I don't usually go to sitcoms expecting to find any personal enrichment, but who am I to turn away wisdom?

As you may know, my first ever art show is coming up in a week.  And I am equal parts terrified and excited.  I've been making paintings like crazy, oscillating between enthusiastic glee and wanting to chuck all my art supplies off a bridge.  Curse this artist temperament!

But as I was scarfing down some birthday pizza (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMY!!! <3)) and catching up on past episodes of "How I Met Your Mother", the TV snuck a little wisdom in between bites.  And in the particular episode we enjoyed with our pizza, Ted wanted to ask out a girl from his past but was scared (shock) of failure and rejection.  In a round-a-bout way, the conversation comes around to the fact that if you're scared, it means you're taking a risk.  That you're unsure of the outcome.  And if you're not scared, if there's no risk, then what's the point?  If I drink a cup of coffee, I know it'll be delicious and help wake me up.  There's no risk, and subsequently, no fear.  Being afraid of this art show (despite the fact that there are many things to make me nervous) is a good thing.  It means I am taking this risk, I am trying something new, and even if it's a spectacular failure...well, at least it was spectacular.  The older I get, the less afraid of fear I am.  Or rather, the less I let fear affect my decisions.  I like that.

I get distracted easily.  I think that's true of a lot of artists.  At this moment, I'm typing this blog post, watching youtube videos, cuddling a kitty, working on an art trade and there are five other internet tabs open if I change my mind.  For the last year (more than that?  Not really sure...), I've tackled mixed media art.  And it has been a blast.  I still use a lot of my own drawings, but combine them with all sorts of delicious paints and inks and stamps and stencils and yum.  This year, I'm feeling like focusing more on illustrations.  One of the reasons I enjoyed mixed media so much is that I'm rubbish at backgrounds.  I don't like drawing buildings and trees and park benches and such.  Pretty shapes and colors are so much easier.  However, in an effort to keep growing as an artist and to challenge myself, I'm going to focus more on illustration this year.  Every month, I'll create an 8x10 illustration encompassing a book or song.  Feel free to throw out requests or suggestions.  I still haven't decided which I'll illustrate first, but I have so many good things to choose from.  Harry Potter, Night Circus, Series of Unfortunate Events...ooh!  Nancy Drew!  I love that titian haired sleuth.  She wins.  I'll pick one of my favorites and illustrate a scene.

Last year I was fortunate enough to take a workshop with my favorite author, Connie Willis.  And among many wise words she had to impart, she challenged us to take a look at any one artist/writer/creator that we idolized and to realize that behind what seemed to be such ease of beauty and realize that behind it lay over 10,000 hours of work, of trial and error, of failed light bulbs and hands thrown in the air, and until we had logged those 10,000 hours to shut that inner critic up.  There is still so much to learn and I'm looking forward to the successes and the failures.

So that's my plan.  Once a month create an 8x10 illustration showcasing a narrative.  I'll come up with ideas on my own, but I'd love to have some input and direction.