My Year of Art

Last October, fellow blogger inknpaper85046788 posted a review of Awakening Your Creative SoulThe book is a “52 Week Journey to Artistic Discovery”. I knew at once it was a book I would love to read. I added it to my “want to buy” list, and that’s where it’s still sitting.

This post is not about that book, but about another. In the comments of the book review post, another title was mentioned. It was “Your Year In Art“. It, too, sounded good.

Recently I was at Hobby Lobby, and I did a little book browsing. And there it was. Your Year In Art, just waiting to be picked up and purchased. I winced though at the price. But, there’s always Amazon. So as I stood there at the Hobby Lobby art book rack, I grabbed my smartphone, looked the title up on Amazon, found it at a reasonable price for Kindle, and clicked the order button. Oh, technology is marvelous!

I am definitely going to have fun with this book, and right now, that’s what my art journey is all about. I’m re-discovering myself, accepting myself as an artist — however flawed — and celebrating my creativity more fully than ever.

The first assignment in this little treasure-trove of ideas is to create an art book for thoughts and drawings, and more to the point, to personalize it and make it my own by illustrating the cover.


First I used a standard pencil to make the initial illustration. Second, with one of my lovely Pitt Artist Pens, I went over the illustration. Third, I colored the illustration using a fun little set of 10 twist-up crayons by Colors in Motion that were in my arts and crafts bin for the grandkids. The link here is to a 50-crayon set. I browsed a bit but couldn’t find the 10-crayon set. I really enjoyed using them, and I’m thinking of purchasing the large set. Oh, what fun the grandkids and I could have with all of those colorful choices.

It is tempting to apologize a bit for the illustration I made. It’s certainly no work of art. It is very similar to playful little designs I used to make as a child, and for me, that’s the point. I want to take myself back to those days of early childhood when I could just have fun with lines and colors and shapes, back before art classes in school where suddenly art was good or not good, grades were handed out, and only those artistically-talented students got their works put on display.

Despite having had art classes throughout my school years, I never really learned anything about drawing because it was never taught. We never discussed the elements of art, talked very little about color theory, and were given no real instruction. Our assignments were simply projects:

  • Take a bar of soap and create a soap sculpture.
  • Use watercolor and paint an autumn scene.
  • Draw a portrait.
  • Make something from clay.

I couldn’t do any of those things because I didn’t know how, and no one gave me any guidance or direction on those projects. I received good grades only because I was an overall good student, and at least I tried my best to complete the projects.

In truth, though, art wasn’t fun. As much as I wanted to do something note-worthy, something deserving an “A” rather than a “B” for simply trying, I wasn’t able to. I had no basic drawing skills, no foundation upon which to build, and I cringed at each project I created. It was clear. I was not an artist.

It was only four years ago that I discovered the real truth about art. It is a skill that can be learned. We can practice. We can develop our abilities. Yes, we can actually learn to draw and paint, to sketch, to design, and do all kinds of wondrous things with art. We can even have fun with it.

And along with having fun, I’m still making a more serious study of art. I’m learning more oil painting methods. I’m practicing shading techniques in graphite. I’m making progress, too.

At times, of course, I’m still intimidated when I’m around real, professional artists. I tense up. I freeze. I stop having fun and start worrying about my art being not so good. I start feeling lost. I get frustrated, and I sometimes feel like giving up. I hope this playful book will help me overcome some of those negative feelings.

As I work my way through all 52 assignments in Your Year of Art, my goal is to loosen up, enjoy the process of making art, and to recognize that I am an artist, and I don’t need to apologize to anybody for the art I create.





  1. The best book a person–who is lost in the labyrinth of doubts and despair– should read is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This book awakened my creative being. It helped me with my fears….it took me to so many creative journeys…the first time I read the book I started exploring with oil pastels….the second time…I started painting portraits…the third time I started making food art and was invited to participate to Cake Wars ( why I did not say yes to that it is another story for another time). Now, I feel like reading it once more….who knows what I will create this time..:)
    Here is my portfolio if you are curious to see the ” effects” the book had on my creativity…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard of the book many times. For some reason, though, it’s one I’ve never gotten around to reading. Your portfolio is interesting — loved the pizza! — and hearing about the book again makes me want to read it. I know I’m at a definite turning-point in my art, and especially in my attitudes about my art. This would probably be an excellent time for this book. I’m still waiting for a call from the library about Eleanor Oliphant, but I will also see if I can find Cameron’s book and pick it up soon. Thanks, as always, for your recommendation.


  2. Don’t fret if you never get over feelings of never measuring up to “whatever”, Judith – it’s just the eternal creative nervousness picking up on all that’s possible and knowing we just can’t do it all, only what we alone can do! 😊 The book btw sounds great! A project a week, love it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking today about “measuring up”, and I realize I can’t measure my progress by anyone else’s yardstick. I just have to keep improving and growing at my own rate.

      Liked by 1 person

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