Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goals of 2008

Last year, I gave a lot of thought to the goals I wanted to achieve and ended up not setting any goals. Instead I chose some suggestions, some things that I thought I could achieve, and that would go a ways to increasing my confidence and my joy in creating. In looking back, I see that what I mostly achieved was a sense of exploration, and a realization that creativity is an important part of my life. I tried to draw or sketch something everyday, and to use it as a way to bring balance and perspective to the other things that happened in my life.

This handsome nutcracker prince is the keeper of the goals. Here's how he thought it all went down:

1. Have fun, relax, experiment, explore and enjoy.

This was the most important goal, because if it's not fun why do it? This is a hobby, a relaxation and joy and there is no room for shoulds, musts and havetos. And enjoy it I did. I used different kinds of papers, used pigment pens, brush pens, watercolor pencils. I drew in public and outside, I used borders and lettering for a more illustrated look. I practiced line drawing and black and white drawing.

2. Take a class. Learn proper technique. I signed up for Kate's watercolor pencil class in February. It took a while, but I have come to love these pencils. They have unique qualities and in some cases are the absolute best medium for the task. For working outside and in public, they rule!

3. Continue to do the EDM challenges weekly, and try to do one of the ones that I have not yet done. Although I didn't complete all the challenges, I made a real effort to do as many as I could, and I also did some of the past ones, often doing two a week.

4. Begin including people and urban landscapes in my repertoire. I did not achive this. I discovered that there are lots of outside factors included in this - like crappy weather, and working from photos is a whole different thing than working in real life.

5. Use lots of color because lots of color makes me happy (see goal #1). I did work hard at creating and using bright bold dark colors.

It was a good year, and setting some suggestions like this clarified why I was going down this road and where I wanted to end up. For now, I have no destination in sight, but I'm simply enjoying the journey.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chrismas cookies and wishes

Have a cookie. There's ginger crinkle, shortbread, and peppermint bark.
Take a deep breath. In this season that lends itself to mania, perfectionism, and frenzy, take this moment to let it all go. Exhale. Think about what is important to you, what you value. Chances are it didn't cost a lot of money. (And even if it did, chances are that's not the real reason you treasure it.) The things that are of real value are honor, integrity, honesty, love, self-respect, respect for others. As parts of our world spiral down into violence, hatred and depravity, we need to stand up for the better part of humanity. To let love and honor and respect shine as beacons against the darkness.
Take a deep breath.
Savor the simple pleasures.
Practice peace.
Shine your light against the darkness.
Thank you to all who have visited this blog. I wish you all the best and hope we can continue sharing creativity throughout the next year. You are all clear shining lights of inspiration.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

EDM 201 - Draw a stapler

This is the big, beat-up old stapler that we used to put up the outside Christmas lights. We did that two weeks ago, on the last of the good weather. Since then we've been in the deep freeze with temperatures and windchills around 30 degrees below freezing. And it's been snowing for the last week - I can't remember the last time I had to climb over drifts of snow to walk across the street. Brrr! Stay warm everyone.
Pen and watercolor crayon in Moleskine sketchbook.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

VSD - December

This is from the photo for Virtual Sketch Date this month. I hesitated over doing this one because I don't do landscapes well. I want to do them well, but I don't. I decided to go ahead because if I never practice landscapes I will never do them well. And I did miss the mark on this one, as I never achieved that dreary wintery look of the photo. This sketch is entirely too bright and cheerful. From a previous class I took, I learned not to make trees all the same height. i said to myself "make the trees different heights, make the trees different heights" over and over. And look at the trees - all the same height...sigh. Even still, I think it's better than my last attempt. The lesson learned from this is practice and repeat and practice, and don't make the trees all the same height!

The original photo is here

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My Curiosity Journal

This spread is done in my new journal "Curiosity journal" with handmade rag paper. The paper is tinted pink, with little flecks of straw or wood here and there. It is very soft and absorbant and has an odd finely ribbed texture. It's a bit hard to draw on because the texture sends the pencil skittering crazily and the tip also gets caught in the ribbing making it hard to draw a smooth curve. I finally used a glass to trace around to get a credible circle. The watercolor pencils do not go on smoothly at all, plain pencil crayons worked better. I call this the Curiosity Journal because my plan is to research things that pique my interest and then illustrate and write a bit about them. The last lunar eclipse in February was very clear and bright in my part of the world, and I wanted to illustrate the transitional phases. The next lunar eclipse is on December 21, 2010.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

EDM 127 - Draw a book

One of my art goals for this year was to experiment with different media, especially papers and pens. I started with this Moleskine sketchbook - it has an odd color, and very smooth paper. It took some while to get used to it. Then I got some brush pens and I like them a lot. This is a sketch of a new journal that I bought at the 10,000 Villages sale. All items are handmade and imported from developing countries under Fair Trade agreements. The cover is made of rice paper, and the paper inside is made from recycled fabrics. It's very soft and absorbant and finely ribbed, and the medium that woks best with it is colored pencils. It's quite small only 5x6". I use it for my Curiosity Journal, the one where I write and illustrate things that interest me or pique my imagination to do a little research about the subject. I sketched this book using Crayola marker pens which created the look of the pleated, crinkled rice paper on the cover. It's a cute and cheerful little journal and I like it a lot. I'm enjoying this experimentation with new things. It's quite liberating!