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end-of-summer resolutions

September 7, 2009

I always find September to be a much better time for making resolutions and implementing change than January.  I’ve tried making New Year’s resolutions, but I don’t know that I’ve ever once followed through on them, really.  I’m usually fighting to just keep up with all I have to do by then, and am at my lowest possible energy level due to the lack of sunlight, and the cold weather, not to mention recovering from holiday overindulgences. On the other hand, September is the beginning of the school year, there’s a new, exciting chill in the air, although it’s still sunny and warm, and I always have the feeling it’s a new beginning.

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I draw and paint (and blog, for that matter), and what I’d like to accomplish this year. I blog because I love the contacts and feedback it provides – I’ve met so many wonderful, artistic friends this way.  On the other hand, it sometimes takes up a little too much time, and I don’t really like spending hours at a time in front of my computer – it reminds me too much of my translating  work I guess. I draw, and by extension paint, because I really love it, and because I want to be very good at it some day.  That really is my prime motivation – not so much to sell my work, funny as that sounds.  Of course, we all love recognition and I do too, but I don’t want to do work based on what I think would sell rather than what I think is good.

Anyway, for now I’m still working just for me except for a couple of projects, and my goal is to improve my skills.  I bought myself a perspective drawing handbook, because I’d like to work on precision (my daughter tells me that my ellipses really need work!) and I need to get moving on some more oil painting as I find it really helps me to concentrate on observation of form and color. I want to start sketching more too.  In August I slowed down a lot.  Maybe I needed a break.  Last week I saw an exhibit at the Musée de la Poste in Paris on travel sketchbooks, and came home all pumped up and ready to draw more, but I’m still moving slowly on that front. I’m also going to keep up with life drawing, twice a week if it all works out, because I really think it’s one of the best way to hone all of those skills.

So, concretely, I’ll spend Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings life drawing, as many afternoons as possible in my studio, do at least 2 chapters of perspective drawing a week, allocate time to practicing things I find difficult (eg hands, portraits) at least 3 hours a week, and keep up with blogging and internet networking 2 mornings a week.  Think I can do it?

In the mean time, here are a couple of leftover sketches from this summer, because fall is also a nostalgic time for me –  the view from our holiday kitchen,  a quick sketch of Cordes-sur-Ciel, and a slide show of pencil sketches from cafés, markets, etc.

How about you?  What are your plans?

21 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2009 9:58 am

    Tu n’étais pas loin de chez moi ! Cordes… c’est si beau !… As-tu fait un saut à Albi voir le musée Toulouse Lautrec ?…
    Mes plans en cette rentrée de septembre : remplir des carnets : de croquis et d’idées glanées ici et là en prévision de toiles…

  2. Lisa at Greenbow permalink
    September 7, 2009 11:12 am

    Oh yes, my mantra is draw more, paint more, eat less. I could probably have written your first two paragraphs here. This time of year does seem the perfect time to go forward with any plans. It is the time of year when we sharpen those pencils, organize those closets, throw out the summer collection of sand and dirt and get on with what we are doing or more likely want to do.

  3. September 7, 2009 12:00 pm

    I share your feelings about the energy and focus of September, but regularly review my Art Goals and set new ones in January. Well, regularly since 2006 when I started to think about Art.

    I love your rooftops and when I looked at the photo decided that I would have gotten lost in the details – and never been able to capture the “essence” of the view as you did.

    Loved all the fast sketches! What type of pencil do you use and do you then need to spray with fixative?

    Shirley

  4. September 7, 2009 12:51 pm

    Great plan… I share your artistic goals.. I don’t ‘sell’ either… I just want to do work that I’m proud of… it is a learning curve for me since I started so late in life. My goal for this fall is to do more ‘plein aire’ sketches and paintings… and to improve on buildings and perspective.. there is so much to learn isn’t there?

  5. September 7, 2009 5:38 pm

    That’s a wonderful plan, Casey and I can see you achieving it. We have visitors until the end of September so I have no chance to plan yet. Now it is cooler at least I can start walking and sketching again. That’s sort of a plan.

    I’m very much looking forward to more of your oil paintings and glad you are going to keep up the sketches which we all enjoy so much.

    Of these I particularly love the village on the hillside and as always your sketch of Michel.

