Each year, I'm always crazy hard on myself for not producing enough work. This year, I actually sat down to take a look at what I've created and appreciate the time and effort invested in each work.
From my own personal work to a few really ambitious commissions and to also having the privilege of painting beloved furry family members for friends and acquaintances before the holidays, I've completed a lot of work I'm not only proud of but have been able to learn a lot from.
I was asked to create a beautiful gift for the fiancé of a friend.
I had the opportunity to try my hand at conceptualizing, composing, and illustrating three book covers for an old friend.
June - July 2021
I returned to my favorite tried and true subject matter, women in armor.
I painted a beloved Aunt's favorite horse. One I grew up riding.
I experimented with painting backlit figures. Something I've never tried before.
I finally did that painting of our sweet doggo.
There was a hot minute where I was super into painting and drawing birds.
Commissions, commissions, commissions from September - December.
November - December 2021
November - December 2021
I completed my first short story in March! You can read it here.
I got to speak to some really talented artists and wonderful people in the Love for Local Artist Blog series I started in June this year.
I listened to and read some really phenomenal WLW fiction. You can read my recommendations here.
Time is a precious resource. Taking the time to slow down and appreciate what I've spent this past year creating is invaluable.
What's next for 2022?
Kickstarter Campaign, Kid's book: Every Girl's Guide to Being a Warrior
In early 2019, I went camping in Cook Forest with my wife, my mother-in-law, and my 6-year-old niece, Braelyn. At the time my niece was just learning to ride her bike without training wheels.
On a dreary day at camp, she asked if I'd go out with her and help her ride. So, on those muddy paths, we tried and fell and got up and tried again. The first time she fell and started to get upset, I told her, "It's okay. You're a warrior. Get up and try again." And she did.
On our recent visit for her 9th birthday, she was helping me make eggs for everyone for breakfast. During which, she looked me dead in the eye and said, "Do you dare me to touch the stove?"
I told her, "Of course not!"
"I'm a warrior, Aunt Lissa," she said. "I'm brave."
And while, my heart warmed that it was something that stuck with her, what I actually managed to splutter was, "That-that's not what being a warrior means, kiddo! Warriors don't take unnecessary risks."
To which she replied, "that girl did in the video game you taught me how to play!"
In case you wondered, it was Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn.
After I facepalmed, I said, "Okay...but she did it because she had to. To-to...protect her family, her community, her planet! You're a warrior when you wear your mask and when you recycle, when you get up and try again after falling down."
She nodded and that was that. (And I hope it stuck with her?) But it gave me an idea: a book for Braelyn and for every other little girl who doesn't have an Aunt Lissa to teach her what it means to be a warrior.
Here's to a 2022 that's just as full of painting things I love, creating for people I care about, and lots of artistic growth!