Thursday, May 21, 2020

New Artwork: Garden Blooms Collection!

Garden Blooms Released!

It's very rainy here this week and though it is a bit dreary and chilly here in northern Montana,  I am hopeful for gardens sprouting new life.  It brings me joy to spread a bit of good news from my art artwork is available on my website at!  They are sizes 5" x 7" and smaller so very easy on the pocketbook for sure.

Thank you for popping in to see what is happening here with my art creating space.  I am making time in the early morning for art...and then on the occasional day off and weekends.  While my time is a bit more challenged for being in my art room, I continue to make it there just the same.

Here is a limited preview of what you can find in this collection:

More artwork is ready to be added again collection coming is Ethereal Expressive Collection, loose and refreshing landscapes.  While you are on my website, be sure to sign up for my newsletter.  Early notice of upcoming art releases will be sent out each time, giving insiders the news first.  Three days earlier than on social media!  

Thank you for stopping by to spend a few minutes here...see you again soon!  Have a great week.

-She must make art.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Garden Blooms Collection Releases Soon

I am so ready for spring.  Montana spring is full of the occasional snow.  Gardens full of peas and lettuce will be a welcome sight.  And flowers.  I am excited for flowers.  The year 2020 has brought so much unpredictable and strangeness for daily life.  So while we might be feeling impatient for some beauty in the garden, I can bring you some blooms earlier than they will bloom locally.  Color so vibrant and touches of playful watercolor effects are on the way.  They are titled, in my art inventory,  have been photographed and now being uploaded on the website!

© Christy Sheeler 2020 She Must Make Art.  All rights reserved.

It has been my goal to remain  creative.   I find that even if no one needs my art, I need it.  I crave and heal through the process of creating art.  This outlet helps me cope with what is happening around me.

There are roses and sunflowers among the artworks coming soon to my website.   Nearly twenty in all, ranging in sizes from miniatures to 5" x 7" with prices that are super budget friendly.   My target date is May 21st, 2020 for these to be available online to purchase. 

I would like to add a few larger pieces to this collection though that may take a few weeks.  I have limited time available now.  I have returned to my seasonal nannying position on weekdays.   The small pockets of time available are key to making art and getting it ready to release online.

Would you like early access to see new artwork? 

My plan at the present is to release an art collection every 2 or 3 weeks.  That is dependent on a lot of things but it always helps to have a target.  There are seven collections ready to be released.  I will need to create the listings on my website which takes a few hours for each collection.  At this time, the collections are as follows:  Garden Blooms, Ethereal Expressive (landscapes), Summer Memories (landscapes), Waterfalls and Rivers, Trees, Autumn, and Winter.  I have plans to add two more collections, Wildflowers II and Prairie.

My website is so go visit and you will be invited to sign up for my mailing list.  I have not been brave enough to actually try sending out a newsletter...until now.  Do it scared, right?  I do plan to send out an announcement for the release of each collection.  Sign up and you'll know before I publish it on social media!  What can be better than that?

I have two private commissions in the planning stages.  These will be larger pieces considering the sizes I have been working in lately.  I have been trying out studies in watercolor to prepare myself for working out the composition and values and color pigment choices.

One of my goals for this season is a better morning routine,  with about an hour reserved for being in my art room.   

Along with this, I have been bringing a small bag of watercolor supplies to work and I can find time to paint one or two times a week.  Even 30 minutes helps my outlook so much.

© Christy Sheeler 2020 She Must Make Art.  All rights reserved

The two palettes shown are the Cornucopia Empty Watercolor Palette Trays.  They come as a 2-pack with 72 empty half-pans.  I ordered them from Amazon and they were under $20 total.  Dick Blick sells a larger variety for sizes of empty palette and full pans or half pans.  I chose pigments that would be lovely together, either just the one palette by itself or both together.  They have primary pigments and other favorites for pairing and mixing.  The sketch journals are Global Handbook Artist Journals.  The collapsible water cup is the Faber-Castell Clic & Go

I have been searching out a small and medium size bag perfect for organizing and protecting my art supplies.   Another of my goals is to have a perfectly packed for small quick day trips and longer ones as well.

It's great to be able to post this update and I will be working hard to make this spring and summer productive.  Thanks for stopping in to join me for this chat and let me know if you have any comments or questions.  You can comment below or send me a message through the link off to the right.

-She must make art.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Unexpected Days to Ponder

Sewing a homemade mask on my sewing machine.I cannot say that I grasp it at all.  This is a year of the unexpected and a lot has been changed quickly.  So much is a blur to me.  One day meshes with the other six in the week and I cannot clearly remember one from the others.  The way we have all had to rethink life and change our way of living without much opportunity to prepare is incredible.

