Thursday, November 14, 2019

Art Supply Addiction is Real, but I Don't Mind...

The sketch journal sits unused and neglected in my bag.  It's been over a month since I have opened it to draw or write in it.  During the week I fall into the 9 to 5 routine, my brain is turned off, I do my job and then come home.

The impulse to open a new sketchbook and start over is there.  I fight the urge and decide to fill this one before I start any other.  The shelf above my work table is filled with sketchbooks, both completed and incomplete, cast away.  Some I stopped using because I spilled coffee on them, which I tell myself is a valid reason.  The same shelf holds new, shiny unused sketchbooks that I buy on impulse and have amassed over the last few years.  I always seem to go back to my Hand-Book sketchbook.  I jokingly refer to them as a Moleskine knock-off but actually like them much better than Moleskines.

This is not to say I haven't been drawing or sketching.  I have, just not in this particular journal.  I flit from one sketchbook to the other.  From the Canson 9 x 12 Wirebound with the nice heavy paper, to the Stillman and Birn 6 x 8 Zeta Series, to the Artist Survival Notebook (which I have decided I don't really like). The Stillman & Birn is almost filled thanks to last month's Inktober drawing challenge.

I also have a lot of different pens and my pen of the moment changes according to my mood and random inclinations.  Fountain pens of various nib size, Rapidosketch drawing pens, quill pens of all shapes and sizes, brush pens, markers.  

I am an art supply addict and I admit it freely.  There are worse things to be addicted to, as we all know.  I won't seek out any 12-step programs.  I doubt there is a "Art Supply Anonymous" anyway.  I at least hope not.

I have been posting my new drawings on my website, by the way.  Drop by when you get the chance.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Tides of Change

It is finally Autumn in Wisconsin.  The temperature is turning cooler, the leaves are beginning to turn to Fall colors.  There has even been a couple mornings where a light frost has glazed the grass and car windshields.  Fall is, of course, time for change.

I have been mulling over a decision all summer.  This year, I only did one art fair (in April) and all the others I was either rejected or placed on a waitlist.  At first I found it, well, disheartening.  I have invested a lot of time and money into being an art fair printmaker artist.  I did all my own matting and framing, I used vacation time from my job to take days off for these shows.  Like I said, it was disheartening.  At first.

Then I changed my mind.  I purposely evolved my thinking.  I realized that I wasn't sure I wanted to do art fairs anymore, at least not the outdoor shows.  There are a lot of factors involved:  climate change is making the summers hotter (whether you believe it or not), there are certain health factors, none serious but all are annoying, and well, last year, sales were less than stellar. So, while it's not my final decision since I can change my mind, I decided not to apply for any shows for next year.

When change is manifest, it is best to evolve and adapt.  I am researching other ways to make an income from art.  I am focusing now on galleries and other non-gallery businesses that let artists hang their work.  I'm not planning on selling off my art fair equipment just yet.  In another year, however, if I decide I don't want to get back into it, I will in the very least sell my outdoor canopy.

And speaking of evolution, there's another facet to this change.  My original intention of this blog was solely for writing, book reviews, and the like.  While I hope to write more frequently, I am also going to start posting artwork here such as sketches, new linocut prints, and other items.  I feel I am scattered all over the internet, with a blog here, and a website there, plus an Etsy shop.  I need to consolidate.

I have also, intentionally or not, taken an hiatus from printmaking.  I still love it, still want to do it.  I just need a break.  And I have started doing a lot more in the way of pen and ink drawing as well as working on upping my game with watercolors.  My winter project is to teach myself to paint with acrylics.  And who knows where that will lead.

I'm keeping the blog name, though, since it is still descriptive of my philosophy and guiding tenet.  Coffee Before Pants!

I do not believe that trope about everything happens for a reason.  It sometimes hints of complacency in the time of tragedy. It's the secular version of  "It's God's Will" which I've always felt was complete bullshit.

Not all change is good. However, I also think that there are changes that can lead to beneficial choices.  With this kind of change, You can choose to fight the tide of change, or you can go with the flow and see where it leads.  I'm looking forward to the journey and have no set plans or attachment to the destination.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Waking Music, Reading Music

It's just before 8 am on a Saturday morning and I chose to not sleep in.  I have plenty to do but nothing really I have to do.  No deadlines, no ongoing projects.  I will probably straighten up my studio to make it more tolerable to work in.  I am at peace this morning with, for want of a better term, doing nothing.

