December Drawings

I was at my chorale rehearsal the other night and one of my fellow altos asked me if I was still painting. I didn’t know what to say, because I want to be painting, but I haven’t painted anything since before my big trip out West in September. I don’t know why I’m not painting. I’m just not painting. I am now officially way behind on my blog goal. I set the goal of painting fifty plein air paintings before my next birthday. I had to clean up my painting gear to make my house pretty for the big Thanksgiving gathering and that gave me a chance to count my paintings.

I have done ten. Ten whole paintings, from February through November. That means I have to come up with forty between now and next February eighth. I haven’t counted the days between now and February eighth, but I know that a lot of them happen in December. So does Christmas. We are a family that celebrates Christmas, so I tend to be ridiculously busy in December. There’s the shopping and the baking and the decorating and the wrapping. There are chorale concerts, the ones I love the most and look forward to all year.

I am beginning to be afraid I will find myself trying to paint every day in January. January, even in Florida, is a cold month. I live in North Florida, so we get honest-to-goodness freezes in January. Some days will be balmy, but most will be cold or, at least, chilly. I knew this was a real possibility when I set the goal, but I hoped the possibility would motivate me to paint more often during the year.

I didn’t expect taking my paints outdoors to be so much more intimidating than painting in my dining room. The paints dry faster outdoors. Bugs fly into them. The wind might blow the canvas off the easel. I need to be able to choose pretty days for this, but I have procrastinated myself into a corner and now I will have to take whatever days come. Trial by fire. Trial by ice. I brought this upon myself and I will see it through, but there is one special thing this month that will help me work up to it.

Every December, my niece, Grace, invites me to participate in her Sketch-a-Day Challenge. When I think of forty plein air paintings by February, that seems daunting. One sketch each day in December seems much more manageable. It’s a commitment I have made for the past two years and I found that it gave me a nice little break, each day, from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. I do simple drawings so my inner critic stays quiet, and I give myself permission to do them badly.

Today is the second day of December, so I have done two drawings. These have reminded me that I love drawing and I love color. They give me hope that I will find my way back to painting.

Yellow leaf

Yellow leaf

Green leaf

Green leaf

Meanwhile, I need to go shopping for some round fruit. I’m going to get tired of drawing the leaves I find in my front yard.

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