Sunflower Sketch and New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year to everyone! I was enjoying a bit of family and the bubbly and thought that a post could wait a few days. Family comes first, after all.

Here is a quick one I did to see if I could get a punch of color right and just played around with a new micro-palette I got for free for one of my art supply orders. I don’t dislike it too much and was free to experiment on the small watercolor paper wire-bound notebook I also got for when I would travel. It was nice because there was no pressure and I was free to play around with texture, shape and color.

scrap-sunflower

I also liked the 300lb paper I had in the sketchbook because it didn’t warp at all when I was painting. It was a little more convenient than having to stretch paper or tape it down somewhere if I just wanted to play around a bit. For those who are interested, it is the Kilimanjaro bright white paper, 300lb, from CheapJoes. I have had good experiences with that line of paper, and it is a little more affordable than the Arches.

I like that some of the flower petals are nice and the shadows between them are also interesting. However, I did obliterate the petal border on the bottom half of the flower and tried to experiment a bit with tinted gouache to get it closer to what I envisioned. It is not too awful, but there is a lot I would do differently the next attempt. I also have the original sketch in a sketch book I am training myself to keep for material and such, and so that I could have the preliminary outline for a painting composition I particularly like. Color and shadows can do a lot to make things different, and having a sketch ready to go and transfer is not the worst thing in the world. It could make for some interesting artwork for a wall, maybe a bit like Warhol – that’s where my mind is going with this one.

It is important to have fun and put your best foot forward to see what you can do. Placing expectations on yourself is too much pressure. It is always nice when a painting comes out, but it is more important to learn something every time. Learning something from a painting does not require it to be a success. However, it is certainly a welcome outcome when we educate ourselves during the process of making a piece that we are proud of at the end.

To end this article, I have to share that I snatched up some great deals on some Indian handmade paper as well as the Fabriano I have read much about. They are also some of the largest sheets I have purchased, as I feel I am slowly becoming more confident on the larger scale.

I’ll end with one of my New Year’s resolutions: I hope to keep a sketchbook regularly. It is one of the sure-fire ways to improve one’s art and mental health. In a stressful school and work environment, I am only doing a service to myself and those I treat by recharging my mental and emotional batteries by relaxing and training my muscles of creativity. After all, I already work with my hands during my practice, so artwork should go with that hand-in-hand.

Let me know what your New Year’s resolutions are in terms of your artistic journeys. I’d love to know. I also wish you the best of luck in keeping them – it’s always an uphill battle with these things.

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