There are undoubtedly a lot of things I want to accomplish this year. Chief of which is posting here and on my crimson daggers forum. Midterms snowballed into a desperate panic for planning/executing finals. I know I only had two painting courses, things I wanted to work on at home, and was working about 13-14 hours. Since maybe mid-October, though, a severe, gripping reality set in and made me really consider how I was working. I got enough sorted out to really dedicated myself to my finals, specifically in my Atelier training course. I can’t lie and say I fell short when it comes to my landscape course, but I do feel really good about how I prepared those final paintings.
Let’s talk about 2014 then:
Spring 2014 I took an Advanced Figure Painting course, and felt like I learned quite a bit. I produced a good amount of work that provided a much needed update on both my site and the portfolio I took to Spectrum that May. I made one of my favorite self-portraits, a limited palette painting of a beautiful model, and some Diablo fan art for the Diablo 3 contest on deviant art.
I went to Spectrum, and while I was complimented on my ability during the portfolio review, those compliments came with a strong BUT. I was good considering I had only been doing art seriously for the past year, BUT I wasn't employable, and there were (are) quite a few things I could/should fix.
The summer following Spectrum, I made this blog, worked and tried to tackle some of my weaknesses. Really though, a majority of the summer I think went the two commissions I received from family. I spent some time working on stuff, as evidenced in my CD forum, but I really feel more could have been done.
2014 became really productive when August came. School started back, my commissions were finished, I had decided not to work instead living on grants and loans, I felt I finally had the necessary time to really buckle down. I got a good start, did my first cast study in oils in the Atelier training course, and had a steady rhythm going. I talked with my professor and decided not to enter Spectrum this year (more on that in a bit) and was doing pretty okay in my skill development.
About halfway through the semester my grandfather’s health declined rapidly, he had been fighting cancer and won a time or two prior. Unfortunately, he didn't win this time and he did pass. Oddly enough I didn't feel as devastated as I thought I should. It sucked and bummed me out, but I kept trucking through. I didn't realize that I was slowing down, or that I wasn't giving my art/life my full attention. I realized this after about a 2 and half week decline when my professor, very matter of factly, told me that this Atelier directed study course wasn't doing good for me, and that he knew I could be doing more/better. This was around 5 or 6 weeks before finals were due. I decided then and there it had to change.
I picked my self-up, sought aid and counsel and busted my ass like I have literally never before on my last two paintings. I stayed in the studio until I couldn't keep my eyes from drooping, went home and worked past that point. The last 3 weeks of the semester were all coffee, red-bull, and eye-drops. When critique came, I was proud to call those finals my best two paintings to date, and I got great feedback.
2014 was a year where I learned, more than anything else, you can always do more than you were doing. I feel like any motivational quote from the Rocky franchise would fit well here but I’ll leave it at that. Also don’t think I would want to spend a year like those last 3 weeks, but if I had to do it again I know I can and the results will more than likely be worth it. 2015 is going to be all about the push, and I’ll talk about my attack plan in the second part.