Friday, 4 January 2019

12 art explorations in 12 months

Welcoming 2019

The arrival of the new year has undoubtedly not slipped past your notice... social media posts around the world abound with people declaring their 'intentions', 'focus/focuses' and resolutions or, a particular trend I've noticed this year, resolving NOT to change at all! Self-love and acceptance is the new black it seems.

I'm all for embracing this time of year as a season of motivation and the sense of a fresh start that a new year brings. So if you want to make changes, I say go for it! There's plenty of places in this grand interconnected web that can help you with ensuring your resolutions are goal-orientated - that are specific, measurable, achievable etc etc. There's even worksheets and templates to get you started, so really there's no excuses and I've 'pinned' some of my favourites on this Pinterest board.

Another approach to the new year-new you situation is to choose a word for the year that becomes your guide. Words I've seen floating around include: growth, harmony, abundance, presence, simplify, balance etc. Advice includes 'letting the word come to you', 'thinking about the person you want to be at the end of the year', 'creating a shortlist and discussing with a friend' etc. Again, I've saved some helpful 'word of the year' blog posts on the Pinterest board.

My own approach to the new year includes cleaning out cupboards and drawers: I see your 'Spring Cleaning' and raise you a 'High Summer Clean' - again: seize that motivation and make it work for you! Even my kids are on the case :)

But the other thing, and the main reason for this blog post (I promise I'm getting to the point!) - is to share my 'One Word'. And that word is....

Now confession time - I'm not usually a resolution setting/word of the year sort of person. But this word came to me - like literally popped into my head. And sat so well, felt so 'right' and seemed to give me the permission I wanted to, well, explore.

So what's that going to look like. As the days (we're up to day 4 since the new year began) have passed since then, my mind has expanded further on what exploring is going to look like. And as it happens there are 12 areas I want to explore in my art and 12 months for the year so that seems awfully convenient. 1 art exploration each month should be manageable/achievable and see me nicely through to the end of the year.

It might be that I fall madly in love with a new technique or medium as the months unfold, so I don't expect to leave these things behind if that's the case. I'm expecting - indeed HOPING - that new ways or doing things/styles/colours etc will become imbibed in my normal practice as I go. Equally, I might try something that just doesn't work for me - perhaps just for now, perhaps ever - but also, that's ok.

12 months - 12 Explorations

The explorations fall conveniently into groupings that can be assigned headings such as 'Medium' or 'Subject' but I won't necessarily tackle them in this order.
  1. Oil paints - I 'inherited' some oil paint tubes a while back and have even added a couple of new ones and specific oil brushes to my arsenal since then... last year I was definitely going to bust them out but all of a sudden the year was over (how does that even happen??), so 2019 had better be the year it actually happens! And afterall, who doesn't love an oil portrait??
  2. Watercolour paints - my previous experience with watercolours has been for very different pieces of art. Admittedly, I'm nervous about this one as I perceive watercolours as very 'unforgiving' - at least with acrylics/oils you can paint over any mistakes. But I'm looking forward to getting some beautiful blooms and layering happening.
  3. Multi-medium - I was going to include pastels as a stand alone exploration, but think I'll given them an honourable mention under 'multi-medium' as I can see them more being used as accents in a piece - which may or may not also include collage as an additional area of exploration ;)
  4. Screen printing - should park this one alongside block printing/monoprinting - but thinking that the screen printing could end up being used both stand alone and as part of a multimedium piece.
  5. Jigsaw cutouts - have jigsaw, will cut. And then paint. 'Nuff said.
  6. Work vertical - this will be an interesting challenge as I tend to work with thin watery layers towards the completion of a piece - which is either going to mean embracing gravity/dribbles or working with thicker layers. I'm actually quite a fan of dribbles in other people's art so watch this space...
  7. Block printing/monoprinting - again a technique I've dabbled with, though only barely, so looking forward to giving myself permission to really indulge. I adore the lino cut/block print work of artists like Sarah Golden and Richelle Bergen. I'm interested to see if I can find my own style to suit this technique.
  8. Multiple figures/faces - most (all?) of my figurative work so far has been of a single person - and then barely ever a whole person - so working multiple figures into a single piece of art will be a fun(?) challenge.
  9. Torsos - I've dabbled with torsos thus far - which have been well received. Indeed the piece I probably got the most positive feedback on in 2018 was this one. She was small, but she was mighty.
  10. Scale - I spent a lot of 2018 working small... small baby, small paintings. (Could be a life motto.) I'm thinking it's time to supersize. Afterall, baby is somewhat of a giant these days.
  11. Offer prints - fairly self-explanatory. Although some work to be done on figuring out whether to do a print run, or print-to-order. Also: where to print, what to print and what to print on (not all paper is created equal). This may not become a regular thing but will be an interesting exercise to work through.
  12. Colour - I tend to work with a fairly subdued and familiar colour palette so for some reason I'm thinking turquoise and candy pink for this exploration. (Not together.) By the time I get 'round to this those thoughts might have changed.
So as 2019 gets underway, I'm intending to share my journey with you. I'll invite your feedback on my endeavours and look forward to your thoughts as I go. Are you an artist that could tackle any of these 'explorations' in your own work? Be sure to tag me if you do so I can see what you're up to and support your journey in return!

What a year it will be. And the only question now is: where to start!!?

x Mel

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