Up here at latitude 53 winters are cold and dark. Some might say brutal. I say beautiful.

snow sculpture

A Voyageur - a French explorer/fur trader from Canada's early days - depicted with snow and light.

I'm not afraid to say it. I love winter. I can't get enough of the smooth white piles, the empty white fields, the crisp blue skies, and soft pink sunrises. I find that every winter I find more and more ways to get outside and enjoy it. Here are a few things that made me love this winter in particular:

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Last month I challenged myself to draw 30 sketches of Edmonton (my home city) in 30 days, and I invited people to join me in the challenge. The goals were to create new perspectives of the city and to create a consistent creative practice while breaking down creative barriers. It was hard! Though I didn't make it to 30 and there were some days when the last thing I wanted to do was sketch, I learned a lot. I've decided to share some of the photos and a bit of my creative journey throughout the month. You can see all my sketches and those that other people sent in on the project blog at sketchesofyeg.tumblr.com.

The first sketches I did felt liberating and exciting. The idea came out of a desire to be creative every day, and to encourage others to be creative, and at first I felt like this project was really going to help. I was bringing my sketchbook everywhere, finding inspiration in unlikely places, and even pushing myself to draw while I was with people.

Playground     

And then something happened. I started to judge my sketches more harshly. I started to feel embarrassed when the sketches I was posting weren’t perfectly accurate and polished and I was frustrated that they didn’t look the way I thought they should. Soon I saw my daily drawing as a chore, rather than a fun way to inject creativity in my day.

What went wrong? (more…)