It's all about the HAPPY

It’s the end of July, not even August yet. The autumnal equinox is almost two months away, but I am already starting to get panicky about the end of summer. Last week while I was riding my bike to work in the morning I noticed the sun was that much lower to the horizon each day. Soon enough it will be dark in the am and I won’t be able to ride my bike. Immediately, I started to feel that sinking feeling, similar to the panic one might feel as an insomniac, when you see the clock ticking by later and later and still haven’t slept.


I think this is more of an indication of just how horrible that last winter was. Normally I’m that girl that everyone groans at in the office because I can’t wait for Fall and I love the snow. I’m decidedly NOT a summer person. I hate looking glossy and sweating just sitting outside in the shade. Most summers I get cabin fever from being a shut in, avoiding the heat and oppressive sun. But, we’ve had another one of these MILD summers (enter all the hate from the summer/heat lovers here). It’s been the kind of summer where you can wear a t-shirt or sweatshirt equally comfortably. The best kind of summer.


I have so many things I still want to check off my summer list. Spend more time hanging out on the hammock, go to the Dunes, more little road trips, hiking, etc.

Inherited Gene for Little Book Love

In the days after my father passed my family poured over all of our family pictures looking for images of my dad to use in collages. One of the books I found was an album that was filled with cards for me when I was little, everything from baby gifts to letters from my first best friend that moved to Delaware in elementary school. Where are you Allison Trees?

Little books by my grandma, Sarah Catherine Wiseheart Wells

Inside I found these little books made by my Grandma (Sarah Catherine Wiseheart) Wells.

grandma collegegrandma four years old

She was born in 1910, was passionate about prairie conservation, loons, history and wrote poetry as well as special features in the newspaper. She was my dad’s mother. My sister and I took turns staying with her over spring break and summer vacation. She hugged HARD and would wave to us from the middle of the street as we drove away until we got so far away we couldn’t see her anymore.

Just a few short weeks ago I had shared another little book she made for me and speculated that was where I got the interest in making my own little books. Then I find these books. There’s no question now, it’s her coming out in me. These books are even the same size as the books I often make.

staple books

It got me thinking of an idea that I’ve had swirling in my head for quite some time.

An idea is brewing!

I’ve lost my dad

July 9th my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He just turned 72 in June and my parents would have had their 46th anniversary next week. We have received such a wonderful outpouring of love, prayers and support this week as we said goodbye to him with the visitation and funeral. I’ve been so numb and drained but the fact that my whole family lives here, we’ve been able to hold each other up and it has kept us all sane and functioning.

Posts from Instagram

A picture of my dad when he was a kid. I have just been through the worst 2 days of my life, starting yesterday with the type of phone call that I’d never wish upon anyone. My dad died unexpectedly. I’ve often worried about a phone call just like this, partially because my family has been too lucky, too charmed, too fortunate, no one hurt, no one sick, no one died, and that is unheard of. Who gets this far in life without something wrong happening? And here it is, and now life will never be the same.

The man and his hats, legendary. It’s been very therapeutic going through ages and ages of pictures. Here we are, my brother, dad and little me peeking from behind to get in the shot. He was a big guy and some people have been telling us about how he really scared or intimidated them until they got to know him and realized he was really just a gentle giant. A smart and sarcastic, but gentle giant.

Photo collages

My dad

My dad
This is one of the framed photo collages we put together for the visitation. It was so therapeutic going through all of our family pictures, searching for pictures of him and recalling all of our memories.

Some memories or thoughts on my dad

My dad loved everything surf culture, Endless Summer and Dick Dale, we bought him a surf calendar every single year.

He took me twice to see the Rolling Stones in concert.

I have a memory from when I was really little of him laying on the hammock in my parents’ back yard and me asking him in my kid voice if we could go to “the libary” and him giving me a hard time because he didn’t know what a libary was. I expounded, “where they have books with words and pitchers” and he explained “It’s libRARY, and pitchers are for pouring”

I definitely got my multi-tasking from him. He was known to daily watch tv, with the radio on and read a magazine all at the same time.

I remember missing being held by him after my brother was born (at 4 years old. I was and am very much a middle child), and pretending to fall asleep on the couch just so that he would pick me up and carry me to bed.

