Normally, I am not at all phased by the new year - the psychology of "time to start anew" has never been something I've identified with. Somehow, though, this year feels very different. I'm being catapulted into a new decade straight off the back of several important art-related (and general life) things, and it's quite overwhelming. Little ol' me already has a lot to juggle in 2020, and in light of it all, I thought stepping back and creating a list of five totally achievable creative goals would be the perfect way to ground myself.
1. Refine my wash-skills.
While it's important to be positive, being able to step back and critique your own work is a key part of improving as an artist. With every piece I start, I make a conscious decision to focus on certain elements in light of the previous painting I completed; time and time again I find myself saying "be more confident when laying down washes". I recognise that a lot of my hesitation when creating large swathes of colour is my fear of muddying them, so it's time to brush up on the technical aspects of the colours I use to combat that fear.
2. Have a go at painting in oils.
I really, really love dark, moody oil paintings. Like, really love them. I've spent hours pouring over the works of my favourite artists - Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John William Waterhouse - and I just can't get enough. Although oils feel hugely intimidating, I'd love to try them out and experiment with replicating that pre-raphaelite aesthetic within the wildlife genre. I'm ashamed to say I've never experimented with anything other than watercolours - apart from a brief stint with water-based inks - but there's no time like the present to change that and I've been a long while telling myself I should try oils out.
3. Paint a Pokémon!
Picture the scene: it's 1999, the newly built London Eye towers over Lambeth, Bren from Dinnerladies can't say millennium to save her life, and an 8 year old Liselle is engrossed in her first Pokémon game. 20 years later I'm still playing (currently ploughing my way through Pokémon Shield). Given that I am, unashamedly obsessed it's criminal that I've never even sketched a pokémon. Time to change that!
4. Raise awareness of small cats through art.
If you know me, you know I am hugely passionate about wild cats. We share the planet with 40+ feline species, and almost all face dramatic challenges as habitat degradation, human-wildlife conflict, and a poor understanding of their ecology threatens their survival. With that in mind, I have decided to undertake a massive project where I aim to paint as many species as I can to raise awareness, culminating in my exhibition at Ayscoughfee Hall in October.
5. Delve back into anatomical illustrations.
When I was studying for my BSc, I wrote an anatomical report on grey squirrels which had to include sketches demonstrating my findings from a necropsy. In a moment of madness, I decided to go all out and create a full-blown skeletal illustration, and lo, the bug bit me. I went onto produce several more anatomical illustrations for a museum project and other anatomy assignments but I haven't done any since I graduated! I'd love to get back into it, as it's a fascinating subject and could also support the wildlife education work I do too.
So that's it, my five totally achievable creative goals for 2020. Some are big, some are small, and some are totally off the wall, but keeping my art journey varied is key to stopping things going stale. So here's to a new decade, new creative adventures, and the new skills and opportunities I'll carve along the way.