Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year

Today, at the end of 2015, I am setting goals for the coming year. Perhaps a reflection of my age, I want to spend more time with family and friends and my flower garden. That leaves less time for painting. It has taken awhile for me to figure out the best use of my painting time but I have listed my thoughts below.

1. I find I am no longer as interested in comparing my work to the work of others so I have drastically cut back on entering competitions and exhibits.
2. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been represented for many years by six good galleries but I am now reluctant to use my time traveling to the rotate my work so I have “retired myself” from several of the galleries. 

3. Painting pretty pictures has become less interesting to me. I find myself gravitating to the essence and emotion of a visual story rather than a detailed description of each word/stroke. I know how easily I am drawn back into detail and traditional painting. To maintain my focus of how I might paint in the coming year, I have unsubscribed/quit following the online work of many of my peers.
4. For each new medium there is a learning curve, then a time that is comfortable with enough surprises to keep me on my toes. That is followed by a settling-in and a productive time when I think of it as my primary medium. This period may last for years but eventually I become bored. I seem to need a new challenge and switching to a new medium does that for me. I like to start a new medium with a know subject so it is only the handling of the medium, not the subject of the painting that I struggle with. I plan to try a new medium in 2016.

5. Painting is a solitary business. Teaching satisfies the need for interaction with other artists and I truly enjoyed my twenty years of teaching workshops. The past few years, I have mentored several students in person and online. I’m still interested in doing that in some capacity for those experienced with pastel. Perhaps a Suggestion Session for paintings near completion?

6. Last Fall I saw a notice in our local paper about a painting group at the nearby Community Center; the group turned out to be two people who paint “for fun.” I spent most of the first session asking myself what I was doing painting there, under fluorescent lights, amidst tables of chatting/card playing seniors instead of in my lovely studio. I was uncomfortable at first; it felt like I was giving a demo that no one was interested in. But once I let it go and focused on my work, I found that painting outside the security of my known space made me a more careful painter. Each Friday for several weeks I painted small pastels that I was very pleased with and I became acquainted with the other two artists whose attitude and perseverance I admire. I look forward to continuing the challenge of painting there.

7. One of my long time goals has been to write a book. I thought it would be about my life based on my nearly fifty years of handwritten journals but earlier this year when I began to review them I realized that to get to the happy and funny parts of my life I would have to plow through the sadness and struggle. I didn’t want to revisit those times so I shredded all but a few journals from the early years when my babies were born. I think a better idea for a book is to focus on my art journey illustrated with images. I’m working on it.

My online presence is important to me both as a communication tool and as a retrospective view. I plan to continue posting on my Art Journal and Golden Years blogs. I also will have paintings available for purchase through several online venues. Thanks to all who have followed my work this year. Let’s keep in touch!

Wishing you a wonderful 2016,


  1. Love to see your studio again in the photo -- so inspiring. I also think you have a great planned direction. Keep creating while enjoying your lovely new location!

  2. Happy New Year Kay! Thanks for taking a moment to comment here. Your comment and emails from others remind me how important it is for me to stay connected with my online friends. It helped me to put the thoughts of this post in written form. Seems I can't just think "I have a plan;" writing about what I'm doing makes me feel more grounded. The days still fly by but if I stick to my plan I won't wonder what I did all day.

  3. 4. You could also explore other various subjects with your pastels... ;) People, architecture, day to day scenes, urban scenes, lovely houses in some villages, more trees and mountains if you have them not far from home....
    When you feel a little bored, there are always at least 2 ways to avoid it : experimenting with technique or trying to handle new subjects or atmospheres. :)

    1. Thanks for your advice Anne-Laure. As I explore acrylic I long to make strokes of pastel. I wonder if I could combine acrylic with pastel so I can get away from framing under glass? And, I do have months of interior shots, something that interests me very much.