However, at the beginning on the year I started making time to sketch every single day. Most days I sketch for an hour or two in fits and starts while I wait for the girls to finish lunch or if I have a handful of quiet moments. Fifteen minutes here and there can really add up. Anyway, daily sketching leads one to look for challenges and allows for many mistakes---nobody has to see the bad stuff (well actually I share my daily sketches with a small group of artists friends from around the world through Whatsapp, so they see my garbage sketches too). I was quickly inspired to start exploring figure drawing.
Then Eric suggested I started portrait practice of famous people. He suggested this because we intimately know the faces of celebrities and can quickly zero in on areas that need work. So I tried it with contemporary celebrities. I failed miserably. Mostly because photos now are so clear that I was overwhelmed with visual information. Do I draw pores? Do I have time to see this through? Life drawing is hard to make time for when most days are spent with two very busy kids. Then I started looking at higher contrast photos and old black and white photos. Much of the visual information had been simplified in a way that I could understand more readily. I also studied the line drawing sketches of tattoo artists. Combining these two elements I started making a few gains in the portraiture department.
Then I had a few commissioned portraits and those turned out too. Now, I am certainly growing and it is amazing to see gains as I progress. I will admit that with each new portrait I wonder if I have lost it or if those last drawings were a fluke. I certainly have a loooong way to go and really I don't think there is an end game here as there is always room for improvement. In addition to drawing I have been working to incorporate this burgeoning skill into my paintings and real art, not simply sketches from photos.
I guess the point is that I have been working so hard to improve and in baby steps I can see that progress. I am really excited for this new challenge and what it will mean for my art. I certainly feel more free to explore creative ideas that I would have previously let pass. I feel a responsibility to fan the flames that are burning and see what happens.