  6. September 7, 2009 6:10 pm

    I stopped making resolutions a long time ago. They were something I firmly set myself to do at the time and that would last maybe 2 weeks. After that those resolutions just disolved into the ether. So now I don’t make them any more.
    Funny, but I feel the same way about winter and fall. The start of the school year always feels more energetic to me than mid winter. Maybe it’s still ingrained from my school days. I always loved the beginning of the school year! New shoes and supplies, new class rooms and teacers and making new friends.
    January is a time for snuggling up with🙂 blnkets, books and hot chocolate

  7. September 8, 2009 2:20 am

    Hi Casey, Your drawings are so wonderful! It’s great to have the personal freedom to explore as you want to. Interesting discussion on resolutions and why you do what you do….hmmm, something to think about!

  8. September 8, 2009 2:50 am

    I like your plan, a lot. The only fixed part of my plan for this fall is to attend some long pose figure sessions and to paint and draw as much as I can. I’ve started reading The Painter’s Handbook by Gottsegen, and would like to work through it, to increase my knowledge of materials. And, looking at the wealth of sketching you’ve been doing, increase my sketchbook use. At some point, I’d like to sketch my way through a movie at home, using the pause function.

  9. benedictedelachanal permalink
    September 8, 2009 1:26 pm

    Your watercolors make me nostalgic!
    Plans are good, it made me come back to drawing,4 years ago, one hour a week no matter what, now it is one page in a sketchbook a day. This plan is harder to keep!
    Your ellipse on that table seems really good for my eye.

  10. sandy permalink
    September 8, 2009 7:17 pm

    Oh Casey, thank you for sharing your Sept resolutions, they sound very ambitious and focused, A Plan is Key (for me anyway) Oh How I wish I could reach your level of talent, but I am lucky to have met you and seen you paint in action and to have your fabulous blog to illustrate and inspire. I look forward to everything you can post!

  11. September 8, 2009 9:27 pm

    The New Year seems to begin in September for me, too. I think it’s a holdover from back to school days! That’s a long holdover! Good luck with your resolutions.

    Love the pencil sketches.

  12. danscanvas permalink
    September 9, 2009 1:56 am

    I began my blog 6 months ago no conception of the marvelous contacts I would make, and the inspiration and lessons I would gain from their work. I had no idea I would be doing ink and watercolor. I hope to do acrylics and/or oil as well (probably acrylics first because I have them). I am very complimented that you visit my blog because your work is, to me, so wonderful. With your goals, I cannot even imagine how great you will be and I hope you will still be posting because I want to see! I think we have a community of “soul-mates” with a shared goal – we are all work to improve; and we all improve, in part, by observing one another’s work. PS – Not to exclude the others, but I love the view from the holiday kitchen!

  13. September 9, 2009 11:38 pm

    Tes croquis sont superbes!!! J’aime particulièrement le premier, mais ils sont tous magnifiques.
    Pour le slide show, c’est chouette ça! Quel plaisir de voir tant de croquis défiler sous nos yeux!!!

  14. September 10, 2009 10:26 am

    Superbe croquis de Cordes sur Ciel : si tu te tiens à tes résolutions tu va arriver très vite à des merveilles ! De mon côté c’est un peu plus terre à terre : refaire du sport, toujours et encore des carnets d’un peu de tout mais encore plus de personnages (mon point faible).

  15. September 11, 2009 1:18 am

    Ooooh, Casey–these are fabulous! I particularly love that first image through the doorway. I agree about fall–it’s always a new beginning, and the end of the excruciating heat is always welcoming to me. I think we all go through waves when we’re creative and then we just need a break for a while to regroup and get those creative juices going again. And for me, there are just certain periods that are so busy at work that I have to take a break from drawing and painting. But I get inspired by what other people are doing–such as yourself! I really like all of these! and I’ll look forward to what else you come up with!

  16. judybecklobos permalink
    September 12, 2009 10:48 pm

    Why do I LOVE that first sketch of yours sooooo much! love the vines,view out the door, the table and tea cup…. and gorgeous colors!!!!
    You’re plan sounds great! –twice weekly life drawing , work from your perspective book and practice will most certainly help you reach your goals.
    ANd… please don’t forget to blog… I love coming to see what you’re up to!

  17. September 14, 2009 5:33 am

    of Course you can do it!!!

  18. September 16, 2009 3:20 am

    I just love the view from your holiday kitchen – the way your soul sees it!

  19. September 22, 2009 6:40 am

    First, you already are really good at art! I love the colors in the first piece. I just finished watching a video on Cezanne and when I saw the second piece I immediately thought of his work. Your plan sounds wonderful…your own personal art school. I look forward to seeing the results!

  20. September 22, 2009 1:31 pm

    Tes croquis sont toujours aussi beaux!!!

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