Slow But Steady

Still in progress.

It’s two weeks into the new year and I have to admit, I’m still having some difficulty getting back into the swing of things since the holidays. Half of me is still on holiday and the other half of me is still decompressing from 2016. I’ve been pretty much trying to regroup and get back on track with myself. While last year I was all about following new ideas and trying out new things, I think this year I’ll try to focus a bit more on settling into what truly resonates with me artistically and spiritually in order to hone a more authentic way of being that reflects who I am. Already I’m rediscovering things I once loved doing but had long forgotten about. I’m also giving myself permission to stop trying to live up to this conditioned idea of what I’ve been made to think my life is suppose to be and who I think I should be both as a person and as an artist and instead just do the things I enjoy, the things that bring me peace and well being. 

As you can see, I’m still working on “Gumballs”, I’m moving a bit slow but I’m steadily progressing. That’s kinda the story of my life but I’ve never been the kind of person who ever got anywhere fast, yet somehow I’ve always managed to get there on time. Sometimes you just need to slow down and take your time with things. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the anxious feelings that comes with being an online content creator in an environment that constantly breeds an atmosphere of pressure to post frequently or fear losing your audience. But as an artist, I’m well aware that things can’t always be rushed especially art. So, I’m taking my time with “Gumballs”. But I’m sure I’ll be finished with it soon. My artistic inspiration for a piece actually has a time limit. As someone who is a bit OCD about leaving things unfinished, I have to finish a piece of art before my interest in it wears out otherwise I have to throw it away or at least hide it from myself. Oddly enough it’s these little idiosyncrasies that actually keep me going in my work. I hate having to throw away a piece so it forces me to focus and finish…and the clock is ticking on “Gumballs”. So I’m sure within a week I’ll be finished and working on something new. 
P.S. Has anyone seen “The Accountant”? If you have, I just want to say, no, I’m not as bad as Christian Wolff when it comes to things being left undone. 😊

Looking Back

2016 ACEOs in color.

Looking back I would say that 2016 was my breakout year for working in color. Prior to that I mainly worked with just black ink with maybe a dash of color here and there in a few pieces. I’m glad I took the chance and expanded on my style. It seems to have faired well among all you lovely people who have taken an interest in my art. Looking towards the future, I would like to work with more colors since the brand of pens that I use have a limited palette. Unfortunately that won’t be an easy task. Finding pens that work well for pointillism isn’t as simple as buying more pens. Some bleed and feather. Some brands don’t create pens in the size that I usually work with or they’re not waterproof and archival. There are a lot of little variables that I have to take into account when it comes to choosing pens and paper for that matter. And some times it can be a costly experience of trial and error. (I’ve bought $40 pens that ended up not being a good fit for the work I do.) Then again, it could be that the palette I’m currently working with may just end up being a unique aspect of my work. As they say, “Why fix what ain’t broke.” If it works, why not just stick with it? Who knows. We’ll just have to wait and see what the future has in store. 

Ink pieces from previous years.

Hello 2017

Happy New Year and welcome back to the grind. I hope everyone is doing well and looking forward to the year to come. I want to take a moment and  say “Thank You” to everyone for all your support, feedback and purchases of my work. You helped to make 2016 a great year for me and I deeply appreciate all the follows, likes and comments. I wouldn’t be growing as an artist without you. For that, I sincerely send my thanks and I look forward to 2017 being much greater with all your support. ❤😊

I would like to also mention that the “Carve & Draw” blog is one years old now and I have to say I’m pretty excited about that. I was a little uncertain if I would be able to keep this up but now that a year has passed, I found a groove for myself and your continued engagement helps to keep me accountable. I look forward to the day when I can this blog is 5 years old and then 10. And I hope that some of you are still with me on those anniversaries. So here’s to growing old together. 

“Gumballs” (wip)

Well, now that 2017 is in full swing, I’m picking up where I left off…”Gumballs”. I hadn’t forgotten about this piece. It was something I was working on while I was getting my “Illustrated Lyrics” ACEO collection going. For the moment I want to just focus on this piece to get it completed before I work on anymore ACEOs. I don’t like having incomplete pieces hanging around, I’m a bit OCD about leaving things unfinished. So my next couple of posts will probably be about “Gumballs”. I hope you lovelies like gum. 😊

If You Let Me

“I don’t want to be just a memory.” ~ Sinead Harnett

Here’s to 2016, my final piece for the year. It’s been a roller coaster ride for sure’ so I’m definitely hoping for smoother sailing in the year to come. With a little over nine hours left (it’s 2:40pm where I’m at right now) I’m going take some time to quietly contemplate what type of mindset I want to head into the New Year with. I’ll be bringing the New Year in sober, making this my third year doing so. But for all you lovelies who will be turnin’ up tonight and leaving the challenges of 2016 behind, have a drink for me with a toast to new beginning and pour out one for those who didn’t make it. 

