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December 31, 2007

Art Goals 2008

I really enjoyed formulating my Art Goals last year and decided it was definitely worth doing again.  The contemplative/reflective part of the process leads me to question what my BIG Goals are, and this year I had to write about many facets of this question in the Eric Maisel creativity exercises that I'm doing.  At the moment I can say:  1.  I've always liked to make things; 2.  I love to preserve memories; and 3.  I want to say "I was here, this is what I cared about, this is who I was."  

My other major passion is sewing/quilting/textile surface design and I should have a 2007 Progress Report and 2008 Goals for "works in textiles" as well as "works on paper."  But I don't.  Each year these two circles of interests intersect a little bit more and this year I did calligraphy with acrylic inks on canvas fabric, painted a Santa Claus with procion dyes on silk, and converted a few quick dancer sketches into a silk collage - which still has to be quilted.  I also made quilts, pillows, and gifts for my grandchildren.

My 2008 Art Goals:

1.  Continue doing a daily sketch and a weekly EDM Challenge.  These are the "morning pages" and "artist date" equivalents for me (which I also continue to do since 2003 when I worked through The Artist's Way - which then led in 2005 to sketchbook drawing and watercolor painting).  My goal is still to post a blog entry twice each week: the EDM Challenge and 1-2 other sketches done during the week. 

2.  Work in Progress:

a.  Continue my figure drawing in the Michaelangelo Sonnet recycled book - I only have a few more blank pages.

b.  Continue to play and experiment with images from my London photos for my recycled Eliz. I book. 

3.  Focused Project:  Fill up my 1929 NY State Tax Report recycled book.  I have lots of NYC sketches in my Moleskine journals and I'd love to return to the same sites with my New  York journal.  

In the NY recycled book I want to:

a.  Continue to work on my "10 blocks from home" series. 

b.  Create a travel sketchbook as if I were wandering the city as a visitor.

4.  Finish all 52 weeks of the Maisel Creativity book.  I'm on week 31 and I have no idea where this work will lead - but it is fun! and enlightening! 

5.    New Skills: 

a.  FACES:  Last year I decided that I needed to learn how to draw figures better.  It was great fun to spend time in the Greek and Roman galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and sketch dancers and nude figures from photos.  But now I really need to spend time drawing faces and bought a fun book for myself to work through over the next year.

b.  TREES:  Even urban landscapes have trees and I have paid little attention to sketching and painting the trees in my world.  Even though we live right in the middle of the city, I have several dozen trees that I can see from my second floor apartment windows and many of them are beautiful flowering fruit trees each spring.  I also live several blocks from Central Park.  Can I make myself sketch/paint more trees?

c.  LEARNING FROM the MASTERS:  I really enjoy recreating works from the masters as a way of learning how they made their works of art.  I always sketch at least one piece from each new exhibit I attend, either drawn "live" or from a postcard from the exhibit.  Yesterday I sketched one of Lucien Freud's portrait etchings at the current Museum of Modern Art exhibit.  In 2008 I will continue to do this and perhaps even purchase a few more books of drawings from specific artists for inspiration.

6.  Bookbinding:  I bought another unloved book from a curbside "old book" table this fall - this one is square.  Instead of filling it with many different types of watercolor paper, I will try to settle on one brand and type of paper to fill it. 

7. Attitude Adjustment:  I love books and therefore imagine that most of my art work will be small - and in sketchbooks.  But my daily sketchbook has become more of a visual journal and I find that I'm not willing to take big risks - and be really playful on those pages.  Yet I do want to keep a more traditional artist's sketchbook.  There are 4 of Seurat's sketchbooks in a glass case at MoMA as part of the current Seurat Drawing exhibit and every page has been digitized for review.  I love them and want to develop that same sense of experimentation in sketches.  My solution for next year is to carry my large Moleskine watercolor journal for my daily journal pages and to carry loose sheets of sketchbook size paper for PLAY!  I can then date them and just throw them into a folder - maybe never to be looked at again.  I have 4 Conte pencils that I want to sketch with and this may be the way to get myself to really play with them. 

I look forward to continued inspiration and learning from the art community at Everyday Matters and extend wishes for a Happy, Healthy, and artistically productive New Year to each EDM member. 

December 30, 2007

EDM Challenge #151 (?): #123 Draw a Bell and Give it a Holiday Twist


My original sketch for EDM Challenge #123 was a stuffed bear with bell that my two sons brought back to me from their trip to Alaska.  They had an opportunity to use "bear bells" in some of their camping sites, although they never could prove to me that they work.   

My bell transformed for the holiday is another Christmas ornament - a large white jingle bell was used as the base and head, wings, and legs were then attached. 

December 29, 2007

More Christmas Ornaments and EDM Challenge # 150 - Draw a Candle


I am enjoying documenting my annual handmade ornaments - and still have lots more to sketch.  My plan is to continue sketching the collection in the week before Christmas again next year when I sit down after busy and joyful days to do a daily sketchpage.  Over the years each has been photographed individually and on the Christmas tree, but never painted.   

EDM Challenge #150: Draw a Candle



I love candles of all shapes and sizes.  But we only burn candles that are in globes of some type in the apartment to prevent fires.  I have two of the above Simon Pearce handblown glass candle globes that are always on my dining room table and they are used constantly.  It was very difficult for me to capture the sparkle of the flickering flame against the beautiful clear glass - but I just knew that I wanted to try.

