Improving Your Art: What a Difference a Year Makes!

year journal calendar notebookDedication, determination and a desire to improve are important factors to the success of any artist. On my my Fine Art Tips fan page, we share our art and ideas.

A while back, a young artist from Bermuda shared her enthusiasm about her personal growth as an artist and what a difference a year makes.

I was inspired by her story and wanted to share it with you…

Guest artist/author: Vanessa Turner

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Last year, in 2010, I attempted to do an art piece featuring my daughter’s first pair of sandals. She wore them when she was 1 years old. However, I just couldn’t seem to get the correct “values” during the charcoal stages. As such the sandals appeared flat, having no distinct shadows and highlights. With great disappointment I put the piece away before eventually using it as a scrap piece of paper to test colours on.

I attempted the same piece this year in 2011. I really wanted to capture the memories of those sandals. I completed the charcoal stage, moved onto the monochromatic and then into full colour. But this time around, I didn’t have the slightest bit of trouble. I finished the piece within a week. What a difference a year makes!

It’s so easy for artist to forget about the concept of “growth and development” while producing their work. Artists are constantly developing their niche and further defining their style. Sometimes we focus so much energy on what we wish our art would look like and what we wish we could do. Some things take “time” and we must be ok with that, else we lose the opportunity to enjoy what we do.

“Forget about being in competition with anyone. Your art is a unique expression of you. And goodness knows, no one wants to buy a piece of artwork from an artists who himself doesn’t even appreciate the

work or finds numerous faults in it (not the best foot to put forward).” ~Vanessa Turner

For the past year I have been working steadily in charcoal and pastel, challenging myself to balance both “values” and “colour” together. As such, I’ve been paying close attention to them throughout my latest pieces. I often find that I struggle to master them both within the same piece. But I know that with continuous work, I’ll get there one day. They say art is “2 percent inspiration and 98% perspiration”, you work at it every day, every year.

Every year I’ll look back and say, “What a difference a year makes!”


Thanks to Vanessa for sharing her positive outlook and her personal artistic improvements over the past year. If you enjoyed this article, you might like these: PS. Share what’s on your easel with me on Facebook and let’s me on Twitter! ~Lori

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  1. Sandhya Manne June 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you Venessa and Lori …for this post…I totally agree that art is 2 percent inspiration and 98% perspiration…and need that dedication, determination and a desire …

    • Lori McNee June 22, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      My mom always says, ‘desire is prayer’…I like that one too. Thanks for the comment Sandhya.

      Happy painting-

  2. NELU GRADEANU July 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Thank you very much!

    • Lori McNee July 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      You are very welcome!
      Lori 🙂

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