The past year has been filled with challenges that have been a mix of good & bad. We need challenges to help us grow, yet they can also be discouraging if the grade is too steep.
Looking back can be productive and help me make sense of challenges achieved and challenges for growth.
The ultimate challenge:
One big challenge from last year: Moving! It helped me by asking me to sort and prioritize what to keep and what to toss. It also got me to review on a large scale – where my art has been, where it might be going. I looked back on years of paintings – realistic still life, abstracted figurative, realistic landscape and abstracted landscapes.
One thing I gleaned from this process was that I’m ready for something new. Ideas for my series Down on the Farm continue, but they are not as potent as when I was really in the flow. I can continue with an occasional painting, but I’m ready for a new challenge.
Another challenge I faced was professional. I applied to and was accepted into shows, I was recruited to a new gallery and I was elected as a juror of the 2023 National Watercolor Society International Exhibition. These accomplishments are the culmination of years of challenges to getting my work into the world and gaining recognition. It feels great to have these accomplishments under my belt.
You can see my most recent accepted entry in the Signature American Watermedia Exhibition in Fallbrook, CA at the Fallbrook Art Center, February 13 – April 10. It is always an honor to be included in this show of artists who hold signature membership in some of the top Watercolor groups in the country.
A final challenge was deciding on the direction to take my teaching. After the huge effort to move to online classes in 2020, 2021 offered the opportunity to teach a few classes in person. I enjoy both, but for now, I think I will be concentrating on in-person workshops.
I’ve had many artists asking me about the software I use with my iPad to experiment on works in process. I’ll be teaching “See the Future” in February at Tubac School of Fine Art in AZ (a 3-day workshop with analog paint, paper & the iPad experiments.) I’ll also offer a pared down version October 6 & 7 at the Sitka Center for the Arts in Otis, OR.
A new Grandson! Life is so short – Covid has been a hard way to learn that – grandchildren are a great way to learn this. I’ve been prioritizing time spent with family as we witness this miracle.
Travel and teaching abroad:
Spending two weeks in Europe in October was such an inspiration. I’m excited and hopeful that next fall will see me fulfilling a lifelong dream of teaching in Italy. I also enjoyed the inspiration of quick trips to New Mexico and San Francisco. Seeing a broad variety of art left me filled with ideas.
Look at this exciting opportunity to paint with me in Umbria if you’ve ever wanted to learn to paint. Our focus will be on simplifying! It will be a challenge to plan this class, so if you’re thinking about going, drop me a line! I’d be happy to answer any questions.
Connecting with new collectors.
Several paintings found forever homes this year. Knowing that my work will inspire and enrich someone’s home or office for years to come makes the challenge worthwhile.
I usually don’t take commissions, but two clients talked me into it this year. My first client already owned one of my large pieces and had a new home with a giant wall, begging for multiple pieces. They selected two existing pieces, and my challenge was to create a third painting to hang between the other two. It was energizing and fun to tie up all the pieces – the room, existing paintings, the type of art they wanted… all congealed into a piece I’m proud of.
The second commission involved creating art for a new wine label: Approachment Wine (coming soon.) Working through several renditions helped me refine my process for working with clients. I learned that I am impatient and I have difficulty juggling multiple projects. I prefer to work on one painting at a time. This is something I’ll outline with future clients – response time in the communication process is critical to my flow!
Tell me, what have your challenges been in 2021? Takeaways? Goals? I’d love to hear your perspective.