Inktober 2021 #9 – Pressure

My dad had always taught me to be independent and learn how to do things for myself. He taught me all the basics of vehicle care and maintenance, tire pressure, changing a flat, oil changes, checking fluids, so on and so forth. He said, “Sometimes you might run in to trouble and there won’t be anyone around to help, so you need to know how to do it yourself.”

Well…one day, I was driving home from work as a school photographer. I would drive to various schools to do the photoshoots and this particular day it was a two hour drive from my house. It was far from home but the road was peaceful. There was next to no traffic on it. It was a scenic highway so no commercial vehicles allowed and there wasn’t even a shoulder where you could pull off to the side if need be. Just two lanes and trees all around.

Of course, this is where I would get a flat tire. Like I stated, there was no shoulder, so I just had to stop in the middle of the lane and hope the road remained quiet until I could grumpily change my tire. It was quiet for a little while until a trooper pulled up behind me while I was loosening the lug nuts on the flat. He got out and walked over to me and asked if everything was alright. I told him I just had a flat and then nothing else was said between us. He just stood there and stared at me. It made me a little uncomfortable at first because I had no idea what he was thinking. I was thinking… you gonna offer to help or just stand there and stare? I didn’t know what was going on in his head. I just ignored him and continued with my business. I didn’t need his help anyways so whatever, weirdo.

I finished, stood up and started carrying the flat to the back of my vehicle. He walked with me and said he was really impressed. I said, “What do you mean?” He replies, “I’ve seen a lot of women on the side of the road with a flat tire but usually they are waiting for their husbands or triple A to come rescue them. You’re the first one I’ve seen that knew how to change a flat and didn’t need any help.”

After he told me this, I felt really good about myself. I was shocked to hear those kinds of statistics but I was happy that I didn’t come off as a damsel in distress. He asked me how I learned to change a tire and I proudly told him, “My dad taught me.” Thanks to my him, I could puff out my chest a little that day.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed #9. I’ll be posting #10 and #11 soon so check back!

DIY, free spirits!

Inktober 2021 #8 – Watch

If you have seen my previous sketches for Inktober this year, you’ll know that my dad was a cowboy. His favorite movies were westerns and he watched them often. It was one of my favorite things to do with my dad when I was little. No one else I knew watched westerns so I thought it was cool that my dad did. Plus, I could play with my horses while I watched it with him and ask him annoying questions because I didn’t understand what was happening. He patiently answered them for a while until finally he would say, “Just watch.” Now I do the same thing to my son. Some things never change. 😆

My dad’s favorite movie cowboy was The Duke. He had nearly every one of John Wayne’s movies. Then, that one birthday, I made sure he had them all because I got him the John Wayne movie collection.

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of the movies that I use to watch with my dad. At first, I didn’t even do it on purpose. I was just drawn to them and when I watch them I remember things that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. Good things. It makes me want to watch more. Now, I’ve been watching a nostalgic movie every time I work on a sketch for this project. It makes for a peaceful moment as I work.

I guess “watch” was more a more meaningful prompt than I initially thought. Good medicine.

Thanks for stopping by today! Check back tomorrow to see the next Inktober sketch for “pressure”.

“Slap some bacon on a biscuit and let’s go! We’re burnin’ daylight!” -John Wayne in The Cowboys

Inktober 2021 #7 – Fan

It was no surprise that I was my dad’s biggest fan and he was mine. I wanted to do everything he did. We were “pals” and we had called each other that since before I can remember. We had a secret handshake and everything. I felt cool when I was with my dad. Maybe it was because I got to do “boy” things with him. I was never into girlie things. I wanted to be outside, getting dirty, playing in the barn, working in the garage. I didn’t want to wear dresses and cute shoes, I wanted to wear jeans and boots. Whatever my dad was doing, I wanted to do it too! He showed me how to fish, change a tire, use power tools and all that good stuff.

Through his own actions and encouragement, my dad taught me I could be or do whatever I wanted. It was okay if I would rather do “guy” stuff. He showed me equality and gave me the confidence to pursue my interests. He taught me a lot of powerful lessons and he didn’t have to say a word. He showed me. I don’t even know if he truly knew the values he taught me just by existing. Even though I can’t see him anymore, he is still teaching me. The more I think about him, the more I remember what it means to be a good person. I will forever be your #1 Fan!

Be inspired, free spirits!

***For the record….my mom taught me a lot of those lessons too and I love her just the same! 😚***

Intober 2021 #6 – Spirit

Spirit was an easy prompt to think of a sketch related to my dad. He had a horse named Spirit. He was a beautiful horse. He was a Spotted Saddle Horse with unique markings. My dad loved trail riding and enjoyed horses with a smooth gait which is what attracted him to Spirit.

