Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 in Review

One of the last three paintings of 2011.
 "Polka Dot Umbrella", 24"x24"
This blog post probably should have been written and posted while it was still 2011, but life tends to get in the way sometimes, and this year, instead of beating myself up for things that I can't control, I have decided to just go with the flow. So now, instead of having this done last year, I am just now getting to taking a look back at my year.

I think it's important to always take a look back and see how you did at the end of the year. As artists, and really just as human beings, we tend to get down on ourselves for what we didn't accomplish. We forget to look back and celebrate what we did do and how far we have come. We need to look at all of our accomplishments, big and small, because each of these is part of our growth and shapes us as artists. I try to remember that the journey is just as important as the end goal.

Thinking back, the beginning of 2011 seems so long ago. The pieces that I painted back then seem like they are at least two years old, until I look at the back of the panel and see that in fact, they are only a few months old. I think it's because my skills and confidence have grown so much in the past year. Painting A LOT can do that to you. Looking back, I painted a little over 60 paintings. That's roughly one painting per week! It's true what "they" say: you must paint and keep painting a lot to improve your skills.

I finished this, along with the other two pieces, on Saturday.
I wanted to make sure that all the pieces I started in 2011
were finished in 2011.
"Inner Tube and Cape", 30"x30"
Part of the reason I painted so much last year is because I had many commitments to galleries. I started the year with 5 places showing my work. By May I had decided two of the galleries weren't right for me. I was panicked at first about leaving them, thinking that I somehow NEEDED them, even if the situation wasn't perfect. I learned a lot during those months and found that I didn't need to have subpar treatment of me or my work and to trust that other galleries would want to show my paintings. So I left those galleries and ended up replacing them with FIVE others and have a sixth in the works. Holy crap! Looking back, when I finally did a count, that blew my mind. It took reviewing my year to see how HUGE that was and how lucky I am to have so many people believe in my work.

I finally finished the shadow on this one. I still didn't figure
 out why the raw umber goes randomly from cool
 to warm sometimes. Adding white really didn't affect it,
 like some suggested. I still got warm and cool shades of
beige. I guess it's just going to be one of my 
painting mysteries I'll need to solve in 2012!
"Third Wheel", 40"x30"
Another accomplishment for me was FINALLY taking a painting class. Having majored in liberal studies and getting my masters degree in math education, I don't have the art background that I would have liked to of had. It's not that I need an art degree, but I do love learning and wanted to learn how to paint in color, using old master techniques. Even if I don't paint this way in my daily life, I learned so much and I can see that my paintings have improved. I don't ever want to get stagnant in what I do. I want to continually learn and improve my skills so that my work never becomes boring to me or my viewer.

There were other accomplishments last year, like getting my show reviewed in three magazines, showing my paintings in some great shows, and presenting at an encaustic conference. There were also some non-art related accomplishments that I am very pleased about. So I didn't meet some of my goals for the year. That happens.  Overall, I think 2011 turned out to be a pretty great year. As I sit and make my "list of things to do in 2012", I think that 2012 will be an even better year with so many great things in the horizon.

Thank you so much for your continual support of me and my paintings. Happy new year everyone! May you have many wonderful accomplishments in the coming year.

This one finally got waxed this weekend too.
"Beach Babes", 30"x40"

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