He was a collector and hobbyist. Coins, knives, radios, guitars, violins, treadle sewing machines, ham radio, taking pictures of dilapidated barns set against the midwest plains, and on and on and on.

He was the hardest person to buy presents for because whatever he wanted he just bought for himself.

He said the movie Animal House was pretty much his exact experience from college and his fraternity years.

I remember visiting my dad’s office one time and seeing that he had posted a picture of me that was printed in the newspaper (when I worked for the paper) and realizing that my dad was proud of me after all.

He was extremely intelligent. I remember him saying how much he enjoyed talking to Mr. Dicky (Dickey?) because he was the only person he knew that was smarter than he himself was. #canyousayhumble?

Despite that intellect, we all found it very humorous then when he would get obsessed with certain tv shows like Clarissa Explains it All or Two and Half Men.

He always carried a handkerchief with him.

He was named after my grandma’s oldest brother, who was a millionaire and owned his own horse ranch.

He went by Dick, so you knew when someone called pretending to be his buddy but called him Rich, chances were it was a telemarketer.

He was an only child and we all remember our mom saying how he couldn’t understand why we (my siblings and I) would always argue and fight. He always figured if you had a sibling it would have been a built in best friend. But my mom, a child with a brother and sister as well, had to explain that’s just how siblings are.

My dad loved hats. We used to go to the Chicago Air and Water show every year. One time we went into the city and he bought two hat at a hat shop. One a regular hat, and one indestructible hat, the salesman demonstrated that you can pull and tug and wring it and nothing would phase the hat. He wore the regular hat out the door and got a box for the indestructible one. We walked out onto the streets of the “windy city” and the hat blew off his head and promptly got run over by a taxi. It ended up being ok, but it was just so funny that of course the indestructible hat was safe in the hat box still.

How I want my summer to be

A month or so ago Instagram user kirstenzuiderbaanillustratie posted the above picture and it showed up in my feed. It made me swoon and I commented that I wanted to buy a print and that it looked exactly like how I wanted my summer to feel. Maybe I love it so much because of the flat plains in the background, or maybe because of the simple prairie type flowers, or maybe because there is pretty much a rainbow of colors present in the picture.

I couldn’t get the picture out of my head, and here we are in the thick of summer finally. Riding my bike to work I was starting to pass all these prairie flowers and I thought that I should re-create my own version of this picture.

7.6.14 flowers and paintbrushes stripes

So, here’s the thing, I thought about how I really want my summer to be and that would be filled with beautiful blue skies with just the right amount of white puffy clouds, lots and lots of green and prairie flowers, but we can’t miss creativity, so I had to add in some paint brushes into my bouquet. Then, if we are being truly robayre, we have to get some black and white stripes in there as well. In kirstenzuiderbaanillustratie‘s photo, one of the things that pops is her bright red nail polish, so I thought it would be appropriate to have black and white striped nails. Unfortunately, I never paint my nails anymore because it destroys them. So, I just quickly photoshopped that in for fun!

Chalkboard Calendars Winter and Spring

It’s exactly halfway through the year so no time like the present to post this.

7.2.14 Chalkboard winter 2014

Last summer I started using the chalkboard I made for our living room to keep track of all the memorable things that have happened. I’ve enjoyed it so much so I’ve kept it going for each season. I can’t be reliable to post regularly to my blog or scrapbook or journal or anything, but writing on a chalkboard is easy enough. I figure, I’ll try to write everything down on the board as it happens, take a picture each season and if I ever feel so inclined I can print those out and put them in scrapbooks. I think there are long slots on some project life pages.

I never got around to sharing Winter’s board when Spring rolled around, so this post is a two-fer.

