It's so hard to believe today is New Year's Eve. Not that I'm complaining. I've been looking forward to some quiet time (since I'm so not interested in rowdy parties or watching Lady Gaga drop the ball in Times Square… you know, since I'm not into mob scenes.)
No, for me, it's all about spending some quality time with my man and also my paintbrushes.
At the moment though, it is time for a little reflection and an obligatory top ten list because… well that's what you do when you have a blog.
So without further ado, here are the top 10 posts of the year 2011 on My Style Canvas. It's not that these were the most popular or the most commented on posts, or even the most important, but they stuck out to me, due to all the "firsts." (First blog portrait giveaway, first foray into fashion design, first magazine recognition.) I hope you enjoy them!
1. First Christmas Card Design (well at least since I was a kid and would distribute handmade Christmas, Chanukah and even Valentine's Day cards to everyone in my building. Except the weirdos on the fourth floor. Blechhh.)
2. First Illustration to be Published in a Magazine (and the debut issue at that). The magazine is Scopic, a Portland-based independent fashion publication, and the illustration is of the editor, DG Palmer. There's my pic in the corner.
3. First Illustration I knew I'd Never Sell or Give Away. I'm just really proud of this piece for some reason, maybe because the woman (a model from the cover of a Free People catalog) looks like a pretty statue.
4. Blogger Portrait Bonanza! I actually started doing blogger portraits when I launched this blog in 2010, but I really got blown away in 2011 with all the amazing fashion blogs out there and the amazing women (and men) who create them. There was certainly no shortage of inspiration and I must have done at least a dozen illustrations of their authors. Pictured: Alexys of Fashionbater
5. Blogger Portrait Giveaway: Once people started requesting portraits from me on a regular basis, I realized doing a giveaway would probably be a good idea. It was incredibly flattering to see all the interest and after conducting two giveaways (pictured, Mia of hey Lila Hey, the first winner) I know I'll be doing more in 2012.
6 and 7. My First Foray into Fashion Design: Being a rabid fan of Urban Outfitters dresses, I couldn't resist illustrating a few of my favorite dresses from them for a graphic for a T-shirt design competition they were holding. I also designed a couple of items for a Modcloth contest. After getting clobbered in the community vote (based on Facebook friends voting) in both contests, it made me realize I'd have to pursue getting my designs manufactured on my own. And that's not something I'm complaining about!
(Top pic) Urban Outfitters t-shirt design based on dresses actually hanging in my closet
(Bottom pic) Lace panel dress I designed for Modcloth's Make the Cut competition
8. First Fashion, er, Advice Post. I suppose it's time for a trend bashing post for 2011.
9. First Homage to Classic Illustration: When I painted the Burberry wedge creepers, I was channeling the spirit of old advertisements from the 1950s and 1960s. Pretty much everything--ads for clothes, shoes and even food from the supermarkets--was illustrated in ink or watercolor rather than captured in photography. And it was all in stunning sci-fi black and white!
10. First Less Than Literal Illustration of the Year (not a portrait or interpretation of anything else).
When I created this piece, which I call "The Three Witches of McQueen," I didn't know what anyone would think of it, or even what I did. But after a folk singer friend of mine saw it, she immediately wanted to buy it.  Instead I said I'd give it to her in exchange for a couple of singing lessons from her. (Isn't having creative friends fun?). And then she approached me about designing her band's upcoming CD. So there you have it. It pays to be leave your comfort zone sometimes.
Best wishes to all of you for a New Year that I hope is filled with happiness, health and inspiration. And thank you for all your wonderful comments, which always make my day.