New Year. New Paint

Happy New Year! I hope you have enjoyed the holiday season and filled your champagne flute to the brim in celebration. Now that the year is in full swing, I wish you acceptance and a good sense of humor as we embark on those annual attempts at rejuvenating our spirits and setting our intent for the year ahead.

I look back on the year past, and take comfort that the adventure I have taken with you and this blog has survived the instability of it’s first year in publication. I began writing as a means to share my journey back to a lost passion of mine and would never have been able to motivate myself to this point if it weren’t for your constant support, readership, and growing friendships. I am humbled and ever grateful to you all for being here with me and constantly pushing me to keep moving forward. I thank you and dedicate 2015 to you!

2014 was all about me. Finding myself. Figuring out what I wanted. I’m sure there will be more self indulgent posts, this is a blog after all, but you truly have inspired me to give it all back and create something with a little more depth. I have things a little more figured out at this point, so I’m making a few changes to help solidify what the heck I’m doing here.

What can you expect from Sweet Afternoons in the coming year…

1. Journal Illustration- I work daily in a number of watercolor journals and I will share some of those pages with you. Mostly they are private thoughts from my daily life. Inspirational quotes, always accompanied with doodles and sketches. This process keeps me focused while I wind down at the end of the day with a glass bottle of wine and a tv show. Obviously, no one needs to post every piece of napkin scribble, but it’s my own way of keeping my work accountable. Maybe it will inspire you to dust off some old pencils and paper you buried away years ago. I believe art is a learning process and like any other activity you want to excel at, you must practice every day.

2. Writing- I’m a terrible writer. I’m aware that I have a lot of work to do in this department. I would like to become a better writer and find more appealing ways to blog. I want to write and illustrate children’s books, so I have to put the time and effort not only into my illustrations, but into the words that help tell the story. I’ll need a lot of help here, but I’ll work to make this a more interesting read for you.

3. Portfolio- It’s time to get my shit together. There’s no delicate way to put it. I’ve bounced around too many ideas, without an end goal in sight for a year. That’s ok. I needed to weed out all the mediocre ideas to get my goals solidified. I had so many little projects in the works that I never fully dedicated myself to one. So this year, I’m organizing a portfolio. I’m writing stories. Building characters. Giving my art some grit. Maybe a well developed website featuring my art and illustration is to follow.

4. Let’s talk about ETSY- What the heck is going on? Am I selling? What am I selling? How unclear could I have been? I apologize for the confusion. I had a little dream of opening up an Etsy shop in 2014 with stationery and little hand made gifts. Let’s face it. I have two kids, and a full time job. I don’t have time for Etsy the way I envisioned it. I want to be honest and realistic with myself and to you.

Esty was a trial run that didn’t quite develop into anything much in the small time I worked with it. I’m ok with it. I am not giving up on it. A first attempt failure has never shied me away before. I was taking the time at the end of this year to see if I really wanted to keep building pieces to re-open my shop. I put a great deal of time into really exploring my product line. In the end, my heart and head told me to take a different approach. Go with your gut.

I’m not leaving Etsy. I’ll keep it on the back burner and see how 2015 goes. If anything, I’m a resilient individual and a great entrepreneur at heart. I just need a little more business savvy. I need a little more education on the matter. Thank you all so much for your support and investments. I do hope you have enjoyed the pieces you have purchased. Thank you!

5. Heart- I wouldn’t paint if my whole heart was not leaping out of my chest every time I picked up my brush or opened a tube of paint. Though hobbies come and go, this is my passion, and it’s not going anywhere.

Ok. Out with the old. It’s a New Year and I’m kicking it off with a new work in progress and a delicious new set of Dr. Ph Martin’s radiant concentrated watercolors. My husband gifted them to me for Christmas this year, and they are a gorgeous medium. They differ greatly from the artist Windsor Newton watercolor tube paints I mainly work with. I’m having a little trial and error period with them, but we need to come to an understanding.

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So far they have been very naughty little paints and not done as they were told. They diluted into different levels of variable colors and left watermarks. They stained the paper before I was ready for them to. They failed to stay blended on paper after I premixed them in my palette.

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I’m not accustomed to not getting my way with with my paints, so I began exercising restraint. The colors are so very vibrant I figured it wouldn’t take much. I was so wrong. These paints needed me to tell them what to do. And with great confidence. If I were attempting to paint a lovely landscape of neutral enjoyment, these paints would cause a revolution. I’m not interested in neutral anymore. I want COLOR! I want things to get a little gritty and interesting. These paints could very well be the rock stars of watercolor.

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I continue to goal into the world of children’s book illustration, and I think Dr. Ph Martin and I are onto something great. We will continue to bicker and fight it out for a while, but we all know who’s the boss.

Take this swan. I began painting my background with diluted turquoise. Snore. Drool. Zzzz. I was so bored and felt so restrained. I decided to take a few layers of almost undiluted paint to the paper, and it began to fire up the water background. These paints wanted to play! Mix. Splash. Glaze. Now, I had something to work with. It’s always about finding the balance. I could really come to hate these paints if I stayed exactly where I was six months ago. Not taking any great risks. I think, instead, I will make a great ally with them.

We are at an unfinished point, this swan and me… Let’s see where the good Dr. takes us.

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12 thoughts on “New Year. New Paint

  1. I loved reading your year in review! Can’t wait to see what you work on this year. We are all trying to figuring out what the heck we are doing! It’s great to have company along the way! Looking forward to seeing your journals.

    1. Right! It wouldn’t be any fun if we all had it figured out. haha. Thanks for coming along for the journey and supporting me! I’m so excited to see another year of your creative blog. You are blooming and it’s so fun to have a buddy along the way. Thanks again!

  2. So inspirational, Alisa and I LOVE your artwork. Watercolor is my very favorite medium for children’s books. How I wish I could afford to get something going!!!

  3. Alisa I have no doubt you will keep building that solid foundation for an amazing business. Picture books definitely. Your work is unique and lifts me up every time I visit. You inspire creativity. Look forward to following your journey friend you will go far because you are not afraid of setbacks, as an artist we know that it is all one BIG learning curve in the journey to finding our true path. Blessings on you and your family for the coming year, I know it won’t be dull.

    1. You said it perfectly. It’s really a huge learning curve. Lot’s of work to be done! Thank you for being here and always encouraging me. Let’s see where we get in a year! Good luck, Friend!

      1. I just joined an Etsy on line course Etsy resolution it will teach me all the stuff I need to know to run a solid business online I hope. It starts at the end of January. Thanks and we don’t need luck, just out imagination, handwork and a LOT of passion Alisa.

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