I’ll be seeing you with new works of artistry in 2017. ✌❤😊

If You Let Me (wip)

“If You Let Me”(wip2)

I hope all is going well with everyone this holiday season. I just wanted to do a quick work in progress update on my latest ACEO drawing, “If You Let Me”. I’ve been making some progress in between holiday activities and baby sitting a little Yorkie with an over active bladder and sensitive tummy. As a cat person, this is a change for me. My hubby likes dogs, so we’re looking at this as an opportunity to see if we can handle having one. This Yorkie is an adorable little fellow but so far…we’re becoming more convinced we should stick with cats. 

…neither I or my carpet is digging this thing called “happy pee”. 😒

Life Without The Arts

“Persona” by Q. Rumbley

I have a little confession, something I’m not particularly open about but felt like mentioning, rather briefly, in a short post. At the age of 43, I can honestly say that I would not have made it this far in life without art and music. In some of my darkest and lonely moments it has been music that pulled me through. And in all the times when I’ve felt that there isn’t anything in life to live for or look forward to, I could at least turn towards drawing and feel some semblance of happiness, personal satisfaction. The Arts does something to the soul that neither medicine, science or technology has been able to achieve. It’s a mystery to me but I am most grateful for it and thankful to be one of the many people in the world who have found healing and expression through it. Which is why I find it deeply disheartening that when it comes to education and budget cuts, the first thing to go are the Arts. If it has been the only thing that has gotten me through some rough times, then I’m sure it has gotten many others through difficulties in their lives. So when a society starts to devalue something that is soul saving do we really understand what we are doing to ourselves in the long run? Now I really don’t want to get into a long treatise on the value that the Arts brings to society but rather I just want you to sit there, just for a moment and try to imagine with me a world without the Arts. Imagine a world with no paintings, drawings, music, dancing, theatre, design, architecture, decorative elements or fashion. Imagine a world where everything is manufactured and mass produced. Cookie cutter homes, manicured lawns, sterile clean walls, clothing that’s only functional, no style, no pazazz…just imagine a world with no human touch to it.

How do you think that world would be? Do you think that such a world is even possible? If so, are we moving in that direction?

Have You Ever…

“If You Let Me” (wip)

…fallen in love with a song? I mean, literally, fallen in love with a song in a way that the lyrics feel like a lover’s finger tips softly caressing your skin? Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling about Sinead Harnett’s song “If You Let Me”. 

I first heard it in passing while cleaning my living room with Pandora playing in the background. It didn’t immediately catch my attention, I only happen to notice that its sound fit perfectly into the mood I wanted to create for the playlist I was building. So I gave it a thumbs up and booked marked it. But it wasn’t until the second time I heard it, a week later, that I fell head over heels, which in all honesty, is how I am when it comes to love. It’s always with the second or third look that I fall, it’s never been the first. 

This song has been stuck in my musical mind loop for two weeks, I even wake up with it playing in the backdrop of my thoughts and now it has become the source of inspiration for my next piece of ACEO miniature art. There are so many verses in this song that touch me that it’s been difficult narrowing it down to just one but that’s the parameters I gave myself for this project so one verse it is.  

Morning Snow

Midwest morning snow.

I woke to a winter wonderland this morning. I usually get home sick around this time despite being over 20 years removed from where I was raised. Not sure if I can still call myself an Alaskan but whenever the snow begins to fall I’m reminded of the land and mountains that nurtured my spirit when I was a child. My mother’s yearly “care packages” of moose, smoked salmon, king crab and Fireweed honey often beats back the winter blues, so I’m watching and waiting patiently for the mailman to bring me my box of treats packed with hugs and kisses, from the land of the Midnight Sun, that me and my other half devour like two little kids in a donut shop. It’s a yearly delight that I treasure as Nature draws another year to its end with the sleep of cold winds and blankets of snow before allowing another to spring into it’s beginning. 

Is Art A Waste Of Time?

“Cold Air” (wip) – current ACEO drawing in progress.

