This is today’s drawing from my 365 days of drawing challenge. It is from a painting by old master Jean Leon Gerome. In the last few days I have had a little more time to spend on my drawing. We are staying our last week in Northland at my parents and so I have been working in my old room for the last few days which is nice and quite nostalgic and yet seems so normal. I only got married and left here a year ago.
This Sunday we head away to the South Island and to find a home for the year in Christchurch. We are officially homeless at the moment. But I’m not worried that we will find a place soon after we get down there. I am looking forward to settling down into a place of our own for the rest of the year and sorting out a little studio area and preparing for our April baby.
I am hoping to get as much painting as I can before mid April and I’m feeling surprisingly inspired and excited to get to work. I was scared that I might loose some interest in my art with having a baby and just spend all my time thinking about that. It seemed like I was going that way in the early stages of the pregnancy when the whole idea seemed to be turning my world inside out. But I have righted up again and found I am still myself and that there is room in my heart for both baby and art together.
Here is a drawing I did of Caleb’s baby doll from when he was a tot. It is the most realistic baby doll I have seen with so much detail in the features and hands and feet.
So yes, I have been doing it. I have drawn something every day this year so far. And it hasn’t been easy what with holidays traveling back from Christmas with Caleb’s family, my best friend’s wedding and no routine at all this year so far. I think I’m the kind of person that likes ordinary days. Days I can be in a routine and work and have clear head space. But life isn’t always like that. And they tell me that having a baby will turn my life even more upside down than it has ever been.
So I guess I have to learn to adapt and work when I have a minute rather than a whole day. Make the most of each hour and get straight into what I have to get done as I wont/don’t have the luxury any more of time to get myself into the right frame of mind. It is true that doing brings inspiration and only rarely dose inspiration happen before action.
Here are my daily drawings for this year. Some of them I am a bit ashamed to be showing online. They were done late at night and feeling pretty tired. But I’ve found as I get into the habit slowly, it is easier to pick up my sketchbook and when I am drawing I always find it relaxing me.
Caleb, my darling husband, decided that he would do the challenge with me! I was quite surprised and warned him that a year is a long time, but he was sure he wanted to do it. He has been wanting to improve his drawing and get more drawing lessons from me for awhile but it is always hard to find time or prioritize drawing together. So this challenge has been a really good way for him to improve. Because even a quick sketch before bed is better than no drawing at all.
Here are the first ten days of the year. Yet to scan my latest drawings, but they will be uploaded to my facebook page soon.
I’m entering art shows this year (which I need to paint a lot of paintings for)
And, I’m beginning a challenge to draw every day this year
Who would like to join me? With that last challenge on the list I mean!!
I have done drawing every day challenges in the past; the longest one was about 2oo days. I have been looking back on the drawings I did during the challenge and remembering how worth while the experience was and seeing how much my drawing improved over those 200 days, though on most of the drawings I spent no more than a half hour on. The drawings in this post are from the Inktober challenge I completed last year.
Because regular practice is good practice and every day is pretty regular.
Because when I have to draw I can’t consider how I feel. I can’t decide that I will feel more like drawing tomorrow because today is the only day. That is one of the biggest reasons why people don’t get better at drawing, because they will do it tomorrow.
Because drawing every day will help with any creative blocks that do come up now and then. It will keep me creating, at least something, while I may feel totally uninspired.
Because sometimes I don’t think I have the time to just ‘draw for fun’ (as important as that is) and this will give me a time to be creative and explore different drawing ideas and also feel like I am achieving something bigger.
Because at the end of the year I will have a collection of drawings I can look back on and see how much I will have improved over the year. That is a really inspiring thing to be able to do!
Because the discipline of consistency and drawing a lot will help me to keep putting my ideas on paper. I have always identified with Da Vinci in this quote: “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”
That is the idea and the reasons and making it public now must only harden my resolve. So! Who would like to join me? Beginning 1st January 2017 to draw in any medium every day for 365 days!
I will share the best of my work on this blog from the challenge, but on my facebook page I will upload an image of every drawing I do throughout the year. Even if it is a total disaster, it is still a drawing.
Just over a year ago I had my very fist solo exhibition. I showed a collection that I had been working on for the last couple years. That was traveling to and tramping to about forty backcountry huts in the North Island of New Zealand. I named the project, The Art of a Hut.
