Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sweet's Year in Review

January 21, 2013...That's the day I started this blog.  A whole year of posts have happened since then.  I stuck with this blog.  I needed it more than I knew when I posted those first pages of art, and it's been amazing what these past twelve months have encompassed for me.

I thought I'd take a minute to look back at 2013 and honor what's happened this year.


"For the girl with the wild hair and the thirsty heart."
Using watercolors and the crayon resist technique.
I started the blog...it's funny how much has changed since then...there were very few words in my posts that first month.  I didn't really know what to say...or else I was nervous to say it.  Mostly there were pictures of my beginning art stuff.

This is the first face I ever posted on the blog, a work in progress...

I remember being giddy over this face, because it was the best thing I had done art-wise so far.  I was so proud of her!  I remember feeling like I had learned so much already, because before I started taking art stuff seriously, I could hardly draw a stick figure with a smiley face.  Then I started watching videos and pouring over every single piece of information I could find about art journaling...this girl was the beginning of my face obsession, because I saw the first glimmer of improvement in her.


There were a lot of firsts in February:

The first time I ever used prompts to help me along in my art.

The first collage I ever made...

The first mail art I ever received (from my darling friend Cheryl)....

The first time I attempted Zentangles/doodling...

And the first time I was ever close to being happy with the hair I'd done...  I still love this girl for the emotion I can see in her...


In March, I started to get a little more wordy...the true Sweets was starting to emerge...I was also gaining more confidence in artistic things...

I sent mail art for the first time...check out that envelope!  I remember being REALLY worried about what to send...I was so scared she wouldn't like it!  I still get nervous sending people my stuff, but not nearly as much as I was the first time!

March was also a month for experimenting for me...this page was the first glimmer of hope that I could get better at lettering...  I'm still happy with it!  ...of course, I plan on practicing more in the new year...

March was also the month I started buying art supplies...or should I say the month the obsession really took off?  I bought every single color of Dylusions spray inks...and descended into art supply madness even further since then...


April was when I really started to understand the journal part of art journal...and when I started to let my personality and feelings show...and let you know what was going on in my mind that prompted the pages.

This is still one of my favorite pages...I love the memory it holds...

April was also a month I got some very good advice from a very dear friend.  She made me think about things in a different way, and I still think about her advice when I'm feeling blue.

April also saw my first attempt at making my own art journal...this little calendar book was fun to make and ended up being pretty cute!  I need to dig it out and work in it some more!

April was also the first time I attempted a realistic drawing (a self-portrait)...while I mostly now see the glaring flaws on this page (dear goodness, I made a space alien version of Sweets! ...scary!), I also see the improvements.  That right cheek is awesome, look how round and dimensional it looks!  And the neck is pretty good too!


In May, I turned 30 and got a TON of awesome mail art!  I also did the countdown to 30, which was fun for me.  And I made some art for my two moms...birth mom, Marian,  and work mom, Miss Lettie.

This simple and cute gal made me very happy...and even better, Miss Lettie really liked her as well.

I was also really happy with this painting on canvas that I made for my Mom...and she liked it too!  It's always a good thing when the recipient of the gift likes it!  She has it hanging on the wall in her house, which makes me pretty proud!

And this art journal page remains one of my favorites:

I was so happy with the emotion in this page and the shading...I think this is one of the first times I felt like all my effort was paying off!


June saw ICAD, or Index Card a Day, which I started but ended up not sticking with...but there were some fun cards that happened before I quit:

Like this one, inspired by the talented and hilarious Tracey Fletcher King, who you can check out HERE...

and this one:

I didn't like this one at first, but she grew on me over time...I'm don't know if that pun was intended or not...but it's out there now, isn't it?  

June was also the month I shared what my drawings looked like before I started practicing art at all:

No, this was not made by a five year old...I shared this to show that everybody can get better with a little practice.  Personally, I still have a hard time believing how much my work has improved in a little less than a year!.

June also had some really awesome art journal pages, the beginning of Inner Excavations, and this painting on canvas:

I was so proud of that bird outline!  Everybody thought I used a stencil, but NO!  I drew it by hand from a picture reference...it still makes me happy to look at it!


July was a lean month on the blog, not a lot of posting happened, but the posts I did write were SUPER long!   Inner Excavations continued to happen:

His shirt is a tip it!  I'm still proud of that stroke of genius!