And I am waking up to strong coffee and a jazz playlist. I like to wake slowly on my days off from The Job.  Sometimes I like to wake up to Classical music but I usually reserve that when for reading.  This morning, this playlist is suitable for a slow waking.

So, once again, it's hermit time, at least for the morning.  I am venturing out later to an illustrators meetup.  Usually I dread social events but today, I am actually excited. Usually, hermit time means just that.  All weekend I don't venture out.  I am also at peace with that.

And it's a beautiful day.  Summer is coming to an eventual close.  Autumn is my favorite time of year.  My creativity increases, I get more reading in.  The temperature lends itself to both. The air seems to conduct creative energy and it all just pours in.  Although I mentioned that I have no deadlines to speak of, I still have plenty to do.  Mostly self-generated projects.  I am doing The Postcard Project, drawing random and assorted postcards that I am offering up on my Ko-Fi page.  You can read more about the project by clicking on the Postcard Project link.

And what is Ko-Fi?  It's where people can go to buy an artist/creator a virtual coffee for $3 as a way of supporting their art.  Think of it as a tip jar for an artist.  With my ko-fi page, the more coffees you buy me, the more of my art I send you.  For instance, 2 coffees gets you a hand drawn postcard, delivered right to your door.

Buy Me a Coffee at

I hope everyone has the day they are wishing for.  I have some reading to catch up on...

Saturday, August 17, 2019


Over the last couple years, I kind of fell away from keeping a sketchbook.  I focused on printmaking, doing art fairs (which takes up a lot of time and energy in itself) and well, it just happened.  I would carry the sketchbook around but never seem to put anything in it.

The, it started happening again without me really trying.  It was a series of events, you could say.  First, I started reading more.  In earnest.  And real books, not e-reader books.  That led to taking notes on what I was reading, which then led to keeping a journal.  I started adding small doodles to my journal entry, nothing too involved.  

I have had a annual membership to Skillshare since November of last year.  Within the last few weeks, I started to take advantage of the classes that are offered.  Drawing, watercolor, Urban Sketching, Design.  There is a lot! If you are interested, just follow the link above.  You get two free months and I get a free month.  It's 99 dollars a year and in my opinion, well worth it.

Anyway, so I'm drawing and sketching again.  I have been also drawing artist trading cards and postcards.  I offer these on, where you can get original artwork from me by buying me a virtual coffee (or two).  Click the link or click the "Buy Me a Coffee" button on the right sidebar.

So, you will be seeing more sketches from me amongst the poetry and book reviews.  Please let me know what you think.  I love getting comments.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019



For the first time in weeks 
(has it been months?)
my dreams did not contain
imagined scenes of regret
concerning people 
I did not know 
or have never met.

This morning I woke from a
sleep of dreaming and
I was dreaming of sleep
and slumbering late
in the morning
And for once, feeling rested
Thinking of the day ahead
and thoughts of coffee
and the absence of dread

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Purpose of Memory

The Purpose of Memory

The years have passed 
I guess I 
don't remember you 
quite as well as I promised or
thought I would.

I know, I know,
I promised never to
but the years have passed

And the memories of 
then have lost their
purpose to
the present, to the now,
to the moment.

And the bond already
tenuous to begin with
has all but

--Mark Bodhisattva Hill

Saturday, July 13, 2019



The waking early without an alarm
The quiet breathing of my love
beside me
The joy of not having to go
to work.
The frivolous struggle in my 
mind of whether to lay there 
a bit longer
or start the day.

The sound of water boiling and
coffee grinding, the aroma.
The five minutes of waiting.
The steam rising from the cup.
The sugar hissing as it
hits the hot coffee, the rolling
clouds of creamer.
The small groan of pleasure as
I take the first sip.

The lack of plans or destination
other than perhaps the studio,
perhaps the couch,
perhaps a bike ride
perhaps just sitting and
listening to quiet music or
perhaps to nothing at all,
the incidental music
of the birds outside,

I dream of a life
where this is Everyday, only
varying by the seasons and 
the weather outside.
A life of the hermit, 
of sorts,
just me and
my Love.

--Mark Bodhisattva Hill