I did so much work, traveled to so many new places, and wrote a heap about it on my old blog. It is a project finished and wrapped up except I still have so much of the collection of work, all framed so beautifully by my father and hanging like a memorial all over the walls in the spare room of my parents house.
It’s sad for them to be locked up in that tiny room when there must be many people very familiar with a particular hut who would love to own an original drawing of it. So I have been contacting and connecting with tramping lovers through facebook groups, and it has been very nice to receive some lovely comments and inspire some people to draw in the bush themselves.
Since I began the project I have thought of writing a book about my adventures as an artist in the bush, and how I did it while earning no money, and how much I learnt about chasing a dream and making it live. The idea has haunted me! I have written down ideas and versions of drafts for a book, but this year have not worked on it. I felt a little discouraged and wanted a break from the huts to do other things. After all I was just married and living a new life! But the idea has not left me, and recently I became inspired again to write it, if only for myself. So the day after we bought a laptop I started writing and it has begun to pour out onto a blank word document.
I love writing and I am going to write this book for myself and write the kind of book I would like to read myself. Weather I ever publish it or not remains to be seen, but I am going to leave thinking about that for now and write. I won’t be doing it all at once, my main focus is on creating more art, but I want to keep consistently writing it all this coming year. Better watch out or I’ll bite of more than I can chew, already got a baby coming in April to occupy my time!
Lots of things get an artist excited! But when it comes to selling work we aren’t excited about it until something happens. The thought of approaching galleries or advertising work is scary and we fear rejection. But if we are accepted, get into the gallery, or sell a piece, we get really excited. I might really be a real artist after all!
A few weeks ago, after a lot of egging on from my Dad, I rang a gallery and was welcomed to take in some work to show them. I chose four large paintings to take it, loaded them up in our dusty little car (gravel roads!), and took them into Masterpiece Gallery in Kerikeri.
The owner happened to have just gone out when I arrived, but the lady working there sat me down and took my details and helped me with pricing the pieces. Then said I would have to wait for Ian’s decision and warned me that they already have too much artwork for the walls in their new gallery space. So I left my work their leaning up against the counter and tried not to be too hopeful.
Not long after I left I got a call from the gallery owner, Ian, who asked if I was still in town, would love to meet me, and my paintings were already on the wall. Now I got excited! When I walked back in two of my paintings were hanging facing the doorway. I chatted to Ian for a bit, a lovely and enthusiastic man who said positive things about my art and seemed hopeful that he could sell it! He likes to price the work in their quite low (from an artist’s point of view) so that work keeps moving and the strategy seems to be working for the gallery is doing well and there is always new work in there to enjoy.
Currently two of my largest hut paintings are in the gallery. Murderer’s Hut and Rock’s Ahead Hut (above). So if you find yourself in the town of Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, New Zealand, be sure to go into the Masterpiece Gallery under the clock tower in the town center and check out my paintings, and all the other brilliant work in there.
About a month now we have been in Northland and in the summer enjoying life in a little country cottage that we have been blessed to be able to stay at. It is an old cottage, that creaks and rocks when you walk across the floor. There are hundreds of sparrows nesting in the eves and in the trees around. The garden is beautiful with several rose bushes in full bloom, smelling wonderful and surrounded by a pretty rock wall. And the views in every direction are beautiful- so much open sky!
I have begun doing some plein air paintings, a few smaller ones and a large one I painted from the kitchen window. Yet to have a photo of the finished painting, but will share that soon.
This summer we will be in Northland again, living in a cute little cottage on a friend’s family farm. And I am planning to get in a whole lot of plein air painting while the weather is warm and I am surrounded in beautiful scenery. I have done some plein air painting here in Christchurch this year, but I struggled to find inspiration in the jungle of man-made structures, as well as it being cold for most of the months we are here. There are many beautiful places here to paint, beautiful parks, and interesting streets, but I still feel much more inspired to paint wide open country spaces. So I am looking forward to spending this summer in the country.
Caleb found me a pile of cast of strips of metal a little while ago which are about the perfect size to cut up into 9 x 12 in. panels to do paintings on. I have never painted on metal before, so it should be interesting. I will let you know how it goes. I also have a few pieces of glass to paint on, also something Caleb found for me in his city scavenging. He finds so many things that ‘could be useful’.