I made an ugly piece of scrapbook paper go from this:


To this (sharing all the steps along the way):

Ah...much better!

And Book of Days (an Effy Wild workshop) was started:

This spread was squeal worthy...


In August, I attempted my first month long Blog-a-thon, subsequently failed, but ended up with some really good art in the process:

I showed you this page, from start to finish.

Continued with Book of Days (I love this page...it's even better in person)...

...and Inner Excavations.

I introduced you to my beloved Gregg...

...and showed you what the future held for Gregg and I.


September saw the 29 Faces challenge, and my personal (hip hip hooray) 30 posts in 30 days accomplishment:

So many...

...different faces...

...were drawn daily...

...in September!


October was another lean month blog-wise, probably due to exhaustion from daily posting in September...and in part due to the surprise of Fusco, the drop off wonder dog, being left at my house:

Best.Drop.Off.Ever.  He really is great and wonderful, and I still don't know why anybody would just leave such a good dog!  ...BUT, I'm happy they did, because this guy is awesome, and I can't imagine life without him now!

Inner Excavations was also finished off with a collage BANG!


November was the month I bought Jane Davenport's "Whimsical Faces"class from Cloth Paper Scissors...and the learning commenced!

Gregg continued to be loved and adored and filled with art...

This page was made...it makes me squeal with delight every time I look at it! 

You met Strega Nona...

...and her grandson, The Swedish Chef.

And the quest to finish my two art journals (the ones with the less-than-desirable paper in them) began in earnest.


December was a big month for me.  Kickin' It Old School Blog-a-thon was attempted and half-way finished.
There was a lot of mental work happening in December.

Looking to the past with love:

...letting go of some things...

...continuing to learn and grow as an artist, and as a human being...

....making plans for continued growth...

...and putting those plans in motion.

It's been a busy but wonderful year for me...looking back was certainly fun.  I'm proud of how far I've come, happy for all the progress that's happened, and, most of all, glad for all the friends I've made.  I hope in 2014 the path I'm walking will prove to be just as much of a growing experience as 2013 and that even more new friends will be found along the way.

That about you?  What did 2013 hold that is special to you?  When you look back on the year, what do you remember the most?  What do you hope 2014 will hold for you?


  1. Wowsers!! What a great idea to take a look back at the year that way, lovie! Plus since I only started surfing here with KIOS this past month, I got to like see all the good stuff from prior. So glad you started the blog and have continued sharing your heART here. December was really hard for me to keep up each day with KIOS, but I loved that even when my energy tanked and I was stuck in bed, I could surf around and read. Decided to do the 30 Day Journal project for January as a way to keep the inspiration going maybe... have you seen that one: http://www.lisasonora.com/blog/root-30-day-journal-project/ My 2013 was just too curtailed by the chronic stuff, but I guess it was partly about learning to live in a new way. I hope 2014 brings me a more practiced way of living with it and continuing to build community in the ways I can. Sending so much love your way!!

    1. Thanks! I can't take the credit for the idea...I stole it from Lucy at attic24.blogspot.com (it's a crochet blog)...gotta borrow those strokes of genius when we can! :)

      I'm sorry you were feeling bad this month for KIOS...you were like me, we did a half-marathon! :) But it's a good thing we started KIOS, because we've found each other and get to bask in our mutual awesomeness! :D

      I haven't heard of that 30 Day Journal project! I will have to check it out for sure. I am super guilty of making it part way through and then wimping out (because of general laziness...and full time day job...but mostly laziness)...but the way I see it, it gets me to make more art than I would have if I didn't attempt the challenge!

      I know that 2014 will be a good year for both of us! I just know it! I keep thinking about my word of the year, condition, which has a lot of different meanings for me...and parts of it are health related, eating better, stopping smoking (I got a e-cig...I'm hoping it will work for me too!), making myself sleep, and just baby steps toward better health in general. I was in the hospital a couple months ago on a morphine drip for several days...and I do not want to have to go back if I can avoid it...although I have to say the morphine made me sleep like a baby, which was REALLY nice! I am sending good vibes for 2014 to be awesome and full of good health and good friends!!! <3

