My heart rate quickens when I start to think about what my goals will be this year. It is both exciting and scary. A new year gives me an opportunity to reflect, improve and push myself but I have that not-so-little fear where I feel I can’t do it and worry that I will do badly this year and ultimately, embarrass myself in the process.
But that is just a fear, I must face and overcome it as best as I can. It has taken me a while to really think about what I want to achieve this year. I know I want to keep improving and exploring my art. I also want to take my business to the next level. Here are my goals of 2017:
Paint every day
Like my 2016 goal, I want to continue painting (or drawing) daily and being accountable to myself on Instagram, with one change: I want to not feel guilty if I miss a day – it is not productive or necessary to be so hard on myself. In my last post, I mentioned that I am making this goal my lifelong project because during my daily art adventure in 2016 I realised how important it is to practice every day because it is simply the best way to improve at it over time!
Make at least one clay piece per month
I have always wanted to have a monthly project. There are a few things I want to do but I had to choose one due to my workload and that would be making something with clay. I will aim to make at least one piece per month, to a finished state. I will be sharing progress here at the blog and across social media. I have thought about painting a flower per month with oil or acrylic but I am incorporating this into my daily art goal.
Improve my social media presence
I am rubbish at social media. While I understand how it works and what needs to be done for small business owners, I just don’t act on it. I want to be more intentional – posting on the go, promoting my services whenever possible and making the most of scheduling tools that are available to us. Basically, I need to put myself out there and take my business where I want it to be!
Now, tell me yours! :)
If you were following along, you will know that I tried to be a ‘wild sketch-er‘ (e.g. 4th picture above) using pro markers I very rarely use and fine liners, without overthinking and using pencil as a guide. Naturally I went for abstract and doodle style. I had so much fun! I am still uncomfortable doing this kind of thing but I know that it is important to grow as an artist by challenging myself constantly. That’s funny, doing something I feel uncomfortable with always turned out to be a fun thing to do.
I did another countryside painting but I wish I did more. My creativity is not particularly great in October, I was away a lot and was quite poorly most of the time. Really, I should have just found time to sketch something quick! That is something I need to work on at the moment.
I also did my InkTober project during October, drawing mini portraits of inspiring women every day. In case you didn’t know, I have blogged about them in details – Day 1 – 10 | Day 11 -20 | Day 21 – 31.
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.
I mentioned in My Daily Art In April post that I struggled to come up with subject ideas but things got easier in May as I found my rhythm again after adjusting my new life in Nottingham. I seemed to be more inspired to paint botanical related subjects and the sun that finally came out got a lot to do with it!
My thoughts on being creative every day in May:
- I have started to paint with my black indian ink. These ink paintings might not be my best work but I really enjoyed using the medium and want to continue experimenting. In this quick fern painting, I diluted the ink with water to create light grey colour for the shadows.
- I still haven’t painted with oil that much and I have no idea why.
- Most of my best original art are listed on the shop.
- I still haven’t got the hang of filming myself painting but I uploaded a new speed painting video on my new YouTube channel!
- I love that just one painting could lead up into something bigger. I painted a sprig of basil and it was received well. I then painted more herbs afterwards and with the encouragement from my audience, I turned them into a ‘Culinary Herbs’ print, and you can buy one of yourself over at my shop!
In related news, Crystal Moody – a founder of year of creative habits – launched a brand new website and picked me to be interviewed! People has been very kind saying it is great to know more about me as an artist and my work. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it too – check it out here.
You can keep up to date with my daily art by following me on Instagram or using this IG hashtag – #ksdailyart. Thank you for your support!