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Art Progress 2009

Progress in 2009

Many EDM members post their annual art goals and it is very educational and inspirational to read their blog entries.  This was my 4th year of setting Art Goals at the beginning of the year and reflecting on my Progress at the end.  Each year I’m impressed with the value of this exercise.

One of my biggest accomplishments this year:  I am getting much more comfortable with limiting myself to sketchbook art through illustrated journaling and I just finished an online class with Kate Johnson called Keeping an Artist’s Journal.

I continued to do a daily journal page every day in 2009. Occasionally, very busy days precluded completion of the page, but I almost always finished it early the next day. And many days I did multiple daily sketches as part of "sketchcrawls" or figure drawing sessions. My journal pages are a mixture of daily life events, EDM challenges, sketchcrawls locally, and skills practice, including copying pieces from many museum exhibits.  One of my greatest pleasures is having one of my grandchildren search for a particular journal page I did for them.

I averaged two weekly postings to my blog in order to share my drawings with other EDM members, and was thrilled to have random comments from others who wanted permission to use an image from my blog or inquire about tools or techniques. I even did one commission piece for a company in London, which was very satisfying, but also something I decided I’d rather not do again. In May, I participated in the informal "Every Day in May Challenge" for the 3rd year. The challenge is to make art everyday, for me it is to upload my art from everyday.  I try very hard to work as I do every month, not spending a whole lot of time thinking about posting each drawing even if it is one I don't like!  The other eleven months of the year I can select a few from each week and skip the ones I hate.

One of my goals for 2009 was to do travel sketches around New York City as if this weren’t my home town. This year I joined the Meet Up Central Park Drawing Group and sketched with them both in the Park and at other parks and museums. I also have friends who enjoy sketching and we had several sketchcrawls around New York City.

I retired completely from Medicine in July and finally decided that I had time to start figure drawing sessions. I love sketching dancers and other figures, so I was practicing figure drawing from photos and posemaniacs.com for several years. But I have now gone to 5 evening sessions at the Society for Illustrators in Manhattan and love it!  It is an interesting setting, there is live jazz, a wine bar, and two models posing continually over 3 1/2 hours. 

Following a cased-in bookbinding workshop at the Studio on the Square in the summer of 2008, I’ve made all of my own watercolor journals and use 140 lb Fabriano Artistico Extra-Bright Soft Press watercolor paper. I also continue to recycle books with watercolor paper and taught several of my art buddies to make them. This year I used my watercolor journals as my daily journals and the recycled books for vacation sketching.  The books fit in my little leather backback perfectly, and the paper is exactly what I like.  And bookbinding is really fun!

What goals weren’t completed?

1.  I intended to work through Bert Dodson’s book Keys to Drawing and got bogged down in the tonal bar/tonal matching exercises (page 60-61). I’m not sure why, probably because I need to work on this so much that it seems like too big a challenge.

2.  I also only added a few drawings to three of my themed journals: London, NYC, and "My Apartment".

My London journal was my first recycled book and I used many different types of paper in it for experimentation - some of which I now hate. I was spending 2 weeks every 2 months in London that year and have 3 travel journals from the trips - 150 pages of sketches - which were done there.  I lost interest in working from photos after we returned.

My NYC journal was my second recycled book and it also has some paper I hate. But I also started to use my daily watercolor journals for NYC drawings, instead of carrying around the NYC journal, and therefore this journal is still incomplete and likely to remain so.  I will try to add more pages to my "10 block" series of drawing in my neighborhood, but only if there are enough pages of paper that I like.

My apartment journal (a large one made in my bookbinding workshop) only has one page done since I started it last year. I think this project (and especially the journal) became too precious and I stopped looking at it as "play". That was deadly! I need to beat down my internal critic, find a solution, and restart the project.

I continue to enjoy my friends at Everyday Matters and thank them for being a source of inspiration - and for leaving generous comments on my blog which keep me going.  Although I don't always have time to comment when I'm "wowwed" by their work, I go to the homepage and read every message, and look at each blog and Flickr link daily.  The talent of the group is amazing!!

I really miss the first EDM Superblog and some of the members whose work I saw there every morning when I signed on.  I feel as if the group activity is now so diffuse (with the 2nd Superblog, Facebook, Message Board, and Flickr group), that it takes longer to stay in touch. 

