With 2013 fast approaching I wanted to share a few of my favorite pieces of 2012. Okay, so some of these pieces were produced in late 2011, but since this is my first year doing this blog I hope that you’ll forgive a little cheating. 2012 was a year full of experimentation and growth. I loosened up and went back to basics, taking an acrylic painting class and studied the basics of human anatomy. A lot of my work never got past my sketchbook, but I considered every ounce of creativity produced a notch in the victory column. So, without further ado, here are my greatest successes in 2012.
Watercolor has been my favorite medium since college, but my brushes and paints were put on the shelf when I became a full-time graphic designer. In late 2011 I dragged out my watercolors, homasote board and coldpress watercolor paper and started painting. I found inspiration in an Italian artist named Agnes Cecile and couldn’t help but try to accomplish a fraction of what she does in her YouTube speed painting videos. Seriously, watch them, you’ll be painting within the hour.
I hadn’t tried a self-portrait since high school, so in December of 2011 I broke out my camera and started taking pictures for reference. I wanted something that was expressive and found that it was a heck of a lot of fun to scream my head off. The pose also allowed for some interesting angles and a great study of facial anatomy. I decided to work with pencils to keep in theme with my effort to return to simplicity and step away from the computer. My friends and family seem to love this piece, and I attribute it to the fact that they have probably never, ever seen me make this face.
I have always struggled with acrylic and oil paint. The medium never agreed with me but it was a skill that I had always wanted to have under my belt. In August of 2012 a coworker and I took a six-week acrylic painting class, and while I can’t say that I love acrylic paints, I can say that I’ve managed to do some pretty fun things with it. In September of 2012 my wife’s friend asked me if I could paint a set of murals for her children and I cautiously agreed. I was to do an airplane mural for their son and a pair of castles for their daughter. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
When I was 22 I moved out of my father’s house and into my own, tiny, one bedroom apartment. It was my first chance to decorate a living space any way that I wanted and the freedom was overwhelming. I inevitably found chalkboard paint at the hardware store and knew that I would have a chalkboard wall in every home that I lived in from that point forward. Thankfully, my wife agrees with me on this crazy choice of decor. In 2011 we painted our kitchen wall in the wonderful black paint and I christened the new erasable-surface with an enormous portrait of Neil Patrick Harris. In April of 2012 I erased the actor and replaced him with the face of the Philadelphia Phillies’ Manager, Charlie Manuel. I had hoped that the portrait would bring the team good luck, but I apparently enraged the Gods of Baseball. The team had one of the worst years in recent memory.
In 2009 I met an incredible woman named Carly who has encouraged me in all of my endeavors. On our anniversary I have made it a tradition to draw a cartoon illustrating the year’s big event. It started with a drawing of the day that we met; the following year illustrated the day I popped the question; and in 2012 I took on the ambitious project of cartooning our wedding. There are some great successes in this piece, and there are parts that I would definitely change if I were to do it again, but overall I learned a heck of a lot while working on this piece.
Hopefully 2013 finds even more success and inspiration, and I look forward to sharing all of it with you!