until then – I thought I’d leave you with a small gallery of some of my favorite zentangles and drawings from the past couple months.

And if anyone is interested in the supplies I’ve been using, here is a photo with a description below.

Supplies

  1. Watercolor sketchbooks. My favorite is the Moleskine Watercolor, but I also have a Pentalic Watercolor book.
  2. Smaller Moleskine Watercolor pocket book – really like this size.
  3. I have a few of these – a “Travelogue” book by handbook. I’m really not much of a fan of these books – the binding isn’t great on them at all. (I should say all of these are sitting on a piece of hardboard – which is great for holding the books while sketching).
  4. Some really nice watercolor paper (both hot press and cold press), in multiple sizes. It’s really nice because it’s bound on both sides, so paper doesn’t curl when doing watercolor on it. I really like this paper.
  5. Canson Mix Media paper – a good size and good quality – was pretty cheap at Blick.
  6. A Rough Edge pencil holder – a good size and I like the look and material.
  7. Prismacolor Colored Pencils – the 72 color set.
  8. Copic markers – I really haven’t gotten into these too much, mainly because it’s hard to find a paper that works well and doesn’t bleed through. I did buy some Copic paper, but just haven’t done much with them.
  9. Erasers. The Staedtler ones are good, but the kneaded eraser is a little better when trying to erase pencil from under ink – the other ones tend to fade the ink a bit.
  10. Faber-Castell Artist Pens…a nice set that comes with 3 different widths and a brush pen. I got a black set and a sepia set.
  11. Derwent Watercolor Pencils (24 colors). Again, I haven’t used these much but hope to as I start playing with watercolors more.
  12. Micron Pigma pens…lots of them. I go back and forth between whether I like these better than the Staedtler pigment liners…
  13. Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink – in my experience, it’s not REALLY waterproof – so didn’t work well for watercolor washes.
  14. My Lamy Safari Fountain pen.
  15. Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens – it’s really good for a disposable one.
  16. A Retro 51 Tornado pen.
  17. Tombow brush pens – these are really nice. If you’re only going to get one, get the N75, which is awesome for just adding some shading and depth to your B&W pen/ink drawings.
  18. Staedtler pencil set.
  19. Watercolor brushes. I got a variety of brushes – a few water brushes but mainly Princeton watercolor brushes.
  20. An Alvin Basic-Bow, for drawing circles.
  21. Pencil sharpener.
  22. Staedtler Pigment Liners – really like these – they were the first pens I used like this for sketching and drawing.
  23. Sakura Koi watercolor field sketch set. These have worked really well for me.
  24. A small Winsor-Newton travel watercolor set – haven’t gotten into it yet.
  25. Sighting tool – for trying to get proportions and perspective right when sketching on site.
  26. A few pens and nibs to use as dipping fountain pens.
  27. Higgin’s Black Magic waterproof ink.
  28. Masking tape.
  29. A 5-mixing color set of gouache. Haven’t used it yet.
  30. Watercolor mixing plate.
  31. Travel cup for watercolor (it’s my mother-in-law’s – I stole it).

Monday Morning Quarterback: Clergy Couple Edition

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Many of you are familiar with the brilliant blog-series by Rocky Supinger called Monday Morning Quarterback. They are a brilliant look into the life of a pastor on a Sunday. This past Saturday, Sarah was approved for ordination to serve as an Acting Associate Pastor at the Winnetka Congregational Church (pictured on the right). And we are now living into the reality that we knew would happen when we started dating during seminary: the reality of being a clergy couple.

And so today, as I was driving Caleb around Winnetka, I thought I might want to do a clergy couple edition of the Monday Morning Quarterback. So, here we go (with photos along the way):

6:35. Alarm goes off. Way too early. But I have a lot of stuff going on at church in the morning, and I need to get Caleb to church earlier than normal.

7:04. Dressed and time to get Caleb up. Thankfully, he was more pleasant than usual this morning, and was excited to pick out his sweater for church.

7:20. Downstairs for breakfast. Green pancakes from a Friday is what he wants. Everything going smoothly so far, which is a good thing on days when I need to get to church earlier.

IMG_1651-17:55. Caleb and I leave for church. He normally comes with me. It snowed last night, so he thinks he’s going to get to play in the snow when we walk out to the car. Yah, that’s a no. But he still looks pretty cool in his new consignment shop clothes.

8:10. Caleb is in his chair in my office with the iPad. Totally happy kid – no worries. Now I can run around and get things ready for worship, and be ready to meet with our new prospective members at the Special Session Meeting.

8:55. Special Session Meeting starts – really excited for these four new members joining today – great people, including a former professional baseball player who taught Michael Jordan how to play baseball.

9:20. Meeting done, and I get Caleb to go to his classroom.

9:45. Worship: For the most part it goes smoothly. Colleague and I bust up laughing right before he has to get up and greet people. We forgot to ask someone to do the prayer – I step in like a champ and lead it. Disaster averted.

11:05. Worship done – time for cake and to get Caleb. He loves the time after worship, and so he runs around and plays with all his friends (who are mainly little girls…who love him). Had to change his diaper – his teacher told me she had to change his diaper and she said she put a pull-up on him, probably backwards. I checked. Backwards indeed. And a few sizes too small. But I took care of it.

11:40. Just taking care of a few loose ends in my office, and then Caleb starts pushing the button to talk to Siri on my iPad. He’s saying something that I can’t quite make out. And then I realize what he’s saying. He’s saying a sentence and then saying “PERIOD.” The dude is using punctuation. Hilarious.

