Here is a look back at 2008.
- I entered two pieces of artwork in the art show On My Own Time at my workplace. My leaf watercolor above won first place in the Amateur's Works on Paper division. Employers around the Dallas metroplex have this annual art show. Each employer awards prizes, and the winning art pieces go to a city-wide art show.
- I participated in Illustration Friday (IF) for most of the year. I love IF because it fosters creativity. Each week, there are a large number of excellent entries which inspire me to do my best each week.
- I did the Every Day Matters (EDM) challenges through September. Looking back at my EDM drawings, I see how much I improved by doing them each week.
Art Instruction Books
- I worked through Bert Dodson's Keys to Drawing with Imagination.
- I started out the year intending to study an artist every month, but I abandoned this early on. I studied Maxfield Parrish (January), N.C. Wyeth (February) and Peter Max (March). I do not yet know how to usefully study artists' work.
To grow as an artist, I need to create my own projects to serve my own interests and vision, and not rely only on projects started by others. Towards this end, I created two projects for myself:
- In June, I did an oil painting almost every day. This was very successful. I am not ready to commit to an oil painting every day for a year, simply because I need to still work on art basics (e.g., perspective). Once I feel comfortable with the basics, however, I will definitely consider becoming a daily painter.
- In October, I started my 100 Heads project. I originally intended to do a head a day, but I could not keep up with that schedule. I am still working on this series, and I feel that I am improving my portraiture skills as a result.
- I added oil paints and colored pencil to my repertoire. I know that I will eventually need to settle on just one medium (to be a professional artist), but I am not there yet.
Work Melt Down
- In August, my role changed to a management one at work. It took me a few months to master my new role, and I did almost no art work. I was surprised at how long it took me to get into the swing again once I returned to art.
- January through February, I took an on-line colored pencil class with a well-known colored pencil artist and book author. Each week, I accessed a lecture and reading assignment on-line. There were two drawing assignments over the course of the class. I e-mailed the drawings to the instructor, and she e-mailed critiques back to me. There was a student forum, but there were not enough students taking any given class at a given time to get a good dialogue going. This on-line instruction format did not work well for me. It didn't offer sufficient value beyond reading and working through instruction books on my own. I think WetCanvas classes actually work better for me, since there are typically a large number of people working through the classes at the same time.
- August through December, I took two oil painting classes with Dave Kramer at the Creative Arts Center (CAC) in Dallas. These classes taught figure painting with live models, typically nudes. Dave is an awesome instructor, and CAC is an awesome art school. The students are serious about art, and Dave offers critiques and suggestions as we draw and paint (and he is able to do this in a fun and engaging manner). Having an instructor point out errors as you draw and paint is invaluable. Now that I know what good art instruction is like, I will continue to seek it out.