This year I've resolved to stepping up my art and expressing myself more freely - if one doesn't do that, then what's the point in any of this, right? An exercise in technical execution is hardly as significant nor is it memorable after all is said and done, and I can continue to draw directly from reference until I'm blue in the face but it won't take me where I want to go. It's very important to me that I draw more from imagination the way I always did as a child, to break free from the restraints of technical concerns.
That said, when it comes to learning any skill I'm rather adamant on getting the basics down thoroughly before moving on. Frankly I like it this way and I think having a solid foundation makes a tremendous difference. Unfortunately for me, I probably take this to an excess where I forget about drawing imaginatively. This year I have done a total of 24 portraits in my sketchbook, 20 - 60 minutes each - I will continue until I have done 100 of these, but I also really need to focus on drawing from imagination again, which includes composition, perspective and colour for me.
I've started a number of imaginative pieces but haven't finished any. Why? Because art is hard. If I compare it to my professional career (various forms of programming), art feels far more personal and therefore subject to harsher judgement - somehow I'm OK with writing less-than-perfect code knowing I will go back to it and correct any errors and accepting that development is an iterative process and sometimes (often) it's necessary to make mistakes first before flaws can be identified and subsequently rectified. It's actually a great approach but why the hell is it so difficult to apply to artwork? Furthermore, I've taken up playing guitar and practice that every day alongside art. That has it's own frustrations especially given that I'm so new to it, but even so isn't as intimidating as art. Why? Because after beating out some horrendous practice songs, I can put down my guitar without a shred of evidence remaining - I'm free to make mistakes without them remaining on paper to stare back at me, but practicing art is an altogether more challenging situation!
I don't mean to trivialise this instrument... far from it, but at least for me there's something acutely (and uniquely) challenging about art which makes it infinitely rewarding as well as potentially paralyzing! That means I'm in awe of my fellow artists on here... you guys have a lot of guts to do what you do. Respect.
It feels like I'm stumbling a lot right now but that's all part of the process - during February I'll be submitting some finished works, which I hope will reflect the practice I'm currently doing. Whew!