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31 Days of Patterns

Animation of 31 pattern paintingsFor 2018, I am a committed to continuing my daily habit of creating. The daily challenges offered by CreativeBug makes this super easy with the added benefit of learning new techniques and playing with new mediums. January's monthly challenge was all about painting patterns using gouache, an opaque watercolor to paint patterns.

After 31 Days of Patterns, here are a few takeaways. The most important thing is to start. A blank page can be intimidating in the same way that starting a new project can be or really doing anything new for the first time. With painting, it can be especially terrifying with the placement of color on the page. There is no eraser, there is only moving forward.

Sketchnotes: EdTech Team Roseville Summit

It has been awhile since I have done live sketchnotes but when someone gives me a blank notebook, I have to break it in. I attended the EdTech Team Summit in Roseville over the weekend and received a new Rocketbook. Even though I brought my iPad for this purpose, I briefly took it out of my bag and put it back in exchange for pens.

Of course, the sketchnote on Accessibility is my favorite because it provided an opportunity to combine my two passions--Creating and Increasing Awareness on Accessible Design. This was a regular session, presented by Adina Sullivan-Morrow and having a lot of background knowledge of the content helped a lot during the creation process. Also, the impact of having a flat table surface and not having to worry about your losing any of your pens is not to be overrated.

Patterns and Creative Imperfection

teal painted paisley pattern with 2 paintbrushes above and a paint tubeThis week I began creating patterns as part of the Creative Bug 31 Days of Patterns Class taught by Lisa Congdon. The focus has been on basic patterns such as gingham, basket weave, argyle and more using gouache paint. (Gouache paint is a more opaque watercolor.)

Pattern making is so relaxing, comforting, and incredibly meditative. The repetitive brush marks allow me to focus on the brush strokes and connection to the paper. I see why Zentangle is so popular. I see lots of patterns in my sketchbook in the future.

marker code with an Ozobot lit up in Green
Creative Imperfection with Coding
It also got me to thinking about patterns in general. In school, we teach patterns very early. During CS Week and Hour of Code in December, I visited numerous TK, Kindergarten, and first-grade classrooms with Ozobots and we talked about, read, and explored different patterns.

"Blue, Black, Blue." Let's see what Ozzy does. About 60% of the time Ozzy went noticeably faster after traveling over this code to the screams of delight of students. In fact, that's the fast code that helped encourage students to play with patterns and discover other codes for their robot.

A Year of Creating Every Day

art collage with elephant, night sky, calf, hydrangea flower, the number 5 walking a tightrope, east coach beach dunes, blue ball jar and cherry blossom tree on a book page.
My Choices for 2017 Best Nine
 My One Word for 2017 was Create. I am proud that I have maintained and cultivated the habit of creating every day and have no intention of stopping anytime soon. Through this daily creative practice, I learned a lot of different lessons.

A daily creative practice improves mood. There were only maybe three days throughout the year where this daily create commitment felt like a chore and those were usually related to illness. The last thing on my mind following let's say a painful oral surgery procedure was creating. Inevitably following a quick sketch or painting, I always felt a bit better.

For me, doing something creative with my hands helps focus my mind and eliminates distractions. Whether it's painting, lettering, drawing, or some creative programming with my Raspberry Pi, the creative act is a learning process that provides clarity and increased focus in this age of increasing distraction. This is why making time for creativity is so important. Unlike previous years, where creative pursuits fell away when I became busy, during 2017 it was creative pursuits that helped provide sanity and balance when things got busy.

Books: The Crossroads of Should & Must

The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow your Passion by Elle Luna caught my eye on a recent visit to the bookstore and it came home with me.  This book began as a blog post posted on Medium in 2014 that later evolved into a beautifully crafted book. The message is told through wonderful imagery, quotes, and text which inspired me to create the following sketchnote summary.  I am grateful for this book as I try to clarify and navigate shoulds and musts moving forward. I am also grateful that it inspired me to return to my original sources and inspiration for visual notetaking by sketching books.  What book is next?  Hmm...

text and doodles depicting the book Crossroads of Should and must