January 4th is the 11th anniversary of my blog and during December I love reflecting on my progress with drawing, painting, and dying fabric in the previous year. This is really my note to myself for inspiration. It may be too long for anyone else to read!
Long Term Goals: When I retired from Medicine I decided that I wanted to add another passion to my lifelong passions of sewing and quilting. I discovered a book called Decorated Page and a magazine called Sketchbook Artist (now discontinued) and was immediately attracted to Sketchbook Art based on drawing and watercolor painting. My primary long term goal remains: To develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric.
1. Goal: To sketch and paint every week, and to blog twice each week. These activities give my retirement life some structure and provide enormous inspiration to me within an artist community.
Progress: I no longer do quick sketches every day. In the last few years I concentrated on two goals. These two goals give structure to my retirement life and I’ve developed a terrific group of fellow artists that I see regularly.
To schedule at least one art adventure per week - this year I had at least 1, usually 2, and even 4 during each week!
To blog two times each week.
Art Adventures: in galleries, museums, art classes, Urban Sketchers NYC, and Meetup with Drawing Central Park and Art group: I filled 3 watercolor sketchbooks that I made for use in my daily life (~150 pages), a summer sketchbook for our visits to the beach in the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard, and a recycled book as a sketchbook for Barcelona in October. I also added ink drawings with watercolor in an accordion watercolor sketchbook for "Urban Sketchers NYC" days, almost 40 imaginary drawings in ink, and 10 pages of "hand" drawings in colored pencil. Non-sketchbook art included figure drawings at Society of Illustrators and Battery Park City Figure Al Fresco and my 6 paintings in two semesters of acrylic painting at Fashion Institute of Technology.
Blog Posts: Maintaining my blog is a powerful incentive to keep art a major part of my life. This year I missed only 2 posts - each when away on vacation.
2. Goal: Take more classes online and in person to remain inspired:
Progress: My most fun online classes this year were Sketchbook Skool Semesters 5 and 6. I didn’t take Semester 1 when Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene first developed Sketchbook Skool. But I was eager to meet the artists in Semester 2 and took every semester since then. The artist videos are inspirational and the homework assignments are so varied that I learn something every single time! I also took Liz Steel’s "Buildings" online course and "Sketching the City in Pen, Ink, and Watercolor" by Shari Blaukopf on Craftsy. But I didn't get the homework done yet! These assignments will make great projects when the weather warms up and I can go outside to draw.
Each semester, for 14 weeks, I took a class at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and this year I took Abstract and Still Life/Figure painting, one each semester. It was my first introduction to acrylic painting and learning something new is always challenging and liberating. Battery Park City also offered a Winter extension of the May-Oct outdoor Figure Al Fresco weekly session during February and March, and it was a wonderful weekly event to get me moving during the cold weather.
3. Goal: Continue to draw and paint locally:
Progress: In addition to the Urban Sketchers and Art Meetup Group mentioned above, I love the ad hoc days I spend with my artist friends Benedicte, Pat, with occasional visits from Teri and Eunice. These days are planned for us to see the new gallery and museum exhibits, in addition to Christies and Sothebys preview days for their big auctions. We look at the whole exhibit, and each of us selects one piece to draw - for the challenge of copying a master. I would feel very isolated without these special friends and would have many fewer good laughs!
My favorite local art "experience" this year was at MoMA - in monotype sessions in association with the huge Degas monotype exhibit. They set up a printing shop on the second floor and the first 20-25 people on line could make and print their own monotypes. I went to 3 of the sessions and loved every minute of it, but this was a way to expand my knowledge and not create a new goal in art.
4. Goal: Make watercolor sketchbooks, for daily drawing and painting and travel:
Progress: I made cased-in watercolor books for my daily sketchbooks, accordion journals for our outdoor Urban Sketchers sessions, a new Remains of the Day book, and recycled travel sketchbooks for our vacation in Barcelona and summer beach vacations. All of these are discussed and photographed in daily blog posts in my bookbinding category on the blog. http://www.paperandthreads.com/bookbinding/
A 4-part tutorial on my blog on How to Make a Recycled Book with watercolor paper, was used as a basis for two full day sessions with friends from Urban Sketching to teach them how to make one.
When I reach this point in my review, I'm always so happy that Sketchbook Art became my goal for retirement. It keeps me happy and busy!