I've been back home from Illuxcon for a few days now and have still been thinking about it a lot. Going there this past week marked 1 year since my introduction to the fantasy illustration community in person at my first Illuxcon last year. In some ways it feels like it's been longer than a year-- the fire of inspiration and determination from that initial introduction last fall has lasted me well. I was impassioned to grow not only as an artist but as a person, and I've spent so much of the last year focused on the next milestone I needed to get my portfolio ready for, that until now I hadn't stopped to really realize how far I have come.
I didn't realize it until I'd left, but this year I was much more focused on the people than on the art. The art was just as stunning as the year before, but I was hungry for connections with friends and to catch up with certain art directors, and it wasn't until I'd gotten home that I realized I hadn't spent as much time immersing myself in actual paintings as I might have liked to. But maybe that's what I needed-- and I certainly got it. There was a lot of vulnerability at IX last week, from artists sharing personal stories and showing personal work-- and I came prepared with the same. Every time I shared the personal story behind my Holding Back Birds painting (which I'll be posting in a few days), and was willing to be open like that, I was rewarded with someone being open and trusting with me in turn, and it was a tremendously powerful thing. I don't quite know how to express how that felt, to be leading these conversations that I was afraid to be having, and finding people light up with enthusiasm and genuineness in return.
But I know that I'm on the right path, both in my business and in my personal work, now. I'm really excited for the year to come, and I feel like the workshop I'm attending next week will only solidify that in place.
Once I get back into town, the rest of the year will be focused on commissions and wrapping up projects from this year. If you want a commission before Christmas, now is your last chance to let me know! You can find my info on that here. Otherwise, stay tuned for a bunch of stuff coming up this next month!