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Focusing and following through

newtree
My last post was about “Coming up with Ideas.” A few of you commented that you have no shortage of ideas. This makes sense as Maya Angelou famously said,

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

The “ideas” post was from the early days of my creative resolution. While reading through my old posts, I realized that focusing and finishing were recurring themes. Previously I wasn’t successful with my creative projects because I was always starting and stopping, and never finishing. Which left me feeling discouraged.

I started this creative journey in 2014, by finishing several old projects and doing several projects that I had always wanted to try. Accomplishing these things made me feel good, and so I kept going, with new projects.

I’ve come a long way since then. I try to draw or paint every day. I always shy away from the word “daily” because I’m more likely to paint and draw a lot for a day or two. Do nothing for a day or two, and then get back to it again.

I keep a notebook of “to do” lists and project ideas. I check off things as I go, and look back to see if I forgot anything. I’ll keep an old idea on the list for a while. Of course, I don’t get to everything, but it feels amazing to accomplish something that’s been on my list for months. The percentage of unfinished projects is much, much lower than it was before MCR.

Recently I wanted to be creative, but didn’t know where to start. I literally felt anxious. I sat down and wrote out all the ideas buzzing in my head. When I was done, I felt like I could breath again. Just writing the ideas down, cleared my head, and helped me prioritize. And then I started to create. 🙂


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Comparing last year’s work to this year

bloomwave
When I look back on what I was working on last year and compare it to this year – I’m amazed. I feel like I have developed and progressed so much as an artist.

Last year at this time – I was still not using watercolor paper! I just started adding details in ink last August. Now I add ink to many of my paintings. It seems like a lifetime ago.

Projects from last Summer
roseofsharongoggles

This Summer

pretzaldoodles cupcakedoodles shellspattern

As I looked back at old posts I realize something else. I was all over the place trying different things, which was great, but I’ve become much more focused. I still try new things but there seems to be more of an overall continuity. A stamp of “me” on my projects. I’m curious – do you see the difference too?

Putting in the time and work is really worth it. I may not realize it everyday, but when I look back, I can’t believe how far I’ve come.

 


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What the numbers really mean…to me.

zest
212 posts published!

100+ pieces completed in the last 6 months!

300+ followers!

797 comments – your comments, encouraging me and motivating me!

578 days keeping my creative resolution

unmeasurable – the joy I feel living a creative life

I’ve been blogging for a year and a half and during that time creating art has became an integral part of my life. It brings me so much joy. I especially love how one idea leads to another and another and another. I love that the projects I work on are entirely self motivated. Prior to my creative resolution I was in an art class/group for several years. Even though we were given total freedom, I was ready to break free and see what I would create on my own. I feel such a sense of accomplishment looking over my work and seeing how many projects I have finished and that my style has emerged.

I remember when I first started posting and I couldn’t get a single person to like a post or comment! Now I am so lucky to have a community of friends who cheer me on. It means so much to me! It keeps me motivated. Thank you! 🙂


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Where is this leading? It’s leading where I want it to go!

girlinrain
Every couple of months I experience doubt and think to myself, “What is the point of all of this?” But this time I didn’t let negative thoughts stay around long, before I started thinking of all I have accomplished.

  • I’ve kept My Creative Resolution, and have been living a “creative life,” for well over a year.
  • I’ve developed a style with watercolor and ink that feels like me!
  • I paint/draw and share my work on Instagram almost every day.
  • And of course, I love sharing my process and inspiration (and random thoughts) on this blog!

So when I start asking, “Where is this leading?” I need to rephrase the question and ask myself,
“Where do I want this to lead? Where do I want to go?”

Answer: I would love to do editorial illustration. I would like to create illustrations to accompany magazine articles.

How do I get in there? I don’t really know, but I have to start figuring it out. I need to start reaching out to people. I can’t expect that they will come to me.

Case in point:
As you may remember, I’m a Graphic Designer. and this Summer I struck out on my own. In November I saw an ad for the opening of a local clothing boutique. A new store usually needs a new website. So, stepping out of my comfort zone, I called them and left a message, telling them who I was and what I could do for them. A few months later, I followed up with a postcard. Last week they called me! If I hadn’t made that phone call, I would never have gotten the opportunity to design their website.

As Abby of “While She Naps” says, “ASK.”

So, instead of feeling negative, I’m feeling good about how far I’ve come on my journey and I am excited to take the next steps. You have been a HUGE reason that I’ve come this far without giving up and I appreciate that so much!

Thank you!
Eileen

 

 


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But where am I going?

birdinbranches
Armed with a list of all the things I want to try (and do) in 2015 and with a year of My Creative Resolution under my belt, I was feeling good. Until I started thinking, “Where am I going? Where is all of this leading? Am I just randomly jumping from project to project?”

The book “Making Art A Practice: How To Be The Artist You Are” by Cat Bennett came along at the perfect time. Here are several quotes that were so spot on, Cat Bennett could have been writing them just for me!

“Here is where we are right now, so we go from here. We begin with one small step…It’s in doing the work that we see the next step.”

“It’s well worth our time to make work without a goal or end product in mind.”

“Try things. Learn what you need to know, and who you are too. Skills open us up to more ideas and possibilities.”

To me it all meant – calm down and continue what you are doing. Continue being creative, continuing exploring new things. Before reading the book, I planned on looking through my work from last year, and years prior, to look for common elements in subject and style. (To convince myself I wasn’t working randomly!) The book elaborated on this and suggests “looking for connections throughout your work in theme, point of view, materials, etc., and noticing variations and change points.”

