Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 in Review

2017 really flew by. I enjoy sharing my work and blogging about it.  I am so thankful for all of you who stop by, comment and inspire me. That is so meaningful to me. You are my blogging family. Some of you I have had the luck to meet and some of you I haven't met. But you are all important to me. Thank you for being here!

 My year was a busy one. Although I worked mainly in watercolors and ink,  I also tried a few things that were fairly new to me. My year includes a few challenges that I participate in and workshops I was part of or that I gave. Here's a bit of a review of how my year went with my art.

I did pet portraits for the "30 Paintings in 30 Days" Challenge. (For any of you who have participated in the January 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge, I just found out that Leslie Saeta, the organizer, has changed it to February this year.) Pet portraits was a stretch for me because I so rarely do animals. I was happy with quite a few of them.  "Rosebud" was one of my favorites.

This year I also got politically active, something I didn't think would happen to me, but due to the election and the results of the election, I had to make my voice heard. I marched in the Women's March in NYC which was an unforgettable experience. I did participate in other marches and demonstrations throughout the year, so this has become a part of my life. I went to the Women's March with several other artists and we tried to sketch. It was very difficult to do. One sketch was all I was able to draw.

I also taught my first alchohol ink class at the Catbird Seat in Sayville in January. It was a fun time. I may do it again. Several people have expressed an interest in taking the workshop.


February brought a new challenge for the World Watercolor Group. We were given prompts for each day and I did ATC sized paintings. The prompts ranged from boots...

to flowers.

A friend had arranged for the NYC Urban Sketchers to sketch the views in the Hearst Tower. Later our sketches were compiled into a booklet that the Hearst Company now displays in their lobby.

Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steele challenged artists to sketch 100 people in one week. Of course I was up for the challenge, sketching people everywhere I went...even at the Motor Vehicle Department.

In February I experimented with a sketchbook of Strathmore gray toned paper. It worked well for some of the many snow scenes I painted this last winter during what seemed like endless snowstorms.

The Sideshow Sketch Night at the Brickhouse Brewery brought some interesting models to work with. This was a married couple who are part of the Coney Island Sideshow. He is handicapped and in a wheelchair. They are such great people.

April was also Fake Journal Month. I sketched and wrote about the life of a little girl who goes to stay with her grandparents on a ranch in Texas. She has lots of adventures. I was able to keep up with it and do a new page every day.

The World Wide Sketchcrawl took place in April.  We sketched at the New York Botanical Gardens which was in bloom and so colorful.

May was a fairly quiet month. The NYC Urban Sketchers met in Washington Square Park. There is always so much going on in that park which makes it fun to sketch. You have the arch and the surrounding city architecture, and even a tarot reader if you're lucky.

One of my art groups had a paint-out at the Fire Island Lighthouse which is one of my favorite painting locations. They exhibited our paintings for a few weeks in the Lens House.

In June I participated in Arts on Terry, a local art festival. Artists were asked to paint along the street during the day as well as show their work. I was happy to oblige. I painted the view down along Terry Street.

I participated with two of my art groups, so here I am at the end of the day with the members of the Patchogue Sketch Club...and yes it was raining at the end of the day.

I also did an alcohol ink demo and workshop for one of my art groups. There were a lot more people at this free workshop, and I think everyone enjoyed creating something.

July was a very busy month. On the 4th of July there was Artists on the Lane in Bellport which my art group sponsors. I sketched on location and my painting of the Bellport Gazebo was selected to be the poster for Bellport Day.

One week Alive After 5, a food and music festival in Patchogue featured an opportunity to sketch Zoe and her snake, Fantasia. They are always great models.

Another week at Alive After 5 I just sketched the event itself.

The Port Jefferson Garden Club had artists paint in the gardens selected for their tour. I sketched at a lovely garden and the homeowner bought the two paintings I created.

The biggest event I took part in this year was attending the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago. Although it lasted only a few days it was amazing! Workshops were offered where I got to learn from several artist I have been admiring for a long time, like Kiah Kien, Marc Taro Holmes, James Richards and Liz Steel. I learned a lot and refined techniques.

Sketched during Marc Taro Holmes's workshop.

Sketched with Liz Steel.

But the best part of the symposium was the people. I got to meet my internet friend, Tina Koyama, who I have been friends with online for years. We finally met in person! Being surrounded by more than 500 like-minded people was a great thing! I met people from all over the world. I am looking forward to the next Symposium in Porto, Portugal.

Imagine being with this many people.

I attended a workshop with Anne Watkins in Bryant Park. We learned to sketch figures quickly in watercolors.

A big event in August was Paint the Great South Bay. We had a week to paint locations anywhere between Robert Moses State Park and Smith Point. The paintings were then exhibited at the gallery in Art Space in Patchogue where we had our reception. 
We did a nocturne painting session on Main Street in Patchogue one night that week. That was an interesting experience.

Painting in the dark isn't that easy.

Neither is painting inside a chocolate store with all the candy smells.

I did sell one of the paintings I did during the event. It was purchased by the owner of the farmstand I was sketching.

I went to the DACA Rally with a friend in September and we documented the rally. We spoke to the organizers who were happy to have us there showing our support and sharing our sketches.

My plein air group, PALS, was invited to paint at two beautiful private dahlia gardens. Here is my work done at one of them.

Smith Point Beach had a music festival. It was fun sketching one of the bands and capturing the crowd.

Pumpkinfest in Damariscotta is always fun. I've attended it several times.  I sketched a few of the pumpkin boats before the regatta started.

Inktober takes place in October and it is a great time to practice ink sketching. These sketches were done with a twig and Chinese ink. I managed to do an ink sketch every day.

I also decorated a skull for Dia de los Muertos festival.

The 10th Anniversary of the founding of Urban Sketchers was celebrated in November at the same time as the World Wide Sketchcrawl. We sketched in Times Square on a frigid cold day.

I also attended the High School of Art and Design's Annual Draw-a-Thon. I got to sketch nude models as well as costumed models.

I also got to sketch part of an orchestra when I went to see my friend perform.

Throughout December I have been doing holiday sketches at home, at the library, at Christmas tree lots, and in NYC. They have been fun to do.

All in all I have had a wonderful year filled with inspiration, friendships, and fun.
Thank you so much for being part of my year.
Happy New Year!


  1. What a great year, Joan! Looking forward to a new year of your art!

    - Tina

  2. Happy New Year, Joan! Wow, what a year! You stay soooo busy. I love the review ‘cause we don’t usually go back and look. You have some great adventures, memories and beautiful drawings. Hugs….

    1. Jo, thank you! I like doing the review and seeing some of the things that I have done that I haven't thought about in a while. Happy New Year!

  3. It was so nice to see your 'year in review' - such a busy girl! I look forward to seeing what you come up with during 2018 - HAPPY NEW YEAR!