My 2017 Year in Review

2017 was one hell of a year, and with the new year just around the corner, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this year that will go down in infamy for me.

12 Glimpses of My 2017

During 2017, I created easily over 100 pieces of original art in a variety of mediums!  Here are twelve of my most memorable moments:

  1. Gemstone Lions: One of my first major projects of 2017 was to get up-to-speed with molding and casting again, and I started off by molding an existing magnet I'd sculpted, never expecting in a million years that people would enjoy it so much! I casted and painted dozens of different lions, and love thinking of all the places they traveled to!
  2. Fire and Ice Phoenix Skulls: I did a number of molding and casting projects this year, including dragon claws, fractal romanites, obelisks, jewelry, and more, but my phoenix skulls remain some of my favorites. I had a lot of fun creating teasers and accessories for them, and they helped me to level-up my product photos.
  3. Walnut Spiral Stone: I combined my interest in exotic woods and art in various ways this year, including creating some resin and wood inlaid pieces like this walnut spiral stone. I'm definitely planning on following-through with similar exploits in 2018 once I'm physically capable!
  4. Hummingbird and Kitty Memorial Sculpture: There is so much time and emotion poured into this sculpture, and I learned so much from it. It was a gift to my mom to celebrate the life and love of her dear kitty Auggie, and I challenged myself with it for sure, much to my own detriment. I'm generally pleased with how it turned out, but the methods and materials I used made me fight uphill both ways, so I ended up getting a lot of project fatigue working on it because I couldn't do much on it per session because of materials working against me. I learned a lot, though, and I'd like to do more with air-cure materials at some point. My only regret is that because of the timing of my injury and move, I never got good photos of this piece, but I hope to at some point since I probably poured more time into this project than any other art project in 2017.
  5. Dragonfly Mangrove Mandala: I did a number of paintings on stained wood panels this year, and this commission was one of my favorites! It was a fun take on the "mandala" theme that's been running through much of my work during the past few years.
  6. Poppy Fox: I did a fair number of watercolor and gouache paintings this year, and "Poppy Fox" ranks among my favorites! The idea had been running through my mind for awhile before I sat down to paint it, and it ended up being the last piece I completed before my major injury.
  7. My Major Injury: I feel like 2017 could have been the year to break me, but I wouldn't let it, not even with a major leg/ankle/foot injury like this. My physical mobility and energy are still very limited from this formative hit in July of this year, but even as it is, I wouldn't let it define me.
  8. Fall Lion: My art output took a drastic hit after my injury, but around the time I was scheduled for my third surgery, I mustered up enough energy to paint this little leaf-maned lion and his cardinal friend and later put it up for auction to help offset my medical bills. I was truly touched by the reception it got.
  9. UV-Reactive Charms: In the time after my injury, I had little periods where I could sit at the computer, but only for about 30 minutes at a time. Rather than use this time to relax and play video games like any sane person would, I used the time to design a number of new products for my art which I hoped people would enjoy, including stickers, magnets, pins, and UV-reactive charms. The charms were some of my favorites.
  10. Fall Hummingbird - This was another concept that had been swimming around for a time before I finally sat down and painted it. I loved the idea of naturemancer crafting creatures from natural materials.
  11. Gemstone Wolf: A commissioned piece in a similar style to my gemstone lion. I really enjoyed the opportunity to infuse personality into this piece and get back to sculpting after many months away from it.
  12. “Sashah's Song” – Mixed Media Sculpture (Work in Progress) and Novel Progress: I started this sculpture way back in late 2014, and it's gone through periods of heavy work and delay in favor of other projects, but it's hardly forgotten! It stalled at one point because I needed to work with resins as well as more complex molding and casting to continue working on it, and at the time I acknowledged there was a very real possibility of damaging it if I didn't take awhile to step back and skill up before continuing work on it. That said, 2017 taught me a lot, and I'm hoping to continue work on it in 2018 and hopefully finish it off! It's a sculpture of one of the lead protagonists of my stories, who happens to be a werewolf enchantress. She's been a labor of love, and I figure I'm around 200+ hours in at this point, and there are a lot more photos of her over on my Twitter accounts @KLeCrone and @Vaeflare. To date, this is very possibly the art project I'm proudest of so far! Along these lines, this year I made an absolutely *massive* amount of progress on the first novel in my series, and I'm thrilled to report I am ending the year at over 100k+ words into it! This milestone means a lot to me, especially with the numerous setbacks I've had this year and the variety of projects and obligations fighting for my time. Woo!

