Let’s face it, life happens. Sometimes life happens a LOT. Good and bad we have to keep moving forward. Recently life has happened a lot for me. To begin with, after receiving the photo for a graphite commission several members of my family including myself caught a virus. Fever, chills, coughing, exhaustion and I was unable to work on the commission. Finally I was feeling a bit better, but couldn’t shake the cough and exhaustion. Doctors appointments for all! My mother-in-law and daughter were diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs, I was diagnosed with bronchitis. During this time my laptop had to be sent in to Geek Squad three times for repairs! Don’t get me started on that one. Each time it was sent in I was without my laptop for over a week and each time it was returned to me one issue was fixed but in the process of fixing they created another problem. It was a mess! I am hoping now, as I type this, my laptop is fixed completely and I won’t have any more issues. ( I just received my laptop back a couple days ago.) After several weeks of illness I was finally able to get working on my commission piece. It was going well. Then life happened again. I momentarily sat down my drawing and when I returned I found a surprise. Not a good one. I discovered a small blotch of ketchup on the cheek of the little girl in the commission. I wanted to cry. The stain went all the way through the paper to the back side. I was crushed. I had to contact the client and inform them what happened. I sent pictures as well. We tried to brain storm about what could be done other than redoing the entire portrait. We decided to try adding a curl of hair around the ear and across the cheek covering the spot. Yeah, that did not work. I kind of knew in my heart I’d have to redo the portrait. I want my clients to have the best possible work I could create. I decided I wanted new graphite pencils before redoing the commission. I had noticed my Derwent graphites were scratchy and getting worse the more I sharpened them. I have the old formula Derwents. They have since redone their formula and from what I’ve heard the new ones are incredibly smooth. When i went to Dick Blick online to order my new pencils I discovered something exciting. Staedtler Mars Lumograph had expanded their range of pencils! The only reason I had chosen Derwent over Staedtler was due to the fact Derwent had a wider range. I took a deep breath and chose the Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils! They now go from 9H to 9B! Plus I added the small tin of Staedtler Mars Lumograph Black pencils. These are a mix of carbon and graphite to give you the deepest blacks with little to no graphite shine. The tin includes two each 2B, and 4B, one each of 6B and 8B. I also purchased some Blick Bristol Vellum 14 x 17 inches for the portrait. I wanted to try it out. I really like Strathmore Bristol vellum and wanted to compare the two. I’ll be posting my thoughts on that later along with some eraser comparisons. While awaiting my order life happened in some good ways as well. I was able to complete a couple colored pencil pieces and a new pastel painting of a bobcat. I am thoroughly enjoying working in pastels! I was also able to purchase some inexpensive picture frames and get 6 of my pieces safe behind glass. Despite the bad that happened recently (which also prevented me from blogging) some good has happened as well and all in all I just keep going. That’s the key and I suppose the point of this post. To remind you that yes bad things can happen, yes our art can get accidentally damaged, but you have to take it in stride and just keep going. Never give up! Until next time, Keep Creating!