Weekly Art Challenge and a Year of Halloween – A Priority for this Year

I recently realized that I really wanted to make more artwork. I love drawing. I always have. And I’ve always thought of myself as an artist. The problem is that to be an artist, you have to make art.

Drawing and painting is one of those things that had fallen by the wayside over the past two years. I was drawing the webcomic, but I never seemed to have the time or energy to create anything else. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, volunteering for Girl Scouts and the kids’ school had managed to devour most of my waking hours.

This was really starting to bother me, especially since I thought I had set myself up two years ago with all the tools I needed (a new iPad, a Surface Pro tablet – very expensive tools) to do my artwork on the go. Of course, two years ago, part of being “on the go” meant I sat on the side lines a couple times a week while the kids took karate classes. When the kids’ homework load made it impossible to take them to karate classes after school, I lost my best opportunity to just sit and draw.

So I stopped drawing, except for the webcomic. And I was really starting to get angry about it.

Around the start of October this year, I was bit so hard by the urge to create that I couldn’t ignore it no matter how hard I tried. I crocheted a zombie cupcake. I make a gorgeous sugar skull applique and stitched it to black shirt for Halloween. I pulled out some unfinished Halloween projects from last year (zombie Barbies, anyone?) and finished them. I opened up a few of my long unfinished pieces on the iPad and got back to work on them. Spurred by longings for creepy art and the gothic atmosphere of Halloween, I started to get back my creative groove. On Halloween night, I felt like the Queen of the World!

On November 1st, I woke up and mourned the loss of what I thought was my best excuse for throwing myself headlong into my creative urges.

It reminded me of waking up on New Year’s day, after the holidays are over and the ball has dropped. All I was left with was a bunch of empty candy wrappers scattered over my yard and the remains of the new projects I had started but not completed during “Halloween Season.” I hated it.

But then I thought, “Why can’t Halloween last all year long?” And then I thought, “Why can’t Halloween last all year long?!” And so I decided that Halloween would last all year long, because in my world, it does.

To make certain that Halloween, and thus my “excuse” to make art, lasted all year long, I decided I needed to set a goal, something that I would work on all year long, that gave me that Halloween feeling. And I decided the best place to start was a weekly art challenge. I would work on a new drawing each week from November 1st of this year until October 31st of next year, to turn out 52 pieces of creepy, spooky art that made me feel like an artist again.

This is, perhaps, the strangest and most roundabout way I could have found to motivate myself to draw again, to give me a reason to make my work a higher priority than the volunteer work that has almost engulfed my life. Don’t get me wrong – I love working with Girl Scouts and the school. Just not at the expense of giving up those things that make me who I am.

So far this month, I have worked on 4 drawings, all done with various apps on my iPad. I work on these drawings in the evenings when I sit down to watch the news with the Hubster. Prior to the start of my “Year of Halloween,” that was time I had used to collapse in exhaustion and play mindless video games on my iPad (yet another sneaky little thief of my time). But having made drawing such a high priority, now I make sure to click on my drawing apps before clicking on a game. “I only have to do a few minutes of drawing before I can switch to a game,” I tell myself. But once I start drawing, hey presto! I lose myself in the artwork for at least half an hour, and thus drawing gets done.

And I am happy about that. Very happy indeed.

So happy Halloween, everyone!

Weekly art challenge 04 - Gothic Portrait

Weekly Art Challenge #04 – “Gothic Portrait” by Helen E. H. Madden, work-in-progress

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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