I knew that I wanted to do some sort of art project to start the year off. 2020 had been a tough year, a rough year. We moved from a place I loved to an unknown place. I left a job that I loved to start something I had wanted for years. I moved from a small confining space, to more space than I had ever dreamed of having.
I knew that I wanted to do another drawing challenge. I did my first one back in 2016. I did a portrait a day for around 100 days. This was good for me in many ways. First of all, it created consistency in my drawing practice. Something to do everyday creatively. Looking back, although I was drawing consistently, my work wasn’t improving. I was satisfied with portraits that lacked skill (at least some of the time) not because of a lack of talent but because of a lack of effort. So this time, I decided that I was going to try and spend at least 45 minutes on each drawing. I didn’t want to be limited to portraits only this week, so I decided to spend 30 days illustrating some of my favorite songs. I’m hoping through this project to grow in my artistic habits, but also to grow in expressing the feelings or moods of things.
Why did I choose to do this challenge? Because 2020 was a scary isolating year. It was a year filled with paint and loss and many of us faced it without the support structures that had taken years to build. Music brings comfort and peace. Music can can remind you of better times, sympathize with the hard times, and help you look forward. I think of all the art mediums, music is the most magical to me. It inspires like nothing else. I love music, and wanted to collaborate with some of the Artist’s that brought me great comfort and joy not only in 2020 but throughout my life. Some of these songs are glimpses into my childhood, and some of these songs are my present dishwashing jams. Some of these songs are the songs I sing my daughter to sleep with, and some of these songs are the songs that I danced to at my wedding. All of theses songs live in my heart daily.
Day 1- You Are My Sunshine by Johnny Cash
I love this song. It’s a song that’s universal to me. Bad day, play this song. Good day, play this song. I sing this song as I rock my daughter to sleep when she’s not feeling well. I sing this song to her when we’re playing outside or going for a walk. I sing this song while I wash the dishes or sweep the floor.
Day 2- The Long and Winding Road by the Beatles
This is a song from my childhood. I remember one Christmas many years ago, my dad got an iPod. It was one that back then was tiny and compact, but now seems clunky. I loved that iPod. It transformed our morning. Before, we would listen to the radio while we ate breakfast. Most of the time, I didn’t like the songs and I hate the commercials. Once we had the iPod docked in a speaker, mornings became filled with us choosing rotating songs. The iPod was filled with songs from my parents childhood- the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas and the Papas were part of our constant rotation. I loved listening to this song. It now reminds of the journey my life has taken with my own little family. Now I play it during breakfast in our home like we did when I was growing up.
Day 3- Champagne Problems by Taylor Swift
I love Taylor Swift. She belongs in so many beautiful memories. Her song This Love (which I’ll probably do later in this series) was the song that played the first time my now husband picked me up for a date. It was the song we danced to at our wedding. We belted out her songs while we road-tripped across the United States twice. It is her new music that I’ve been painting to for the last four months.
Day 4- I See a Darkness by Johnny Cash
When I am deeply sad, I listen to this song. This was the day that my home, my country, felt unsafe. I am so deeply saddened by the behavior of that mob and so very angry. The world was very dark that day. I mourned by listening to this song and drawing this piece. Even though this work isn’t my best work, it soothed my soul to create it during a turbulent time.
Day 5- The Boat Song by JJ Heller
When my family and I lived in a small apartment in Maryland, my husband worked nights. Often times my daughter (an infant at the time) would have trouble sleeping when he wasn’t there. I would turn on songs by JJ Heller. I would walk Joy around the living room, singing along. I love Heller’s voice and music because it’s singable. I lack musical talent, and appreciate songs that I’m able to follow along. The Boat Song in is both prayer and poem to me.
Day 6- The Sweetest Devotion by Adele
Adele’s song The Sweetest Devotion is about her song. Adele once said in an interview, ”The song is all about my kid. The way I've described it is that something much bigger has happened in my life. I love that my life is now about someone else” That day I was thinking a lot about my nephew James and his Mom, my sister Rebeccah who is also a creative inspiration to me like Adele (Checkout her work here).
Day 7- Count Your Blessings by Bing Crosby
Today I watched A White Christmas like I do annual. I love the dancing and the songs and the story. My favorite part is when Bob and Betty sing over sandwiches about their insomnia. My husband has been having a hard time sleeping, and that song made me think of him and his own sleepless nights.
Davis, Payton. “Adele: Here's What 'Sweetest Devotion' Is About.” Deseret News, Deseret News, 20 Nov. 2015, www.deseret.com/2015/11/20/20577247/adele-here-s-what-sweetest-devotion-is-about#file-in-this-feb-24-2013-file-photo-singer-adele-arrives-at-the-oscars-in-los-angeles-adele-releases-her-new-album-25-on-friday-nov-20-photo-by-john-shearer-invision-ap-file).