This year has definitely been a challenging and complicated year, however it has also turned out to be a productive year as well, personally speaking.
The year started off with completing more contract work for CWB and finishing some more technical work for their welding programs. Going into the year, one of my goals was to launch a shop on my website and start selling prints of some of my artwork. I'm happy to say that the shop was launched successfully and I actually made my first sale, which was very exciting. It's nice to think that people see beauty in my art, enough that they would want it hung in their homes or office. This past February I entered my orchid illustration into the orchid art show at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario. I ended up placing first in my class, another humbling experience, especially as the art show had many amazing works of art on display.
I then found myself with more time on my hands than usual and made plans to really utilize it. I wanted to work on more art projects, and continue drawing/sketching and painting. I started off by participating in a live stream with my friend and fellow artist, Martin Aveling, We spent the time chatting and doing some live drawing. Martin is a wildlife artist located in the UK, whose work should not be missed and helps bring awareness to wildlife conservation, a subject which continues to become more serious as time goes by. I encourage everyone to stop by his website and take a look at his work https://avelingartworks.com/ I also came away from the chat with my first time lapse video of the drawing I did. It was a lot of fun creating the video and interesting to see the illustration take shape so quickly. I can definitely see myself creating more of them in the future. My orchid illustration was also entered and accepted into the 2020 Guild of Natural Science Illustrators juried exhibition. This was another first for me and something I will be entering yearly. The exhibition focuses on art depicting science and the natural world, and this year there were a lot of amazing entries. It was a huge honour to be included with so many amazing artists. My wife and I also took a trip to the Royal Ontario Museum in September, we enjoyed the exhibits and I got to take in some sketching. I spent most of my time in the aviary display, in the end I walked away with some ideas for future drawings. Rolling right into October saw the start of several drawing challenges and prompts. I took inspiration from several of the lists floating around on social media and ended up completing about 11 sketches and drawings, which was up from my number last year! The sketches I did brought some new ideas and some inspiration for projects in the future.
This year I completed two big projects and I'm really proud of how they turned out. My Green Sea Turtle and Megalodon tooth were both challenging and rewarding projects. Because they were done using pen and ink, there's very little room for error, so attention to detail is important, but patience is a virtue. Both pieces were drawn life size, the key to stippling is to slowly build up the layers of dots and to pay extra attention to value changes on the actual specimen. Needless to say there were several attempts made before the finals, but each 'failed' attempt was just me learning what not to do. Both of these illustrations are also my submissions to next years David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year competition (WAY). The turtle skull is entered into the category 'facing extinction' and the Megalodon tooth was entered into the 'into the blue' category. Both have prints available to purchase in my shop.
Going into a new year, I like to discuss what I have planned and my hopes for the coming year. Continuing to practice is at the top of the list, whether that's sketching, drawing or watercolour painting, practice makes better, and every session makes a difference. I'm also thinking of doing medium months, this would have me spend an entire month with one specific medium. This would allow me to focus on one medium and really get some great sit down time with it. My wife and I are also hoping to travel to Hawaii, which is rich with inspiration for creating art and I'll be sure to get some sketching and maybe even some painting in while there. Regarding major projects, I currently have two illustrations planned, both have me really excited to get them started. Keep an eye out on my social media for updates on those. I'm also hoping to get more contract work, which offers wonderful opportunities to create new artwork and get your art out there.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, please check back often for new work added and new blog posts throughout the year. Happy New Year and all the best!