"Summer Shadows (Diptych)", 72" x 36", Oil on Canvas
As 2021 begins to draw to a close, I'm reflecting on the effect of recent events on my year in art. This year has tested my resolve to produce art and to continue creating; it's thrown many opportunities and obstacles my way. Here's how it all turned out:
Just over a year ago, I moved into a large studio space in Denver which allowed me to work bigger. This was not a gradual change- my canvases ranged from 3 feet square to 4 feet x 5 feet overnight. Seeing my work take up the majority of the space on a wall was thrilling and terrifying at the same time. I was used to presenting my work in smaller, quieter formats. Now, my paintings were seeming to shout from across the room: "Hey! Look at me!". This exposure made me feel a bit off balance.
My new space allowed me to continue working through the pandemic. I found new focus and a drive to work every day, 7 days a week for months on end. The silence and solitude encouraged me to dive deeper into new subjects. Some paintings came easily and almost painted themselves, while others required relentless reworking and angst for months on end (are you listening, "Skscapes"?).
I knew that these larger format paintings would not sell themselves. I needed help from galleries to promote them. Smaller paintings can be purchased from photos on the internet, but large investments should be seen and experienced in person. I started to reach out to galleries to tell them about what I was working on, and to generate interest in selling them when they were finished. To my relief, my galleries in the midwest and two new galleries in Colorado were interested in working with me.
By the end of July, I had amassed a very large stack of very large paintings. I had an exhibition in Saugatuck at the J Petter Galleries in August, so I stuffed my paintings into my SUV, and drove from Denver to Michigan, dropping off paintings along the way. Mary Williams in Boulder, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, The Hildt Gallery in Chicago, and J Petter all took paintings for their walls.
After the journey, I was exhausted physically, and yes, emotionally as well. Would this new batch of paintings be received well? Will this year of work be worth the effort? I came back to my studio and its bare white walls, all my colorful paintings gone. If my paintings don't move, how would I find new energy to develop a new body of work? At this point, I questioned everything about my life in art. But I decided to wait and see.
To my utter shock, my phone started to ring a week or two later- galleries telling me that my paintings were selling- particularly my largest pieces that I was most uncertain about. My anxiety and exhaustion started to lift.
My studio walls are still empty. I need to dig deep now and find my creative self again. I hope to have new work to share with you again soon. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following me and supporting me through this journey. It really does mean the world to me to know that you are out there.
Sold work in 2021- An Astonishing Year