I was looking for a good quote with which to start the new year, and so far I've found this one:
"If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am." - Cyril Cusack
My New Year Resolution is going to be to find out who Cyril Cusack is.
Here's one of my favorites. Last year I intended to send holiday cards during the week after Christmas with this quote on the inside:
"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." - Edith Lovejoy Pierce
This, too, would have been more appropriate for New Year's Eve:
"Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one." - Brad Paisley
And here's a big long one:
"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new
things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing
your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more
importantly, you're Doing Something.
So that's my wish for you,
and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious,
amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't
freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't
perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever." - Neil Gaiman
(I don't know who he is, either. FYI.)
It wasn't until the very end of last year that I really started allowing myself to take risks and make mistakes with my art. Surprisingly - to me, at least - good things came of it. I can, and many times do, still stare at a blank canvas and get a little glassy-eyed, afraid to try something new. In fact, I've spent the past two weeks trying to figure out what to paint for Andrew's commission piece. My working theory is three panels, each 26" wide by 16" high, to hang stacked vertically. I mentioned that already, right? When I can't sleep at night I think about how to fill that 1,248 square inches of space. Say it with me -- one thousand, two hundred and forty-eight square inches. That's a dang lot of blank space, especially for someone whose paintings are generally less than 100 square inches. Way less. Like 35 square inches. So two days ago I slapped some paint on one of the panels. That way I wasn't looking at a blank white space anymore, and I felt like I was making progress. I figured each layer of paint would take a day to dry, so I would be working on this project until I am old and crumbly. Curiously, last night I finished the "test" piece, which I think is going to end up being the bottom panel. It's really cool, in an abstract, mildly urban way. And I had a potentially second cool idea in the middle of the night. None of this really matters to you right now because I'm not going to show what I'm doing until Andrew sees it, but the moral of the story is "whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it."
I've finished two pieces since last we convened here. One is another rooster (go figure) and the other is another dragon. I like the rooster, but the dragon -- not sure yet. He might grow on me. Unfortunately, I cannot show you either one right now because Blogger isn't allowing me to upload any photos. And my dicey wifi keeps cutting out and I am rapidly losing patience. I shall try it again tomorrow. How irksome.
As I'm sitting here waiting for my wifi to come back I noticed the rocking chair on top of my fridge (don't ask) is covered with cobwebs. How clever.
I used up the last of my varnish on my test piece so everything is on hold until Tuesday. I can still paint (a box full of canvas panels arrived on Friday - crazy fast shipping!) but all my new paint and varnish is lagging behind so I can't finish anything new. I also ordered a bunch of postcards as a test to see if the quality of my photographs is good enough for reproductions (on cards, not prints). If the test batch is crappy, I will try again with a better set up. Better light in a better location. If that second test is still crappy, it means I will have to pony up the big bucks for professional pre-press. I'm hoping my camera is good enough. When I reproduce images as prints, and some day I will, it will most assuredly require the assistance of a professional. In the meantime I'm hoping my camera will get the job done for notecards. Stay tuned.