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A New Year Arrives... (picture heavy post)

Twelve new chapters to our lives with 365 pages to realize our personal dreams and adventures in which to live them. That truly doesn't seem like a lot. I believe the adage is true that the older we get the quicker time seems to go by and the less we have of it...time that is.

Speaking of time, I did not realize that my last post was in September 2021. I admit that time did get away from me, what with working a full-time day job and all. But truthfully, I expected that to happen.

A quick explanation....

At the end of September, my dear mother-in-law became ill rather suddenly and unexpectedly. She had the typical ailments of elderly folks, but otherwise, she was in seemingly good health. After many lab test, it was discovered that she had a very acute and aggressive form of Leukemia. The family fought the good fight with her, moving her from hospital to hospital, rehab to rehab, until finally her body gave out and tired of this world, she moved on to the next. We lost her October 26, 2021. Since that time, my family dynamics has changed, where my father-in-law is now a full-time resident in my home. Albeit, he is a bit disgruntled about the entire situation...what do you want from a grumpy old fella who is about to hit is 80th birthday? At any rate, long story short, it took a wee bit of time for our new living arrangements to settle in and adjust to our new way of life.

Needless to say, it also took me a bit of time to find the time to create. Not that my new house dweller is in my way or anything like is probably more a mental thing where my head needed to be in the right place with so many things happening in a relatively short period of time. Then, of course, came all of the holidays. I'm pretty sure I do not need to explain that one. :-P

However, even though the holidays were busy, I did manage to keep myself creatively satisfied. One of the things I did was familiarize myself with my array of watercolors that I have collected over the last couple of years. I found myself a notebook, purchased some plastic sleeve fillers that contained pockets about the size of business cards, then set out to paint a color swatch of each color of paint that I had in watercolors and gouache. On the backside of each card, I wrote out the color information. This took quite a bit of time and kept my mind busy when I didn't really have time to dedicate to anything more involved than painting swatches. :-P The sample photos below are only a small portion of the color swatches I created for my new color library.

In the middle of creating all of the color swatches, I also found some time to create some new art pieces. The sole purpose was to learn some new techniques that I can apply to my art work. For those wondering, these pieces are now in private collections. :-D Yay me!

This beach scene was done following along a YouTube tutorial. I wanted to do a little practice at painting water/ocean effects and skies. It was painted with watercolor paints on 12 x 18 watercolor paper. Since it was a tutorial, I made this a gift for Christmas to a co-worker who really loves the beach. :-) It was a win-win situation. I learned something (sort of haha) and she got a pretty descent gift! That's one way to close off your shopping list. :-D

This one was created trying a new technique that I had not tried before. First, I took some acid-free tissue paper and gessoed it to my watercolor paper. After I let it completely dry, I took advantage of the textured paper and let the watercolor run where it may, creating the forest scene. Honestly, I really liked this technique because I really love to create texture. This painting is now in a private collection. I will be creating prints of this image soon. So be sure to check my store later if you are interested. :-)

And this brings me to the last project....sort of. I liked the textured process so much in the first tree painting that I decided to try my hand at it again. As with anything, sometimes the next go round is not as agreeable as the first time you do it and so I struggled with it a bit. However, even though I became completely frustrated with it, I stuck to it. I tried almost everything under the sun to make it work. I added oil pastels, colored pencils, gouache, yeah, it was one of those things. Honestly, I was about to toss it in to the trash but I decided to walk away from it and let it be for a while. (A little something I learned from my sculpting days.) :-P I also took a photo of my process thinking that just in case I destroyed it by over working it, I could maybe salvage it in to something new later by breathing fresh life into it.

Anyway, I finally came back to it and let it become what it wanted...a true mixed media piece of art. LOL Interestingly enough, since I am trying to familiarize myself with gouache, I threw that into the mix. I figured I had nothing to loose at this point. To my surprise, I actually came out with something that was not too bad....which translates to: I can live with that. The original piece is now in a private collection too. I guess it's a good thing I stuck with it after all. :-D I'm considering getting prints made of this one as well. Maybe someone can help kick me in that direction if there is interest, feel free to email me! This one is called "Winter Wood".

At any rate, this leads me to the final thing. Remember how I mentioned I was struggling with this last image and I decided to take a photo of my progress before it totally went awry? Well, I came back to that image and started to play with it in my Procreate app. I liked the snowy field/forest idea and so I continued down that path. This time, I pushed it to a dreamy and magical story book feel and ended up with this image I call "Winter Traveler". This particular image will have prints available soon in my shop. They are in the printing process now, so check back later if you are interested!

In closing, I have to say, I think I managed to finish off the year 2021 pretty strong. Not only did I learn a few new skills to carry with me, but I also learned the importance to have the patience to push through something that might not be working out as I had initially been hoping for. By pushing through it, I was gifted with a magical piece of work that I might not otherwise come to at any other time. So, never give up on something that doesn't seem to be working out because you never know when you will discover a happy accident in your favor!

Happy New Year to you all!

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