A year ago, I had a plan. It was to create twelve themed sketchbooks, one for each month of 2006, with one drawing for each day of the month. My goal was to increase my drawing fluency. I wanted to be able to respond immediately and strongly as an artist, whenever I could, wherever my pencil and paintbox led me.
I laid out my topics with an eye to the weather, light, the seasons, my travel plans.
The topic list was flexible. I knew I’d alter it as I discovered what worked and what didn’t, what interested me and what made me crazy. Other factors came into play. I learned firsthand, for example, that the deep woods are not a safe place for the lone female sketcher, so I abandoned my plan of doing a month of drawings there. This, too, is life.
I learned that I loved drawing animals from life. Of all that I did this year, it was in sketching cows, goats, turkeys, swans, my dog and cat, that I felt most spiritually charged. I wasn’t looking for this and I can’t explain it. But it happened.
On the other hand, and equally surprisingly, I learned that I don’t much like drawing trees. And I’m a gardener and nature lover, too. But I didn’t really connect to this topic and that’s that.
Interiors were the most challenging and that’s why I tackled them first. I grew to quite like drawing interiors---at least my version of them, which is intimist rather than strongly architectural.
I took a Photoshop workshop and have lots more to learn on that score. Someday, when needs must, I will.
All three of my local figure drawing groups disbanded, but I kept to my plan to continue with them as long as I could. Drawing people, nude or clothed, is something I’ve done for as long as I can remember, so the month of people sketching was fun and comforting.
And Paris! I rented an apartment in the 7th arrondissement and spent every day of October on the streets, in the parks, in cafes, in museums, sketching. Spending a month in that city of beauty was a dream made true. I slide into sleep at night now, reliving those bright moments. Laurelines in Paris is a To Be Continued story and you’ll see it and read it here!
Here on the second to last day of the year and of the project, I can tell you I’m so glad I did this. I made a plan. I stuck to it. It was worth it. It wasn’t always easy, living up to the assignment I’d set for myself. Some days I dreaded the prospect of sketching… whatever… because I had to. Many days I was exhilarated. And, you know, I did what I’d hoped to do---I became more fluent in drawing and in sketching with watercolors. I compare my work from 2005 (you can click on Archives at right to see older posts) and I can see how much stronger the recent work is.
Tomorrow I’ll post the plan for 2007. It’s different. I’m delighted with it.
I'll post the last sketches for the year tomorrow morning, too.
If you have questions about the project, please ask. I look forward to your comments, as always!