The list says: Camelot Tree Farm, Cleaning, decorating and hosting Christmas, Fireplace & Fire Wood, Petit Fours and Mittens, Ice Globes, Bunny Sitting Rue, Tomato Sauce from the garden, No Work on Fridays, Too Cold days -17, Sledding, Confetti on New Years, Salon Haircut, Bomb Diggity mail, 36/36 Spoon Art, Gaelic Storm, Heater Broke, Wolves Game, Matt got an iphone, I got an ipad, Katie and Winter buttons, Ipod broke and replaced, Pie Boss

And just a quick commentary on a couple things: We hosted Christmas at our house. We used our fireplace for the first time since we moved in and let me tell ya, this winter called for it. When we were house hunting we weren’t looking for a fireplace but I am so glad to have it. I got my hair cut at a real salon for the first time in over a decade. I LOVED IT. I was SOOO Happy with my hair until I got the next cut. The next cut was meh. I just got it cut again with another kinda disheartening experience so now, even though I know that salon and stylist are capable of giving me an AMAZING hair cut, I’ve been getting schlock instead. And after literally a couple of years of Matt making due with this ancient, cracked screen, slider phone, he upgraded to an iphone. It pretty much updated our household into the current millennium. Now it feels like that was forever ago and that he’s had an iphone forever. Meanwhile, the home button on my ipod touch broke so I had to take it into the apple store. Fortunately I always get the apple care plan and they swapped it out with a new one. And then for Christmas I got an ipad which is great for using on the treadmill, which I still do regularly, getting in my 10,000 steps every day.

And now for more current happenings:

Monthly chalkboard spring 2014

The list: Maple Syrup collection and all day cook, Pie Boss, Walk to Oasis, Blumen Gardens, Animal Crossing, Walk to China House, Tchotchke Mantle, Steel Drum Band, Rex Manning Day, 2048, Iphone!!!, Easter breakfast/syrup waffles, Kane County Flea Market with Ann and Courtney, MS Walk in Chicago, geocaching, 5 weeks of Hell at work, Butterfly release, Bowling, Vino & Vangogh, Union, IL, Black 47, Deer on path, photobooth convention, Gorey Exhibit, Rockford City Market, Matt lost wallet for 2 months, 20,000 fitbit steps, treasure maps/hunt.

Quick commentary: wow! This spring, I tell ya! After the absolute coldest and dreariest and longest lasting winter, we were amped to get out, get some fresh air and be productive as soon as possible. Some pretty epic things happened this season. Attending the maple syrup fest and then making my very own maple syrup from sap collected in my own yard will be one of the most memorable things from the year, let alone that season. I attended the International Photobooth Convention, showed at the Rockford City Market, and FINALLY updated my phone to an iphone as well (only after talking about it for probably 2 years first). Most recently, my sister created a treasure map in my parents’ yard with a treasure at the end for my nephew to find. This is exactly my kind of project and I’m very excited about the possibilities. Overall this Spring I kept very busy and stayed happy and productive.

Chalkboard related – When I originally made this board I painted it with many layers (a whole can) of magnetic paint and then chalkboard paint. Because of all the layers it caused the top layer to be very rough and uneven. Before Spring I finally sanded the board down and gave it a fresh coat of chalkboard paint and now it writes so much smoother. Also, since I’ve been using the chalkboard strictly to keep track of events each season I was a bit sad that I lost drawing space for my niece and nephew, so I bought another board. We used it for the Rockford City Market, pictured here on A Beautiful Party’s post.

More Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

edit to share this post I just read:

I love this! Natalie and her husband create a list on a chalkboard each season as well, only they are making a checklist of things they need to do! What a great idea. Read this post to see some of the items on their list for this summer.


Little Books

Earlier this year my friend Joon (instagram and etsy) sent me this little book that she made for me, and I treasure it so much.

Book by Joon Wilkinson, music by Grandaddy – Am180

I finally got around to making the above video to share with you. I don’t know if Joon really knows how much she was speaking my language. We both really love making treasures from what might otherwise be scrap papers.

I immediately had to make another little video of a book that was given to me as a child.

Book made by my grandma, music Detektivbyran – Rymden i en lada

They’re almost the exact same size! The pages move quickly so you may not have been able to read, but it was made by my grandma for me in the spring of 1980. I would have been 2 years old at the time.

It’s just one of the many things that probably helped form my aesthetics and I’m sure contributed to my love of little stapled books.

I remember when I first realized how much I loved making little stapled books. I was working at the local weekly newspaper and as offices often do, we used old scrap paper, quartered up, as note paper. I started stapling the edges like a binding and doodling on the pages, writing notes to coworkers and making lists, etc. on pages.