There’s something that haunts me. Something that whispers to me faintly from far off with each day that passes and every time I pick up my pen. I’ve gotta good at ignoring it, so good that I often think it’s gone but every once in a while it’ll catch me off guard and I’ll hear it loud and clear. It’s that chilling voice of doubt and fear that creeps up over my shoulder and whispers “But what if you’re wasting your time? What if this is all for naught?” Typically I just shake it off but it’s never really gone. It just lingers, lurking in the shadows, waiting around for a moment of weakness to creep up on me and whisper those same discouraging words. I’ve come to assume that it’s my own cautious internal warning system just being over protective in trying to make sure I don’t waste my time and my life. That part of me needs certainty, solid plans, immediate results and guarantees but since when has life ever been certain or ever offered a guarantee other than death and change? Would I ever accomplish anything if I always waited around for certainty to show her pretty face and give me the go ahead? So, at my best, I suppress the doubt and try to move on. Recently though, I had one of those moments and with uncanny synchronicity (which has been happening quite a lot to me this year) I came across this article by Robbie Tripp titled “How To Beat The 5 Most Common What Ifs For Creatives”. 

…if there’s one thing in this world that’s not a waste of time, it’s producing something new. ~ Robbie Tripp

Without going too much into the article, which I will link to at the end of this post if you care to read it, it’s a brief but insightful take on the difficulties of the creative process and how fear manifests itself in those “What If” scenarios that beset most creators and innovators. As I read over the article I was quite surprised that the devilish “What If” that haunts me is a common bugger that haunts others. There it was at #5, “What If I’m Wasting My Time?”, the words that at times take the wind out of my sails unexpectedly, that creep up when sales get slow or when a commission falls through. There they were in black and white. It was a relief to discover that I’m not the only one who struggles with this. It’s a “what if” that’s fairly common and seeing it there was actually quite freeing for me. I took from it the enclosed quotes that I now turn to if I have a moment of doubt, to reaffirm that art is NOT a waste of my time. In all I think Tripp’s article offers nuggests of inspiration and relief for any creative who finds her/himself struggling with “what ifs” in their creative pursuits. Check out his article if you feel inclined, maybe a “what if” that’s been haunting you is on the list. 

How To Beat The 5 Most Common What Ifs For Creatives

The fact that you have answered the call of your creativity and pledged your passion to it means that you have a much deeper understanding of your purpose in life than most. ~ Robbie Tripp

Cold Air (wip)

Beginning lineart for “Cold Air” artist card drawing.

Getting started on the lineart for my next song inspired artist card drawing. This came to me while listening to The Hics “Cold Air”. It’s a bit reminiscent of my drawing “Succulent” except this time I’m going with daisies and pansies in the hair. 


Gumball Challenge

“Gumballs”. Photo reference by Sally Robertson

If I wasn’t into pen and ink drawing, I would definitely be into colored pencil. Actually I have a box full of colored pencils just to play around with. There aren’t that many artists out there who do pointillism, far fewer who use color, so when I look for inspiration, I often turn to the work of colored pencil artists and one of my favorite sources is Colored Pencil Magazine, which I follow on Facebook. Frequently they have these challenges for fellow artists and recently they posted this “Gumball” challenge, which caught my attention. For those interested, the point is to create a drawing as realistically possible using colored pencils. Although I’m not a colored pencil artist, I felt inspired to take on the challenge for myself but instead of doing it in color, I’m going to do my drawing in black ink only. Technically that would make it a stippling but we won’t get all wrapped up in semantics. Anyhoo, I plan on working on this in between my colored artist card pieces. It’s a larger work, 8×10 to be exact, so it won’t be done anytime soon but it looks like it will be fun and challenging. 😊

Hanging On

“I just can’t keep hanging on…” ~ Active Child

I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday weekend. I’m still recovering from a food hangover but I’m in good spirits.

As promised I completed my drawing “Hanging On”. This is the first piece in an on going project of drawings inspired by song lyrics. The source of inspiration for this piece comes from the song “Hanging On”, by a group called Active Child. When it comes to being inspired by song lyrics with me it’s usually either something that resonates with me on an emotional level or it’s something that sparks visual images in my head. With this particular piece, the lyric “I just can’t keep hanging on…” sparked the image of a single water droplet hanging on to a rose pedal. The rest of the lyric goes “…to you and me.” I envisioned the rose symbolizing love and the water droplet symbolizing the individual trying to hang on. Now I’m not sure if it’s a good thing to always explain my thought process behind my drawings simply because I don’t want to influence others interpretation. I want people to see the drawing, read the lyric and pull from it what resonates with them. So with that in mind from here on out I won’t explain too much in regards to what I’m trying to convey unless asked. I’m always open and eager to hear people’s interpretation, so please feel free to give your thoughts in the comments. 

