Happy New Year! I'm very excited about all of the possibilities of 2018 - so much on the horizon! But before I dive into the new, I thought it would be fun to close out 2017 with a "best of" review of my year in art.
To start, I went to this year's "best nine" site to see my most popular posts on Instagram. This is always fascinating to me, and as usual, the top nine was about half filled with hand-carved stamps (most from Carve December, including the 2016 overview on the top-left. The bird was from earlier this year.)
Of course, as fun as that was to see, I wanted to take a little time to go through all of the things I've done this year and pull together my own Top 10 list. The order on these is a little loose... it's hard to pick favorites!
10. Translucent Mixed Media Assemblage
This one should look pretty familiar since it's a new project, just posted as my "Gwen's Gems" tutorial for December 2017. I'm really loving the translucent parts here - expect to see more of this in 2018!
9. Lynne Perrella Workshop Project
I think this was only posted on Instagram, but I was fortunate enough to take a 3-day workshop with Lynne Perrella last May. I loved it... so fun to learn her process, and I'm thrilled with my project! I still need to finish the second one I started in class, but that's another story...
8. Seascape Shadow Box
This was a demo piece that I started during the Mixed Media Shadow Boxes class I taught in Connecticut last June. I brought it home and finished it off and I'm really happy with how it turned out!
7. "Balance" Art Journal Spread
This is another project that I only shared on Instagram. It began as an experiment with some new chalk pastels that I'd purchased recently - I wanted to see how they'd work on the cotton rag paper in this journal, so I used pastels to do the Buddha portrait on the right, then it ended up morphing into an entire spread. The lotus is from a silkscreen that I designed earlier this year and then printed onto rice paper. (In case you're wondering, the Chinese characters on the right are from one of my hand-carved stamps and mean double happiness.)
6. Mixed Media Seahorse Sculpture
Another fairly recent project, this is part of an ongoing series of 3D sculptures based on stencil designs. My favorite parts are definitely the finished paint job and all of the broken jewelry and metal pieces I added.
5. Flowers for Mom (Mixed Media Floral Still Life)
Ostensibly I made this to share as a second sample for an in-person class I offer, but in reality was was created as a gift for my mom's birthday. She loved it... I got to watch her open it over Zoom and my nieces and nephews were with her... one of my nieces said "wow, you're an even better artist than my teacher!" I'll take it. LOL.
4. Winter Cardinal Art Journal Page
I did a tutorial for this art journal page as my November "Gwen's Gems" post for StencilGirl using one of my new Christmas stencils. I just love the layers of texture and the dimensional look I was able to get here... it's one of my favorite pages to date.
3. Mixed Media Abstract with Stencils & Embossing Powder
I'm a long-time fan of heat embossing, and I love using embossing powder in mixed media so this blog hop project with StencilGirl and Emerald Creek was definitely a favorite of mine. Look for lots more fun with EP in the coming year!
2. Seth's Paper Artsy Creativation Release
Last January I had the opportunity to work with some of Seth Apter's new products from Paper Artsy - I had a lot of fun with this one, revisiting the project I'd done in Seth's "Library of Memories" class at Art is You in 2015. This is a mixed media case with some assemblage on the inside as well as a handmade art journal (all of the inside pages and many more details are in the full release post on StencilGirl Talk.)
1. November Workshop Projects
While the other projects on the list are fairly loosely ranked, this is definitely number one - the 2-day workshop I took at Mary Beth Shaw's studio in St. Louis taught by Mary Beth and Seth Apter. I learned a ton, and I love the work I did in this class... I also came home completely rejuvenated! I couldn't narrow this down to just one of the two pieces I did during the weekend, so my favorite project of the year is the combination of both pieces.
Honorable mention... I have to include my pages from the ARTifacts project. It's rare for me to stick with something like this for an entire year, but this was a lot of fun to do and it's cool to look back over my year in art and see how much I was able to accomplish!
I really enjoyed going back through the year and seeing how much things have changed since last New Year's Day. I don't really do resolutions per se, but I had a lot of goals for 2017 - both personal and art-related, and I was able to check several off my list and make significant progress on a few more. It was a crazy, hard, exciting, and unusual year. And now I'm enjoying the anticipation of all of the potential that 2018 has to offer - I think it's going to be a good one.
Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year... may all of our hopes and wishes for 2018 all be granted!