This month we are featuring Erin Thompson for the Capitol Hill Art League’s Mind of the Artist series. Read her story and check out her artwork below.

You can view more of her artwork here:
Following Daddy, 2023, pen and watercolor

I’ve loved to draw and create since I was a young child. In high school, I would pay my younger sister in candy bars to let me draw her while she held still or slept. I always wanted to become an artist, but I figured it was not a practical goal, and for a number of years, prior to having children, I pursued more traditional careers (including federal consumer protection work and graphic/web design for local agencies).

I have a passion for sketching people, especially live human subjects. Aside from community classes in my youth, a couple freshman-level introductory classes in college, and a handful of courses here at CHAW, I’m self-taught and over the years have spent hours upon hours filling sketchbooks. One of my favorite pastimes is taking my sketchbook and pen to a coffee shop to draw fellow patrons, or quickly capturing other commuters’ poses/essences when riding on Metro/bus.

Collection of sketches from Metro and Metrobus, pen

I took a bit of a hiatus from creative endeavors when my children were born (though I guess you could argue that child-rearing is just another creative endeavor!), but I soon returned to more regular drawing and art-making to help me through some difficult emotions and stresses I experienced in early motherhood. Themes of parenthood, parental connection/disconnection, transitions, and loss inspire me, as does children’s storybook illustration and walking around our picturesque historic neighborhood. Mainly I use pen and watercolor, or pen and colored ink, but I also occasionally work with charcoal, pencil, and india ink, and I’ve been experimenting with acrylic paint recently.

Along for the Ride, 2022, pen and watercolor

Right now, I work predominantly by commission, with an almost exclusively local client base here on Capitol Hill. Clients ask me to depict everyday moments between siblings, their partner engaged with their child(ren), moments from a mom’s breastfeeding journey, etc., as well as places with special meaning — an establishment where a couple had their first date, a family’s first home, a client’s childhood home, or even just a current home that is well-loved. I love helping people preserve what’s important to them, through art, and to give really meaningful gifts.

Brick Beauty with Turret, 2023, pen and watercolor

My favorite phase of my process is preliminary sketching, where I work in pen to quickly capture the essence of my subject matter, learn its intricacies, get a feel for the perspective and scale, etc., to inform what will become the final artwork for a client. When making art for myself, I also prefer to work quickly in pen to let my initial gestures capture what I’m observing and avoid overthinking. I love the simplicity of black line on paper.

My “studio,” which is really a corner of our bedroom, and some acrylic sketches from a recorded live model session, 2021

When I’m not doing commissioned art, I enjoy depicting local spots and establishments that I personally enjoy, that I know are meaningful for others, or that otherwise capture my attention for some reason. You can see more of my art of local spots in my web shop,

As You Are., 2022, pen and ink

You can see more of my work at:

My web shop: (fine art prints, cards, and other products)

My portfolio site:

Instagram: @ErinThompsonStudio

Facebook: @ErinThompsonStudio

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