Spirit had a lot of…well…spirit! I loved watching him run and buck around the pasture! He was full of it! I think he really made my dad feel like a cowboy.

My dad definitely wanted to be a cowboy his entire life. I remember seeing an old picture of him dressed up as one when he was little. His favorite movies were westerns and don’t get me started on how much of a fan boy he was for John Wayne. He always thought mounted shooting was cool too but he never got the opportunity to learn. He was still a cowboy in my eyes. The more western he incorporated into his outfits, the cooler I thought he looked. The leather vests, the bolo ties and of course the classic cowboy hat and boots.

It’s not just the clothes that make the cowboy though. It also takes a faithful steed. Thanks to Spirit (and a few others over the years) my dad became what he always wished he could be. They had a lot of great adventures on the trail. And when they were together, they were united, like a cowboy and his horse should be.

Thanks for stopping by today. Check back tomorrow to see #7 – Fan.

Ride like the wind, free spirits!

Inktober 2021 #5 – Raven

My dad loved birds. He studied them often and knew every bird that crossed his path. If he saw one he didn’t know, he would look it up in the bird book until he figured it out. He was always surrounded by birds. We had quail, pigeons, chickens. We even had a peacock for a quick minute. (It was lost so we kept it in the barn until the owner came to pick it up 😝)

My dad also enjoyed hunting. He use to go pheasant hunting in Iowa every year with my uncles and brother. He loved that trip. He would also go duck hunting along the creek by our house. I went with him one time but that’s a story for a future Inktober prompt.

As my dad got older, he simply enjoyed going bird watching in the marshes and nature preserves. He got himself a fancy camera to take pictures of them. He would excitedly send me the pictures telling me what type of bird it was. He took some really great pictures. I’m going to miss those messages.

We often went bird watching together. We’re a family that likes to be in nature, so bird watching was a common event. It was one of my favorite things to do with my dad. He taught me a lot about birds and now I’m just as passionate about them as he was. It’s going to be a lot harder identifying them without him. However, I hope I can teach my son what my dad taught me and he will grow to love birds the same way.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my sketch. Check back tomorrow to see Inktober #6, Spirit. Also, enjoy a collection of my dad’s photography below!

Spread your wings, free spirits!

Inktober 2021 #4 – Knot

The fourth prompt for Inktober is knot, which really isn’t a lot to work with when thinking of my favorite memories with my dad. I decided to do a drawing of the survival bracelets that we made one of the times my son and I were visiting my parents over the summer.

It seemed like it would be an easy task. We had picture instructions and we each tried to make our own bracelet together. The easiest part of the entire thing was cutting the paracord to length we needed. It also also easy to attach the cord to the first clasp piece. After that though, none of us really knew what we were doing. It was one of the most frustrating experiences we had together! 😆 No one knew what the pictures were trying to show. My son was so mad because he couldn’t figure out the braiding. My dad’s fingers were too big for the fine work leaving him frustrated. I was frustrated because I had a hard enough time on my own while also trying to help my son to encourage him so he wouldn’t give up (even though I wanted to as well). And my mom was trying to help all of us and translate the instructions! It was so ridiculously difficult. I don’t think anyone wanted to admit they didn’t enjoy it because it was a family activity but we all knew the activity totally sucked.

It’s one of those things we laugh about now but those dumb little bracelets really got our blood boiling! I don’t even know why it was so difficult. It was probably all self inflicted! 🤣 But we got through it together and everyone finished their bracelets. Sometimes, frustrating days can become great memories. Now, every time I wear it, I remember the time we spent together.

…but I will never try to make another one!

Inktober 2021 #3 – Vessel

Vessel was an easy prompt that brought up a lot of memories with my dad. He had his own vessel called The Phish Phinder. We would go out on Lake Erie all the time and go fishing. We would have the usual family competition of who could catch the most fish. It was usually my mom or my son. They only won because my dad and I were the ones preparing the poles, baiting the hooks and teaching the techniques. 😜

One year, my son won “biggest fish”. My son was 6 years old using a 3 foot long Pixar Cars kiddie pole that we got at Walmart. My dad coached him through the entire process. The fish was fighting and it took over two minutes for my son to reel it in. That might not sound like a long time but when your fighting a fish, trying to prevent your line from snapping, it seems like forever! The tiny pole was bending nearly in half and we thought for sure it was going to snap but my dad supported it with his hand while my tiny 6 year old reeled as fast as he could. Finally, a sheepshead fish came to the surface and my dad scooped it up with a net. I can’t remember exactly how big it was but I would say somewhere between 15 – 20 inches. My son and my dad were so excited. It’s one of my favorite memories. I think this is one of the things I will miss the most that I did with my dad. …And his fish fry!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed today’s sketch!