If you’re interested in hearing the song you can do so here on YouTube and if you’re interested in owning “Hanging On” you can purchase it online at 

So now, let me pull out my list of lyrics and get to “conjuring” up my next drawing. ‘Til next post, take care. ~ Q. 😊

A Little Note

Because I don’t want anyone to think I’ve skipped town and forgotten about you lovelies, I just wanted to let you know I’m taking the week off from blogging. I’m saddled with Turkey Day duties and attending to family, which leaves me little time for blogging or drawing for that matter. Luckily, come Friday, when many people will take to the streets in the Black Friday madness, I’ll have time again to pick up where I left off and get back to drawing, which by the way is coming along nicely. My goal is to have my current ACEO, “Hanging On”, finished and available come Sunday evening. So until then I’m wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving to those who will be celebrating it and safe travels to those who have to leave home to see family and friends. 

Take care. Q. 🙏😊

Dreaming Big?

Currently I’m reading “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. At the moment I’m on chapter 10 and I have to say that so far Kellar makes a lot of good valid points that truly resonate with me. I won’t go into them because that isn’t what I want to focus on in this post, just know that the fact that I’ve actually gotten past chapter three in book on business inspiration is a good sign that there’s some useful information in between the front and back covers. What I do want to talk about is something that I keep coming across when I read inspirational, motivational self help books as well as when listening to speakers on self improvement, entrepreneurship and business. And that’s the idea of dreaming big. 

In this information age I’m sure you’ve heard the maxim “Dream Big”. You may have seen quotes warning not to share your big dreams with small minded people or if your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough. I understand the point that people are trying to get at when they make such statements which is don’t be afraid to go out and do great things. Don’t limit yourself because there’s no telling what you can achieve. And I also understand that all of this is suppose to help stem the tide of the onslaught of naysayers you may encounter along the way if you set out to do something great. I’m all for that kind of encouragement but I’m also noticing a side effect to it all and that’s the underlying shame that may occur if you’re made to feel that your dream isn’t big enough.

When it comes to all this inspirational and motivational encouragement oftentimes the examples used are gleaned from the lives of those considered big dreamers such as Oprah, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, J.K. Rowling or that dude who built Wal-Mart whose name seems to escape me at the moment. These are examples of people who have reached a level of fame and financial success in many cases from very humble beginnings that are noteworthy for inspiration. But I often worry that there are many out there who look at such individuals, see what they have accomplished and feel that if they aren’t trying to conquer the world, build schools in Africa, create a platform to bring holographic entertainment to every living room in America or simply striving to be a millionaire/billionaire are being left to feel that their dreams aren’t worthy goals. Where are the books and articles extolling examples of what I like to call “Main Street Dreams”; the dreams of people who want to open up a local barber shop, a dance studio or organics store? Or the dream of someone who just wants to run her own nail business out of her home or the independent artist who wants to make a good living for his art. Where are the examples of people who aren’t necessarily striving to be millionaires but who dream of just being financially stable and independent on their own terms doing something they love? It may not bring in millions or even change the world but it allows them to live comfortably and gives them pride in being self sufficient?  

I admit, maybe I’m reading the wrong books. Maybe there are people out there talking about and encouraging exactly what I’m saying and I just haven’t come across them yet. For now though, I just bristle when I hear or read the words “Dream Big” and then look at the media and see how success is often shaped by the idea of having expensive cars, big houses, jets, yachts, a millionaire or billionaire status and smoozing with those who exemplify that lifestyle. This isn’t to say that anything is wrong with dreaming big or wanting “big” things, it’s just that this one sided idea of success often gives the impression that anything less than this isn’t good enough. As a side note, one of the underlying reasons for why I do small art isn’t just because I enjoy it, it’s also because I don’t believe that everything has to “big” to be worthwhile, beautiful and/or valuable. A part of my mission as an artist is to help bring to light that there can be beauty in small things such as small works of art. With that said all of this brings to mind a video I watched on YouTube where Steve Harvey made some bristling comments about people who aspire to have tiny homes: 

“You need to get a bigger damn dream, that’s what you need to do…This is for people who have given up. This is for people who ain’t got no faith and who ain’t got no dreams…”  

What are some of your thoughts on the idea of “Dreaming Big”?