I love the week in between Christmas and New Year’s! Maybe not as much as when I was a kid, when I would gleefully spend my mornings playing with my new toys and then watching the Paddington cartoons on PBS, but there’s still so much fun and promise in this week.
On January 2, I will be celebrating SIX years as a full-time artist! It’s the longest that I’ve ever held a “job” in my life. (You can’t really call what I do a “job”, or even a “career”; it’s more like a “pursuit”.) 😀 And every year, I like to reflect on the past year and think about what lies ahead. New ideas/opportunities/techniques always pop up, and it’s exciting to me to think about what may happen, even though one can never fully “plan” as an artist.
Last year, I made a goal for myself to carve a lino block a week and print it, and wound up creating a print exchange for myself and about 6 other people. Well, we got about halfway through before other things took over – mainly, I got super busy with my own Individual Art classes and other art-related activities. And while I’m sort of bummed that I didn’t finish, I still made 23 new little carvings that got me interested in other ways of utilizing my press and my prints.
This year, I am going to try something new – a watercolor a week. 🙂 That was something else that I tried (and LOVED!) in 2015 – working with watercolors. My friend Nicci and I made a trek to Jack Richeson back in February, and to my surprise I wound up purchasing a beautiful set of watercolors that were on sale. (It helps to be good-quality paints right off the bat.) I was also VERY surprised how much I loved making these little paintings and I would also like to explore this further.
As I was cleaning my studio yesterday, I was inspired about 20 times by the monoprints and offset prints that were cluttering my desk. I want to make more with these prints, too, as I did with this piece, called “Limbs” (which SOLD at my solo exhibit at the Langdon Divers Gallery this month! YAY!). It’s just a matter of working with different collage pieces, much like a puzzle – something I learned from my friend Suze, who is extremely good at composition.
And speaking of composition, here’s a piece I created during one of the Individual Art classes I was holding (I can’t say “teaching”, because I really don’t “teach” my “students” anything – I guide them and let them play with my toys, essentially). It’s an encaustic collage, which is something else I learned this past year. I had done encaustic pieces like this before, but after I took a class led by Matt Luther, everything fell into place. I love how this piece turned out and want to do more of these!
Probably MOST surprising to me this year? That I actually created some honest-to-god paintings!! And it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. 😀 One of them actually was accepted into the Contemporary Views show at my alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, this past fall! It was surely a highlight of my year. This piece is half of a diptych called “Lead-out Scrawl” (acrylic, 18″ X 24″), and it’s a representation of a film frame in the leader film that’s sometimes shown before a countdown in a movie (here’s a great example of some of these little bits). It essentially captures 1/24 of a second in time (film runs at 24 frames per second, or 1440 frames per minute). I want to try more of this particular type of painting, because it combines three of my favorite things – film, ephemera, and making art.
Here’s to a new year of making more art, entering more shows, holding more classes, contributing to more books, curating more shows, and having even MORE fun!