January 4th is the 4th birthday of my blog and my goals for 2010 are almost written to post on the 4th. 


Lovely, thoughtful and fascinating post, Shirley...I know what you mean about abandoned projects and looking for reasons why...

Your progress and determination are inspiring...I always enjoyed your work, and delighted that you continue with such dedication. More work to see!

I too find that EDM's energy is somewhat diffuse, now, and miss the automatic upload possible on the old Superblog. Haven't remembered to add anything to the new one in an age, haven't remembered to check in in almost as long, and I miss it! I seem to have much less time this year; partly my own doing since I've started two new group blogs, myself!

You are an inspiration Shirley and I am grateful that you share your work here. Like you, I don't always take the time to comment on everyone's posts as it is so much to keep up with but I also look at everything and am constantly in awe of this wonderful group. Happy blog birthday too! May there be many more!

Oh, Shirley, can I relate to things being 'too precious!' I have blank book journals -- including two from my years at Douglass -- that are basically empty because nothing I could write would be worthy of the beautiful books!

I've finally gotten over this a bit. It has taken me THREE YEARS but I have almost used up my first Moleskine notebook. (Too precious to use!)

I will use the next one more aggressively, probably as a travel sketchbook.

At the moment, I am distracted to a home-made sketchbook that I made using the Circa / Rollabind system. I have only enough time and attention to work at the 4" x 6" size (on a 5" x 8" page), and these are perfect and allow me to choose my paper AND to sort the pages out into studies, failures and things I like!

I so admire your dedication and skill!

Happy New Year!

I miss the superblog also and am one of those who have lapsed in keeping up with my sketching, blog and art life. But I am often here to see your work even though I don't always comment. Your daily journey into your creative soul continues to be inspirational. May the journey continue in 2010; Happy New Year and good fortune to boot!

Great post, Shirley. Congratulations on succeeding on so many of your goals. You were quite ambitious last year, and it paid off! Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I use my watercolor sketchbook for everything instead of many different ones. Keeps it simple. My goal for the new year is also simple: breathe, just breathe.

Yes, I too miss the superblog. It was so easy to view and it was automatic. Now it's a pain to double post my stuff so have only done one blog post since the new site was set up. It was also a long process to get connected to it too. I'm in the process of merging all my journals except a private one. Just carry one thing around with me and keep it simple. Easy-to-find anywhere waterproof pen (I use the uniball vision micro) and travel watercolor is really all I'm focusing on for the sake of simplicity.

Thanks for the great links. Keep at it.

Wonderful goals, Shirley! I'm especially envious of the NY group you belong to. Wow, I would love to live in NYC! So I especially love looking at your sketches because I can live vicariously through you. It looks like you really took stock of what you have or have not accomplished, and where you'd like to go from here. Good for you!

Good post, thoughtful goals, thoughtful review, not crazy or beating up yourself, but trying to move forward with what matters. THANK YOU FOR THIS. I have my 2010 goals in place (not all art-related--I've got a photographer husband with HIS first solo exhibit I want to support, a house to tend and some weight to maintain)and so we begin again, right where we happen to be now! I've bookmarked your blog so I can enjoy your journey.

I enjoyed reading your goals, and am excited for you that you have the time to pursue them!

I was a fan of the superblog for a very long time, just lurking in the background, wanting to participate but being a tad too nervous to jump in. By the time I got my nerve up, it was closed to new members. The way it is now is very time consuming! I do wish we had a site set up like the old one!
I started many new sketchbooks this year, and never finished one. I guess I was searching for the one that would make me great! I look forward to seeing what you accomplish in 2010!

It's still January 4th here so I'm excited to visit you on your 4th blog birthday and read about all you've accomplished and plan to do. It sounds (and looks) like you're absolutely on the right track. You are the second person who is raving about the soft press paper which I can't find here locally and also doesn't seem to be available in 90 pound weight (which seemed like it would be better for binding). Have you seen it in 90 pound anywhere?

I finally made my first home-bound journal this weekend (still being pressed). Whew! What a project! I learned so much and made a glorious mess. Clearly this is a craft that takes much practice. I have many notes of how not to do things next time and found some good resources online AFTER I'd made the mistakes. I just hope it will open relatively flat and not fall apart. I don't really care how it looks which is good because it looks quite the mutt!

Congratulations on your steady, consistent practice and growth! Here's to lots more of the same and new adventures too!

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