Sketch Every Day: 12.31.11

Wow. I mean, WOW!!! I did it!!! Today completes my 365 Project. I have successfully sketched something EVERY.SINGLE.DAY for an ENTIRE year…and documented the journey here on this blog. This challenge taught me so much about myself, and the sketchbooks themselves have become special keepsakes…as they’ve captured my thoughts, feelings, memories, interests and ideas over this past year. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how I was going to find time to do this every day. But once I got into the habit of taking a few minutes to focus on a sketch, whether it was while waiting in line, or during a lunch break, or before bed…I found that there was always a way to squeeze in this time for “me”…to reflect, to practice drawing, to doodle, to be inspired and to do something creative on a daily basis.

The project wasn’t just about practicing my craft and trying to hone my skills, it was about learning to devote time to myself and to staying committed to the challenge of completing the project. I didn’t do this for anyone else, but I was very happy and humbled to learn that my daily sketches were enjoyed by others…and that it inspired some to start creative projects of their own. My boys, my nieces and nephew participated as well…and it was such a help to have their support and encouragement. Each day, one of them would remind me to do my sketch and suggest ideas, or send me their own sketches to feature along with mine. And almost every night before bed, my son, Mason, would ask to see my sketch of the day.

The sketches became a way for me to express myself, to show how I was feeling or what I was thinking of on a particular day. On birthdays of my close family members and friends, I drew their portraits, and the post gave me the opportunity to tell them how much I love, admire, appreciate and am inspired by them. I cherish those sketches especially (even though they were not the best portraits), because doing the sketch on their birthdays really gave me a moment to reflect on how much they mean to me and how important they are to my life.

The whole experience has really changed my life in that I’ve learned to be more aware and mindful of my daily life: the things that inspire me; how happy a daily dose of art and creativity really makes me; how important it is to make, create, produce anything…even something small or simple or imperfect. It’s all a reflection of me and it gave me purpose…I finally felt like I was living an artist’s life. In the words of Maya Angelou, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” And thanks to this 365 project, I think 2011 was a pretty creative year for me.

Today’s sketch documented some plants we discovered during an interesting excursion my mom and dad-in-law treated us to on this New Year’s Eve day: a guided foraging hike in Lafayette, led by naturalist Kevin Feinstein (author of the book, “The Bay Area Forager”), showed us how to find and identify wild and native plants that are edible, safe, nourishing and sustaining. My boys are intrigued by survival shows, so they were very captivated by the things they learned on this hike…they really enjoyed the foraging aspect…finding, identifying and eating the plants. And Mason, who can sometimes be a picky eater…tried everything! Here are some photos from our unforgettable and very educational day…