A new year has trickled its way into existence. I rather love that, although there are all sorts of ‘new year new me’ messages out there right now, I am still here, working away at the same projects. Drawing birds. Thinking about healing and therapy.
I will say that the second half of December was a flurry of activity as I worked pretty hard to get something drawn on every single page in my sketchbook. I’d decided that although I didn’t necessarily have to completely finish this particular sketchbook by the end of 2023, I still wanted to keep up the precious art-making momentum I’d worked so hard to build. Like many artists I know, I have rarely finished a sketchbook. I wanted to finish this one! So, I did! Sort of. By New Years Eve I had actually drawn something on every single page, and I was so proud of myself- I’m still so proud of myself. I set a flexible goal, adjusted the goal to the rhythms of my life and still met it.
Now, I am working on finishing up those drawings to my own satisfaction, as well as tackling the herculean task of scanning in, editing and listing them as finished illustrations on my website and in my etsy shop. It honestly feels like a delicious way to begin 2024. This is by no means an end to the Emotional Birds series. I have so many thoughts and ideas for more bird illustrations. But, this does feel like a nice marker of time and of this project.
Once I finish these few drawings and translate them into illustrations, I will begin my next sketchbook, and in that sketchbook I have already decided I won’t just draw Emotional Birds, but will keep it open to all sorts of fun and play. I think starting this project and focusing so heavily on completing a daily Emotional Bird drawing was transformative for my art making practice and I am so grateful I did it. Now I'm ready for more variety and a wider range of subject matter. I have ideas for a couple of paintings on panel, and reworking an old illustration I’d done when I first started my company, not to mention all the flowers and other critters I’ve been itching to draw. I’ve been promising my kiddo a drawing of a fox for over a month now!
Despite the self enforced limitation of subjects, I have been so invigorated by this series. I’ve played around with more materials in the past couple months than I did in years! It’s funny how setting rules in certain areas enables you to break into new paths and patterns where you’d never ventured before, even if you’d wanted to. This play has me wondering if I’d like to take an online course in illustration. Maybe I’d get something out of guided artist exercises. Maybe I just need to keep giving myself assignments and limitations. I like setting my own rules so I can find new ways to break them. It could also be so nice to just be a student again to have someone else set the curriculum and tell me how to play with materials. I want to get more and more comfortable in my own sketchbook. Fill up pages. Draw wonky perspectives and do more illustrative work. Mess around with pattern and color. I’m not sure exactly where I am heading, but it’s all very intriguing and exciting at the moment. There is no denying I'm in a much better place creatively than I was at the start of the summer.
For now, I am focusing on finishing up these pages, these last Emotional Birds in this particular sketchbook and celebrating the accomplishment of completing it.
What I’ve been reading: Devotions, Mary Oliver
What I’ve been listening to: Mourning Sound, Grizzly Bear
Watching: Adam Savage's Tested