Here's To 2017! May She Be All We Intend Her To Be!

Oh, how ready I am for a brand new year! Not that the old one was bad!! LOL . . . but I have had my fill of it and am definitely ready to move on! 🙂 I always love the beginning of every year, with all its many opportunities for new beginnings, fresh starts, freedoms and unforeseen possibilities! I have a feeling that 2017 will be an exciting year, with lots of fascinating experiences and growth-promoting adventures for me!

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I mentioned in my last blog that hubby and I would be vacationing in Spain for a month. I’ve hesitated to share much about our trip or my excitement over it on Facebook, because I am always a bit concerned about making anyone feel badly / depressed / envious . . . and besides, I am a fairly private person and don’t usually like sharing too many details of my private life on FB . . . but here on my blog (which so few people read! LOL ), I think it’s safe to admit . . . I am SO excited and cannot wait!! 😀

The Alhambra in Granada, Spain

I’ve never been to Europe and, other than our week at a cottage last year and the odd day or weekend getaway over the years, hubby and I haven’t traveled very much, so when this opportunity came up for us, we decided we could afford it and we well and truly deserve it . . . and so, we are heading off to sunny Andalucia for almost the entire month of February!! We will be meeting up with another couple and will be touring the country by rented car and staying in Cadiz, Seville, Cordoba and Marbella, with day trips to Jerez, Granada, Ronda, Malaga, Gibraltar and possibly even Portugal if our schedule allows.

Map of Andalucia

I am looking so forward to seeing the breathtaking landscapes and all the incredible architecture there and, because this is supposed to be an art blog post about my 2017 intentions, I intend to keep a sketchbook journal of every place we go. I really, really hope I will be able to keep up with it! My plan is to try to fill a two page spread with as many little sketches as I can while we’re out and about through the day, then to journal around the sketches once we’re settled in to relax at night . . . so I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t be too awe-struck during the day or too pooped in the evening to do so! I follow a lot of urban sketchers and so enjoy all their sketches of the places they visit, and would just love to have a similar chronicle for myself of my Spain adventure.

The Sketch Kit I put together for my trip. Includes graphite pencils, pens, watercolour paints, watercolour pencils, coloured pencils, and water brushes. I doubt very much that I will use it all, but would rather have it and not need it, than not have it and want it.

I don’t know how my internet access will be while there, but if it’s good, I also intend to post some of our trip photos to Instagram (which I will share to FB), and perhaps my sketch journal pages as I complete them as well.

I asked for (and received) for Christmas a new, big purse that fits my entire Sketch Kit as well as a 5×8 sketchbook, so I am able to keep everything with me on my travels. I only wish I could fit Flirt inside too! Thankfully, she will be well taken care of while we’re gone 🙂

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As for my other 2017 intentions, I have quite a few this year . . . many of them related to art! These past couple of years have been so very busy and artistically dry for me that I feel a real urge to make up for lost time and I intend to feed my drawing addiction with a vengeance this year! LOL

Graphite on gesso’d masonite board.

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My first love always has been and remains sketching. I hope to satisfy that itch by sketching in Spain, and though I won’t commit to another Daily Sketch Challenge, I plan to do a lot of sketching throughout the year. For Christmas, I asked for (and received) a membership to the Canadian Museum of Nature. I just love this museum (possibly because it is where I met hubby! hehe) . . . they have so many wonderful exhibits — dinosaurs, mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, etc. — and since I  live only several blocks away, I intend to fill a sketchbook this year with many of the museum’s exhibits. I also intend to take part in a lot more Ottawa Urban Sketchers outings this year than I managed to get to last year.

A sketch I did at the Museum last year.

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Along with sketching, I really love doing serious drawings, mainly portraits. I’m also very interested in life drawing, and so, I intend to continue taking drawing classes with Sarah a little later this year to increase my confidence and my skill level. Hopefully I will be able to fit in a couple of the long pose life drawing practice sessions she offers as well.

Portrait of actress Gene Tierney, graphite and charcoal.

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Though I know my “drawing doldrums” over the past couple of years have stemmed primarily from lack of time and energy, I suspect that my lack of focused subject matter (aka a “niche”) has also played a role. Though I love drawing people, unfortunately, unless you do portrait commissions (which I dislike intensely!!), drawings of people just don’t sell very well. After all, would YOU want a grey-toned portrait of a stranger’s face hanging on your wall?? No, me neither! LOL  And so, since most of my drawings are of faces (mainly my daughter’s), I haven’t sold many drawings over the years . . . and honestly, I’d really like to change that this year! And with this thought in mind, I am feeling excited to say that I think I may have finally found my “niche”!

Sketched study of crow in preparation for serious drawing.

I love animals, and over the last year I have become extremely interested in birds. So much so, that I asked for (and received) a pair of binoculars for Christmas (LOL . . . yes, it was a great Christmas! 😀 ) and I plan to join the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club when I get back from my trip. I’d really like to merge my new bird watching hobby with my art and I intend to do a series of bird drawings this year. I’m hoping to do a series of twelve — one for each month of the year! I already have my January bird ref, and hope I can get a good shot of a European bird while we’re in Spain for my February bird. I’ve decided to keep these drawings fairly small (under 16″ x 20″) with the hope that they can remain affordable and will perhaps make their way from my drawing board to their forever homes. I haven’t yet decided, so it’s not really an intention, but I am considering perhaps having a solo show next year if I can complete enough drawings. I’ve also been thinking very much about donating my time to the Wild Bird Care Centre after my return from Spain, which would not only allow me to contribute to a cause I care a lot about, but would give me access to some pretty great photo ops!! hehe

Playing Coy, graphite on paper.

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Due in almost equal measure to lack of time and lack of desire, I’ve spent very little time on Facebook this past year. I don’t miss it and don’t see that changing for the foreseeable future, but I do intend to become more active on Instagram. I’ve said this before and it never really stuck, so hopefully this time will be the charm. Same thing for blogging. I plan to start blogging again more regularly.

Angry Bird, graphite on paper.

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On a more personal front, every year I choose a word to guide me through the coming year (or rather, during meditation, the word chooses me 🙂 ). This year, for the first time, two words chose me. The first word that whispered in my mind was “Healing”, which I thought was just soooo appropriate, as I am still having some stomach pain issues. But then a second word whispered insistently at me…”Release” . . . which I also felt was very appropriate. So, I have a feeling it’s going to be an extraordinary, healing year, full of release for me!! 😉

My White Stone, with Healing written on one side and Release on the other.

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Have you set any New Year Resolutions or Intentions for yourself, personal or creative? If so, I’d love to hear what they are and wish you all the best with them! 🙂

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