  2. I love that you did a retrospective! I was trying to make a banner for my blog the other day - can't believe what a palava it was to do - and I ended up having a scroll through all my blogged art - although I'm not sure it can all be called art! It's amazing how much you can amass in a year isn't it?! I don't know about you but I also find it interesting to look at the similarities and differences across the work. You can really see your own style when you look at it en mass. I think when you start a blog you can be looking at other blogs thinking 'wow, that person has so much good stuff under their belt' and then it is so satisfying to look back over your own blog for a year and think 'crikey, did I do all that!'. I'm looking forward to lots more from Sweet in 2014! I'm getting the fear that my blog will fizzle out as I just feel so drained all the time and I panic that if I don't draw for a while I'll forget how to. Like you I have spent so much time watching Youtube tutorials and other people's blogs to learn new ways of using paints etc. Do you think it is possible to forget that kind of stuff? Anyway, I wish you all the best for 2014, Sweet. I hope that 2014 is for both of us the perfect year! x

    1. Thanks! It was fun to see how much was accomplished throughout the year, wasn't it? Just for the record, you fabulous thing, your art it most definitely ART! ART with a capital A-R-T! Your work is GORGEOUS! And when I think about the fact that you did it while being pregnant, with all the hard parts about pregnancy like morning sickness and being tired from MAKING A HUMAN BEING (definitely worth it in the end...Alexander is such a cutie!), I don't know how you accomplished so much!

      I don't think you can forget the art stuff you learned. Your hand and arm might get a little out of practice, but your brain has suction cupped itself to all that good info you've gathered and, since it's something you love and makes you so happy, your brain isn't gonna let that stuff go! And just think, in just a short amount of time (before you know it), Alexander will be old enough to hold a crayon or have a go at finger painting and you will be able to share your love of art with the tiny human you love! ...I hold to the fact that you did so much art while you were pregnant that it is impossible that he will not have the art bug too when he is old enough!

      I hope you will keep blogging, even just once a month...sometimes a few times a month is all I can muster and I don't even have a tiny human to keep up with (I'm just lazy...there, I've said it...)...I like to see what you are doing (even though I am the worst at commenting...add that to the new year's resolution list: get better at commenting and not just looking!) and how you and Little Man are doing.

      I know that 2014 is going to be wonderful for all of us...I just KNOW it. Optimism is abounding in me right now (and that is so NOT like me), so it just has to be true! Big smooches for you and Alexander! <3<3<3

    2. I hadn't thought about it like that but actually yes, you're right. I think the stuff you learn with art does become quite deeply embedded. I think the fear comes from the fact that I forgot all the stuff I ever learnt from the courses I did at college/University. I don't think I would be able to recall a single thing about Psychology or Law! But art is different because you learn through doing and, more to the point I think, you learn it because you WANT to learn it! Also, I guess that a huge amount of the stuff you and I have probably both learnt about is to do with materials! I doubt we could ever forget what brand of pen we like best or how to make some kind of paint do something we want it to do on a certain type of paper!

      I also have a habit of visiting without commenting. I will try to also comment. I always want to say a lot but then don't get the time. I should just say 'hello, I visited, this is brilliant'. I'm actually writing this now as Alexander is playing happily...but now my Mum has just asked me to help her take down the tree so I'm going to have to sign off! xxx

    3. Also, when I saw your retrospective I realised that I must have been following your blog from about the start!? I think you and I must have started this journey together! x

  3. I love that you took us back through your wonderful growing year! I came in the same time Gregg did, I fell in love with Gregg and have been searching for my own Gregg ever since (found one I sort of started). This was an AWESOME and INSPIRING blog, thank you so much for sharing you and your growth and your art! I'm going to go straighten up my mess of supplies and quit making excuses. ♥

    1. Thanks Marilynn! I can't lie, you made me get a little bit misty eyed...ok...A LOT misty eyed. It makes me so very HAPPY to know that I have inspired somebody, even if it's in just a small way. That is a huge part of my hope for this blog, that someone will see it and know that if I can do it they can too!

      Thank you for the Gregg love! He is blushing! :) I would LOVE to see your Gregg if you want to share him!

      Good luck with the clorganizing (cleaning + organizing...clorganizing...it's a genius word of my own invention)!!! When you are done and you've got a tidy space, you will feel so inspired to be creative that you will dig right in and make it messy again! :) (That's what happens to me EVERYTIME!) So I hope you have fun cleaning your mess and then making it a mess again! <3


I'd love to hear from you!