As another year comes to a close, and WHAT A YEAR IT HAS BEEN, like none other I’ve experienced before, as you, my readers, from around the world can attest to.
The purpose of my sharing these highlights, as I do each year, is to show my evolving path, as artist, journal keeper, business owner and woman.
Some of what I list is personal, some professional and some, just downright fun!
What I have chosen to list would qualify as Essential, Simple and Satisfying in one way or another. So, shall we begin? Come along on my 2020 journey with me!
As I proceed, I will focus on my Professional Life first. As Office Manager of Bill’s Quality Electric, LLC, which is headed by my Master Electrician/Electrical Contractor Husband, I am responsible for all things having to do with our business, and that includes Social Media Marketing. We have been on Twitter and Facebook for many a year. But this year, I decided to add a YouTube Channel, new territory for our business!
This year was also a more creative year for me as writer of our Electrical Safety blog. Each time I publish a new post, I now promote it on our YouTube Channel, which is Your Electrical Safety Resource! I have so enjoyed this new venture and am excited to share it with you! You are welcome to subscribe for electrical safety, shock and fire prevention tips!
The next item I’m super excited and pleased to share involves a very close, special friend of mine. This year I decided to launch a new LIVE SHOW called, Keeping It Sweet, where we focus on all things Essential, Simple and Satisfying, which is how I describe a Sweet Spot! So, My dear friend, Carrie Aulenbacher, and I co-host together, with each of us sharing how we’re Keeping It Sweet right now! Plus we share tips on how we focus on what is Essential, Simple and Satisfying, giving daily life examples of what that looks like and what a difference it makes to our happiness, JOY and well being. You’re welcome to check out the episodes here. Just a head’s up: there’s a LOT of FUN and LAUGHTER going on!
The next item is focused on books, specifically the author and spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle. I learned of him several years ago with his book, A New Earth someone told me about, which I read and thoroughly enjoyed. Then I found out about his other book, The Power of Now, which I also read. Well, this year, I began to watch Eckhart on video, listening to his teachings from events held around the world, based often on questions from the audience. I really appreciated his calm and kind manner, his sense of humor and the truth of what he spoke. So, now I make Eckhart part of my morning routine, and I recently re-read the books mentioned. I highly recommend them to anyone who is interested in spending more time in the Present Moment and less time caught up in the crazy thoughts running through the head focused on past and future.
Now for one of my favorite subjects: ART. I have several things to share in this category.
First, is my practice of EXPERIMENTATION with watercolor (I share more detail in this post.) I won’t go into too much detail here, but I will say that it has been truly rewarding to try New Things as an artist and how much fun it has been to see what I am capable of creating with my paintbrush and Winsor Newton watercolors! My goal is to apply what I have learned over the past almost-decade of time since I first dabbled in watercolor and see where it takes me.
For most of the time, I have focused on the intuitive approach to painting, but 2020 brought me to try my hand at replicating subject matter that appeals to me, thus I have succeeded and it has brought me great Satisfaction and has been a huge Sweet Spot in my year.
The next aspect of ART I want to mention for my year end review is adding some real fun to my daily doodle, which I started 8 or 9 years ago, first with black marker, and then adding color, texture and detail. This year, I determined to try my hand at something I’ve always wanted to learn: CARTOONING. Yep. But not just drawing a figure. But dressing that figure in my own wardrobe every day! How fun this has been for me, since FASHION has always been of interest to me, especially concerning illustrating. So each night, I’ve added myself in cartoon form, which only enhances my daily doodle far beyond just a fun word.
And lastly, for Christmas, I decided to try my hand at creating a cartoon/illustrative portrait for each of my daughters. A larger version of my daily cartoon. And I am happy to say that I succeeded! This is also a new approach for me using the same tools I use for my daily doodle.
For many years, I did pencil portraits of my family and of many celebrities. But drawing in pen is a completely different experience and a rewarding one at that.
Now onto a subject many of my readers are familiar with and that’s JOURNALING. I won’t go into the details of my extensive journaling practice; instead I will simply share one addition I made starting in December of 2019: BULLET JOURNALING. I read the book and have it in my personal library.
I will say this: I have only adopted some of what is taught, such as daily rapid logs, Collections, and monthly spreads. Nothing fancy. You can see some of the inside pages in this video/blog post I created for The Journal Showdown hosted by Jamie Ridler. My Bullet Journal has added more Order to my days and a place to delve more deeply into what matters to me. What I love about it is the way you customize is to fit your goals and needs.
My final focus for this year in review is MUSIC. I had two developments to share this year.
The first was acquiring a mic with stand and speaker. So, now I can sing the spiritual songs I have written and amplify my voice. (I was given this gift right around my birthday! What a delightful surprise!)
The second development has involved learning to PLAY MY SONGS on the PIANO. I’m currently using an app until I get a piano keyboard. When I do acquire one, I’ll let you know! I’m still researching what kind to get before I make a purchase.
Playing the piano, learning the keys to play the melody, is something I have desired to do for a very long time. It’s basically a musical dream come true! It makes me so happy! Yay!
