Farewell 2020

I don’t think anyone is sad to see this year coming to a close. It’s been a difficult year for everyone. Hopefully with vaccines and better treatments authorized for use and more effective leadership at all levels, we will soon have the deadly COVID-19 pandemic under control.

The virus caused a great deal of disruption. Almost all of our art club meetings were cancelled, as were all of our art association shows. Some artists have responded by taking part in virtual shows and online events. For some, the increased “alone time” has resulted in greater productivity; for others, isolation has made it more difficult to unleash any creative spirit.

Hopefully better days are on the horizon.

As I always do at the end of the year, I want to spend a little time looking back at where I’ve been and what I’ve done. It’s been an interesting year, and I feel that I’ve learned a lot — about myself, about art techniques, about what it means to be an artist, and about art itself.

I’ve enjoyed doing a lot of new things this year. Having my own art studio now has truly opened up a wondrous new world of possibiities. Getting involved with “mixed media” and art journaling has also taken me in different directions, giving me opportunities to discover many new art products and creative techniques I never knew existed!

So, what have I accomplished this year?

I’ve learned a lot. I think early in the year it became apparent that there would probably not be art shows and competitions happening. As a result, I think I focused more on trying things, experimenting with different methods, and learning rather than thinking about creating works of art for show.

I spent a lot of time playing with watercolor, learning to loosen up, and expanding my awareness of what art is and how we create it. I began having more fun with art, became less concerned with how my art looked, and took steps toward truly finding my own voice as an artist.

I grew bolder, more confident, and, I believe, more competent in many areas of art. My drawing skills have definitely improved as have my oil painting abilities. I’m more aware now — understanding the how and the why behind different techniques — and looking beyond the images to express thoughts and feelings through art.

A quick list at a few of the things I did over the year:

  • Took part in the 30 x 30 Direct Watercolor Challenge
  • Participated in World Watercolor Month with my own “Faces of Summer” project
  • Attended numerous online classes for sketching and painting
  • Began art journaling
  • Completed a 31-day “Index Card” landscape project
  • Finished a 100-Day watercolor project
  • Studied techniques for painting skies and clouds
  • Worked through a book on graphite landscape drawing
  • Learned the art of “Zentangles”

I tried a lot of things for the first time this year.

  • Acrylic pouring
  • Alcohol ink
  • Watercolor pencils
  • Polymer Clay

I discovered exciting new art products:

  • Cold wax medium
  • Watercolor ink markers
  • Glitter gel
  • Washi tape
  • Distress inks
  • Water-soluble crayons
  • Black gesso

A great deal has changed over the last year. The new studio — and our new home — is the biggest change, of course, but there are changes at a personal level, as well. My attitude toward art is changing. I see art now in a much broader way than ever before. Art isn’t some world where I’m desperately trying to fit in, but a vast realm of creative possibilities where everyone has a place, including me. I don’t have to be like any other artist. I don’t have to paint with perfection. I don’t have draw with precision. I simply have to show up and be who I am, because who I am is an artist who has a unique voice, an artist with an individual style, an artist who loves creating and sharing.

You, too, have a voice. You, too, have a place in the world of art. Whether you’re only now beginning your journey or are an accomplished artist with long lists of art credits to your name, you’re important to the art community.

As I’ve learned in so many different ways, art truly does matter. As we say farewell to 2020 and usher in a bright, beautiful new year, let us resolve to live creatively each and every day.

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