It's amazing how quietude increases inspiration. When you leave all noise behind except for your own thoughts, your perspective grows sharper.
This mini series was created after a trip to the Great Salt Lake. The Spiral Jetty is an inspiring piece of land art, and ideal for thinking thoughts in solitude. It's a beautiful isolation, those salty waters, and the ground shimmers, making experiences shared there even more enchanting.
Here's to quietude, and inspiration. And if this piece helps remind you of inspiration you've received in a quiet moment, it is available in the Feather & Fir art store, here.
I like to take my birthday as an opportunity to review the past year and look forward to the next. I recently celebrated my 32nd birthday, and have been spending a lot of thought on the previous and future years. I thought 2015 was a difficult year, but this last year was even more so. Yet, even with the many personal bumps in the road, I accomplished a lot that I’m proud of. That’s one reason why looking back to review a year is important: when I think of the last year, the first thought that comes to mind is how hard it was, but there was so much good, too.
Read on if you’d like to see a few of the things we made happen last year, together as a family and also art-wise.
Art projects that I made the last year:
Bumps in the road:
Looking back on the last year in detail helps me realize how much can happen in a year, even when I’m burned out and don’t feel I’ve contributed a lot. I did a lot more than I thought I did!
Looking back on the last year changes perspective and allows for better focus on the positive.
Here’s to fresh chances and persistence!
This small illustration on canvas is up in the shop, and is a personal favorite because of the nature lessons it helps me remember.
I stumbled across the remains of a scavenged deer in the foothills near our home. The bones had been picked clean then scattered and bleached by the sun. This is a common occurrence, but I was struck by the gravity those small bones carried with them. This hand-drawn vertebrae hints at inevitable mortality while tenderly hearkening to the beauty that is the cycle of life. The bones were the small remnants of the life which had once moved them. They would eventually become part of the mountain, which had once sustained them, and would in turn sustain future generations.
The way death sustains life is truly a wonder to be considered.
This hand-drawn vertebrae is a reminder of inevitable mortality, and the beauty of the cycle of life. A variation of this piece can also be found in the shop, here.
There have been a few animals that I've replicated over the Wild and Wondrous series, and it's interesting to see how the style has changed over the course of the year.
The style for the Wild & Wondrous illustration series is coloring book style, and there are many different ways to approach it. I started out like many coloring pages, with patterns inside the subject. I realized after a few illustrations that the figures were too static and didn't feel alive. Also, when reprinted at smaller sizes, the patterns were too tiny to color in easily. So, I loosened up the style a bit.
It's okay to make changes in the middle of a project. Creating in a series allows for course-correction between each piece.
Here you can see the first bear illustration on the left, and the most recent on the right. The more recent one is softer, has more movement, and is easier to color in. The newer one also has more visual interest due to the background.
Next up are the wolves:
I drew a wolf 3 times throughout this series, and there was definitely improvement from the first take. I was so unhappy with the way the first wolf turned out that it caused me to reevaluate the style of the entire series up to that point and make intentional changes.
Sometimes it takes seeing something you don't like to motivate you enough to make necessary changes.
Some intentional changes I made were to soften the figures, give them more movement, and add in backgrounds and subtler patterns. Out of these three wolves, though, my favorite is the second one.
Another animal that was repeated in this series was a cougar:
Again, the second one has more visual interest. Instead of being in a head-on view, it is in a position of movement. Because it was made right after I changed styles, it isn't as good as the pieces near the end of the series. However, it's paving the way for the other illustrations to get there.
Recognizing and appreciating the stepping stones allows for additional growth.
The last animal that was repeated was a lion:
This is a great one to look at because the lion on the left was made at the very beginning of 2016, and the one on the right was made at the very end. So, nearly an entire year of illustrating had passed between one and the other. Looking at the piece on the left, I would have never guessed that it would be part of the same series as the piece on the right. The new drawings definitely feel more confidant and mature than the earlier ones.
I love that the newer illustrations aren't as static or heavy, and that they are in environments. I'm happy about where this series ended up. It just took a while of muckraking to get to a better place.
I like to see change, and looking back on this last year's series, I love to see the evolution of the artwork.