They kind of resembled this. I actually made an animated gif of this complete book which can be seen here.

staple books

Or this. Over the years I’ve made plenty of staple books and variations on them. Here are some more books I’ve made below.

4.30.11 Mailart little books


Day Two- mini books

Robayre Patterned Books

scratchpad unfinished thing-a-day, day 2 scratchpad

Moleskin fun

5.20 Mailart books backs

Day Two- mini books

And then of course I often have little books in my etsy shop, but eeep, when I just went to go get the link I saw a frightening low quantity of little books. I have plenty made, so perhaps that should be a project for Friday, photograph and list little books to my shop.

Project Life

Let me just preface this by saying I am not, nor am I bound to become a Project Lifer anytime soon. This is just the story of my one and only (so far) Project Life page.

When I first heard about and started seeing Project Life examples online I got REALLY EXCITED. I saw people using it in more of a creative art sense, rather than just regular photo album/scrapbooking style. I saw the divided panes as a opportunity to create quick and small individual compositions, and that it would make the act of filling pages much more loose and whimsical. I went crazy and bought all sorts of PL stuff and just as quickly realized it wasn’t at all like I had imagined. The small panes require pre thought out plans and ideas, printed photos have to be sized and printed ahead of time. I pretty much froze. I created two frames on the first 11 frame page. The end… for a while at least.

Fast forward to earlier this year. Kristi Prokopiak created a PDF “course” to raise funds for her dog Chloe’s surgery. The course is not for project life, but rather her own take on scrapbooking that she refers to as scrapling. Kristi has skillz and I could use some inspiration and instruction, plus I love animals and have enjoyed watching Chloe over the years, so I supported the cause.

It helped because I finally finished a whole page. I’m kind of embarrassed of it, but I have to remember it’s only my first page ever. It’s also kind of embarrassing because it is about our cat that we got last year. Yeah, I don’t want to be one of those types of people, but I do love cats and want to hug them all, soooooo….

Project Life Fionna

This picture is the better result after taking other pictures, and then deciding maybe I should google to see how other people do it properly. I still got reflective areas from the page divider, but this is still world’s better than my first pictures.

So, a breakdown of the page. I tried to be cohesive with colors and themes (stripes, chevron, sticks, washi tape, and my handlettering and colors black, gold and gray).

The top row: the first two boxes were what I started when I first attempted Project Life in 2013. I just added the washi tape element and the photograph of a stick across the top of the first box. The second box is the account of how we adopted her. The third picture is of her in the carrier when we were bringing her home.

The middle row: I cut out the letters of her name from gold paper in the final box (3rd row) and liked the discard paper from which I cut it enough to also incorporate it. It says “we thought Bishop had a tiny meow” because people would always comment on how his meow is so cute and tiny but Fionna’s is even smaller and higher pitched, it’s almost inaudible. In the center I used a gold gel pen to share some of her unique characteristics, or at least unique compared to Bishop.

The bottom row: When we first brought her home our biggest concern was how Bishop can be such a jerk. We kept them separate for a few days, only feeding them on opposite sides of the door. This way they had to be right next to each other while they ate. It worked perfectly. And then the final pictures and frames, by accident we discovered that she loves sticks, she plays fetch with them and runs around the house with them in her mouth. The stick theme is shown in 3 places.

Some of the pictures were printed on my desktop printer (HP Photosmart 8150 that I bought like 6 or more years ago) and others were printed from my Polaroid Pogo.  I thought the pogo would be a great option for printing pictures for Project Life, but as it turns out the Pogo does not connect to the iphone, which is what I take most of my pictures on nowadays. Plus, my pogo is funky now and printing with stripes, so annoying.

Canon Selphy

Through the facebook group for Kristi’s PDF course I found someone that wanted to sell their Canon Selphy. A compact printer that allows you to print from the iphone! Imagine that! And using an app, I can print multiple pictures on one 4×6, perfect for printing pictures for Project Life. Granted, I got this after I created this page and then I haven’t really done any more PL since, but I think it will help with being able to print quicker in the future.

In the future I’d really would like to play around more with just doing art type stuff, collage, patterns and colors, sketchbook and art journaling in the project life pages. But for now I have one page under my belt. I think I might be putting too much pressure on myself with Project Life whole page layouts and maybe what I need to do is actually experiment more with just focusing here and there on single panels  and not worrying about the whole. A whole page would become cohesive naturally because each panel would be done by me.

International Photobooth Convention 2014 CHICAGO

International Photobooth Convention 2014

This past weekend I ventured into the city (Chicago) to attend the International Photobooth Convention. Years back it was held in Chicago and I chickened out going and then when the next convention was held elsewhere I really regretted missing that opportunity. I follow‘s blog and facebook page, so when I saw that it was being held in Chicago again I promised myself I would attend this year. I even stated on the facebook event page that I was attending. I couldn’t back out after that now could I?

International Photobooth Convention

Even though I RSVPed about 6 months ago I still was really nervous about attending. I was pretty much in denial that it was approaching up until a couple days beforehand. I didn’t want to drag along someone that wasn’t as into photobooths as I was, but I was still afraid of showing up alone. I had these visions of showing up by myself and the record screeching to a halt as I walked into the door and everyone turning and staring at me. When I think of photobooths I think of getting pictures taken with more than one person, so to show up solo might be a no-no. But, I learned my lesson before and I was determined to be there, push through the fear. I almost had a mini panic attack when I realized the workshop I wanted to attend was limited to only 25 people, so 2 days before the convention I signed up for the workshop on photobooth art with Meags Fitzgerald. I half expecting to get an email that the class was already at capacity, and then I would cry, and probably use it as an excuse to not go at all. But, no message came and the day of the class I woke up early and headed into the city.

International Photobooth Convention
The main room that had 6 of the 8 photobooths at the convention. Meags is pictured above in the red cardigan and notice the machine next to her is open and being worked on.

While the record didn’t screech to a halt when I entered, I do think that most people showed up with friends, and/or knew each other from the community and/or at the opening party the night before. In regard to my artwork and photography I can be very “camera shy” (badam bum) and it is very hard for me to think creatively and be productive when I am feeling self conscious and I can feel self conscious when I am around other people. So, in some ways it was good that I was flying solo because I didn’t have to worry what someone else was thinking, I could get into a booth, close the curtain and be in my own world.

International Photobooth Convention

The workshop with Meags was great and opened my eyes to many possibilities. I really didn’t know what to expect beforehand and have to admit I had never thought too much about photobooth pictures in relation to Art with a capital A, other than self portraits and capturing a moment in time with a fun and unique automated machine. The class got my mind suddenly racing with ideas, but because all of these ideas and possibilities were plopped in my lap moments before we were to start working I didn’t have much time to really organize my thoughts. Immediately after the lesson I sat down at the desk pictured above. I opened my sketchbook and wanted to start brainstorming, but I was surrounded by people and my mind was going a mile a minute I was worried that by the time I had a plan of attack, time would be gone, so instead I just decided to go for it and start jumping in booths. I also had this pressure once I realized that I have access to all these booths right here and now, but  if I come up with some great ideas later on, I will have to travel to get to a booth and each strip will put me back $3-$5. Why can’t there be a photobooth convention every year in Chicago?

Some of my strips from yesterday at the #internationalphotoboothconvention in #Chicago. I think there were 8 booths and I took a workshop on #photobooth art with Meags Fitzgerald. It was so exciting to play freely and explore.

The convention cost $18 to the general public and I think I took over 20 strips home with me, so it was a great deal! I actually can’t believe that there weren’t tons more people there during the open booths time slots. Surprisingly though, the people that were there were from all over the country and world!

Meags provided us with packets with creative tools to use in the booths. My pictures might not all be amazingly creative BUT I’m not done yet! I have some ideas and I think I’d like to incorporate some of pictures into some mixed media and mailart.

Meags Fitzgerald's book Photobooth: A Biography

Overall it was a GREAT experience. Now that I have this under my belt and knowing what I know now, I think I’d be more comfortable attending a future convention. I also took with me a few mementos including Meags’ new graphic novel, Photobooth: a Biography. The book is great so far and I highly recommend it. The page above shocked me and just about made me cry. I had no idea that photobooths are so close to “extinction”.

SO, please, if you like chemical photobooths (as opposed to digital) please visit, search locations to find nearby photobooths and support them now while you can.

Edit to add:

3.28.13 photobooth prints

My photobooth poster DIY project from last year. Make your very own LARGE poster for only $5. It’s easy and FUN!

Filofax and Midori

Speaking of paper product inspiration, I have to share with you my latest obsessions, Filofax and Midori Travel Journals. Particularly watching videos on youtube about them because I don’t own either one… yet. I want both desperately but I also JUST KNOW that they will probably just end up being those things I HAD to have and then never actually use, not that I would know anything about that, yeah right. I love how both of these products have so many ways to use them and countless ways to creatively customize them.

First Ashley Goldburg started rolling out free downloads for papers to put in your filofax and then she shared some videos showing off her own filofax and how she has customized it and uses it. Who knew that Filofax was still a thing, Filofax sounds so 80s and Working Girl to me (full disclosure, I’ve never seen that movie, but I imagine the women were all carrying filofaxes). But after watching a couple of Ashley’s videos it became evident that Filofaxes are still going strong and there were tons of people out there also sharing videos on their filofaxes.

Then a couple of days ago I saw a post on instagram by Kristen Nohe, a designer for Target, about her Midori Travel Journals. I’d never even heard of Midori before but now I’m obsessed.

If you check out Kristen’s post, she shares tons of links to more resources. If you are even so inclined it wouldn’t be that hard to make one yourself.

I love how both Ashley and Kristen are as obssessed as I am with all sorts of paper products. I feel like buying one of these products would suddenly justify my desires to overindulge in even more office supplies. I HAVE TO HAVE COOL PAPER CLIPS and WASHI TAPE and ELASTICS and HIGHLIGHTERS and even COOL BEADS for bookmarks of course.

If you can’t decide which you like better, then there’s a video to show how they compare here

Although, this vlogger was very new to the Midori so she didn’t really have it filled out yet or have many of the creative things in it like Kristen did above.

All I want to do is watch more videos and window shop online and daydream about designing all sorts of products that could fit into the Midori. I’ve always loved making those staple books and now I wonder if they might have a new life if I sized them and marketed them as Midori style books. Hmmm, thinking.

Blog Hop

I was very excited to get invited to participate in a blog hop by artist, designer and friend Katie Licht. She’s the greatest so I encourage you to check out Katie’s blog, flickr, follow her on instagram and check out her etsy shop. She has a new zine out and I love it!

1. What Am I Working On?
Short Answer: I’ve been in a rut lately and mostly THINKING of a lot of projects but actually only finishing a lot of netflix. I’ll do a little here and a little there, so I’ll share 5 of the main things I’ve got in the works.
Long Answer:

A. A Paper product line. A big focus of mine has been that I want to create a paper product suite, and I have so many ideas for this! By day I work as a designer for a printing company, and while designing lines is not part of that, the idea of designing paper products during my own downtime used to feel very much like going to work after getting off of work. Things have changed slowly over time. I have paper products in my etsy shop, but they are just single items and not part of a whole collection (other than made by me). It’s only recently with the inspiration from other paper product designers and my subscription to Stationery Trends that I have really wanted to pursue expanding on a cohesive line of my own.
In the past I would have taken my first idea and just run with it, and that is kind of the result with the current paper products in my shop. But this time I’m trying to play out a bunch of different ideas and see where they go, not to worry about them being perfect, and then once I have a whole bunch of semi thought out things to look over I will decide which I think is the strongest and/or which I’m most excited to continue with and then I will proceed. This leads to my next project topic.
Create Adventure Self Love #robayre
B. Handlettering: I’ve been wanting to play more at hand lettering. I created a board on pinterest for inspiration, had an art date with some crafty friends, bought this book, and paid for (but haven’t finished yet) this e-course. I mentioned the beginnings of my desire to do more handlettering in this post here.
4.4 window sill
C. A shelf over the kitchen sink. The picture above is not my kitchen window but the kitchen window at my parents’ house. For a long time I’ve been wanting to put up a shelf in the window over the kitchen sink. It would serve a few purposes. It would remind me of my mom’s kitchen window, it would allow me to display some items, and I will hopefully be able to put some small plants in the house (something that will be out of reach of the cats, as they destroy every plant that comes into the house). Not finding what I envisioned, I just built something, but I wasn’t THRILLED with it. Then I saw this post and while I’m not looking for exactly that same thing, their end result was more along the line of what I wanted. I think I can combine my idea and their idea to get the perfect window shelf for me. I’ll post more when I have the final shelf up.
finished paintings
D. Artomat. It’s ridiculous, but I started a new series of artomat paintings at the beginning of 2012. You have to have at least 50 pieces to contribute. I told myself that I wasn’t going to make a big deal of it (no pre drawings or collages first) just go! I actually had the nerve to even say maybe I’d be able to put out a couple of series in 2012. I think I finished 20 paintings right away, and then in the 2 years since, maybe another 10. I have all the canvases built and so sometimes I will just get in artomat gear and sit and paint.

mailart collection

E. Mailart. Same as the artomat, it’s always on my mind. Artomat and Mailart are the things that I always want to work on when things calm down and I have free time. I have a huge box full of mailart, already complete, that just needs to be addressed and sent out.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Genre? Which genre? Genre what? I just googled list of art genres and found this list of art genres on wikipedia. Hmph, funny, I don’t see a category called Robyn. I’m not going to go through every single category but just looking here and there I don’t see any that I would fall into. It certainly doesn’t help that I create artwork in countless mediums. I like to call myself an artist/crafter/designer. I think that I have a unique vision, where I’m drawn to a very scrappy and handmade aesthetic and incorporate my designer’s eye. My artwork is different from others because no one else has seen all the same things I have seen, or been through the same things that I’ve been through. I try to make a conscious effort to make my work uniquely my own. Often when I have a great idea I will google it to make sure that no one else has already done that. I just think it’s kinda sad when everyone jumps onto the same exact idea or style. It can sometimes be hard to avoid this in this day and age when we are all taking in the same information and being inspired by the same sources.

3. Why do I create what I do?
It just feels good to create. I get so much satisfaction from having that initial spark of an idea to resolving and completing an idea and having something to show for it. I think it’s just the way my mind works. Often ideas just come to me when I’m about to fall asleep or walking on the treadmill. I also love being able to be participate in communities online and (and sometimes even in real life) where everyone is sharing what they are working on. I am putting something out into the world, even if it isn’t something being sold. And seeing other people creating makes me want to create as well.

4. How does your creating process work?
I had it drilled into my head during my early years of college that I had to carry and use a sketchbook and it’s just become a habit. As I said above, ideas may come to me at the weirdest of times and I try to make sure to write them down immediately because no matter how brilliant an idea is and how sure I am that it could not be forgotten, it is guaranteed that the idea will be gone (poof!) if I wait to write it down until later. Unlike a typical sketchbook, filled with drawings, my sketchbooks are mostly filled up with writing, describing ideas, concepts, colors, materials, to-do lists, etc., with few actual sketches, drawings or collages. Even if nothing comes of the idea now, it’s great to have the option to go back and remember, be re-inspired, or get a new spin off an old idea. From putting it down into my sketchbook, it may be some time before I get to work on the idea. When I do, I may work on it at the coffee table in front of the TV (netflix addiction) or actually go into my studio. I like to light a scented candle in my studio and listen to music while I work. Sometimes I think that the tradition helps me make that left to right brain switch and get into flow. I have a drawing table but to be honest, my mind works better when I’m laying down. Even when I was younger in school, I had to do all my studying laying in bed or on the floor. Often I will work on many pieces at once. So, I may work on a piece for a while, put it aside and then come back to it later. If the piece is artwork it may be completed at this stage. Other times, a piece I created for one purpose might have a second life being used again in a different medium. I may scan things in and use it for a paper product, or maybe print out the scans and use them in a different way altogether.

I’m tagging 3 people:

Rosa, of Muro Jewelry and the creator of Found Art Tuesday.
Courtney, of Larking
Ann, of A Beautiful Party

And I just want to mention that right after Katie invited me to participate I got another invitation from Jeannine, another great artist. So, please check out her post here
And Katie had tagged me as well as Natalie Mutrux and was I glad she did! I’ve been enjoying reading her blog posts this last week. So productive and so inspiring!