The 3 best things I did for my art in 2013

2013 was the year that I finally began to feel that I had found my style, and really began loving my paintings.
I became comfortable calling myself an artist.


"Mim's Valentine" available as a print
“Mim’s Valentine”
available as a print

This is the third time I’ve done this review of the previous year, and each time it’s been incredibly useful in setting my direction for the coming year.

Feel free to use the idea yourself, and add yourself to the linky doodad below.

1. I took two online Art Courses

In January I took a self-paced course, Mindy Lacefield‘s “Paint Your Story“.

“Bring your Bucket & Spade”

It really helped me to develop my own style and gain confidence and speed in creating.
I learnt basic rules about shading faces and gave myself permission to make more mess.

Perfection, I began to realize, is an illusion.

Then in September, I began a year-long course, “Serendipity”, with Juliette Crane.

In it, she is sharing everything she herself learns over the twelve months.
We’ve been learning techniques (especially for when you get stuck), trying lots of new media, and seeing how Juliette solves different dilemmas as she creates her own beautiful paintings.

I feel like I’ve learnt so much already from this course, and it’s not even half-way done.

"Not on THIS Parade" original available
“Not on THIS Parade”
original available

The main thing I feel I’ve gained so far is more enjoyment in the process of creating. By seeing that someone as talented as Juliette gets frustrated with her paintings, covers bits up, redoes faces, gets stuck, I’ve become much more kind to myself as I lay down each layer.

I know now that every mark I make is perfect,
because it adds to the depth and story of the piece I’m creating.

(even if I end up covering it over)

2. Instagram opened my eyes

Seeing others’ work, connecting with other artists, and sharing my own art on ig was as important a step for me in 2013 as facebook was for me in 2012.

"Chocolate Sounded Pretty Good to Tom" available as a print
“Chocolate Sounded Pretty Good to Tom”
available as a print

Using hashtags (#) mean that my art is being seen and loved by a much wider circle of people, and it’s so easy to find lovely art by other artists – and people with the same interests as me.

I’ve met a whole new group of creative people, some of whom I’m now connected with on fb, and learnt about new ways of making art – like art journaling, which I’m loving so much.

What’s more, seeing my art alongside that of so many other’s meant seeing my own work in a different light.

3. I learned to trust

Most of you know that we had a rough year. The silver lining was a doozey, though.

I finally learnt to deal with stress in a more positive way.
I’m not religious, but I now really do know that there is a reason for things happening the way they do.

"You Rule My World" original available
“You Rule My World”
original available

I went through such a long dry spell and feel that my art is deeper and truer than ever before. It expresses so much more than previously.
And because I’ve been through that, I no longer fear that I’ll wake up one day unable to paint.

I’ve been there, the worst has happened.

And you know what? I came back stronger and better.

It’s so helpful to be able to look back on the steps I’ve taken along my path since the beginning of 2011.
I hope that you’ll give it a try and let me know how you go.

Cheers, and happy PPF!
jane xxx

The 3 Best Things I Did For My Art in 2012

Swoop - original mixed media girl painting - feb 2012

This is something I did last year on my old blog and found very useful.

To be able to look back and see where I was twelve months ago, how far I’ve come and to guide me in my direction this year.

The way I see myself has changed so much in such a short time – I didn’t even think of myself as an artist a year ago, let alone have a style of my own.

(yes, I know it’s april, but anyway…)

So here we go..

For Ayla - mixed media girl painting - april 2012

1.  I became active in artist groups on Facebook

Groups like Ayala Art‘s “29 Faces” and Tracy Verdugo‘s “Magically Mixed Art Community” were invaluable.

I met other artists, learnt from them, gave and received positive feedback, made some amazing friends.

None of my real-life friends are artists, so it was particularly wonderful to be able to share what I was learning and experiencing with people who ‘got’ me.

We’re all at different stages of our art journey, which really helped me to stop comparing myself to others and just enjoy where I was.TeapotLady, FloralTang - original mixed media girl painting - jul 2012 - etsy listing

I began to see myself and my art differently because I was seeing myself through their eyes.

I was also exposed to different styles of art, which definitely helped me on the way to finding my own.

2.  I pinpointed two key artists whose work I’d like to emulate

There are a lot of artist’s whose work I love and admire, but I don’t necessarily want to paint in their style.

I’m talking about artists whose work contains elements that I’d like to include in my own paintings.

Snow Day - original mixed media girl painting - aug 2012

I spent hours looking at art that inspired me, working out what it was that appealed to me, then how the artist achieved the effects I loved.

By the way, I’m talking about you, Mindy Lacefield and Juliette Crane

3.  I consciously worked on my ‘style’

I practiced, screwed things up, practiced more, painted over the bits I hated, practiced again, painted over whole paintings if they didn’t make me happy.

Whoo are you waiting for? - mixed media owl painting - aug 2012Even so, I usually only stayed in love with each one for a matter of weeks, because my skills improved so much with each painting I completed.

When I did this exercise last year, I wrote “I feel like I’m finally becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be”.

I still feel that way, only more so.
I have such a feeling of purpose in my life now, which I know will only increase in the future.

Looking to the past is what I’ve been up to this week.
I’m linking to Paint Party Friday, so please pop over and check out what everyone else has been doing..