Allow me to share with you how I manage my creative projects as an aspiring artist
I believe that being an artist, or an aspiring artist, or even a reluctant artist is a natural way to be.
Maybe you were brought up to view art as fluff and something that kids do.
Or perhaps you were programmed by your early home environment to believe that to be an artist is not a real job.
Personally, I was good at art at school and I had my first artwork exhibited at the tender age of nine in the local town library’s gallery.
At high school, as I scraped through maths, science and English literature I still excelled at art.
Yet I did nothing with it.
I could always draw and doodle.
The Middle Years
After school I found a job in an office, got married and had four hungry children, here I want to say, “…and a crop in the field…”
My life was busy with family, family, family.
Only when my youngest daughter left home in 2019, and my husband passed away, did I have time for myself.
I turned to art and signed up for a one-day Art Retreat at the Luminous Elephant art studio in Vancouver.
At this time I began sketching privately and then joined the Vancouver Urban Sketchers group and went to a few meetings.
Alison Hazel Art
I created this website to showcase my sketches and named it Alison Hazel Art.
To start with I hesitated to use the word “Art” in the title.
I mean, don’t artists have degrees from prestigious universities and certificate and all that?
Who was I as a mature housewife type of scribbler to call myself anything “Art” but, I reasoned that I was an aspiring artist and I am on an artistic journey.
My path to become an artist is different to yours and the art I create is different to yours, but it is my journey and I’m walking this road.
I hope to get better over time.
In the past two years I’ve accumulated some markers, watercolour paint, pencil crayons, acrylic paints from my daughter’s school leftovers, ink and pens.
Perpetual Nature Journal
In May 2022 I happened upon the Daily Nature Journal channel on YouTube and my direction shifted.
Starting a perpetual nature journal I began to relish journaling.
Discovering International Nature Journaling week (which is every June 1st to 7th) was another sign, I mean, who knew?
Last Half of 2022
As we enter the second half of 2022, I wonder what I will do next.
I have some ideas about personal energy management as I do seem to get tired easily these days.
I like to have projects on the go and the main reason to have projects is that it is good to have something to get out of bed for every day.
I began with Morning Pages like Julia Cameron earlier this year and I decided my Morning Pages needed their own journal.
I discovered that, as I had so many interests, I preferred to have a variety of journals. I’ve subsequently moved onto multiple journals.
Now, I have a journal for:
- General life with a yellow cover.
- A family memoir with a taupe cover.
- A grimoire with a dark ocean blue cover.
- An art journal with a sage green cover.
- A crochet journal with a Wedgewood blue cover and a crocheted cover.
- A perpetual nature journal with a black cover.
After struggling along with one A5 sketchbook where everthing went in, I decided that to have more than one sketchbook is a better plan and this works well for me.
Now I have sketchbooks for:
- Field sketches size A6.
- Field sketches size A5.
- Watercolour size A5.
- Grey toned paper size A5.
- Beige toned paper size A5.
- Black paper size A4.
- Handmade paper which is 10cm square.
I do prefer smaller sketchbooks like A6 and A5 rather than the bigger A3 and A2 sized ones.
This may be because I like to finish each artwork in one day and I can do that better with a pocket sketchbook.
In a way, my art supplies seem to be breeding all by themselves.
Quarterly or Seasonal Projects
A quarter of the year is three months or around just under 100 days.
Quarters can be related to the seasons as well Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
When you divide the year into four segments it provides you with a good chunk of time to get something worthwhile done.
Some ideas for quarterly projects which I’m toying with are:
- Making a large painting.
- Creating an online course that I can teach.
- Planning and organizing a weekend art retreat.
- Writing or designing a book.
Mid-size project are my monthly projects.
In this section my creative projects maybe:
- Doing Inktober in October.
- Writing NaNoWriMo in November.
- Designing the art for twelve themed greeting cards.
- Creating a set of twelve Artist Trading Cards.
- Making artworks for a calendar – does anyone have calendars anymore?
Small quick projects which can be easily completed in a day or two are my weekly projects.
In this category my projects could be activities such as:
- Recording a weekly video for YouTube.
- Writing a weekly blog post for my website (like this).
- Creating a simple drawing or painting.
- Shopping for art supplies.
- Swatching my paints, coloured pencils or inks.
- Tiding up and organizing my creator studio.
- Attending a weekend art retreat.
- Going to an urban sketching meetup.
- Planning an art date with my daughters.
- Visiting an art gallery in my city.
- Going to the beach to sketch.
The idea is to have three different projects on the go at any one time and these are a large one, a midsized one and a small one.
It is enjoyable to be able to chop and change between three different ongoing projects.
Quarterly, monthly and weekly projects provide me with creative choices depending on my mood.
I don’t always have the energy for intense creation for an extended period.
If I’m honest, this is the reason I believe I, and you, will benefit from having a variety of projects on the go at once.
Let me know what you think.
Aspiring Artist Activity
In your art journal and, thinking about what you would like to try on your art journey, please do the following:
- List three large substantial quarterly projects.
- List three medium sized monthly projects.
- List three shorter weekly projects.
- Choose one from each time frame and start.
In this way you will have three different projects to get your teeth into.
Now you will have a variety of activities to keep you going and you can start to plan the next trio of projects as well.