Monday, January 01, 2007

Reflecting on a year...

Linda and I met today to start our new year the right way - with good coffee, sketches and laughter. We were also reflecting on our art goals of 2006 and considering the new ones for 2007. So - I thought I'd bring the discussion here and see how it looked.

At the beginning of 2006, I made 6 goals for myself (which you can see in the archives over there on the sidebar). They were:

1. Draw from life more.
2. Banish the perfection monster.
3. Participate in one class or workshop.
4. Draw in public and answer the question, "Are you an artist?" with "yes."
5. Develop a series. Build a little depth in something.
6. Have a lot of fun.

How'd I do? Well. I have drawn from life more, but I still use my own photographs for reference. I've drawn from other people's photos, and have enjoyed it, but I feel the most comfortable about using my own photographs for references. Drawing from life has definitely increased not only my ability, but my confidence in my ability. I still find that I am more tense when drawing from life - more worried about making a mistake. Linda suggested I go back to the roots, and spend some time with a large newsprint pad and some charcoal - to loosen up, play and have fun, and I think she's quite right. When I go to spend my Christmas money this week, I'll pick up a pad and charcoal. This is one that I can say I've done, but haven't achieved all that I know I can. It will go back on the list. Ultimately, I'd love to find a figure drawing group to get involved in.

Perfection monster? Well - I'd say he's much diminished this year. I've found myself less worried about my work being "good enough" for whatever imaginary critic (myself, generally) I've conjured up in my head, and more consumed with the moment and enjoying it. Have I conquered it? Probably not, but I've certainly chained it up a bit and tamed it. This, I imagine, will be in my goals list until I'm not longer able to make goals lists.

I never took an actual class or workshop this year, unfortunately, but I did go to a couple of great half-day seminars with Linda. One was with Golden acrylics, and it was fabulous - I learned more about how acrylics behave in those few hours than in months of practice with them. The other was a silkscreen seminar, which I enjoyed and would like to try sometime, but that's a medium for another time in my life, I think. So - that was a half-completed goal. Not too bad, I guess.

Drawing in public has become old hat at this point. I got "busted" twice today and never flinched. Of course, that's why the lady in my sketch looks like she has 3 moustaches...yikes.

I worked on a series of hands this year, that I enjoyed a great deal, and a series of portraits, as well. I find myself drawn to the human face and figure and want to continue in that vein. I also seem to be drawn to roosters. Go figure.

And lastly, I wanted to have a lot of fun in my art this year, and I certainly have. I met a great friend through art, and I'm excited to have another year of encouragement and accountability with her (thanks, Linda!!). We have way more fun together than two grown women ought have, and she indulges my need to fill in the gaps with random Monty Python songs and references. Not just everyone will do that, you know. (Finland, Finland, Finland...the country where I most want to be...) I've gessoed over hideous paintings with reckless abandon and spread paint around like there was no tomorrow. I've collaged and mosaic-ed and drawn and dribbled and had a ball. Is there anything better in the world? I think not.

In February, I did have the idea that I would start a series of color sketchbooks, after seeing Laura's from 2005. February and March went really well, but I got so fond of orange, in March, that I couldn't go any farther. I realized after a while that I didn't have a real reason for doing it, and I quit. I don't consider this a missed goal, but rather a revision of a plan. That's my story, anyway.

Tomorrow I hope to post a plan for 2007. Linda and I will be checking in on each other, on the 17th of each month, to keep us on track for the year. You can read more about it at her blog. (And check out our 5 year plan).