My creativity in December has been fantastic, apart from when I felt too ill to draw for few days at the end of the month. There was a spike in my confidence for some reasons, I guess I was inspired from all the festivity, and my weekend trip to Lincoln. Sometimes a change of scenery is what you need to get yourself out of a creative rut.
You would notice that I did a lot of line drawings – I replaced my fine liners with lovely new Sakura Pigma Micron drawing pens and I love them! They feel a lot smoother to draw with and the result is crisper. I don’t have the heart to chuck my old ones in the bin yet though, I’ve had them for years – no wonder they are really worn out. I really like my little drawing of thistle but I realise that it needs to be more spiky!
I also took on another challenge handlettering every day from #winterletteringchallenge prompt provided by Mhelaine, Joy and Lynne. It is really nice to go back to handlettering daily since my 100 day project – I’ve found it tricky to come up with what to write and having a prompt to follow along always help me continue developing my handlettering skills.
This will be my last monthly round up, but I will still be painting every day this year. Because I am making my daily art a lifelong project, in the spirit of exploration I will focus on just doing that and sharing what I do every day on Instagram. Of course I will still share my best work here from time to time. Thank you so much for following along and I hope you enjoyed following my art journey in 2016!
In November I was all about mushrooms! I started a watercolour painting series of British woodland fungi. I researched the most common ones found in UK and then painted several of them. I will be turning them into a print like my British Butterflies and Culinary Herbs, if they go together well, that is!
I also did an oil painting and experimented with looser style. I am not very good at painting flowers (in my painting style especially) and this frustrates me ever so slightly because I love flowers so much that I want to be able to paint them! I like how it looked in the end but it doesn’t feel ‘me’ due to its departure from my usual style. But it is all about the process, right?
Again, like in September and October, I didn’t paint as much as I wanted – I was busy prepping for Handmade Nottingham winter market event where I was on a reserved list and got called to join with very very short notice. (It was worth the effort as my stall was a triumph!)
I try not to beat myself up for not committing to painting and sharing every single day as per my 2016 goal. My commission work and other business related committments do get in the way and sometimes I just had to pritorise them over my personal goal. I want to keep looking forward, and try to do better and better.
Follow my daily art over at my Instagram.
September wasn’t my good month in terms of painting every single day. I had to miss 5 days because of my road trip to Idar Oberstein, Germany with my sister – she needed to collect her stuff from where she used to live as she now lives in Bristol working as an Assistant Producer for BBC See Hear (read her awesome article on BBC Blog). As it was just me driving 10 hours each way, I didn’t find time to draw – I was too focussed on resting my eyes and stretching my legs when I wasn’t driving.
However I do really love what I’ve painted throughout September. I continued painting countrysides from my Peak District photos, and challenged myself to paint portraits in watercolour (I usually paint portraits with oil so for me painting portraits with watercolour is SO hard!) Like many, I am obsessed with the new TV series, Stranger Things and thought it’d be fun to paint the characters. Portraits above are two of the main characters, Eleven and Joyce Byers. I’ve got Barb, Chief Hopper, Dustin and few others on my list waiting to be painted! I am also making it my ongoing project – to paint my favourite TV characters with watercolour.
I’ve been sketching mushrooms too. I am warming up to start painting a series of british wild mushrooms, and I might turn them into a print if they go well. Keep your eyes out at my Instagram for work in progress snaps!
In August, I was finishing my butterfly series and as many of you know, I turned them into a print and notebook. Read all about them here. Small tortoiseshell butterfly in particular (1st picture above) seemed to be the favourite. I had a few print requests when I shared the picture on my Instagram. I love that one of the customers actually bought it for her son’s bedroom because his first ever sign (as in sign language) is ‘butterfly’ and she sent me a photo of it framed, which looks really pretty.
In my last daily art post, I talked about setting myself a challenge, to step outside my comfort zone when painting, so I’ve been painting countryside views from photos I took in Peak District. They are not the greatest but when I finished it (3rd picture above), I was pretty chuffed with it! It was my first landscape painting after all. It was hard and time consuming I wasn’t confident while painting it and then with fresh eyes, I was like OH that is lovely! I want to continue this intention to challenge myself every now and then.
In related (AND exciting) news, one of my illustrations has ‘made it’ in the tattoo world! My line drawing, drawn from still life, of eucalyptus was chosen by a young lady that found me in Instagram and had the top part of said illustration inked on her back. I couldn’t be more touched to know that there’s someone that love my work enough to have it inked. Here’s a picture of my eucalyptus illustration for comparsion.
I was slowly improving from feeling uninspired few weeks before. I think starting my butterfly series helped a lot, and it was a hit! I wanted to do more oil paintings but with less work coming in, I couldn’t afford more canvases and paints that was running very low. The weather was glorious, apart from some random rainy days (which was also pretty beautiful though), I was inspired by British countryside hence the bird I painted from my front garden (1st picture), this windowsill painting (I really don’t like it!) and those butterfly illustrations.
My thoughts while being creative every day in July:
- My persistence was impressive – painting butterflies were surprisingly not easy so I ended up painting some of them twice for me to finally be happy with them. It was totally worth it now I have new products featuring them! Keep your eyes out for them as they are going to be listed on the shop super soon.
- Painting this windowsill painting that I didn’t like, I wanted a challenge and to do something different. I wanted to try paint something bigger than a painting of object with white space around it, which is my usual style and that is fine – I just wanted to see what I am capable of! It freaked me out that painting a ‘scene’ was harder than I thought and I am trying not to let my fears take over. I have few ideas floating around and I hope I nail it next time!
June was a good month but I noticed that my collection of work is lacking development. I’ve just realised that from reflecting on my work, which I do monthly. I don’t really love anything I painted and I feel my painting skills haven’t improved. It is like my art practice got stagnant – I was enjoying painting the natural world and everyday life but I wasn’t fully satsified with the finished pieces. Perhaps I need to change things up and get excited about my new work again.
As this project is about learning as an artist and getting into the habit being creative every day, I am trying not to feel bad about it and figure out how to banish the stagnancy.
Any thoughts, suggestions or ideas – please share with me! Thank you for sticking by me and rooting for me.
April is my hardest month to date. I struggled to come up with subject ideas to paint, but this has led me to explore my surroundings and draw from life more, such as my daffodil, fern leaf, passion fruit, periwinkle, dandelion and flat leaf parsley pieces, so it is not all bad. Although I didn’t do as much oil paintings as before, I really enjoyed doing watercolour paintings and line drawings, which I like to think that I have improved!
My thoughts on being creative every day in April:
- I really love painting/ drawing botanical from life and I want to continue doing this by finding interesting plants outside and growing stuff in my new garden.
- I want to get back at planning my subject ideas in advance again so instead of wasting time in the mornings to think about what to paint, I would be able to start painting sooner than later.
- I skipped one day but I painted more to make up for it as well as for two missed days in March.
You can see the rest of my daily art here. Thank you for your continued support – it is really great for my motivation!