Happy Sailing, free spirits!

To learn more about my project for this year’s Inktober, check out my first entry here.

Inktober 2021 #2 – Suit

The prompt for day two is “Suit”. When I think of suit and my dad together, the first thing that comes to mind is my aunt’s wedding. I suppose it’s not necessarily the event that I remember but more so the picture we have from it. I do remember a few things from that day even though I was very young. Maybe only four years old, but I remember “dancing” with my dad. Rather, he was holding me and he slowly swayed back and forth to the music while holding one of my hands. I also remember sitting at our table together but that’s about it.

What I really remember is the picture. We had our picture taken in the traditional family group pose that comes with weddings. It was from left to right, Me, my mom, my aunt, my uncle, my brother and last but not least my dad. This picture popped up in family discussions many times because of how ridiculously tall my dad was compared to everyone else! He was by far the tallest person at the wedding, period. The only person that was close was my grandpa but my dad still had him by a few inches. He towered over everyone. In this picture, his head is literally almost touching the ceiling! It was always funny to look at and I was always very grateful to my dad. Because of him, I knew I wasn’t going to be short like the rest of the family. And so it was. But then, I realized the tall person curse of having to grab everything from the top shelf for the shorties all the time. 😂

I always looked up to my dad, literally and figuratively. His lessons are always in the back of my mind and still today he encourages me to strive.

Stand tall, free spirits!

To learn more about my project for this year’s Inktober, check out my first entry here.

Inktober 2021 #1 – Crystal

Another Inktober has begun. I usually do something horror related but this year I need to do something different. Last October, my dad passed away. It’s hard to believe its been a year but I assure you it still feels like yesterday. October was always my favorite month because of fall activities and Halloween and the weather….but now it’s…..a lot of mixed emotions. I didn’t want to hate or dread October so I am dedicating my Inktober sketches to my dad and all of the great memories I have with him. Instead of thinking of the bad, I want to encourage myself to think of the good and hopefully it will make it a little easier to get through the month.

I will post each drawing in my blog with the full story behind it. The first prompt for this year is crystal💠 This made me think of the stalagmites and stalactites when we went to the War Eagle Cavern in Arkansas when I was a kid. I remember a lot about that trip, the cave was fascinating with all the stories the guide told us about. It was a hideout for Jesse James and his gang, it used to be huge bear den and you could see the claw marks on the walls and they had found a sabretooth cat skeleton when they were first exploring it. At one area they turned the lights off and you couldn’t even see your hand directly in front of your face because of how dark it was inside. Some areas were super tight and small, my dad had a hard time getting through some spots because of how tall he is. I remember wondering if he was going to make it through a certain part that was extra tight or if we would have to turn back because he couldn’t fit. 😂😭 Things like that make me want to “laugh cry”, you know what I mean. But at least the laugh is there. One day at a time, thats the whole point of this.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed my sketch!

Stay adventurous, free spirits!


FSM Update: Etsy Shop & Instant Download Art

I am happy to announce that I have finally opened my own Etsy shop. It is such a great source for growing a creative business; I have been wanting to utilize it for a long time. I just didn’t know how I wanted to approach it. Then it came to me! Art in an instant!

I never knew the demand for downloadable art. My friend introduced me to the magic of SVG (scalable vector graphic) files. With the Cricut cut machine becoming so popular, many crafters are looking for art files that they can download and cut out with their machine to then adhere to tshirts, mugs, tumblers, boxes, window decals…the possibilities are endless. Luckily, now that I have my digital drawing tablet, I can easily create SVG’s of my own work and offer them on Etsy! I am so excited to add these to my collection!

Before I knew of SVG files, I already had another idea up my sleeve. I have been wanting to offer coloring pages of my work for a while now and I finally did it! Whenever I create a piece, I already have line art created as the first step of the project so I figured I’ll have an endless supply of coloring pages as long as I keep creating my totem animals. Plus the patterns I use are very popular for meditative coloring which has become very popular with adults these past few years.

I have a few other downloadable art ideas. Did you know downloading and printing your own scrapbook paper is a thing? I had no idea and with the patterns I create with my work already, I figured that was something I could try out as well. I also want to get to the point of offering downloadable prints of my photography. I have thousands of great pics that just sit on my hard drive for no one to enjoy. I feel like this would be the perfect opportunity to dust them off and bring them to light. I also like the idea of creating my own downloadable greeting cards with my totems. How perfect is that? My mind is racing with possibilities. As of now though, we will keep working on the SVG’s and the coloring pages.

Click here to check out my shop and let me know what your favorite piece is. What would you like to see more of? Is there any type of downloadable art that you are interested in? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by today!

Stay sunny, free spirits!