December 27, 2007

Art Progress 2007

Progress Report for 2007

I copied my Goals from the 2006-2007 Progress/Goals entry on this blog and recorded 2007 PROGRESS after each Goal.  I am currently reflecting on where I am and where I want to be at the end of 2008, so my 2008 GOALS will be posted this weekend.

1. Continue to sketch/paint everyday in my large Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.

 I did do a daily sketch - and sometimes 2-3.  On a few days when I was too busy to even open my sketchbook, I did my daily sketch the next morning and then another one at my usual time in the evening.  The majority of my sketches are pen with watercolor washes.  Most of the time I used the large Moleskine watercolor journal (I'm halfway through the 5th for the year), but I also added sketches to my London sketchbooks and all 3 recycled books that I made. 

2. Complete each EDM weekly challenge and try to expand my skills by what I choose to paint for the challenge.

For the second year, I did all of the EDM Challenges in the 3-10 days after they were posted and tried to stretch my skills slightly by what I chose to sketch.  I posted all of them on my blog, as one of my planned 2 entries per week.

3. Make plans for how I will use my new Eliz. I recycled book.  I'm currently considering using it for more London sketches -  from photos that I have taken during our visits.  I have another Cachet journal for my London Travel Sketchbook Volume 3 and decided that I want to continue to use the same journal type for all of my London travel

I completed 3 full Cachet Linen Watercolor sketchbooks during our London travels.  There are approximately 150 pages in total from our 6 visits to London - my goals certainly were exceeded and I will always treasure these books.  One sketch that I never posted was added as the final page to honor the birth of our grandson last Christmas in London.  This sketch was made using colored pencil from a postcard I purchased at the Guercino drawing exhibit we saw at the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House.


My Eliz. I recycled book has been used for playful sketches of Big Ben and most recently the Tower of London from photos that I took - using different techniques, even collage.  If you look closely you can see I used the Holbein Henry VIII painting from the Tate Britain exhibit for the collage.



4.  Recycle another book since I have more paper from my previous purchase.  This time I will look for an old New York book that I can use for special days out and about my own city.

I recycled two additional books - one for New York and one Michaelangelo Sonnet bookfor some of my figure drawings.   

5.  Spend more time sketching human faces and figures.  I'm not sure yet whether I want to take any life drawing classes because I love the challenge of learning on my own.  I collected some copies of Holbein's portraits and Rodin's figure drawings from our museum visits this week.  And I now own two Hockney drawing/portrait books.  I will recreate some of these pieces from the 16th C, 19th C, and 20th C for fun and then immerse myself in my city and draw people to try to develop my own style. 

I was very productive sketching figures - or body parts - and almost filled my recycled Michaelangelo Sonnet book for some of the sketches and my Moleskine for the rest.  I alternated among Derwent light wash pencils, Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils, Zig Millenium pen with watercolor wash, and 2B pencils for the sketches. 

My references included:  Greek and Roman sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, photos of dancers, photos of nude figures from an artist book  I purchased just for these exercises (The Nude Figure by Mark Smith), and occasionally even real people!  But very few of my figures have faces - a goal for 2008!

6.  Read some of the new art books on my shelf - starting with Betty Edward's book on color.

I continue to read art technique books, but never opened Betty Edward's book.  This year I did 5 lessons from a Watercolor Skills book by Linda Elsworth.  There are 5 more lessons to do, but I was temporarily derailed by a lesson on landscapes, my least favorite type of sketching/painting. 

In May 2007 I decided to finally start an Eric Maisel book entitled The Creativity Book - a year's worth of inspiration and guidance (it has been on my shelf for several years).   There are 2 exercises to complete per week and I am now on Week 31!  I have done some sketching and painting, but mostly writing, as I explore creativity in general and my creative dreams in particular. 

7.  Make a "larger-than-journal size" watercolor painting of the house my daughter and son-in-law rented this year in London so we have a personal visual memory of this wonderful year when they return to New York mid-year.

I did this painting and included it as part of a big "London" Christmas gift that I gave to my daughter and son-in-law.  The gift also included a DVD of all of the photos (1000s) that I took of their family and London and a Guest Book that our family kept everytime we visited them.  I printed some of my sketches for the book and even included an essay re: my reflections on our visits.  I was also able to make a photo collage of them at the moment when they were leaving New York in May 2006 and then leaving London in June 2007.  The children grew lots during the year and and another grandson was born there mid-year.


8.  Be a visitor in my own city and keep a Manhattan "travel" journal.  I now have scattered journal pages throughout my daily sketchbooks

I did continue to sketch in NYC throughout the year - and even started a series of sketches entitled "10 blocks from Home."  My New York City sketches, however, are scattered through my New York recycled book and my regular Moleskine sketchbook.  This occurred because I used whatever book I had with me when I decided to sketch.  Since I use both sides of a page in my Moleskine, I can't easily move these sketches - and I just have to be OK about this level of disorganization!

December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays to All

All of my sewing is done, the apartment and tree were decorated with help from my 3 little elves (Callum is still too young), the gift bags are packed, and dinner preparation for tonight is underway.  In addition to Christmas preparations this week, two of my grandchildren had birthdays - with more preparation and birthday parties.  I managed to continue to sketch daily and followed the lead of Sandy and others and stayed with a Christmas theme - one ornament that I made in the past was sketched per day.  My handmade Santa collection is already on my blog and a photo of this year's pigs also appeared.  Here are more from my animal menagerie!





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