Colors of 2023

Sometimes, around this time of the year, or today to be specific, I often write a summary of the passing year, sometimes across multiple posts. In one way I did that last September, and in another way, this year, the latter half in particular, was terribly sucky for me, but because of that, I had spurts of productive periods, too. I'm having a hard time summarizing the different aspects, so I'm going to tell you about one thing I did: my mental health paper work.

There was no one reason why the year was so sucky, but small and mid-sized issues came at me one after another, sometimes in multiples. I suspected mild depression, but I didn't have my usual telltale sign of raising my eyebrows to open my eyes. I think anxiety may have been the main issue; I haven't read much about anxiety, so that's the next homework.

On top of that, I had the longest hay fever season I can remember, (five months and counting.) I experienced problems with my eyes I've never had, and although the weather has improved and the winds not as fierce in the last... couple of weeks, heavy duty symptoms return regardless, like today. I spoke with my nurse friend, who said the next step is steroids. Yikes. I didn't do myself any favor by not giving up caffeine and dairy, either; this really helps reduce symptoms, but I couldn't give up little pleasures while feeling depressed. At one point, I decided to stop worrying about weeding, compartmentalize my life, and concentrate on indoor things.
Last weekend, I cleaned and refilled my watercolor palettes and half pans. I never imagined it would take two afternoons, but it did, and I found it meditative, like Japanese "gokuyoh", thanking tools for the year's work. I used up four colors, but I still have a whole lot of colors in "Western" watercolor, (called transparent watercolor in Japan,) Japanese watercolor, (between transparent and gouache,) and gouache, all thrown in one ice cream container. (A dear friend sent me over 40 tubes when her son moved out and they had a big clean out a few years ago. He, too, used only certain colors in school; many had never been opened.)  I have more greens in the pans for next year, because I've grown less antagonistic towards them, and all the browns went into a smaller palette of their own; I still have so many browns. Very soon, perhaps before the middle of next year, I must buy some yellows. For now I'm sticking with student-grade paints.
In January I signed up for Mary Ann Moss's Sketchbookery. I started out enthusiastically, (top left spread,) but I found it difficult. I knew what I wanted to draw, but I resisted and tried to stick to what I considered assignments. Silly me, when do I ever follow recipes? 
I started doodling the Bard's face to relax; it's something I've done from time to time in the past, (I found some paint samples on which I drew a couple of years ago,) and soon, that became my main thing. And then I quit. I thought about sketching from time to time, but didn't want to try. And yet, when anxiety became too much, when depression or hay fever made it impossible to think, I returned to the Bard; when I recovered, I quit. In a few weeks, I was back again.

The kind I like the best are (near) blind contours, the wonkier the better. But because I worked on tiny notebooks most often, my lines fell off the page all the time, so I didn't do as many blind contours as I intended. I never aimed for realism, so everything I drew are wonky. I also drew, blind or otherwise, about 75% of them with my non-dominant left hand. I also tried coloring in in flat colors, and from time to time, staying inside the lines.
As I got more used to watercolor, et al, I started mixing colors as well as putting one color on top of another. I got some fabulous colors, but "doing it" being the focus, I didn't keep records so I can't recreate them, same as my cooking.
I had some attractive combinations, and was every so pleased with myself when I made a warp based on one on a whim. There are many more on the pages. In all, as much as I was able to count, I drew 518 Bard faces this year. They are so fun to look at, and I have no intention of stopping, just not top priority, unless that's required again.
And here we are. Farewell, good riddance to icky, sucky 2022. Fair befall us all in 2023.

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