Once again, it’s been a long time. I’ve got no excuses, just the hope that I’ll get better at updating this page and increasing my art output.
I painted this watercolor picture about 8 months ago, and have recently been working hard on getting into painting Windstones again. It’s been refreshing and nice to concentrate on something productive after a year of being relatively unproductive.
Motivation is always the killer, and the most substantial wall blocking me from improving on my art. This last year has been probably one of the biggest motivation killers I’ve ever had.
My goal this year is simple. I need to practice more, plan less. I get hung up on things not being “perfect”, even though nothing ever is, and I let those hang-ups help kill my motivation because it’s just easier not to try. Watching TV is easier. Playing games is easier. If I want to improve I need to learn to motivate myself, even if it is manufactured.
Because in the long run, I love to make art. Looking back at old pieces – as flawed as they can be, and as imperfect as they are – lifts me up. I get a boost of serotonin just from seeing even the smallest improvements. Imagine how it would feel to improve in a major way! It must be achieved in small steps – ones that I may not even notice until I look back.
At the beginning of the year, Youtube began suggesting content to me from a community of people centered around bullet journaling. I had never heard of this type of journaling despite it being around now for several years. I started watching hours of videos of people creating their lovely spreads. Most of the time people would add an element of creativity or art to them, sometimes sketching, scrapbooking or painting in their journals, which really interested me. The concept of bullet journaling first began with a fellow named Ryder Carroll, who created the system as a flexible way to organize his life. People took his idea and ran with it, and this more aesthetic way of bullet journaling was what I really latched on to.
So this year, a few weeks into January, I started one!
I did some research and ended up purchasing a journal from Archer and Olive (an A5 dot grid notebook), and it’s been one of my favorite purchases from this year. The process of planning and setting up spreads is shockingly relaxing, and the addition of creative elements is really up my alley. One of my goals this year is to make art every day, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. The idea is to keep the momentum going, and stay practicing, which can mean a large art piece or a small sketch. This journal has been very helpful for keeping up with this goal, not only because I am able to actually keep track of the days that I create art, but because I often do it in this very book.
Below are some of the pages I have done. I’ve had to stop myself from going too far ahead in the year, since I’m already planning pages for the month of April! I think one month ahead is fine, but any more than that and I’ll just be robbing myself of the fun of creating these pages in the future.
I plan each page in pencil, then go over it in pen and add color using marker or watercolor. I enjoy the idea of planning each month with a theme in mind, so February ended up being succulents. I wanted to add gold to each page in the month which I did so with a gold pen and a touch of gold watercolor.
April (which I am planning now) has a coffee shop theme. I have been interested in trying to paint buildings for a while now so that was a good starting point to practice looking at references and taking elements from different images to create a single building.
The painting on the left was created on Arches watercolor paper and using various watercolors (mostly Holbein). I painted it knowing I was not going to outline anything in black as I usually do, because I wanted it to have a softer look. The painting on the right is the cover page for April in my bullet journal, and is using the same types of watercolors but was painted directly on the journal’s pages. The paper reacts much differently, and cannot take much water, but I really enjoy the look that it has. I may even prefer it over the one that I used my nice paper for!
All in all, I’m really enjoying the process of bullet journaling. Do you do any type of journaling? If so, do you prefer a more straightforward approach with writing only? Do you have a favorite way to set up your journal? I’d love to hear new ideas!
It’s a new year and (yes I know I’m a few months late celebrating this), it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted any substantial updates to this site. For the half dozen of you that actually read this, I apologize for the massive gap in content. That said, I’m going to catch you up relatively quickly on what I’ve been doing in the time I’ve been away.
At the end of 2018 I suffered a bit of a setback and had to be in the hospital for a few days – I wouldn’t honestly recommend it. Although the staff was top notch, the bed was quite uncomfortable and having a roommate and an open door constantly while being forced to lay around in my undies was not terribly fun. However, for Christmas that year I still managed to paint a few quirky and odd looking creatures for my siblings and my parents.
In the early part of 2019 I started experimenting with combining resin, alcohol inks, and dried plants and flowers. pictured below is the first large piece that I did which I gave to my Mother. I created several more after that as well including some paperweights and coasters, but this one remains close to my heart as it was the first real success and I don’t want to overwhelm you with images.
I painted a few more watercolor pieces, tending to favor compositions with galaxies and sunset colors. I started experimenting with some images of nature slashed with human presence. Since we tend to like to take drives on the weekends I have a soft spot for images of roads. I like the juxtaposition of nature and human elements. Towards the end of the year I started trying to draw more detailed flowers in my paintings. Pictured below is an image of a skull (I believe I was referencing an elk) with lilac flowers behind it.
And that ends my catch-up post! I realize it was not a super exciting year for me artistically, which is something that I am aiming to change for 2020 with more goals set for creativity that I am helping to manage through a newly discovered love for aesthetic bullet journaling, which I will also post about soon!
One last thing I wanted to mention was the change of website name. I’m certain it comes as no surprise for anyone who has followed me for a while. Although Cuddlyclay.com was a great idea, I have discovered that I simply have too many different artistic loves to brand myself and my page with a single medium, so I decided to change it to a much more broad and simple website name and domain that won’t need to be changed due to my evolving taste in creative endeavors.
I hope everyone had a lovely 2019 and I hope the beginnings of 2020 for you are looking as hopeful and positive as my own.