I have seen all the preparedness public announcements and always wondered 1) the chances of that much emergency planning being necessary and 2) what could possibly happen to require it.  Here we are.  It's the Covid-19 Pandemic...I was first aware that this could be a major problem back in February.  Next, I was aware of the serious impact on the U.S. in March and now I am here in April, thinking of how I could possibly begin to express my take on it.  I can't most likely because we are all still in the thick of it, adjusting to so much and not knowing the outcome.

This is the facemask instructions and pattern with video tutorial that I followed: LINK HERE  It does not have a pocket for filter but could be easily modified for that option.

My homemade mask.

The month of March was expected to be my transition back into full time nannying.  By now, I should be working long days and eating too many french fries.  I was hit with shock as the plans to watch children for ten days did not happen as we had planned.  A cruise cancelled.  A snowstorm hit here locally.  Cabin fever set in as we were housebound for the weekend...which felt like forever to all of us.  Then came the national news and the task force recommendations, leading to our schools being changed to online distance learning by that Tuesday.  I just wanted to be home.  I remember feeling overwhelmed by all that I couldn't control.

Me in my homemade mask.

Let me add a sidenote here:  I may not have lasted in Girl Scouts past a year or so...but I am the one always determined to be prepared for any unforeseen problem or disastrous event.  Why am I carrying around a purse packed to weigh 10 pounds...kidding, not kidding.  Because I will have the most practical and useful rarely necessary stuff right there with me.  I kid you not.  It's embarrassing but honest.  That's me.  Laugh if you like, I won't wouldn't be the first time.  BUT when it comes down to who can survive, and help a neighbor out, I'm the one that can probably bail you out.  That's when you won't be laughing, huh.

There was a time just a few years ago when I was more than stocked for flour and sugar.  I wasn't trying to prepare for a pandemic.  I was being wise with my grocery funds.  Money was so much tighter then and I figured out that buying sugar and flour in bulk at Sam's Club is really smart.  And I cooked and baked more back then.  I have these large white buckets that once stored my flour and sugar...and they are empty.  So I have been hard on myself that I ever let that extra supply go by the wayside.  It's okay, I have coped with the anxiety over this one and can say I am not one of those hoarders clearing the grocery store shelves.  I have managed to restock flour and sugar.  Not those quantities but enough for what we need a week or two at a time.  We are doing well...not going hungry.

It rattled me a bit that this situation is very much out of my control.  I didn't make it back to making art very easily.  I needed to take time to just slow down and be serious with selfcare.  I had my ups and downs through each day.  I was honest with my husband about how I felt and he was a great encourager and support.  I found ways to focus on small projects that kept me busy and distracted.

One of my distractions has been learning how to make sourdough bread.  My first sourdough starter was a fail.  First, because I used bleached flour (that's what I had here in the house) and second, because my husband preheated the oven where the starter was being kept warm by the oven light.  My second attempt at sourdough starter (with unbleached flour, once it was available) was a success and after a week of daily attention, I have baked my first sourdough boule and we are all hooked on it now.  My second one will be baked up today.  It's given me a distraction and I love learning new things.

The sourdough starter instructions I chose to use are by Vaishali at Holy Cow! Vegan: LINK HERE.

I used the recipe, No-Knead Sourdough Bread at King Arthur Flour website is LINKED HERE.

Sourdough starter in a canning jar with kitchen utensils.

Sourdough boule fresh from the oven.

Once I was able to better cope with the sadness and anxiety of these current circumstances, I found my way back out to the art room.  I am making more art again.  It's artwork that I feel personally drawn to painting, even if it only hangs on our walls here at home.  I did manage to create my list of 2020 art goals and decide on a word for 2020.  I think those were created in February or early March, pre pandemic.  I will share those in an upcoming post.

Take care, and I will do the same.  Stay at home.  Wash your hands.  Don't touch your face.  Practice the social distancing.  Take joy in the simple things.  Look for the lovely.  Read the Bible, spend time with God.  Pray.


-She must make art.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Popping in to say hello!

Newest art sale ready to ship!  Brown cardboard package in my hands.
Hello from the studio!  It's been a long while, I know.  I have been going in so many directions, not only with art studio activities, but with home and family as well.  There's so much to be done in this off season...and the weeks are flying by.  By the second half of March, I will be returning to nannying full days and that lasts until September.  With my most recent art sale, just three days ago, the buyer mentioned she enjoys my blog.  Well, the blog has been so far off the list, it's nearly fallen off.  Thank you, Julie for saying you enjoy reading these...this one's for you!

Art studio back counter holds artwork in progress.