I’ve been looking forward for awhile to this opportunity to paint outside somewhere beautiful. I often want to go outside and paint more, but I don’t do it much because I get so distracted by what is going on in my studio and because it requires more effort to get myself outside when I’m not feeling inspired. But this summer I wont have a studio, and I am thinking of it as a sort of plein air adventure. I will be there to paint landscapes and to make the most of the opportunity of living in the country with beautiful landscapes in every direction just a step outside of the cottage.
From the experience I had doing The Art of a Hut project I know that making the decision and then putting yourself in a position where you have to do the work helps a lot. I made the decision to tramp to all those huts and at each one I had to get out in all weathers and draw the hut because I only had half a day to do it in. In that way extreme adventures where one must act in order to survive can seam easier mentally than leaving the house one afternoon into the serene sunshine of a calm afternoon to paint. There is no room to procrastinate, and when you are slogging up a mountain in the rain with all your painting gear and no rest until you get to the hut you are not going to stop and sit down to think this through, even if you are having second thoughts! Whereas for me, I am always finding myself procrastinating by thinking the painting through a bit more, how about a bit more inspiration research on pintrest? I’ll just make myself a cup of tea and then I’ll get into it–and while I drink it I may as well flick through this art book…I might learn something important…
I know I can be lazy and procrastinate a lot even with things I love to do once I have started, so I need to get my mind into a place where I see it as a challenging adventure, an exploratory journey, with one opportunity of getting all the painting and learning done that I want to. And then to remember that I do enjoy it, every time I have hit canvass with brush I realize I don’t want to do anything else in the world and I get lost in time.
But still, the struggle is real, creative blocks can be a sort of lingering paralyzing part of our lives. You could call it paralysis by analysis. But I will write about that later… I’m still figuring it out for myself after barely lifting a brush for the last couple months.
Below is a painting I did back in 2014. It is one of my favorite plein air paintings I have done, but unfortunately it never survived a day. On my way home from painting this on a bush walk it rained and not having any sort of wet panel carrier the painting was ruined. But it encourages me to go again and again after that elusive beauty, Nature.
Here are a few examples of my drawings and paintings from this year. As you can see I have been exploring portrait drawing and flowers. All were done from life except the painting of the woman which is a master copy of J. W. Waterhouse’s ‘Boreas’. The rest are done from live models and flowers that Caleb brings home to me.
A new blog! Best to start with an introduction of myself and what this blog is to be about, what sort of musings this artist is going to share. And what sort of artist I am in the first place. I love traditional art, paintings and drawings. I love to learn the skills and the technical side of art. And I think the reason for art is beauty and truth and for love. Which sounds very sentimental because it is. I am a sentimental romantic of a sorts.
My name is Felicity, I live in the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand. I was raised in Northland (top of NZ) in the countryside where the land is green, the air is fresh and pure — but now I find myself in a city, and the air is not so great in here! In Jan 2016 I married my first love and moved down to Christchurch in the south island where he, Caleb, is studying forestry engineering. I’ve never wanted to live in a city, but I am learning to experience more of life, and that there are certain advantages of city living, but I’m still looking forward to getting back outside of it.
When I used to write introductions for myself on old blogs or in letters, I had no trouble describing my life because nothing ever changed in the slow routine of life. But now I am having trouble describing what my life looks like, because now it seams always to be changing. I have no idea where I will be living next year, though it will be in Christchurch still, and the year after that, when Caleb has graduated, we could be anywhere in the country. At present, we are about to leave Christchurch for the summer. Back to Northland, Yay! I will be with friends and family again, I can’t wait. I am going to do lots of Plein Air painting this summer. Since I wont have a proper studio I will simply use the great out-doors to work in. I will write a post all about that shortly.
Another interesting thing about my life is that I’m going to be a mother in about six months. Now that is something pretty life changing for me. I’ve always wanted to have children, and I have also always wanted to be an artist, and now I am both. Balancing the two is going to be something of a learning curve. I will be writing more about this also; attempting to answer the what, why, and how questions that come up when two huge parts of one’s life seam about to clash head on.
On this blog I wish to write about my journey as an artist, and that journey includes much more than just creating art and being inspired by other artists. It is also about my life as a whole, all the other aspects of my life influence my work so much that this blog would be incomplete without including a glimpse of my personal life.
So you may expect to find posts on here on topics such as how I will balance being Mother with being Artist, how living in new places is affecting my work, how my relationship with my husband influences my art, and how my love of nature, literature, music, and dance, and things beautiful inspire me.