Friday, February 28, 2020

February 2020 Round-up

Mixed Media: "Little Sparrow" for #TAE20

Mixed media, mixed weather patterns, mixed tasks at the day job: it's been one of those crazy, up-and-down chaotic months that in retrospect has been incredibly productive. Looking back over the past few weeks I'm astonished at what I've been able to do in spite of my constant feeling of "having no time." Which makes me think that even if we only have a spare fifteen minutes a day (like I have right now to write this post) it's amazing how much we can do. 

Here's a quick run-down of my month so far:  

1. I entered this year's Twitter Art Exhibit, #TAE20, for the very first time. Every year the exhibit selects a local charity to benefit from sales of postcard-size artwork donated from people with Twitter and/or Instagram accounts from all around the world. This year the recipient is Horry County Disabilities and Special Needs located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a wonderful program using art classes for emotional, physical, and intellectual growth and healing. My entry, Little Sparrow, was painted, drawn, and scratched onto Arches 140-lb cold press watercolor and it was scary! First, I had never painted anything that small, and second, by having a deadline (February 17 to be included in the catalog) I had to work sure and steady with no comparing myself to other, much better artists, and no giving up! It was an excellent lesson for me on many levels and I'm so glad I participated. (With many thanks to watercolor artist Rita Squier for inviting me to take the challenge. Please be sure to check out her website!)

2. As part of my "make 2020 the year of art!" I've started attending a weekly drawing group at Albuquerque's OFFCenter Community Arts Project. It's a great group with the emphasis on gesture drawing and finding the "energy" in our subjects. In contrast to the tiny dimensions of Little Sparrow we often end up drawing on endless rolls of paper that cover not just one but several art tables placed together! 

3. Thanks to all this work with gesture drawing, I've also started attending life drawing sessions at the New Mexico Art League on Sunday afternoons. Talk about terrifying. Despite my attempts to "draw every day" I am way out of my comfort zone here, surrounded by master painters each creating work worthy of any fine art gallery or museum. It's awful! And I am learning so much! Very humbling, humiliating, and often (semi) humorous, I intend to stick with this truly ghastly experience until I can confidently say, "Look what I drew!" and be (semi) proud of my work.  

4. On a completely different note and going back to what will always be my primary focus--writing--I have officially finished the second draft of my work-in-progress novel, Ghazal. Whew. The entire project has taken me much, much longer than I ever imagined (e.g., I thought I'd actually have a third and final draft completed by now), but here we are at last. My plans for "what to do now" are to a) put the manuscript in a drawer until May (when I'm sure to incessantly complain about the challenges of writing a third and final draft), and b) throw my energies into ever more artwork, including my beading which has been a bit neglected while I've struggled to make sense of my WIP. In other words, I'm going to be busy sketching, drawing, painting, and designing while I let the manuscript (as well as myself) take a rest from the red ink. Yay! 

Tip of the Day: Never turn down a creative challenge or opportunity because you don't think your work is "good enough" or "ready" to be seen and shared. The only person who can ever stop you from growing, learning, and participating is you! Never give up, never say "no" to any opportunity, large or small. For more encouragement, be sure to check out my post on Never Give Up: 12 Reasons Why. Happy creating!