What an amazing journey 2016 has been for me! As we approach the new year I thought I’d take a look back at the last 10 months in particular. In February 2016 I was in a craft store to purchase yarn for a crochet project. While there I noticed a huge sale happening in their fine art area and I walked over to take a look. Seeing so many supplies on sale tugged at my heart! It had been over 10 years since I produced any sort of physical artwork. In 2000 I had discovered the world of digital art and had not looked back. Yet standing there among the papers, pencils and supplies of all kinds, I felt something deep within that I had not felt in a long time. It was a deep urge to create again, create something tangible. I even had a bit of a rush as I pulled a large Strathmore sketchbook from the shelf and placed it in my cart. Little did I know that a simple impulse buy would lead me to one of my lifelong dreams, becoming a professional artist! It wasn’t until March 2016 I finally picked up my sketchbook and made the decision to draw. I was nervous. I had a picture in mind, but wasn’t sure I could still put pencil to paper. I knew that I needed something to help reduce my stress and anxiety and something inside told me this would be just the thing to help. My first few strokes on the paper were hesitant and I could tell I was a bit out of practice! Holding a pencil is completely different from holding a mouse. I pushed on, working slowly and methodically. I started with the ears and quickly moved on to the eyes. Somehow for me drawing the eyes at the beginning brings the drawing to life and encourages me to continue on. I was so excited when I finished the drawing! I couldn’t believe after all those years my drawing could turn out so well. Here it is: I was so excited with how well this drawing turned out it inspired me to draw more. I found myself not only drawing, but searching online for better ways to do things, tips, tricks, anything dealing with graphite. I learned so much! There are so many talented artists out there who share their information in blogs and videos. I became a sponge, soaking it all in. Testing out new techniques, stretching my boundaries and continually seeking to improve. That’s when something amazing happened. I received my first commission! A request for a mother – daughter drawing of wolves. It was a fun drawing to plan out and a great joy when completed and received as a gift by an excited young lady! Looking back, I am still a bit amazed at the progression of my skills. I went from that first red fox pictured above to ending the year with a close up of a female juvenile Cooper’s Hawk. Below is the second fox I worked on (quite different from the first one) and my hawk.I’ve worked hard this past year, learning, creating, discovering new tools. It’s been such an amazing journey! Now, as I look towards 2017 I can’t help but feel excitement for what God will bring into my life! I’ve already discovered a new love for colored pencil work! I am rather proud of my first colored pencil drawing, “Solitary Song.” I can’t wait to see how I progress in this new medium along with my favorite medium of graphite. There are so many people I have to thank for all of this. Friends and family who’ve encouraged me and prodded me to follow my dream of being an artist. Other artists who have acknowledged me as being a “professional artist.” Their acceptance has brought me such an incredible feeling of belonging! And you, my wonderful social media followers! Your encouragement speaks volumes to my heart! So as I say goodbye to 2016, I am boldly bursting into 2017 with excitement and anticipation! I hope you all have an incredibly wonderful new year!! Until next year… Keep Creating!