Where Am I Going Now?

Pirate JackWhen I look back over the last year, I’m amazed to think that from someone who couldn’t draw a straight line, I’ve somehow developed into an artist with enough pencil skills to draw about anything that comes to mind…like this pirate fellow who showed up in my sketchbook a few days ago. I’ve been re-reading Treasure Island again, you know.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of pirates and buried gold is an exciting one. I never tire of it. The journey to the island is fraught with perils. As a child, I loved the story and was inspired by it to follow my dreams.

My artistic journey, by comparison, has met with few dangers. The only regret I have about pursuing my love of art is that it’s now become impossible for me to keep a clean house. It’s not just the kitchen. It’s more than just my “art room”. The whole house is a wreck because I’m having too much fun drawing and painting. Who’s got time for housework?

As I now figuratively “set sail” on the second year of my adventures in art, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to where I’ll be going. How will this year differ from the first? Where will I focus my attention? What will be my objectives?

Being self-taught, it’s up to me to determine the proper curriculum. I’ve been reviewing the many drawings and paintings I’ve made over the last twelve months, going through my old sketchbooks, and like an “old salt” aboard ship, I’ve been charting a course, looking back at the progress I’ve made, and deciding where I want to go now.

In my first year of study, I focused on basic drawing skills. I learned the elements of art — line, shape, form, space, value, texture, and color — and I explored different media. I had a brief introduction to composition and to color theory. I focused primarily on representational art and worked with a variety of subjects.

For this second year, I’m planning to expand on that general approach to art. I hope to improve my drawing skills by focusing more on figure-drawing and portraiture. I’ll be studying more about the elements of composition — harmony, movement, balance, dominance, contrast, repetition, gradation — and I’ll be working with abstraction as well as representational art. I’m going to broaden my artistic horizons by learning more about mixed media, and I want to explore different styles in painting. Learning more about color theory is also on the agenda. I like the idea of building a personal palette of colors for my art. I hope that by the end of my second year of art, I’ll also be doing oil painting.

My first year was about learning how to create art. This year, I think, will be more about learning what.  What do I want to say through my drawing and painting? What style best reflects who I am? What medium do I most enjoy?

Watercolor 160613 Storm at Sea
Over the next year I’ll be exploring different styles of painting, such as this “loose” seascape I painted of storm clouds above a rolling sea. Come sail with me!

It’s going to be another interesting journey. I’m traveling to my own treasure island and finding the gold of my dreams. I want to once again thank everyone who’s become “shipmates” on this voyage. I want to remember, too, the story of Treasure Island and the boldness of young Jim Hawkins.

In the words of Henri Matisse, “Creativity takes courage.” This is going to be my theme this year. Be bold, take risks, and don’t apologize. An exciting journey, indeed.



  1. Congratulations on your second year! We barely know each other but in the short time that we have been corresponding, it feels as if I have known you for a long time. 🙂 I am glad to know you and have been inspired by what you have achieved in such a short time. You have a great path set before you. I hope you enjoy this new journey! Will be cheering for you always! Blessings! 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much, Jodi. I’m looking forward to all I’ll be learning in the coming year. I’ve definitely made progress, and with practice and determination, I think that will continue. I hope my experiences can inspire others along the way and encourage new artists to pick up a pencil or paintbrush and jump in!

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  2. Your post completely resonate with me and where I am at right now 🙂 I’m self taught too and I feel just the same as you 🙂 I find art journal and sketch books to be my personal key to self discovery 🙂
    Well, my house – especially my living room which is my studio – is complete chaos, with pile of artwork, brushes, paints and all sorts of projects in various stages of completion… Because I’d rather paint or knit than doing house work… 😀

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Noemie. I love going through my old sketchbooks and seeing where I was and how my drawings have improved over the past year. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cringe. I did some really awful drawings! I still do, but I know I’m improving every day. Now, if I could just find a way to keep the house clean! I think that’s a lost cause 😦

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      1. Lol. Oh, I am good. Yesterday morning my husband asked what I was gonna paint and I said…I’m gonna get this nasty house cleaned. Today he asked the same thing, I said yard work…then I sat down this morning to read your post and started giggling and thought…well, my house is clean at least but THEN you started listing all the stuff there is to learn and I said….ohhhhh that is a lot of work. So now I am drinking coffee and thinking about doing yard work.

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      2. LOL… OK, you had me worried there for a bit LOL. I keep saying I’m going to clean up my mess, but then my husband says “Why? What mess?” and that makes it easy to go back to drawing and painting 🙂

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      3. My husband does the same thing!!! I told him he was an enabler as I picked up a wad of dog hair off the floor. I do feel good that it is done…until next week anyway. Then it all has to be done allllll over again. It is like laundry. No feeling of accomplishment with laundry though cuz just as soon as the bin is empty…something else gets thrown in there to wash. The yard on the other hand….it stays pretty for a while and I like to stare at it so yard work does give me a feeling of accomplishment. Cooking? We have been on a sandwich diet for months.

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      4. At least I’m still cooking, and that’s only because I love cooking so much. I do enjoy days like today, though, where we’re finishing off left-overs and I’ll be able to spend a little more time painting.

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      5. Left overs are great. Well, I tell ya…your husband appreciates the cooking. Good food after a long day when you are hungry is one of the best things. These days, to mix things up at our house, we put potato chips ON our sandwiches. 😀

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  3. Be bold, take risks, don’t apologize. Woo! Can anyone say amen? I just love your painting, Judith, and love your spirit! And yay for more abstracts! Seriously, this is a terrific piece right here. You have a way with skies and now, seas! Gorgeous. 💜

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    1. Yes. Thank goodness my husband feels the same way, even going so far as to tell me how much he enjoys seeing my paints on the table and my paintings all over the house. 🙂

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  4. What an exciting adventure and I love the fact that you are reading Treasure Island and you bring it into your journey in art. I have slacked off on a lot of my housework and yardwork because of my challenges and yet, it will always be there waiting. Having a clean house I have had many times but the art is more fulfilling. 🙂

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  5. Enjoyed reading your post today, Judith. I look forward to following your journey into new discoveries on the high seas of creativity! 🙂 And my house used to be clean too… Lol!

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  6. “Be bold, take risks, and don’t apologise.”. That is exactly how it’s supposed to be done! And I wouldn’t worry too much about a clean workplace. I’m a bit of a neat freak, but my ‘man cave’ is decorated with pencil shavings, paint splatters and spilt inks.

    I’m so glad to be a part of your journey. Onwards and upwards!

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