The past two weeks have been surprisingly busy with artwork sales.  To those who enjoy my work enough to purchase...a big thank you!  Each piece brings me a huge amount of pleasure to paint.  The fact that someone else is so attached and purchase a piece is a big deal.  It's an investment in my time and passion, an added little bonus to the supplies fund, and the hope that I can continue for years to come.  Some days, I confess, I wonder if I will run out of space to store the artwork.  My husband says not to worry.  He says to keep painting, even if I never sell another piece.  I love that man more than I could have breath to tell!

The art room looks much the same, but there's quite a bit of new artwork collecting on the back counter.  I have moved most of it from here to the next steps in completion.  The paper takes on some faint buckling by the time the artwork is finished.  I have a process for flattening it before I sign it.  This time, I counted over 50 total.  Many are miniatures but still quite a few 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" in the mix.  Beyond those, I am finding maybe a dozen more that are close to being finished with a few brushstrokes.  I have one art commission project in progress, to be finished by the end of February.  At this point, my goal is to finish up the steps needed to list this great amount of artwork by mid March.

So much artwork waiting to be completed.

Preparing to flatten artwork under weight of heavy art books.

My workspace in all its messy glory.

Our snowy season began earlier than usual, with first snowfall in September.  By Thanksgiving, I had lost count of how many times it had snowed.  On Thanksgiving day itself, we were on day 2 of a snowstorm that was more hefty than expected.  We had the whole meal ready and only my husband and I at home.  The value of a 4-wheel drive vehicle cannot be impressed enough.  We were well stocked for supplies and power and heat stayed on.  It was a memorable holiday for sure!

Thanksgiving snowstorm seflie.

We paused from our shoveling to take a photo.

In a moment of pure silliness, I challenged a friend to do a free fall into the snow.  This snow was so light and powdery.  We were out often to shovel...again.  I had my husband's help as I shared this on Facebook Live.  My friend took the challenge and soon she was free falling though I think the ski goggles might be counted as a cheat.

I free fall face first into the snowbank, a challenge to my friend, Heather!

I guess it's obvious by now that there's been no shortage of inspiration for snowy winter landscapes.  As January is drawing to a close, I have got to say...I am snow over it.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)  I have a collection of gorgeous winter watercolors to share now.  I enjoyed each one.  They were a relaxing way to spend cold days indoors, with hot tea, and lovely music playing in the background.  I spent two afternoons hosting a winter landscape workshop here in the studio.  These were completed around that same time.  There are probably more, but this gives a good peek at what I've finished so far.

Winter landscape artwork 2019.

Winter landscape artwork 2019.

Winter landscape artwork 2019.

Winter landscape artwork 2019.

Thank you to Cath for the nudge to try this one.  She took my winter landscape workshop...she was the one who requested a workshop.  She asked for some tips during our time together.  She was wondering how to paint snow on branches.  

So as the ladies painted on their projects, I headed outside to get a few photos to work from to demonstrate.  I took the photos on my phone, later shared them in a google album online, and began this painting.  I was able to show how to quickly sketch the basic details, lay down a first wash of color, use masking fluid to save whites/lights...and then after laying down the second wash of color, our time was up.  

They asked for me to finish it and share a video.  It's been a while since I have saved and posted a video.  On the day I was ready to finish this piece, I set up my phone on a tripod and recorded my process.  They were able to go online and watch this with a link.  My skills are improving a bit at a time...both artwork and technology wise.

I think I have fallen in love with this one.  I love all of the work I create but sometimes there is a painting I think cannot go anywhere.  This one needs to stay put here, hung on my wall for now.  In 2020, one of my goals will be to add more paintings larger than 5" x 7" so we'll see how that turns out.

My favorite of the winter landscapes from 2019.

My favorite of the winter landscapes from 2019.

I am sure many readers have wondered at where I had gone.  It's been such a long time but not to worry.  While I may not be sharing the in-depth posts with how to and recommendations for products, I am still actively creating artwork.  My time is limited and I am using it with painting the watercolor artworks.  I will soon be at the one year anniversary of my website launch.  My plan is to have it updated with quite a few new artworks in the next month or two.  I am very active on Instagram because it's become so familiar with the use of my phone camera.

Perhaps, one day I will figure out a great and simple method for staying consistent with blog posts once again.  Thanks for stopping by and hoping you enjoyed a glimpse of what I have been doing creatively.


She must make art.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Taking Time To Stretch In The Art Room

Taking time to stretch in the art room by Christy Sheeler Artist.  Artist stretching with arms linked above her head.

What I should be doing every day.

It's one of my biggest challenges.  Stretching and taking care of my body is definitely important.  Too much sitting and concentrating takes a toll on my body.  Lost in thought, intently focused on a painting, I don't want to stop for anything.  Is there any chance you know where I am coming from?  Why do we do this to ourselves?

