Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Year in Review - 2009

I spent my New Year's Eve sitting in front of the fire drinking a little champagne and reading over my last year of blogging.  My memory is notoriously bad, so being able to review the year this way makes me glad to have posted over the last 12 months, even if no one was to read it. But I've also made some good connections along the way, which makes me happy that some people have read it, so if you're reading my blog now...thank you and Happy New Year!

I have to say, for all the dissing of 2009 I've heard, it was not a bad year for me, and for that I'm grateful. Even though I often fantasize about ditching the day job, I survived two rounds of layoffs and I know, intellectually, it's a good thing. Unemployment would not mean more time in the studio, it would mean more time on interviews. If I was lucky enough to find another job, would probably mean longer hours for less pay. So I guess I'm glad I kept my job.

More importantly though, those I care about are doing ok. Although I would wish better health for some, we are all still here, still supporting ourselves and still getting along.

The most disappointing thing this year has been in my work. After three or four years of intense work on my last series, I haven't produced much substantial since my show at the end of 2008. I have been thinking a lot, but haven't found the same kind of focus as I had with my Shoemaker Series yet. I do have some ideas floating around, and found a special dune-ish inspiration last summer, so paintings will follow...

So where did all the time go? Let's see...

In January I went to classes at the Museum of Natural History in Roger William's Park called "Drawing from the Collection" and learned to love taxidermy.  I focused on owls, and it gave me some ideas about incorporating these little spirits into my work.  It was also very cheering (if freezing) to hop on an overnight bus to attend the inauguration in Washington. It was a great experience to feel so hopeful about the shift in direction our country chose, and although everything is far from wonderful, I still feel hopeful to have someone leading this country who can think in more than one dimension. I had washed my hands of the judgment of the American Public, so had to promptly unwash them.

My friend Mary Grady was the one who got me out into January's cold on those adventures. Her's usually take place up in the sky, so check out her site if you like all things aviation.

In February I said goodbye to my 1989 Toyota pickup. You would think swapping it for a new 2009 version would be exciting but I still feel a pang when I think about it and wonder if I did the right thing. The new truck is much smoother, but bigger and not nearly as friendly. But I gave my old truck to my college-age niece, so I get to take it for a spin once in a while. I have to admit I'm amazed at how stiff, pokey and noisy it rides now that I'm used to the other. But it served me well for 20 years and delivered a lot of paintings

In March I found out that one of the national park artist residencies I had applied for had accepted me. In fact, I was to be the first AIR at Great Dunes National Park.  A few weeks later, I got a phone call which told me that my name was chosen in a lottery to stay in dune shack on Cape Cod.

Quite a coincidence, and it was nice to be able to anticipate hiking barefoot through the dunes to get me through the blustery chill of March.

As excited as I was about planning my next residency, I still owed Mesa Verde a painting from my 2008 residency there. I finished it in June,  just over the year deadline. Those at the park were very patient and resisted showing up at my studio door with their flat rimmed ranger hats and crisp khaki uniforms to seize what I owed them. I'm glad they like it when it finally arrived. 

In August, after a little angst about whether I could get the time off work, and keeping a nervous eye on Hurricane Bill which was charging up the coast, I was dropped off at the dune shack Thalassa and spent an idyllic week there, hiking over the dunes and along the shore, watching the huge waves kicked up by the hurricane, drawing, swimming and entertaining a few guests.

I hardly had time to shake the sand out of my shoes before heading out to Colorado and  Great Sand Dunes National Park in September.  The dunes were much higher there, but worth the climbing. I'm still working on posting my journal, but the first two installments can be found here.

The rest of the fall was spent in getting my application out for Denali National Park (rejected!) and happily sorting through some exhibition opportunities which have come my way. I drop off the paintings for the first one, at Bert Gallery in Providence, tomorrow and will have more details soon.

It will be nice to move some of my paintings out of the cold studio and into nice warm gallery space.  And it will be nice to move me into the cold studio to make more...

Here's to 2010, it's going to be a good year.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I value your comments, please let me know what you think!

Related Posts with Thumbnails