The first of my New Year’s Art Goals is to push through the mood. Art takes a certain concentration, even if working in a sketchbook for fun, that sometimes feels like the most difficult obstacle. I know that the solution is to sit down and just start drawing. This is what I want to practice.
This portrait was based on a photo on Unsplash by Elia Pellegrini, linked here. The squirrel is my friend Fatty who shows up most days to eat the bird seed. Both of these were done after fighting with the mood (not the muse) and forcing myself just to start *something*. The portrait took several sessions, first with a pen, then with some watercolor brush pens, then finally with watercolor to finish it. Each time I had to will myself to do it.
I also had some failed attempts this month — the night before the squirrel painting I completely gave up and watched Youtube instead. Before finally finishing the portrait I tried drawing a raven from a photo and it was terrible. I said, “See, this is what happens when I don’t feel like it!”
Bad drawings happen all the time, even when I am super excited and inspired. I know that my art improved dramatically when I began the habit of sitting down at my drawing table every morning after breakfast and working for an hour. It seems mean at first, and I would not suggest you work when you are exhausted or sick, but what we need to build is discipline and practice is the way to do it. I want to get back into that habit.