Friday, December 31, 2021

End of the Year Review

 Well, if you're reading this, you and I managed to survive 2021.  Don't know about you, but I'm more or less intact.  It wasn't all that bad of a year, frankly.  I've had worse.  All four years of the Trump presidency, for example.  

I have several things I do to keep myself busy.  I'm an artist doing both commissioned paintings as well as my own stuff.  I manage the art gallery for Mars Hill University.  And I write proposals for firms seeking federal contracts.  Quick recaps, starting with the last:

This was not a busy year in the proposal-writing field.  It started with a big effort for a company I've worked with off and on, in several different roles, for over ten years.  We submitted an outstanding proposal that I'm proud to have been a part of.  Of course, it's now hung up in protests that may or may not be resolved in the next six months.  Since then, this line of work has been very quiet.  I've done a few very small proposals, some of which have been successful, but it has not taken a significant bit of my time.

The university's art gallery has continued to be a fun sideline.  We've had several really great exhibitions this year.  Covid has meant that we can't have receptions, which is annoying, but the quality of the shows was generally high.  I had an unfortunate experience with one artist who cancelled out of her show TWO DAYS before we were supposed to hang it.  Long story there, but frankly, I was relieved, and we had somebody else who stepped up and mounted a good show in her place.  Right now, I'm planning the schedule for the 2022-23 school year.  I'm watching out for any of the red flags that our problem child this year showed.

The studio has been my primary source of activity this year.  I completed 24 oil paintings, of which nine were weddings, one was another commission, and 14 were my own works.  Some of those were done for an upcoming exhibition, some were experiments, and I have no idea where a few of them came from.  I also did nine charcoal and pastel figurative works, of which two were commissioned portraits.  I really enjoy working in charcoal and pastel, but spent more time in oils this year.  

Speaking of charcoal and pastel figurative works, I have some of them in an art gallery now.  The Mars Landing Galleries is a brand-new fine art gallery here in Mars Hill.  The owner, Miryam Rojas, has created a really good gallery with a lot of very strong work, despite including my pieces.  I'm really happy to be included in this stable of great artists.

One thing I have not been able to do is re-start my life drawing sessions.  I was considering it a couple of times, but both times the covid infection rate suddenly shot up.  No sense taking chances.  

Just over the last few weeks, I've been playing around with photography.  I came across a photographer working in black and white who does really stunning figurative work.  My studio computer has thousands of reference photos taken from model sessions, weddings, landscapes, and lots of other subjects.  So I've been searching through them for those that have some kind of potential, stripping the color out, cropping, and playing with the lighting.  It has been a lot of fun and I've gotten some cool images.  Here's one:

So what's up for the new year?  Well, the wedding painting business is still going strong.  I'm fully booked for 2022 with nine commissions.  The first one is tomorrow: a New Year's Day event at the Biltmore.  It's very small, the ceremony will be outside, and I am not going to be at the reception, so it looks pretty safe.  The next wedding will be in May.  Fingers crossed, covid won't be as rampant as now.  

I have a solo exhibition set for August at the Pink Dog in Asheville.  The theme of the show is a cautionary tale of what might be in our future if we don't get our collective acts together politically, economically, ecologically, and socially.  Yeah, it's a bit of a "Debbie Downer" topic, but so what.  

So at the end of a pretty stressful year, I'm happy to still be here and ready for whatever comes next.  I hope you are, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment