How I’m Experimenting With Scheduled Rest

Planner

Over the past few months my energy levels have been quite up and down. Every so often I feel like they’ve stabilised but after a week or two I have another slump. Earlier in the year I realised that one reason for this was my 100 Days of Hand Lettering project.

I worked on 100 Days of Patterns last year with no problems but this year I didn’t set any boundaries for my project, which resulted in me trying to create a finished (often digitised) piece of work every single day.

That would have been exhausting for anyone but it’s a really bad thing to do when you live with a chronic illness that limits your energy. I was planning my weeks and making sure I only did 1-3 things each day but sometimes just one of those things would take hours to complete and I wasn’t taking that into account.

So from this week I’m doing 2 new things:

  1. Planning my days in 1 hours chunks of time
  2. Including rest time in my plan

One hour chunks seem like an easy way to divide up the day, and it might be that some things that I do don’t take a full hour. But it creates a bit of breathing space so my plan doesn’t feel too regimented. So I might put ‘drawing’ into one chunk of my day but only spend 20 minutes drawing, giving me the rest of that hour to potter or pack my art materials away. I’m working on the assumption that things will take much longer than I might assume and creating room for that.

Something that I’m not very good about including in my days is rest. Now and again when I feel tired I’ll decide on the spur of the moment to take a nap but I don’t take pre-emptive rest. In other words, I don’t rest as a way to avoid overdoing things, but only when I feel like I’ve already done too much.

So my focus this week is to schedule (and take) one hour of rest every single day. That might be a nap, sitting down with my feet up, doing some very gentle restorative yoga (lying down) or something else that allows me to take a break and relax. 2 boundaries I’ve set for myself with this are:

  1. My rest has to be for at least 1 hour
  2. It cannot involve any screen time – so no watching Netflix, or scrolling through stuff on my phone.

I’ll re-assess things at the end of this week and see what worked well and what could be improved. Right now I don’t have a planner so I wrote down all the things I want to do in my notebook and then created a wall chart for the week.

Scheduled rests feel like a good way to take better care of myself right now. Rather than trying to produce as much work as I possibly can, I’m focusing on trying to keep myself as well as I possibly can so that I’m able to live and produce work in a healthier, more sustainable way.

What could you do to take better care of yourself this week?

By | October 30th, 2017|Life, M.E|0 Comments

New Greeting Card in the Shop

CathrynWorrell_LinoPrintHat_Card

I’m excited to let you know today that there is a new greeting card available to purchase in my Etsy shop. I designed this one with Christmas in mind but it is blank inside so can be used for lots of different occasions.

Unlike the other cards in my shop, each of these cards will be printed by hand using a lino block that I carved. That means that no two cards will be 100% identical.

I also have a special offer available now on ALL cards in my shop so make sure you take advantage of that with the holiday season fast approaching.

Find my new card, the special offer and all my other cards, prints, notebooks and original works in my shop.

 

By | October 23rd, 2017|Design, Shop|0 Comments

Nordic Travels

Gothenburg

Last week I got back from a trip to Scandinavia. We travelled between Sweden, Denmark and the Faroe Islands over 11 days. It was fun but totally exhausting – thankfully this was the pared down version of the trip we’d originally planned, otherwise I might not have made it home in one piece!

Gothenburg

Travelling around so much when you have M.E is hard work (I’ve still not recovered from it) so I’d anticipated not being able to see and do as much as I would have liked, but I did get a little bit of a taste of each place we visited and would like to go back to some of them some time.

Gothenburg

We flew to Gothenburg on the Sunday evening and spent 3 days pottering around the city before we caught a train down to Copenhagen airport. I enjoyed seeing some of Sweden by train and after the 3 hour journey we caught a flight to the Faroe Islands.

Faroe

This was probably our longest day of travel and it was a bit of an adventure. The landing at Vagar airport was one of the rockiest I’ve ever experienced but we landed safely and then caught the bus to Torshavn. By this time it wasn’t too late but it was pitch dark and we were the only 2 passengers on the airport bus travelling 49 km to the capital city.

Faroe

We spent 5 days in Torshavn, which is one of the world’s smallest capital cities, so it feels more like a small town than a city.

Faroe

The weather here was typically Faroese, which meant lots of rain but some glimpses of sunshine. We plodded around the town quite a bit and saw some of the traditional turf-roofed buildings in an area called Tinganes, which is where most of the parliament buildings and the Prime Minister’s house are.

Faroe

The bus journey back to the airport was in the morning so we were able to see where we were going, and we weren’t the only people on the bus either! The airport is on a different island from the capital so getting there involves travelling through an under sea tunnel and the airport is so small that once we arrived there were no planes to be seen at all. There was only ever one plane there at a time – it would land, drop people off, collect some more passengers and leave again before the next one arrived.

Copenhagen

From Faroe we flew to Copenhagen and I loved what I saw of this city, which unfortunately wasn’t very much because by this point I was completely exhausted. We were there for 2 full days, one of which we spent indoors resting and avoiding the heavy rain.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen is definitely somewhere I want to go back to. It’s a very pretty, laid back  and friendly city and the place we stayed was very quiet but central so it was easy and quick to get to and from the airport too.

Copenhagen

I’m really glad to be home again and settling back into a normal routine. While I was on holiday my Etsy shop stayed open but shipping times were increased. They’re back to normal now and this week I’ll be sending out the orders that were placed while I was away. I did lots of drawing on holiday too so I’ll also share some of those with you soon.

By | October 11th, 2017|Life, Travel|0 Comments

Urban Sketching in Highgate

CathrynWorrell_KarlMarx_Grave

Earlier this month I went out for the day with Urban Sketchers, London and we sketched in Highgate, in north London. Almost everyone seemed to spend most of the day in Highgate Cemetery, which is where I sketched Karl Marx’s grave, probably one of the most famous there.

CathrynWorrell_Highgate_Cemetery

I also managed to get in another quick sketch from a spot that’s not on the main ‘trail’ in the cemetery and it was very peaceful. This was in my Hahnemuhle grey sketchbook using an HB pencil and a 0.3 Unipin pen.

There’s not much shelter from the elements in Highgate cemetery but we were really lucky with the weather. There was a thunder storm but that held off until the end of the day, by which time most of us were under the shelter outside a cafe back in Waterlow Park.

CathrynWorrell_Pond_Square_Highgate

After lunch and before the rain started I made a start an a third sketch. I ran out of time, and although part of me would like to finish it off at home using a photo for reference, I quite like leaving some of my urban sketches unfinished because they tell the story of the day.

Our next outing’s planned for Spitalfields Market on 14 October so come and join us!

By | September 27th, 2017|Drawing|0 Comments

My Urban Sketching Kit

Urban_Sketching_Kit

Someone asked me recently what’s in my urban sketching kit so I thought I’d share that with you today. I don’t carry all these things with me every day. I have a small sketchbook, pen, pencil and a tiny watercolour set that I sometimes keep in my bag in case I want to sketch while I’m out doing other things. This bigger kit is what I take when I go out for a full day’s sketching.

Zip Pouch

This is a black quilted zip pouch that I got from Paperchase and it’s actually an iPad case. When I bought this one I also bought one that’s about half this size, which I use to carry my smaller, day-to-day sketching kit. I’m able to fit almost everything in here – minus the stool and the big sketchbook – and it keeps everything together inside my bag so it’s easier for me to find what I need.

It also means that when I get home I can take the whole thing out of my bag easily and store it so it’s ready to go when I next need it. It’s kind of my portable studio.

Sketchbooks

I usually have one dedicated urban sketching sketchbook on the go and until recently that was the big A4 Moleskine watercolour sketchbook that’s at the bottom of this stack. I’ve just finished that one and I already have my next sketchbook lined up. It’s a spiral bound Daler Rowney sketchbook  which is 7 x 10 inches and has a sturdy hard cover.

I don’t usually go for spiral bound sketchbooks because they’re difficult to scan but for urban sketching I think this could be a good choice because it’s not too cumbersome and should sit nicely on my lap.

The smaller black sketchbook on top is a Hahnemuhle sketchbook with grey paper which fits easily inside the zip pouch and is quite lightweight so I sometimes take that with me for quicker pen/pencil sketches or to use in places where paints aren’t allowed.

Seat

This is a pocket chair which folds flat and has its own storage pouch so it fits neatly in my bag. I usually take this out with me but it’s surprisingly heavy for its size so if I’m going somewhere where I know there’ll be plenty of seating I don’t always bother packing it.

Paints

This is my small Schmincke watercolour palette which contains a mixture of Schmincke, Winsor and Newton, and Daniel Smith watercolours. They’re slightly different colours from what I use when I’m drawing at home and I’ll share more information about what specific colours I use some other time.

Pencil Case

This is a Neo Kritz pencil-case which is durable, holds a lot and stands vertically on a flat surface if you need it to.

Pens, Pencils and Brushes

Pens_and_Pencils

The contents of my pencil-case vary a little bit but this is what I carry most of the time:

  • A black Uniball pen, which is waterproof and glides easily over coloured pencil
  • My Lamy Safari which is filled with waterproof carbon ink. If it runs out the Uniball is an excellent back-up
  • A fine Unipin pen which works well for basic ink sketches
  • A white Gelly Roll pen to use in my grey sketchbook
  • A while pencil to use in my grey sketchbook
  • A few watercolour pencils to use for my initial sketches. These blend in with the paints so there aren’t too many visible pencil lines.
  • A size 10 Escoda travel brush. It’s a decent size brush for washes but also has a fine point and the handle detaches and acts as a cap to protect the bristles

Extras

My current water container is a dipper for oil painting and it’s a bit on the small side but it clips onto my sketchbook which is handy. A spray bottle for reactivating my paints can be useful, clips are a necessity on windy days for holding sketchbook pages down and paper towels are always part of my sketching kit too.

So that’s my comprehensive urban sketching kit and it can be heavy so I don’t like to carry all of it around with me very often. My smaller, pared down kit is much simpler and obviously, the bare minimum I’d need is a pen or pencil and a piece of paper.

Do you ever sketch on location? What do you take with you?

By | September 22nd, 2017|Drawing|0 Comments