So, putting it all together, writing spiritual songs, playing them on my piano and using my mic to amplify the sound: a SUPER SWEET SPOT FOR MY SOUL. INDEED.
So, that sums up what I wanted to share with you all as 2020 comes to a close and 2021 begins.
My wish for you, dear readers, for 2021 is that you will find the SWEETNESS and savor it every day from what is ESSENTIAL, SIMPLE and SATISFYING for you! And you are always welcome to share what your Sweet Spots are here on this blog or on social media where we are connected.
When we share what is Sweet for us right now, we #spreadthesweetness in community, thus, making the world a Sweeter Place. And we can always have more of that, can’t we?
Thanks for your interest in my 2020 Year in Review and I wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
All images Copyright 2020 Dawn Herring
Here at The Sweet Spot, my desire is to share with you how I keep it sweet with various activities in my life and why they work for me. For today’s post, I’d like to talk about experimenting and why that has been an important aspect to my life as an artist and creative (and any other area of life, really!)
In the video above, I started with the mockingbird song but my main topic upon reflecting on my weekend activities, I shared about several experiments I undertook or am undertaking at the moment with my watercolor practice.
My first foray into watercolor began with a new art journal practice I initiated back is 2011, almost a decade ago! It was the perfect place to try my hand at, what was for me, a new medium, one that fascinated me and that I had great attraction to for many years.
One of my experiments after playing with it for a while was to determine if I could create an image with dots of color. I really enjoying using the stippling method with watercolor and thought how interesting it would be to try my hand as an actual painting on watercolor paper. I chose one of my favorite nature based subjects: the Mockingbird (which you can hear in the background on the above video as mentioned!).
So I found a good reference photo and tried my hand at it. I was quite surprised that despite the transparency, with many layers of colored dots, starting with the lightest hues and working my way to darker ones, that I was able to produce my desired result, which you can see below.
I was quite surprised and delighted with this experiment and wondered what else I should try rendering in the same fashion. When I chose to experiment with this approach, it broadened my knowledge and gave me opportunity to try something new and stretch myself as an artist. It also helped build my confidence with this new medium of watercolor, which I loved from the moment I played with it.
Another experiment which I indulged in earlier this year was to try my hand at doing a floral in watercolor. Now, I will admit, that I’m not much into florals, especially of the Still Life variety, with the vase approach, etc. I find those types of florals too static to be of interest to me (though there are many artists out there who do lovely work with that type of subject matter!)
No, I decided to go through my stash of saved images and found one from a calendar of a larger than life Rose, very close up shot in a garden. Now, that’s more to my liking. So off I went to discover the process of painting from light to dark, working my way around the rose each time I had a session. Most of those sessions were about an hour long.
It is such a satisfying process to see the progress of an image coming into form, one layer of watercolor at a time. Once the main layers were down, it got even more intense as I added textures and depth with the colors I mixed and applied with my paintbrush.
This was my first floral and I was very glad for the size of the image I chose that made it more focused on larger form and detail rather than a bunch of flowers together. It just worked for me.
Once that watercolor was finished (see below), I was pleased with the outcome of my experiment. It was so worth trying something new!
(Part of the reason I chose a floral was a suggestion from hubby; and I’m glad I went with it.)
My most recent experiment was a return to something I painted when I first started playing with watercolor. I found an image of slices of orange in a magazine and decided to try my hand as painting one slice from that image. I enjoyed the process immensely. And so this year, I decided to return to food as a subject and found an image from another magazine more recent of grapefruit halves, a very dynamic composition positing the virtues of grapefruit in all their juicy glory.
So I adapted the composition and decided on three grapefruits, one white grapefruit half and two red grapefruits halves.
My goal with this experiment was to capture the “Juiciness” of the flesh and the dimpled surface of the rind, hoping to create an image that looked good enough to eat!
So far I’ve completed one and will be starting another shortly. (Unless I decide to add more layers later; you never know!)
I am so enjoying this process of experimentation with watercolor, from different approaches to applying the color to different subject matter that I’ve never tried before or want to return to.
It really is about listening to my Curiosity and giving space to my creative indulgences, really having Permission to make that time to do something that is truly Satisfying, which is one of my prerequisites for what I consider to be a Sweet Spot in my life. The more I engage is those Sweet Spots, the Sweeter my life becomes.
My questions for you: do you ever get a hankering to experiment with something? Have you chosen to indulge your curiosity and try something new? Do you do something just because you want to experience something you’ve never tried before? Do you remember doing something that you want to try again?
Leave a comment below with your Experimental story. I’d love to hear how it went or how it’s going now. How has it been Sweet for you?
Here’s to Experimenting and listening to what our hearts are telling us so we can Keep It Sweet every day!
(Images are copyrighted to Dawn Herring, 2020)
Hi. I'm Dawn Herring. Here at The Sweet Spot I love writing about how I'm keeping it sweet with music, song writing, cartooning, doodling, watercolor painting, movie watching and book reading. My goal is to share what feels really sweet to me and why. Perhaps it will inspire you to do the same.