2017 Year in Review
2017 was a very productive year for me. By far the most productive year I’ve ever had, and that includes my school years. This year, I completed 43 paintings and have grown considerably as an artist. To compare, I finished 26 paintings total in the last two years and probably less than 10 in the 10 years prior to that.
My biggest problem those two years was just getting myself to sit down to paint. For the most part, I’ve mostly gotten past that. Although, I do still struggle with it on occasion. The other big hurdle I struggled with was painting very slowly. Having a deadline to post a finished a painting almost every week really helped me get much faster. I can also see a huge improvement in my technical ability since the beginning of the year too. It wasn’t that my earlier paintings weren’t accurate, it’s that I get it right the first time more often and have a lot less to go back and correct. I used to spend an enormous amount of time correcting mistakes and struggling in general to achieve the look and color I wanted. I’m no longer struggling as much with that which paved the way to painting quickly.
I spent the majority of this year focused on painting still lifes. My original plan for these painting was to paint them in 30 days, but since I was a slow painter I spread it way, way out to one painting a week. After finishing the initial 30 paintings, I continued the trend of finishing roughly one painting a week to finished out the year.
Above is the original 30 paintings. After I finished them, I moved on to peppers since I had taken a bunch of pepper photos for a commission. It’s hard to say whether it was the relief of completing my goal, the cumulation of 9 months hard work, or peppers are really easy to paint, but I found the remaining paintings in the series very relaxing and easy to paint. So easy in fact, that I used them as warm ups for painting more difficult/intimidating paintings.
Aside from still lifes, I also completed three pet portrait commissions. I love painting animals and especially commissions, but I’m thinking I need to get cracking on painting a few of my own pets here and there too. I have two cats and two dogs that are in dire need of their own portraits. The portrait of my dog I did last year was damaged by my clumsy husband and I’m still attempting to repair it. I’ll probably just repaint it since there was quite a bit of cracking around the edges after lining and re-stretching it, not to mention the hole. I’m sure I’d paint it better the next go around anyway.
Not all of my still lifes this year were dark and brooding. I was commissioned to paint some peppers on a bright white background and since I had taken so many reference photos I painted another bright pepper painting. The second one was also the largest painting I had done so far this year and motivated me to start an even bigger painting. That larger painting isn’t finished yet though, so look out for it sometime in 2018.
In preparation for an actual 30 in 30 challenge in January, I also completed three paintings that were supposed to be alla prima paintings. Each one ended up being two layers, but I tried. Although, I think given my previous track record of garbage-y alla prima paintings in the past, it’s a very good start. Out of the three, the last one was by far the easiest and quickest to paint, so I think I’m getting the hang of it.
To finish out the year, I painted a still life for my husband’s birthday of his service weapon a badge. The all American look with the flag wasn’t exactly intentional. We fiddled around forever with backdrops and we both agreed that it was really the only backdrop that worked. I suppose it’s fitting though since it was a flag from his days in the Coast Guard. Far more personal meaning than some random background cloth.
Thank you to all of my followers who have liked and commented and sent me encouraging emails. I truly appreciate all of the support you’ve given me and I couldn’t have been this successful without you. What is your favorite painting from this year? I couldn’t choose since each one is my favorite until I finish the next one.
It was a good year. I’ll see all of you in the next one. 🙂