A Look back at Bring on Spring

A Look back at Bring on Spring

April of 2024 marks the 4th year in a row that my friends Nele, Pandora and I have been hosting the Bring on Spring Art Challenge! Hosting this challenge has become one of my favourite times of the year; I find our prompt lists so motivating and inspiring, and through the challenge I've created some of my favourite art pieces of all time! 

Pandora, Nele, and I met through our art accounts on Instagram back in 2020 and we became quick friends, despite the distance between us—Pandora lives in Germany, Nele in England, and of course I'm allllll the way over here in Alberta. (Fun fact: I got to meet both of them when I visited the UK/the Netherlands in the summer of 2022!! There's a happy little vlog series from my Europe trip on my YouTube channel if you wanna see how cute and fun that was!) 

In 2021 we decided to create an art challenge together (honourable mention to the lovely Eilidh who joined us for the first 2 years of the challenge!) but given that we all had (& still have!) a lot going on in our lives between school and work, we needed to come up with a structure that could be flexible enough to suit our busy schedules.

Since April has 30 days, we decided it would work nicely to create 10 prompts for the month (a new prompt every 3 days), with each prompt being made up of a pair of two items. We felt like giving 2 prompts every 3 days left a lot of room for flexibility in how the prompts could be approached, and that seems to have been well-received by our lovely, growing community 💕

(This year's prompt list) 

I thought it would be enlightening to pick some of my favourite pieces from years past and reflect on how my art style has changed. My style and skills have evolved SO MUCH in the last 3 years, which unfortunately makes it difficult for me not to automatically notice criticisms I have of my work from the past—but a big goal of mine is to learn how to examine my past work more productively and with more kindness.  

Lately I have been working on having more self-compassion and I have learned that it's necessary to extend that compassion to past versions of myself. Past me is essential part of who I am, and I can't fully embrace who I am without warmly accepting all parts of myself—which includes every stage of my journey as an artist (as cringey as I may feel the journey has been at times 😬) 

I used to believe that being somewhat self-critical was necessary for motivating growth, and that I wouldn't get better at anything if I didn't focus in on what I want to change. But I am learning that the best way to grow is to mindfully accept what is and what has been without being judgemental. I'm learning how to address what I want to change without criticizing myself, past or present. I really believe that the best and most effective growth comes from a place of self-acceptance, because only there do I feel safe enough to experiment, play, try new things, and not be afraid of failure. 

So while my approach in the past has been to be quite critical of my own artwork, I'm going to try to choose these favourite pieces with a kind and mindful outlook and find things I appreciate about them. I think that approaching them in this way will allow me to renew some inspirations and get ideas for upcoming pieces, too. 

BOS 1 (2021) gardening / gingham 

I love this soft teal and yellow together, it's such very springy combination! I think I did a pretty good job with colour composition on this piece (can you hear me trying SO HARD to be kind? lol). I also love that the gardening tools with the repeated gingham pattern make for such a cohesive piece. I want to do more layouts of cute matching items together like this!   

BOS 1 (2021) butterfly / watering can 

My favourite thing about this one is the teal raindrops in the middle of the piece; I want to use colour strategically like this more often and in more impactful ways! This would be a fun piece to redraw I think. I'd want to add more contrast in the colour scheme (contrast is something I've definitely been learning to think about more). 

BOS 2 (2022) rabbit / strawberry

I don’t know if it’s noticable to anyone else but I see a HUGE leap in style evolution from 2021 to 2022!! I got really into ~texture~ and making my digital pieces look more traditional and that has certainly stuck with me. I love the concept of this piece and I’d love to retry this concept one day! Not that there's anything wrong with this one ... it just feels like it's not my style anymore! 

BOS 2 (2022) bunting / lemonade 

This one brings up such mixed feelings for me. I love a lot about it, and I learned a lot about landscape construction in the process of creating this one—I have a painfully long way to go when it comes to landscapes though! I’m hoping to do some full scene/landscape pieces for BOS this year (I've already got ideas for one in the works hehe). 

BOS 3 (2023) caterpillar / poppy 

It is so hard to pick just a few favourites from BOS 3 because I love so many of them—but this one has a special place in my heart! A client that I used to work with that has since passed away loved poppies. One day a few years ago, he brought me a bag of poppy seeds from his beloved garden, so poppies always remind me of him. ❤️ I love how I drew the flowers and leaves for this piece and I want to come back to do more like this (one of my sketches is looking like a promising "sequel!"). 

BOS 3 (2023) rainbow / garden 

I love how I incorporated little themes and characters from my other pieces for BOS 3 into this one, like the ladybug and the radish! This piece is hard not to love because it has gone on to become one my bestselling prints. I am hoping to do something with the same kind of flavour this year!! 

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I am very excited to see what comes out of Bring on Spring 2024—hopefully some artwork I can be proud of, and also some new art pals!! I have met the loveliest people on social media through hosting this challenge. I can't wait to see what other folks come up with using our prompts this year—it is always so inspiring and fills my heart to the brim. 💖

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