2013 Year End Review


Yup, that’s right. I mean there’s no way I could go through a whole year without doing a recap of sorts. I mean this year has gone by crazy fast. It feels like I just started on this journey a few short days ago. But after a peek through some of my drawings this year via my Instagram account I realize that it was anything but a few short days ago.

It’s a little overwhelming trying to explain what a year of dedication means to me.  Let’s start small. I can break down the last year into two parts on how completing a resolution has affected me. 1.) Artistically and 2.) Personally

Let’s breakdown number real quick.

Artistically I’ve learned:

–  Inspiration.  While often a it is gift is a gift you can give yourself, waiting around for inspiration is nothing more than making excuses.

– Skill will only grow with practice. You can’t wake up and be brilliant at something…at least not on a consistent basis. Every person out there that makes something looks easy has put hundreds of hours of work into it.

– Being foolish is perfect! Some of the best pieces that I’ve done over the last year started with me taking a chance and experimenting. That meant stepping out of comfort zone and making an ass out of myself.

– It’s not the end of the world if you mess something up. Sometimes it will turn out better, sometimes you have to start over. It’s ok.

– Study and learn! This sounds silly when it comes to art. But since this project is something that I’ve done on my own I’ve had no guidance through the year. This last year I have found so many wonderful artist whose styles I adore! Trying to emulate them and incorporate the things I like of theirs has helped me to learn so much more about art. There are great artists out there today, and not just the masters of old – or even the masters of the last century, but people who are making a living doing what they love.

– Every skill level is valued. If we wait around for things to be perfect before we are willing to make ourselves vulnerable, then we will never be put out there. And in turn we will never grow

– Self promotion and networking are key! I’ve meet some awesome people this year who have helped promote me. And you should promote in turn. When it comes to art we can feel egotistical promoting our work. But that’s what we have to do. It’s an ugly side of the art business. Most people think “I’m going to make this great piece of art and everyone will love me” No, no not really. First of all they have to see it. So you have to put yourself out there and you have to bring your art to people to see. And even then you can’t make people love it. Art is and always will be subjective. That means that each person will have their own views. Which brings me to the last point

– Only listen to LOVE! Everything you ever make will be viewed one of three ways 1.) Like 2.) Dislike or 3.) Indifferent   You will have people give you their opinion regardless of if you asked for it or not. Some will be praise and some will be disapproval. It seems really one sided to think that you should only listen to those that fall in the “Like” category. But that’s not fully what I am saying. I mean yes, bask in the warmth of people’s admiration (you probably never fully enjoy it anyway) but also listen to those who give criticism without the motive of comparison. Most people criticize just to make themselves feel better. That’s not the criticism you should listen to. After all, you will always be your worst critic above everyone else.

– Details. It’s the details that make or break a picture. A small shift if a line and the subject is now frowning instead is smiling.

– Take your time. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Rushing through a piece will only leave you with regrets

Now on to the other half.

Personally I’ve learned:

– I can do this! This is the second time in my life that I feel I’ve truly accomplished something based on will power that had long term effects. The other was quitting smoking five years ago. There’s something that changes in you when you wake up one morning and decide that you will or will not do something. For me drawing became apart of my everyday life. It was like brushing my teeth or eating breakfast. It felt wrong when the day slipped by and I didn’t draw until the wee hours of the night. (Kinda like I’ve done today, oops)

– Whether you believe in yourself or not you have to fake it. We’ve all heard it, “Fake until you make it.”  It’s cliche. And it is for a reason.  It’s the same lesson as looking for inspiration instead of waiting for it. It’s the exact same in your life. Just because you don’t feel like it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. If we all did what we really wanted most of us would live in filth sitting on the couch all day in Netflix coma.

-There’s no waiting around in life. There’s just time that needs to be filled. That’s how this whole project started for me. I had time to fill early in the morning. So I filled it with drawing. I could have gone back to sleep, but I would be no better off.

– We need people. Even the lonely artist needs people. We need support from friends and family. I couldn’t have made it through this year without my wonderful husband. Or my supportive coworkers and friends who believed in me. I can’t make a life for myself in the art communities without getting to know people. We aren’t meant to be alone.

– Try something new! This year I tired watercolors. I’m not great with them but I have better control of them than I did a year ago. Same thing with doing this project.

– You’ll get stuck and that’s OK. You’ll have points where you don’t want to go on. Or you are running on low. Or life is beating the ever loving crap out of you. You’re going to go on no matter what. You’ll get pass being stuck. You just can’t think about it too much and just keep going.

– Evaluate. You have to step back from things and get an idea of what’s working for you and what’s working against you.

– See the patterns. We will do things that seem completely unrelated but they aren’t. Give yourself a chance to find out how each part of your life works with the other parts. You would be surprised to know.

– Balance. You can let yourself get consumed by things. You can start idolizing something without even knowing it. Make sure you know how to balance the things in your life. Including time for yourself.

and lastly

– Love what you do! There will be times that you don’t enjoy things. But that doesn’t mean stop and give up there. At the same time you may find that you’ve found a new love or have just lost interest in something. It may be long term it may be short term. (this goes back to evaluating) But for anyone who has ever been in love with another person you know it’s not all rainbows and roses. There will be rough spots. It’s the same when you love your job or hobbies. Your passions in life will bring you the greatest joys if you are putting your heart in them.

Be on the look out the next couple days for my plans for 2014! Thank you to everyone on here that follow my work or share it. You’re kind words have be supportive. And to all the great artist out there…you create the greatest aspirations for those watching you.

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6 thoughts on “2013 Year End Review

  1. That’s a great write-up. I have just decided to do a year-long, regular posting type thing for 2014, in an effort to improve my drawing skills, so it was interesting to read about your experience. I don’t think I can manage 1 post per day, so I have opted for a more achievable 1 post per 3 days. Should still help me improve. http://artfn.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/regular-sketching-in-2014/. I will check what you’re doing for 2014! Best wishes.

    • Thanks. I think it’s important to make something that’s obtainable. Otherwise you’ll give in by the end of January. Part of what I’m having a problem with right now about deciding on next year is that I enjoy posting each day but my daily posts are typically just sketches. Not things I would put into a portfolio. So for next year I want to concentrate more on print quality work but still post each day. Though that may have to change. We will see.

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