My 2017 Year in Review

The good:

  • Really felt the self-love this year, even when it seems like my life careened off the tracks in July. This can be a hard one sometimes, especially when I’m not in the shape I want to be in, but I know that who I am is encompassed by so, so much more than that. I tried to be kinder to myself and more realistic with my goals in 2017, and felt that really made me a happier person.
  • Felt the love from the people I choose to surround myself with. In addition to the absolutely humbling outpouring of support surrounding my injury and follow-up surgeries from people in the community and absolute strangers, I grew a lot closer to a number of new friends and long-time friends this year. This has made my day-to-day so much richer and more enjoyable, and it felt like I had people there to help support me when I was down and out. I kept fearing the demons of depression might rear their snarly heads again, but that moment never came, and I owe it to so many real-life and internet hugs.
  • Gave less of my time and energy to toxic people, and people that didn't positively contribute to my life and the person I want to be. This can sometimes be a bit of a hard one because I like to think of myself as a very giving person, but there comes a time when self-care needs to be a firm priority. This focus also meant I had more time and love to give for folks that deserved it a million times over.
  • Celebrated 9 years with my SO and hugged him even tighter. <3 He is such a wonderful, supportive light in my crazy life.
  • We bought a house! Right after my injury though. Talk about horrible timing... 
  • Continued to donate, purged, sell, and gave away a dramatic number of boxes of stuff I had stored in my garage. Downsizing has been *amazing* and I'm thankful through sheer luck I managed to cull so much before my injury, because I can't lift much of anything at the moment.
  • Got a promotion at work and am very pleased with my career performance and trajectory! It was difficult being out of work for months and then back in a limited capacity, but I tell you what: I felt and continue to feel SO valued and supported. It's absolutely incredible and humbling.
  • Somehow, even with all the crazy, I managed what is very possibly my most productive artistic AND writing year to date! I completed over 100 pieces of original art in a variety of mediums!
  • I deepened my focus in my art side-business, and managed to have a surprisingly great year of sales, including opening my own storefront, becoming more active on Instagram, and diversifying and deepening my Patreon content.
  • Continued to use and update my Personal Productivity tracker to try to hold myself accountable for how I was using my time.
  • Chugged away at my writing and my first draft prose for v4 of the first book in my series, ending the year at 100k+ words into "The Apprentice of Rook."
  • Learned more about woodworking and molding and casting, and leveled up some necessary skills in that realm!
  • Pushed myself to learn and try new things and experiment without being as concerned about if others would like it, if it's marketable, etc.
  • I managed to navigate a careful line between keeping busy, but not becoming overwhelmed.
  • Kept my optimism intact through a truly challenging year both emotionally and physically!

The not so good:

  • Suffered a Major Leg/Ankle/Foot Injury. It's a bit comical to look back and see me say 2016 was probably my "healthiest year on record," because 2017 felt more like a dumpster-fire in comparison.
  • Didn't lose weight.
  • Didn't resolve a repetitive stress hand/wrist injury I previously suffered at work, and it only got worse from my heavily reliance on my wheelchair/walker/crutches.
  • Didn’t finish “Sashah’s Song” sculpture, but hopefully next year!
  • Didn't finish my first draft of my novel like I'd originally planned. Oh well!
  • Moved shortly after my injury. This was absolute hell, and the only saving grace was the overwhelming support from my mother and friends to help get us packed.
  • I took on a reasonable number of commissions, but they stretched beyond my normal 1 month window of when the original order was placed due to my injury and some compounding factors like moving, unfortunately. I am not taking on any additional commissions until these are completed, and am extremely thankful for the understanding of my commissioners while I recover.
  • ...Went a little overboard buying handmade artisan watercolors as retail therapy. >_> I mean, I'm going to use them, but good lord, I bought so many...

"Mira" - A Character from my Upcoming Novel

On to 2018!

All-in-all it's been quite a crazy year, and I am hopeful 2018 is a sizable improvement over 2017! Here are how 2017 stood up to some of my goals:

  1. Complete "Hummingbird and Kitten Memorial Sculpture" - Complete!
  2. Complete "Sashah's Song" Sculpture - Nope. :/
  3. (Re)learn how to mold and cast - Yep!
  4. Keep moving forward with one or more novels - Yep!
  5. Finish at least one outstanding art project and selectively retire others - Done!
  6. Continue to grow my creative side-business - I absolutely did!
  7. Continue to infuse my unique vision into my work - Again, yes!

Some personal things I'm aiming to accomplish in the new year include:

  1. Complete first draft of "The Apprentice of Rook."
  2. Continue to further grow my art business.
  3. Complete "Sashah's Song" Sculpture
  4. Create some new small sculptures and mold and cast them.
  5. Create new wood and resin art.
  6. Learn to walk again.

The recovery and creative process continues, and I've been back to making a lot of posts 

over on my Patreon

! I generally make updates there every day or two, so if you're interested in a feed of more frequent updates from me, I would suggest checking it out! I also put together a public post on my Patreon about

my 2017 Patreon Thoughts and Upgrades

.

Here's a few of the main spots you can find me online:

2017 has been really weird and challenging year for me with high highs and low lows. I've admittedly been hard on myself at times for my injury and it's impact on my creativity, yet, here we are, and I realize that even with that, 2017 was my most productive creative year to date. Huh! I’m eager to see what 2018 brings personally, professionally, and creatively, and I’m so thankful for all of your support along the way of this crazy journey called life. <3 Happy New Year!