You guys, things have been so crazy over here that I haven’t even mentioned to you that Pattern Camp starts again in 2 1/2 weeks, on October 15th. This is going to be the last session for 2016; the next one will be in April 2017. So there’s a bit of a wait in between! Now’s the time to jump in if you want to learn some new pattern design skills. You can use code YAYFOROCTCAMP to get $30 off registration!

Last week Coen and I were in Colorado. I was teaching a couple of workshops at Art Makers Denver, and also my sister just had a baby so I got to meet my newest tiny nephew when he was just 9 days old! He is amazing and adorable, oh my GOODNESS.

The Art Makers Denver retreat was great. I taught 2 days of paintings and one day of in-person Pattern Camp. I’ve only ever taught one painting workshop before this, and this time around made me want to do more. It also felt SO GOOD to just paint for 2 days. I haven’t done that for over a year. As much as I love being a mama now, man I miss long stretches of time to work and paint and create. It feels like there’s a large chunk of myself that’s just sort-of on hold right now. It’s hard. It’s ok, and Coen is the most amazing little guy EVER, but it’s hard, too. I’m trying to be ok with things feeling hard and also ok at the same time. It’s weird.

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These are some of the paintings that my students created during our 2 days together. There were so many paintings!

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Here are the ones I was working on:


Some were completed and left with various family members so I didn’t have to try to carry them home along with the carseat and 59 pound suitcase and baby, others were given to one of my students who’s a high school art teacher for a fundraiser, and others are not yet completed. It was fun to work on so many things at the same time! It’s something I’m going to start doing here at home, too.

We missed our flight early on Wednesday morning last week because of a bad accident on the highway (hello, stressful!); Wednesday also happened to be Coen’s first birthday. How did this first year already go by?! It’s just crazy. It’s taken forever and it’s gone by in a blink. I still haven’t slept through the night. I had no idea a person could function on so little sleep, and yet here I am, mama-ing, working, creating, running, traveling… I am still holding out hope that one day I will get some good sleep again. Some days I’m good-humored about the whole thing. Other days, not so much. I guess that’s probably how a lot of people feel about parenthood, eh? Some days it’s awesome and hilarious and fun and other days… it’s NOT. ;)

Anyway, we thankfully got home on the next flight on standby, and Ryan had remembered to hang the birthday banner that I made:


Yay! I made the birthday boy a gluten-free healthy zucchini cake (which he loved!), and we had a low-key little family celebration. Maybe when he turns 2 we’ll go all out and have a big ol’ party!


In other news, I’ve been continuing to work on some new animal totem paintings, though I’ve slowed down some. Here are a few recent additions:

jessicaswift-totem-butterfly2 jessicaswift-totem-woodpecker

jessicaswift-totem-polar-bear2 jessicaswift-totem-rhinoceros

These new ones aren’t available in my shop yet; I’ll probably have another sale toward the end of the year on all the newest ones. The first sale was so fun!

I’ve also been working on the logistics of turning them into an oracle deck, laying out the cards, nailing down a manufacturer, etc…. it’s been a fun process so far! There’s still a ways to go, but I thought I’d give you a peek at what the cards are going to look like:


The back side is going to be a really cool pattern, but I’ll leave you in suspense on that part. ;)

As I’m working out the logistics I’m getting closer to having a timeline of when the deck will actually be available… sometime in early 2017, I hope. I’ll do a pre-order at some point, too, and will let you know as soon as I can about that! Very exciting.

I *love* oracle decks, and I think it’s going to feel pretty amazing and surreal to hold my very own deck in my hands one day in the near future. I hope you all are going to love it! This is definitely a major labor of love. I think it will be so cool to look back on it and remember making it throughout Coen’s first year of life, one animal painting at a time, day by day. It’ll be a fun story to tell him.


That’s what’s going on around here! A whole lot and a whole lot of nothing, all at the same time…..