11:45. I get a text from Sarah, and she says that Caleb and I should come over to her church, because there’s a free lunch. That’s all she had to say to get me to come, so I quickly get Caleb ready and we head to the Winnetka Congregational Church for lunch.

12:00. I get to meet people who know Sarah – and I get to be the clergy spouse for a chance. It’s fun. People rave about how cool Sarah is, how amazing she is with the confirmation kids. That’s super fun for me. I assure them that I taught her all that she knows…they look at me skeptically.

12:30. Caleb decides he doesn’t want to eat, but wanders around for awhile while I make small-talk with folks. All of a sudden, I realize that he’s over sitting at the piano, singing. It’s hilarious. And impressive.

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1:00. I leave Caleb with Sarah and head back to church to do a few things in preparation for youth group tonight, and then I head home.

1:30. Had to clean up the house a bit because Sarah’s colleague was coming over with her two-year-old in a bit.

2:00. Tried to put Caleb down for a nap…yah…he wasn’t going to have any of that. Stayed in his crib…yapping to himself. I love that and think it’s funny – except he really needs to nap or else he’s gonna be nuts tonight.

3:00. Sarah’s colleague and daughter come over. We get Caleb up (he hasn’t slept) and they play for a couple hours in the basement. A good time is had by all.

4:45. I leave for a concert that’s happening at my church – got there – said hi to a few folks – you know, a little pastor schmoozing, heard some amazing music, and then Sarah texted and wondered if she could drop Caleb off with me so she could get a bit done at church.

5:15. Caleb and I sit in the narthex and listen to the concert. He watched PBS Kids with no volume. Doesn’t seem bothered at all by that. I draw this.

5:55. Caleb and I now head back to the Winnetka Congregational Church. They were having Family Night tonight (which means free dinner too!), so we join Sarah. Caleb and I play a little bit in the gym with the other kids. I think we might have a soccer player on our hands. He’s pretty good at dribbling the ball. Really. Like a prodigy. USMNT. Well, we’ll see.

6:15. We eat dinner. Caleb fell backwards off his chair. I think I was supposed to be watching him. Huh.

6:30. I head back to my church. See some more folks leaving the concert.

7:00. Youth Group! We had a pretty good turnout tonight. 2 Truths and a Lie. Nooma video. Discussion on prayer. And Scatterball. I’m not normally super competitive, but I am with Scatterball. I always want to win. I had a few really good shots – nailed a few youth with some impressive throws. Felt good about that. NAILED one of our adult volunteers on her backside. Felt bad about that – but I still got her out.

8:35. Check my phone and there’s a voicemail from Sarah. She and Caleb are just leaving the other church, Caleb is a bit crazy, he’s super over-tired, and he’s asking for daddy. I throw my stuff in my office, and head for home.

8:40. I pull in about a minute or two after they did. He seems happy to see me.

9:00. Go potty (Caleb, not me), wash hands, brush teeth, walk around without pants on for a bit (Caleb, not me), pick out jammies, read two books, hug, kiss, Caleb in bed.

9:30. Phew. Watching Newsroom. Whoa. Intense! RUN!

10:59. Finish up last bit of this blog post. I think we realized that when we both have Sunday night things at church – we may need to be getting a babysitter. 9:30pm is too late for Caleb to get to bed.

11:00. Time to draw. Need to sketch someone tonight…sifting through my Facebook Newsfeed…who is it going to be…and it turns out it’s going to be the Very Rev. John Vest. Peace out.

Get Organized with the KeySmart 2.0

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A few weeks ago, I saw someone on Facebook post about something called the KeySmart…and as soon as I saw it – I knew that I wanted one. Aside from just being a really sleek looking accessory, it’s also incredibly useful. I was starting to get annoyed at how bulky  my keys were becoming – which was always a bit of a nuisance, trying to fit into my pants pockets. Manufactured here in Chicago, I was also excited to support a local business. This is what the founders said about the reasons behind creating the KeySmart:

product_blue_1024x1024Constantly annoyed with thigh poke, key jingle, and damaged pants, Mike set out to design a solution to the bulky key ring. After months of prototyping, testing, and redesigning, KeySmart was born. The frame was crafted out of aluminum to be ultra lightweight, and the hardware was milled from stainless steel to survive anything life threw at it. After launching on Kickstarter in early 2013, KeySmart was one of the most popular products ever launched. Mike quit his job to take KeySmart on full time and has been making happy customers ever since.

One of the many cool things about the KeySmart is how customizable it is. You can have additional add-ons (and there are many to choose from – look here), you can choose from 8 different colors, or choose to go fancy and get the titanium edition (which is a bit above my price point). There is also the KeySmart 2.0 Extended, if you have any foreign or longer keys. And it’s expandable so if you have a lot of keys that you want to hold in your KeySmart 2.0, that’s no problem.

The first week or so I used it – I did find it a little difficult to figure out which key was where, and I thought it was actually taking me longer to stop and find the key, fold it out, use it and fold it back in. But after about a week, I really got used to it. I have a few of the AirKeys, so I think once I get those made, the color coding will help a lot as well. The AirKeys are really cool because they are so lightweight.

Most importantly, however, is how comfortable the keys feel when they’re in the case and in my pockets. I only wish that I didn’t have the larger Subaru key for my car, because then it would be even sleeker.

They give you great instructions for putting your KeySmart together when it arrives, and it’s actually kind of fun (or at least I thought it was fun to get them all organized and put together). Again, there are so many accessories, I’m looking forward to trying some more of them out.

As we are getting closer to Christmas, at a $19.98 price point, this makes a perfect stocking stuffer. And I think it’s something that anyone would appreciate. If you want to order one, you can do so here.