Today, it might be a good idea to focus on how you and I can take better care of ourselves with some body stretching breaks.  I've got some tips.  Let's talk about taking time to stretch in the art studio.

To be honest with you, I am needing to take my own advice.

Where are you affected most?

When I am working at the art table, my neck and shoulders can become tight and sore.  Whether I sit or stand to paint with watercolors, my focus is on the painting in progress.  I get in the zone.  I don't want to quit.  At the end of the day, I am feeling it physically.  So where is a good place to begin?

Let's think about the areas of the body most affected by the creative work.

Hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, upper back...and on from there.

Once you know your target areas that need some TLC with stretching, you can begin looking for stretches.  I did a Google search for stretches for neck, shoulders, low back, and hips.

Here are a few for starters:

6 Stretches to Relieve a Tight, Sore Neck from
16 Simple Stretches for Tight Shoulders from
Hand, Wrist, Neck, & Shoulder Stretches & Exercises for Artists with Ask Dr. Jo on YouTube.
12 Hand Stretches For Artists: Hand and Wrist Pain

Sheets of paper with my favorite stretches, a quick reference I like to use.

What will work best for you?

Think about what method or plan would work best in your daily art practice.  I created several pages for myself by copying and pasting into Publisher.  I selected the poses or stretches that appeal to me.  This gave me my own cheat sheet of stretches and yoga poses as a reference when I take a stretch break.

You can create a Pinterest board to save your own favorite websites for stretching and yoga poses.  YouTube is a great source for stretching and yoga videos; make yourself a playlist just for this purpose.

How can you focus on follow through?

For me, the best way to be sure I stretch is setting a timer.  A timer app set for 30 minutes helps me to work without having to watch the clock.  When the timer goes off, I take 5 or 10 minutes to do some stretching.  With a printed copy of the stretches I am using, I can do a few stretches per break.  If I choose a video instead, then I can stretch along with the video for 10 minutes and then pause it until the next break.

On YouTube, Yoga With Adriene is my favorite account to follow along in relaxing yoga sessions.  She has a large collection of yoga videos to choose from for all ability levels, target areas of the body, length of sessions, and many different purposes.  She has yoga for neck and shoulders, yoga at your desk, and yoga for your lunch break.

Also on YouTube, search for DoYogaWithMe.  Yoga for hands, arms and shoulders would be a great regular routine to follow.

Consider what gear might help with fitness.

Over the years, I have purchased the gear that helps me keep my body stretched and feeling better.  The exercise ball is helpful for stretching out my back after too much sitting.  The green curved foam form helps stretch the low back.  I use the rolled towel to give my neck a bit of traction as I lay on the floor.  The curved black S Backnobber, the two small Yoga Massage Balls, and the blue hard plastic tool all help with knots in the muscles.  (The last of those three came from a dollar store!)  The purple strap helps with many stretches.  The two black rollers on the left help with rolling out deep tissues.  I have a yoga mat and yoga blocks which I forgot to include in the photo.  It's worth investing in the tools that make stretching more effective especially if it becomes a daily routine.

My fitness equipment used at home.

A word of caution.

If you are currently experiencing pain and discomfort, ignore all this and go see a doctor.  I have injured my wrists and hands in the past.  I made sure to see a doctor, benefited from physical therapy, and I have stretchy wrist braces to help when I am sore.  Be cautious when you stretch.  It should not be painful.  Don't push through and ignore the pain.  Take extra care to be sure you are not doing more damage to your body.  In the long run, a break from art for self care is just smart.  You would not want to be taking risks that would cost you the ability to be creative for a long period of time.

There's art to make so the body needs to last.

There is no way our bodies will be able to continue supporting the creative pursuits unless we make it a goal to care for our bodies at all times.  I didn't really consider this when I was younger.  Now, I understand that my body can't take the abuse for long without feeling it.  I find that extended time at the computer affects my hands and wrists most noticeably.  The rest of me feels the strain, too.  This is a hard task for me to develop a better habit of caring for my body.  I have not mastered it and realize it's going to be an ongoing process to continue improving each day.

Do you have insight or tips to add?  What steps have you taken to help take care of yourself so you can be able to continue your creative pursuits?  Please comment below so we can all make this a better daily habit!

Take care and I'll be back with another post related to being a creative adventurer!

P.S.  I am done with the nannying season for another year and that means more time for creating and selling artwork.  There are more than 30 smaller pieces that need to be finished up.  For several, it means deciding what size will be best and cropping the artwork.  I have miniatures, 3 1/2" x 5", 4" x 6", and 5" x 7" in the stack.  I will try to share more in the next week.  If you haven't visited my website yet, I would love for you to see so go check it out next!


She must make art.