A New Year

As the holidays wind down and I look at my completely fresh calendar, it’s time to ask myself: How’d I do in 2009? What are my goals for 2010?

In 2009, I dumped my first art resolution within three weeks. Abstract Art? I stood at my easel every week for 10 weeks and painted…figures. But what did I learn? That I’m a storyteller. I’ve gotten better at seeing the image before the story. Yet, I don’t think my storytelling tradition is going to change. So I’m not going to fight it.

One continuing body of work, my companion cats, just seemed to get better. I remember my first painting teacher, Bob Chapla, saying to me: “Every time you start a cat painting, your whole presence changes. I can see your aura light up.” More recently, I took a class with Patsy Taylor, who teachers at Walnut Creek Civic Arts. She visited my website and told me she loved the cats best.

So I think I’ll stick with these elegant, mysterious, beautiful animals…and their environs. I’ll be showing some of my cat paintings in February at El Cerrito Community Center.

My 2009 resolutions identified portraits as an area of emphasis. I did portraits, lots of them. Moaning constantly as I painted. Most of the portraits were taken from old family photos and included interesting contexts – my grandfather behind the bar of a saloon before 1920, my cousin holding a beach ball and standing in front of an amazing car in the 1930s. I have a few more of these to finish, then maybe a break. But I think these paintings are worth the pain of trying to get a likeness.

So, what am I passionate about now?

  • Nighttime. I have one painting of a streetscape at night. I love it. I’m working on more. It’s all about dramatic light and dark. Drama? Me?
  • Something New. It’s true, I love change. So I’m looking for a new métier. Maybe new content, maybe new media, maybe new technique. I have some ideas brewing. Two hints: watercolor and piles of dirty dishes. Or, possibly, something else all together.
  • Fantasy. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Maybe one way to present a unique vision is to get in touch with personal fantasies. On the other hand: maybe there’s no there there. (See above: Abstract Art) But I’m going to give it a try.
  • I hope 2010 will be a year of exploration as well as production. And I hope I get my tiny studio room in the Berkeley house into some kind of condition so I can actually do some work! Happy New Year to all.

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