January 4th is the 10th anniversary of my blog and it is always a good time for reflection and planning.
Long Term Goals: Develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric.
1. Goal: To sketch and paint everyday, and to blog twice each week. These activities give my retirement life some structure and provide enormous inspiration within an artist community.
Progress: I no longer do quick sketches every day, but no week passes without me having several good drawing sessions. It was really important to me to sketch daily when I was beginning this journey as I prepared for retirement from medicine, but the habits were formed and now I can rarely pass a few days without some scribbles, if not a full sketchbook drawing/painting. My blog posts are important to me, and continue to give structure and meaning to my art adventure and posting twice each week is a great schedule.
2. Goal: Take more classes online and in person to remain inspired:
Progress: I participated in several online classes this year, just enough to be inspired on an almost weekly basis during some months: Studying Under the Masters 2, Sketchbook Skool Semester 4, and an assortment of Craftsy Classes. These included: Close-up Flowers in Watercolor (Nan Carey), Travel Sketching in Mixed Media and Sketching People in Motion (both Marc Taro Holmes), I also took a surface design class through Craftsy: Fabric Patterning with Wax Resist with Malka Dubrawsky.
Each semester, for 14 weeks, I took a class at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and was lucky enough to register for Drawing and Watercolor classes in 2015. As with the other classes I've taken there on subjects about which I already have some knowledge and experience, I always learn something new. Our few drawing classes on perspective were excellent and our watercolor classes on different palettes and the use of Chinese White (with watercolor) and Black gesso (with gouache) as grounds were completely new to me.
3. Goal: Continue to draw and paint locally:
Progress: I belong to two Meetup groups and attend semi-regularly, schedule permitting: "Central Park Drawing and Art" and "Drawing New York." We have an NYC-Urban Sketchers Weekday Group, and that provides other opportunities for group inspiration and contact. Battery Park City Conservancy has weekly Nature Painting and Figure Drawing from May through October and I regularly participate in both the morning and afternoon sessions, weather permitting. This year I attended figure drawing at Society of Illustrators with two visitors, my dear friends Sara from Alabama and Casey from France, and a series of Toulouse-Lautrec Café Society Figure Drawing sessions at MoMA. And last, but not least, my very special days, spent with my artist friends Benedicte, Pat, and sometime Teri, means that we rarely miss the best museum and gallery shows in the City. I would feel very isolated without these special 3 friends and would have many fewer good laughs!
One of my favorite projects this year was participation in the 100 Day Challenge by Elle Luna and The Great Discontent. My goal, especially after taking Sketchbook Skool Semester 4, was to draw more from my imagination. I didn't upload my daily drawings to Instagram, or follow along with other people's projects, but once I committed to it, I was faithful to the project for all 100 days, and even created my little imaginary character Axel.
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 travel sketchbook for our vacation in Spain from an old book of Spanish Drawings, and a summer travel sketchbook from a recycled book called Colors of the Sea. All of these are discussed and photographed in daily blog posts in my bookbinding category on the blog.
July was my big surface design month, during which I spent part of almost every day dying fabric, exploring new techniques, and creating dyed fabric for bookcloth. In the process I also made dye samples and created a unique sewing pattern for a pencil-pen pocket which goes around my sketchbook cover with Velcro. It is a wonderful convenience when I am sketching as I walk around museums and galleries.
Even Axel and his friend Alice made an appearance on fabric - using thick dye for the drawing and color.
This year I also planned to make another batch of paste paper to use for covering bookboards and/or as endpapers, but I didn't deplete as much of my stash as I thought I might.
I'd love to read what others are planning....