Sunday, December 26, 2010

The journey continues into 2011

 It is Sunday, December 26, 2010.

I sit back in my chair and look at the calendar, reflectively, thinking of the past year.  Whilst I feel that I have progressed quite a bit over the the twelve months, I still feel that I should have pushed myself a little harder.  I should have accomplished more in those months and I wonder why I did not.  I seem to have a way of getting so involved in whatever project is currently on tap that I lose track of everything else.  So, I would think with that kind of devotion to my artwork, that I could have accomplished more than I did.  I am not looking for excuses as to why I did not go as far as I had hoped to, but rather, I would like to know the reasons so that I do not repeat them again and again, setting myself up for disappointment and failure in the upcoming new year.

Please do not think that I am grumbling about what I did or did not accomplish.  This is something I do at the end of each year as a kind of post mortem on the year past, looking at what I did accomplish versus what I had hoped to accomplish.  I dissect each plan or idea that I had and see what notes I may have made whilst working on said project.  I look at the end result and compare it to my original concept of what I had thought the end result would resemble and then I decide whether I was able to convey my feelings through my piece of art.  Did I put my feelings "out there" for all to see or did I hold back and if so, why?  This type of analysis can be helpful or it can put me into a dark mood, one in which I wonder at the sanity of wanting to be an artist.  But, you know, after a time of reflection, I always come back with the answer - "Yes, I want to be an artist." I want to work with paint, pencil, paper, canvas, any and all materials related to mixed media.  I do like to, no, I love working with my hands, getting messy.  That does not bother me.  I try to keep my work area somewhat organized, but when your kitchen and your bedroom both serve as art studios, you really do not have sufficient room to organize and keep the areas pristine. 

Thinking about all this today, December 26, helps me to plan for the upcoming year.  What do I want to work on in addition to painting with my acrylics.  I now have a good supply of different sized canvases since I took advantage of a sale that I ran across.  Plus, I did receive some canvases and a gift card to an artist supply store that I particularly enjoy visiting.  Once the stores calm down from the after the holiday sales and the teenagers and young adults have all returned to school life, I will venture out to the art supply store to see what treasures I can find.  Somehow, I suspect that I will indulge in topping up my paint supply as well as pick up more drawing implements to add to my stash.  I have bins, rather like tool boxes for paint supplies, drawing supplies, and the last one, filled with coloured pencils.  I call these my grab and go kits.  I can grab the appropriate bin along with a sketch pad, canvas or even just a smaller book to draw in and take these with me to a coffee shop and sit, sipping a coffee and sketching to my heart's content.  For, it generally is the drawing kit that accompanies me.  I might even just pick a few well chosen pencils, erasers, rulers, along with the sketch pad and place these in a resealable plastic bag and drop it in my canvas shopping bag and head out for a few hours in hopes of finding inspiration along with that perfect cup of coffee. 

Right now, I am also trying to set down some guidelines as to what I would like to accomplish artistically in 2011.  I know that I will paint with acrylics whittling down my supply of canvases gradually.  I am thinking that I would like to work on learning how to use watercolours effectively and see if perhaps this medium is better suited to some of the work that I do.  It is worth trying and I am always open to learning something new that might possibly come in handy down the line.  I would like to continue working on my drawing skills.  There is a great deal of room for improvement in this category.  I really cannot draw or at best, my drawing skills are on par with those of a very young person, maybe about 9 or 10 years of age.  So, this is something that I will work on for at least an hour each day and see if I can progress a bit, no, I want to progress quite a lot over the next 12 months.  Drawing is something that I feel will help in all aspects of the art I choose to do and so this is where my focus should be for the most part.
With respect to projects, I have two special ones in mind.  I have always been fascinated by people's hands.  They tell me so much about that person, whether they have had to work hard over the years or whether they worked, but not so much as to scar their hands with burns, deep cuts or callouses.  Some hands are just perfect, the nails are nicely shaped and it is evident that they have a manicure frequently.  The skin is soft, even coloured, no visible signs of trauma or excessive physical labour.  Then, there are the hands of children.  These make me smile.  A baby's hands are little chubby bits with fingers that are still trying to learn to be dexterous enough to allow the tot the capability to pick up a toy or a piece of paper off of the floor.  These are busy little hands and the best way to capture the look is to take a picture of them when the baby is fast asleep.  Teenage hands are also very busy, usually with callouses from tuning up the skateboard, bicycle or car.  Feminine teenage hands are taken care of almost as much as the young ladies' faces.  You can tell a lot about the way the fingernails are coloured and if there are faux jewels or tattoos affixed to certain or all nails.  These also make me smile.  I thoroughly enjoy looking at these hands.  Teenage hands are learning skills and want to be original as much as the owner of the hands.  As I have said before, a pair of hands can tell me a story.  I want to do portraits of hands over the next year just to see where this takes me and how many people I can convince to allow me to take a picture or two of their hands.  I will let you know how I progress on this and even more interesting, the reactions of those I ask if I could take a picture or two, just of their hands, just up to the wrists.
My next project is one that I know that I am going to love working on, but one that I expect that people, friends and others will not understand why I am so interested.  I would like to paint pictures of faeries and other creatures within their realm.  Ideally, I would like to have a faerie for each month, each season and one identified with other activities of life.  But, and this is a big but, I want the pictures to be of child faeries who are just learning their field of expertise.  Or, does a faerie change and do other tasks as they mature?  I am hoping to research all this and come up with some answers to these questions.  So, 2011, will be a year filled with faerie folk, the younger ones, and what task they do for centuries, in fact throughout infinity.  I am thinking that this will require a lot of research, but I am up for the challenge.  It is not like I have a lot of other things that I need to get done.  I know that my health takes priority over all of these ideas, but I am quite certain that I can balance artistic endeavours with my getting sufficient rest and not overdoing my physical capabilities and placing myself in danger of collapsing.  I know when I am approaching my physical limitations and promise to sit back, put my feet up and take a nap if need be when my physical store of energy is being depleted.  That is a priority and I have no intention of putting my health at risk in order to finish a painting by a certain deadline.
So, those are some of my artistic plans for my journey this year.  I am sure that I will add on to the list as the year progresses and I see something new that captures my attention.  My artistic journey will continue for many years and I see that at no time will I consider my journey completed.  There will always be new things to try out, different painting styles that I would like to try, just so many facets of artistry that I want to take a look at and try just so I can see what it is like to do that particular type of artwork. 
This is a journey where I never get bored.  There is always something new to try, to get involved with whether it is with a group of people with similar interests or just by myself because something appealed to me in the making of a piece of jewelry, whether it was the actual making of it or the history behind the piece itself.  I am always wanting to know the history of a piece of jewelry or the history of the style of jewelry.  There is just so much to know about the making of these pieces, that I know that I will never be able to make a dent in the learning the historical information about the process, let alone the piece of jewelry, that I will always be on a quest for information of some type.  That is what makes my journey so interesting.
 I hope you sit back and make some plans for your artistic ventures for the upcoming year.  Be realistic in what you write down on your list, but at the same time, make sure that you challenge yourself.  The feeling of satisfaction that comes from making something from start to finish and knowing plus understanding the history behind it, that will give you great satisfaction.  Even if it is something very simple to start with, but you take your time, research it and then make the piece, you will feel that you have climbed a major mountain and come down the other side grinning from ear to ear knowing that you have done a good job that will make you feel fantastic.  That too is part of this journey.
Sincerely,   Rutheemac

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