Monday, December 31, 2012

A Look Back at Year 2012...

As the clock ticking close to midnight, I am turning my eyes to the year passed and all that has happened in my art journey along the way. As I mentioned in my last blog post, it has been an amazing ride, thanks to all of you, my dear friends and collectors! When I set off at the beginning of the year, I did set some modest goals for myself: creating some artwork every week, posting them online for sale, documenting the process in this blog, and trying to enter some juried shows. In the end, I have accomplished so much more, -- something that would not be possible without your kind encouragements and support along the way!

In this year, I have managed to finish a total of 54 paintings -- including studies and plein air work. This may be a modest number for many, but to me it is a real accomplishment, as I am a very slow painter and the work I have managed to actually finish in all the years before do not even add up to this number. I would definitely like to do at least as much in the coming year, but I will leave goal-setting to my post tomorrow. ;-) Now is the time to enjoy the bubbly drinks and pat myself on the back! 

I've managed to overcome my fear of losing control of what happened on paper and tackled some unfamiliar surfaces, the most difficult of which being Ampersand Aquabord, and with the kind encouragements of Kara and Crystal, got some success in the end. I would love to keep at this effort in the coming year -- and maybe try some portraits on it too!

This year I have also tried a few different sales venues -- both online and offline, some more successful than others. I've set up my Daily Paintworks Gallery, where I auction off my smaller original works; I've stocked my Etsy Shop, where I sell both originals and Giclee prints, as well as products such as calendars and note cards; I've uploaded my work to the print-on-demand site, Fine Art America, so that anyone can purchase Giclee prints of my paintings to the size and surface they desire, as well as my works as note cards. I've kept up on this blog (although updating regularly did remain a challenge when school work got busy) and maintained regular update of my facebook page, through both of which I have met many wonderful friends! I've attempted my hands at three local art fairs and managed to break even at all of them, and received several leads which resulted in sales afterwards from these events. I've also become a member of the wonderful Main Gallery in Redwood City -- the amazing talent and creativity of the artists I've met there made me very proud to be one of them!

I've tried my hands on a couple of local, regional and national juried shows this year, and was fortunate enough to be juried in 20 of them, getting a couple of awards and selling some of my larger works through these shows. I am extremely honored to enlist among the wonderful artists -- many of whom are my teachers through their books and instructional dvds -- in these shows, and consider the juries decisions a gentle nudge of encouragement for an artist at her starting point like me. For all the ones that I did not get in, I can only say I will definitely try harder the coming year!

What I did not manage to do, in the year past, is to keep a sketchbook and draw freehand everyday, to go outdoors more often and do more plein air studies, and to keep finishing two small paintings a week. With four days a week in the Golden Gate Atelier learning classical drawing methods, it has proven quite a challenge to keep at these goals. But I will not give them up in the new year, -- I've just signed up for an impossible crazy task today, which I will reveal in tomorrow's post. So stay tuned...

Ok, before I bore you with more self-bragging, I just want to share with you my seven favorite paintings that I have created this year. Some of them are award winners and already happily settled in their new homes, others I love not because of the final results, but also the challenges I have taken and difficulties overcome during their creation...

High Summer Dreams II, Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 10"h x 14"w, Sold

This one has won me a gold medal in Stockton Art League's National Juried Show at Haggin Musuem -- the first red-carpet moment in my art career! 

April's Passing,  Watercolor on Ampersand Aquaboard, 6"h x 6"w
Available through Randy Higbee Gallery ($300 with Frame)

My first successful attempt on Aquabord after much suffering. I feel that after this one, I started to have some understanding of how this difficult surface works, and I was also able to let go of a bit of control to accept what's happening on paper (or, in this case, on board ;-)

Petal Light #2,  Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 7"h x 10"w
Available through Daily Paintworks Online Gallery ($125 with Mat)

I feel that I have truly captured the warmth and vivacity in this bird without fiddling too much. Love the wet-in-wet process from start to finish...

Beauty Queen, Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 7"h x 5"w, Sold

I tried out the multi-colored glazing method of the amazing Jeannie Vodden and combined it with my own wet-in-wet approach in the background. I was very worried the flower and the background would look like completely separate entities, but somehow the painting feels coherent as a whole when finished. Yay! Sometimes risk-taking does pay off...

Edge of Summer, Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 5"h x 7"w, Sold

I tried to paint from a black-and-white photo and just imagine the colors of this one, and lovedswhat became of it. An attempt to correct my tendency to paint colors too literally from reference materials and see them only as a starting point. 

Petal Light #1,  Watercolor on Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 10"h x 8"w
Available through Daily Paintworks Online Gallery ($150 with Mat)

Starting from an under-exposed, uninspiring reference photo of large area of dead dark shadow shapes on the leaves, I let the wet-in-wet process lead me and created interesting dark shapes. I felt a real sense of freedom after pulling this one off!

Winter Light, Watercolor on Arches 140# Rough Paper, 5"h x 7"w, Sold

The first landscape painting I am proud of -- I feel this one did capture more with less. 

Thanks again my friends -- as I have mentioned, I could not have done this without your support! Happy New Year Everyone!!!

You can purchase my 2013 wall and desk calendars here:

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