I love working in series because there it's easier to see a natural evolution throughout the pieces.
Here are the last few sketches in the Winter Friends series made earlier this year:
Repeating similar objects in a similar manner refines technique, style, and familiarity with the subject. To see this series all together, along with other past series, check out the series page here.
Here's a closer look at another mineral illustration as part of February's series:
I'm not usually a fan of pastels, but paying close attention to the mountains and skies this winter has made me appreciate the gentler tones. From the buttery yellows to the powdery blues and pinks, I haven't been able to breathe in enough of the light colors.
Even in the winter, when the world is asleep and life and color seem dormant, color can still be found, with subtle and sweet nuances.
This was made as an ode to the pastels of winters past and future. I will personally be appreciating these colors more after re-discovering them this cold and colorful season!
This will be up for grabs at the upcoming Salt & Honey Market in a few weeks, along with other new pieces.
For the month of January, I worked on this series of tiny illustrations:
Before I started, I knew I wanted to do winter animals on dark paper. While rummaging through my art supplies, I ran across a set of pastels, which is a favorite drawing medium of mine. I decided to use them since it had been a while since I last used them. It wasn't until I sat down to start the first illustration that I decided to make miniature sketches.
Making tiny sketches allows for getting in drawing practice and creating simplified shapes with a tricky tool makes it more of a challenge.
I like the way they turned out! These are not perfect by any means, but they were fun to create and served the purpose of getting in more drawing practice. The series in its entirety can be found on the series page, here.
Here's a closer look at a recent illustration:
This teal mineral is part of a month-long mineral illustration series. I love working in series format for several reasons. One reason is the opportunity to explore more within a single theme. With stand alone pieces, I can focus all my attention on a single piece, diving deep into a single work.
Creating art as part of a series allows for deeper exploration of a theme.
There is a fair amount of research that goes into each series. I love that pieces in series share a connection but are different, and it's fun to explore those connections and differences. Experimenting with variations of a theme add interest and help the series evolve.
To see some of my past series, check out the series page, here.
Each year I select a word to embody, or as I like to say, it selects me! My Word of the is usually something I need to remind myself, or a characteristic I struggled with the previous year. I use it correct the mistakes I made the previous year and recalibrate my focus. This is a ritual I’ve done for many years now, and it is a tradition I will continue to keep up. I like that focusing on a single word or theme for an entire year gives a magical focus to my actions and decisions. The Word of the Year for 2017 is ‘persist’ and I’ve been loving the energy I get when I see it:
Last year was definitely a challenge, as was the year before. Both years were emotionally difficult, and last year I hit a creative burnout like I’ve never experienced before. I wanted to quit many times and spend the rest of my life watching TV and eating cheese puffs, but decided to stick things out and continue forward. An artist that I admire passed away a few weeks ago, and this word reminds me of what he told me. When I asked him what his favorite art project had been so far, he said, “the next one.” He told me that about halfway through his major works he would start to dislike them. He would be tired of the monotony and would rather do anything else, but the thought of the upcoming project would keep him motivated to finish the task at hand. I love his answer because 1. he wasn’t too emotionally attached to his passion to see where he could improve and progress, and 2. he spent his life chasing new ideas and executing on them.
So, after the major burnout I was experiencing creatively and emotionally last year, this one tiny word is a powerful reminder that the world doesn’t care what I spend my time doing, but I do. It’s a reminder that I can do hard things, and that I can do good along the way. I just need a refresher sometimes that I’ve already made that decision long ago and then I need the courage to execute on the worthwhile ideas.
I have found this practice useful, which is why I’ve been doing it for so many years.
If you are also looking for extra motivation or direction, I suggest picking a Word of the Year.
Don’t let the time of year stop you! You can start this whenever you feel you need it. I love the extra focus from having a tiny mantra to live by.