Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Retrospective

This is a pastel and charcoal drawing I did for a WetCanvas Weekly Drawing Thread challenge earlier in the year.

What did I accomplish in 2007?

I started using the Internet and my computer for art. I now use a scanner, a digital camera, and Photoshop Elements as art tools. From January through May, I participated regularly in the WetCanvas Weekly Drawing Challenges and in the WetCanvas Scavenger Hunts. The focus of the Weekly Drawing Challenge is to draw from a photograph, and the focus of the Scavenger Hunt is to draw from life. In September, I started a blog so I could participate in the Illustration Friday (IF) and Everyday Matters (EDM) group.

My overall 2007 goal was to be more creative and open to experimentation. I am happy with my progress. I started out 2007 copying photographs and objects from life, and I ended 2007 rarely copying. I credit Dodson's Keys to Drawing With Imagination with helping me to use my imagination. Before doing the exercises in his book, I never drew from imagination. Now I am very comfortable doing so.

IF has also helped me tap into my creativity. The IF weekly prompt is very open-ended and enables me to be creative on a weekly basis. Outstanding artists participate in IF, and viewing their work is very motivating and inspiring. IF also shows me what I don't know. For example, for one prompt, I wanted to draw a barbaric horde. I quickly realized I hadn't the foggiest idea of how to draw a horde. I am learning that illustration requires excellent drawing skills. Drawing from life and studying masters is useful for representational illustration. For example, Goya excelled at drawing and painting masses of people; his techniques may be applicable to barbaric hordes.

There are also many excellent artists in the EDM group. I am inspired every time I look at the EDM Superblog.

I wish I had painted and used color more in 2007. Working full time, occasional work travel, and two children make painting a challenge. I can sit with my kids in the living room and draw in the evenings, but can't sit with them and paint, due to the mess. I can draw in a hotel room, but not paint. Maybe I need to look into a small travel set of paints and try them out.

A few details for my records. I worked through the following books:
  1. Keys to Drawing With Imagination by Bert Dodson (Chapters 1-3).
  2. Design: Principles and Problems by Paul Zelanski and Mary Pat Fisher (Chapters 1-4).
  3. Art of Still Life Drawing by Sterling Publishing Co. (I skipped around).
  4. Pastel Workbook by Jackie Simmonds (All chapters).

I took an oil painting class offered by a Continuing Ed program.

I used pencil, pen and ink, charcoal, pastels, oils, watercolors, and collage in my art work.


caseytoussaint said...

Congratulations on getting so much done with such a busy schedule! Your work is lovely and I look forward to seeing more of it in 2008.

Lin said...

What a great review, Laurel!!! GREAT JOB -- here's a fabulous 2008 to you and yours!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Can't wait to see more of your fabulous work!

Katherine said...

Well done on your application on improving your ddrawing skills, Laurel. I told Bert about how you were following his exercises! :D

One tip - pace yourself within the time you've got available. Art is one of those activities which you can go on doing for the rest of your life. Taking time now to understand and master skills will make what comes in the future all the more enjoyable.

Karen Winters said...

Good luck with all your wonderful goals, Laurel.
Have a creative and happy new year.


Laurel Neustadter said...

Casey, Lin, Katherine, and Karen: Thank you. Katherine, your point about pacing myself is well taken. Thanks for the tip!

Ann said...

That is a great review. I really like your work. I know exactly what you mean about painting with kids around. It just doesn't happen. Your drawings are wonderful. I look forward to seeing more of your work in 2008!