my creative resolution

Hoping to draw, paint and create my way through 2014!


Pressure and Painting

For most of this year, I haven’t put pressure on myself to create “frame-able” pieces. I started the year working in my sketchbook because that really took the pressure off. Eventually, because I was using watercolor, I graduated to nicer paper, but I still approached each piece as playing and having fun – just seeing what I could make. The only “pressure” was to finish the painting and I like to think of that as the motivation that blogging has given me. With no pressure, I’d sit and play and often be surprised with the results. Sometimes I’d like the final painting so much, I’d frame it.

But now, I’ve started a project that I already bought a frame for. (My mother asked for a beach painting for Christmas.) It changes how I think as I work. Every step of the way I’m worried. In the past I worked around the “mistakes” because it didn’t really matter. I only had to please myself and I was happy just being creative and finishing. Now I’m stressing about the final product. Will she like it? Will other people like it?

Thankfully it’s for my mother! I can’t imagine the pressure if it was a commissioned piece! I remember as a kid, I drew the ugliest picture I could, and showed it to my mom. When she said it was beautiful and she loved it, I said, “I knew it! You always say that!”

She said, “Maybe I always think that. Just because you think it’s bad, doesn’t mean I do.” That got me thinking. Maybe to her, my “ugly” picture was beautiful – especially because I made it.


A few of my favorite things…

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from 2014.

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A while back, I painted a feather by accident. I was trying to paint a sunflower and the center bled into the background. I tossed that version to the side and finished a different one. Every time I looked at that “mistake,” I saw a feather. Eventually I used ink to turn it into a feather. Since then, I’ve realized how interesting feathers are. They’ve been “hip” for a years – I know I’m not onto something new!

The other day when I was running I saw feathers lying on the sidewalk. I snapped a photo and later started painting them. I had a lot of fun creating the texture of the background. After I added the ink, I almost wished I hadn’t. I thought I may have ruined it. But, I added more watercolor and a shadow to the feather and it started to pop.

My Steps:

First I did a light outline of the feathers in pencil.
Then I worked on the background. I splashed and splattered.

After the background was completely dry, I painted the feather.

Then, I added ink to the feather.

I added more color to the feather and a shadow. See the final at the beginning of the post.


Forgotten Projects

I love starting a new project, but inevitably my enthusiasm wanes and it’s hard to stick with and finish the project . As I look back on my creative projects this year, I’m surprised there aren’t more abandoned projects. I know the reason why. It’s because of you! If I was working privately and not filling you in on all the details, I would be a lot less motivated to finish. So thank you!

I’m of two minds on forgotten projects. One part of me wants to finish them. But the other part of me, thinks I should work on what inspires me. A happy medium between these two “minds” is probably the answer. So, as part of My Creative Resolution 2015, I will (every so often) select a forgotten project and finish it.

I can’t promise I’ll pick these projects at random, or how often I’ll do this – but I do promise to keep you posted. ;)

A few forgotten and unfinished projects from 2014
Dandelion, acrylic 

Girl Digging, acrylic

Beach Girl, illustration style in progress. Last version – watercolor

A few abandoned watercolors:


A Mirror (that’s buried in the garage), that I was going to sand and paint the frame in an interesting way. It’s been there since June.

BTW – I refuse to add to the “forgotten” list – Christmas Dioramas and House/Door Paintings because I will work on these again! If I remember.



I’m really happy with how the sky turned out – although the salt wasn’t working as well as last time. I had to try it several times – I think the painting wasn’t wet enough. Some of the salt is stuck on there for good. It adds a bit of sparkle! Maybe I let it dry too long?

My Steps:
The underpainting.
Adding ink.

One of the attempts with the salt.


My Creative Resolution – a year in review.

As the first anniversary of My Creative Resolution approaches, I decided to look back and see what I worked on this year – what mediums I choose. It was surprising to me that during the first two months I painted with acrylics. I think it was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I even pulled out old unfinished canvases and finished them!

After two months, I was getting a little bored with my sketchbook and I pulled out my watercolors. Well, that changed everything! I started focusing more and more on watercolor. I had a history and some knowledge with watercolor. I added to that by watching videos and absorbing ideas and techniques from other artists online. I was having fun with it and was more and more liking my results. For too long I was working on crappy paper, but eventually I bought the right stuff!

Eight months in and I decided to paint cards for the swim coaches. To make the cards whimsical I added ink to the cards. When I draw in pencil, I tend to have a scratchy (lots of lines) style. In the past whenever I tried pen and ink I thought I had to draw one perfect deliberate line. (This stressed me out.) This time I scratched away (with the ink pen) and was happy with the results!

After that, I started adding ink to a lot of my watercolors. My favorite, surprising result, was when I took two outtakes and attacked them with a pen. I liked them better than the original painting!

For a long time I wanted to know what my style was – especially when I was trying to illustrate a children’s book. I scoured the internet for the answer – how do you develop/choose a style? Now I know that the answer is simple – time. Take the time to practice and try different things and your style will come out. The longer you work at it, the more it will evolve.

Even though I’ve almost reached the one year mark in My Creative Resolution, I have no intention of stopping! I am so happy with the results – the result of pushing myself to keep at it. I can’t wait to see where this journey will continue to take me, where I’ll be in six months or in another year. My original creative resolution was to draw, paint and create. I left open the possibility that I might be sanding and refinishing furniture, making signs, drawing or painting. BTW there are STILL a few pieces waiting in the garage to be refinished! Maybe in 2015?


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