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There have been 118 posts since 2019, but I've been complaining on the internet since long before then. Scroll at your own peril.

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Bye, 2023

On one hand it seems silly to mark the passing of a year, given how man-made the calendar is, but on the other hand, it is very difficult not to reminisce a little when everyone else is, and one time is as good as any to mark the “start” of a new year, really. So.

In the last year, I travelled some. Or at least, I left the city I live in a few times. I took 1 (one) road trip home to surprise my sister while she got ready for her wedding. It amounted to 4 days of driving for 2 days of visiting but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I also (not surprisingly) flew home again later this year for that wedding, which was beautiful. Later, I found myself in a resort in Mexico on a week long, all expenses paid vacation. It was a trip I was able to go on only because someone else was unable to, but one that I will never forget.

In 2023, I read 8 books. That's more than any year since I started paying attention, which makes me feel good. I'd like to continue the trend in 2024, and I'm aiming for 10. That's not quite one book per month, which feels perfectly reasonable. I haven't read much at all in the last few months anyway, so I'm looking forward to diving into a new series.

I finished more than 12 paintings (but I’m not 100% sure how to count, exactly) and filled 40 pages in my sketchbook. That must be an improvement over the previous year (I didn't really count at all) but either way it definitely feels like I'm getting into a good art routine. I look forward to bumping those numbers next year. I'd love to really fill out the art section of the site, and it seems silly to have a sketchbook with fewer than 100 pages last a year or longer. I will finish, at least, one entire sketchbook next year.

The start of a new year is a time for making goals. You should keep your goals achievable and measurable, apparently — so says the internet about the psychology of goals, anyway, and what better source of information do I have? So: I’d like to end 2024 with more friends than I started it with. I’d like to paint more. I’d like to take a step forward in my career. I’d like to exercise more (but only if it will give me bigger muscles) and I’d like to really make sure that I’m adding something to this world by being in it — whether I make it more beautiful or more chaotic, I will have some hand in the year to come.

Here’s to a new year!

A boxed book set of the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

A post-Christmas gift to myself. I must have read Mistborn on an old Kindle or something because I definitely have read it once before, but I can't find it anywhere. Looking forward to getting through these.

A great way I’ve found to keep up with daily painting practice is with these little 3”x4” cards. They don’t take much time to paint, and the size is a fun challenge.

3x4”, oil on paper

October vibes. Sometimes I put my gouache away for a while and then I pull it out again and then I go Oh, yeah, gouache is delightful.

A watercolour painting of a green T-Rex mid-roar

In an attempt to fill my sketchbook, I've just been drawing... stuff. Using, much as I hate to admit it, a pencil sketch to start. Which of course is working out great. Anyway here's a T-Rex.

A two-page sketchbook spread with a watercolor painting of a wide beach with waves crashing and a rock formation at the horizon

I've only been back a couple of weeks but I feel like I could use a vacation. This was a "paint first, ink second" page and I really enjoy the final look, though I'm not sure I could pull it off as effectively with a more complicated subject. The big shapes in this were easy enough to paint freehand but anything more complex and I would probably need a pencil sketch first — and I hate having to do a pencil sketch first.

Some quick poolside sketches of the plant life around. It’s my first time really making use of the red pen and I’m so pleased!