As the year draws to a close I find myself reflecting back on my art journey over the course of 2011. There have been those successes I have been very pleased with and proud of, and there have been those that I have not been pleased with but have learned a lot from. That's one of the nice things with art ... even when we mess up we learn something, so it's a win-win situation most of the time.
2011 was also the year I attempted my first ever portrait. This graphite drawing of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow was a major "dip the toe in the water" exercise. I didn't have proper blenders or tortillons and didn't really appreciate how they would be used, so I managed with some tightly rolled up kitchen paper. It was a learning curve of huge proportions.
This 'discovery' of being able to do realistic drawings in graphite led me on to trying various other subjects and one of my favourites of those is this Leopard, which I stupidly thought was a Cheetah. Duh! Still, whatever it was didn't detract from the enjoyment of gradually watching him come together, spot by spot.
I have always enjoyed drawing with Pen but haven't done any for a long while and these pencil drawings led me back to pen work, but at a new level. I experimented with cross hatching which I'd never tried before and confess to having a long way to go before I'm pleased with what I'm doing, but this drawing of Robin Hoods Bay didn't disappoint me.
But I felt that all of this very tight work was having a negative effect on my watercolouring (if that's possible - lol). So I tried my hand at sketching. I find it difficult to just 'let go' and let whatever happens, happen. But the more loose, free and easy, hurried sketching I did with my pens, the more I felt at one with the paper. Pen sketching and loose watercolours all came together for me in this very simple painting of the river at Staithes. A totally alien style for me, but one which I thoroughly enjoyed.
One of my 2011 highlights was to receive a request from a young couple who are getting married in April at Edinburgh Castle. They wanted to know if they could use my pen sketch on their Wedding Invitations. It is small moments like this that make you feel your work is appreciated for what it is, and that's important for us all.
I can sum up 2011 for me by saying it has been a milestone year. I conquered personal fears by stepping out and sketching in public and I've tried several different techniques and media. I have had the disappointments that have taught me lessons and the successes that have helped my confidence. Most of all, I have enjoyed sharing my journey with all of you, just as I have enjoyed following your own journey's. You are all an inspiration to me.
My goals for 2012? To consolidate on what I've accomplished in 2011 by trying to bring my new found confidence into my watercolour painting, to improve further with my graphite and pen work, and to try some serious work with Charcoal and Pastels. Most of all I intend to get out and about with my sketch book culminating in some watercolour painting en plein air. That is an ultimate goal.
Thank you for your support during 2011 and I wish you all the very best for 2012.
Happy New Year!!!