Begin. Again.

The past several months have certainly presented us all with challenges, but they’ve also offered surprising opportunities to draw and paint with artists who are generously teaching on their websites and other online platforms. Many are offering free sample lessons as a way to attract new paying students and that seems a very fair exchange to me. A few have led me to try new subjects or materials that I’d not been attracted to before.

For example, I’ve never been much interested in pencil drawing or depicting animals. But I produced this graphite image of a sheep from a Drawing Together session, using the instructor’s reference photo. I rather like the texture of the wool and grasses. Especially the grasses.

Peggy Willett’s version of a Drawing Together topic

As I try to find my own creative style or vision, I’ve also been working in pastel and watercolor, using my own reference photos and sketches. An ascending road in wooded hillside near my home intrigues me but my paintings of it, so far, have been a struggle. So after the sheep drawing worked out so well, I carried some of the same techniques into the sketch below. Having drawn it like this, I know this place better and think any future paintings of the same location will be stronger.

Up California Avenue – graphite on paper – Peggy Willett 2021

I’ve also set myself the following 2021 goals:

  1. To develop a more disciplined and regular creative practice.
  2. To overcome my “blank page anxiety’ which I allow to keep me from marring that first perfect page in a sketchbook.
  3. To stop worrying about wrecking a piece of expensive watercolor or pastel paper. It’s just paper.
  4. To USE the (almost) embarrassing amount of art supplies I’ve acquired in recent months.

And I’ve found a new resource that I think will help me progress. “How to Pastel” a blog by Gail Sibley, has been a great resource in recent months, and I’ve joined her art-making membership community, “Ignite!” Having titled my own blog “Artfuel”, the word “ignite” resonates with me and I’m hoping the program structure will provide some much needed kindling to fire up my efforts this year.

So after a long dry spell, I begin. Again. Maybe that’s the point. To keep beginning.