I’m excited to analyze my old stuff and to share it with you! And to continue one step at a time.


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2015 – off to a great start!

doodles
So far I’ve been working on several of my 2015 goals and it’s only the first week of January! Here’s what I’ve hit so far.

Lettering and Doodling – Every couple of days I pull out my sketch book and doodle and practice my lettering. I’m finding that I can create more whimsical, simpler illustrations if I’m not looking at the object. If I’m looking at an object, I feel compelled to make it realistic looking.

Patterns – While I was doodling the other day, I realized that some of these doodles could be made into a pattern. This pushed me to continue with a theme – cosmetics. So my pattern plan is to continue doodling and at a later date, I’ll look through my sketchbook to find things to use.

Linocut – I’m totally intimidated by all those tools! But, I haven’t forgotten about my number one goal! Right now I’m sketching out some ideas and I promise (oh no, why did I just write that?) that in the next few weeks you’ll see my first linocut. I’m planning on trying it on dark paper, which would encompass goal #4 too!

Video – I made my first videos. I wanted to share one with you, but I need to first figure out how to make the videos compatible with WordPress. Even though I compressed my videos, they weren’t in a format that I could upload to WordPress and I’m not ready to open a youtube account. Don’t worry, you aren’t missing much – it was a shaky video where I’m painting some branches!

Here is my complete list of 2015 goals in case you missed that post.

Things I want to try in 2015:

  1. Linocut. 
  2. Lettering.
  3. Online workshops.
  4. Painting on dark paper.
  5. Doodling.
  6. Video.
  7. Patterns.
  8. Maps.
  9. Digital Brushes.
  10. Watercolor Parties.

 

I hope you are off to a good start too! 🙂


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New year – New banner!

MCRnewbanner2015
Happy New Year!!! I am so excited to continue my creative journey into 2015 and I have so many plans. I have learned and accomplished so much in 2014. 2014 wasn’t the first time that I made a resolution to be creative. But, it is the first time that I stuck with my resolution! Because of that, I feel like I’m starting the new year in a brand new place. It’s exciting!

I hope you like the new banner I designed. As I mentioned previously, I wanted more of a logo and my bear illustration has become a symbol to me. I hope you are as excited about 2015 as I am. I can’t wait to share my projects with you and see your projects too! 🙂


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10 ways to keep your New Year’s Resolution

newyearsres

  1. Make a resolution you want to keep, not one you think you should keep.
  2. Clearly define your resolution, so you know the steps you have to take to “keep it.”
  3. Be realistic. You can build on your resolution over time. If your resolution is running – don’t expect to run a marathon the first week of January. But you can expect to build up to a 5k over the course of the year.
  4. Keep visual reminders around. I left my sketchbook on my night stand. Every time I saw it, I remembered I wanted to fill it.
  5. Spend money to motivate you. Throughout the year, I buy new art supplies and I feel guilty if I don’t use them!
  6. Keep a journal or blog to keep track of your progress. You’ll enjoy reading old entries and seeing how far you’ve come. Blogging greatly motivated me to finish my creative projects. I felt I owed it to anyone reading!
  7. Schedule time to do the things necessary to keeping your resolution. If it’s “eat healthy” you need to make time to shop and prepare healthy meals.
  8. Tell people, especially the supportive ones! The more people you tell, the more accountable you will feel.
  9. Celebrate the milestones – 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, a year!
  10. Don’t stop at a year. If it is a resolution worth keeping, continue after the year is out and build on it. I am more excited about my creative resolution 2015, then I was 2014!


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What I’ve learned in the 2nd half of 2014 (about myself and art)

joy
At the 6 month mark of My Creative Resolution I wrote a post entitled “What I’ve learned about art (and myself).” As I sat down to write this, I reread that post, and I realized a lot of those items are still the important things I’ve learned this year. But I do have a few items to add. Those “6 month” items were mostly about art. The items I am writing now, are what I’ve learned about myself.

  • I love working square
  • I love adding ink. This is so surprising to me! I used to think adding all those lines seems so tedious, but I’ve found – you get into a zone.
  • Watercolor portraits – soften the edges so the skin doesn’t look blotchy.
  • I love being creative. I love having a project in the works, or ideas for new projects, or both!
  • I’m affected by the seasons. I can’t help being inspired by what is around me, whether it’s Spring flowers, Fall leaves, Winter’s evergreen trees, or a day at the beach.
  • I like being spontaneous and working on what inspires me in the moment. I found my weekly checklist to be too much after a while.
  • In the past I was frustrated with wanting to develop a style. Now, I’m embracing the journey. I’m in no rush, and I’m having fun doing it.
  • I’m no closer to selling and I’m not sure selling is for me. I don’t want to be filling orders or creating sellable things. I want to create what I’m inspired to create.
  • I love blogging – see more below.

What I love about blogging:

  • It motivates me to create.
  • I love working on new projects. Each new idea sparks more and more ideas.
  • I enjoy writing.
  • I like thinking about my process – what worked, what didn’t, what was a happy accident, or a mistake to learn from.
  • I love the community and feedback.
  • I’m inspired by and learn from other bloggers and I am honored when someone says I do that for them.

I am bursting at the seams with ideas for making My Creative Resolution better, for me and you, in 2015. I hope you’ll join me as my creative journey continues. 🙂


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Forgotten Projects

forgottenprojectsjar
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 
dandelion

Girl Digging, acrylic
girldiggingrev

Beach Girl, illustration style in progress. Last version – watercolor
beachgirl3

A few abandoned watercolors:
abandonedw

and

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.