year ends, year begins
This past week I sent out my 2013 newsletter/workshop calendar to my mailing list (if you missed it, click here.
) After I put all the information together for the newsletter, I realized that the number of days I will be away from home, plus the ones I can expect to be getting ready to travel or recovering from travel (a day or two on each end) are about equal to my time at home. This is both exciting and a bit unsettling in its excess. But I'm not worried much that my studio time will suffer--nine weeks of that time I will be settled into one of two artist residencies, AIR Serenbe
in Georgia in March and Ballinglen Arts Foundation
in County Mayo Ireland in October/November, and I always find residency time to be focused and productive.
Right now is a time between the end of travel and workshops of the old year and preparation for those of the new year. And while I like to set aside the winter months for uninterrupted studio work, this ideal is not necessarily the reality. Launching my new website for cold wax painting
and planning for 2013 workshops has required endless computer time over the past month or so, and holidays and family issues have also spread me thin. Still, I've made it to the studio most days, if only for a few hours. The painting above is a recent 30"x30" (untitled) work in mixed media and oil on panel. I have started some work, including the painting above, intended for my upcoming show at the Pratt Museum in Homer Alaska that opens August 2. Titled Beneath the Surface
it is an aesthetic response to the mystery and beauty of objects from the past, unearthed during archaeological digs around the Kenai Peninsula. Objects from the museum collection will be displayed alongside my paintings, and my nephew, musician and composer David Crowell
has written music to complement the exhibit that will be played in the gallery. My paintings for the exhibit so far are inspired in part by the geography of the area and in part by by the sketches and maps that archaeologists including my brother, Dr, Aron Crowell, have made during excavations in the area. (There are faint contour lines taken from these maps in the piece above.)
This exhibit, my first museum show, has been in the works for some time, and writing its proposal was one of my projects and accomplishments of 2012. The curator at the museum was very helpful and enthusiastic, but I had to overcome my aversion to filling out paperwork and figuring out a budget in order to write the proposal. This ordeal has now evolved into excitement over the exhibit and generating ideas for the work. (While I am in Alaska, I will also teach two workshops--click here
I look back at 2012 in search of something succinct to say that defines it, sums it up--but a neat description eludes me. Some years provide the satisfaction of a particular goal reached, or a consistent theme that runs throughout, but not this one. It was a scattered year in which many different projects and endeavors pulled at my energy and attention--painting, teaching around the country, website work, an exhibit in April, dealing with galleries, being a business person, planning for my three weeks in Ireland (being there was of course, a highlight of the year!). In this moment at the dawn of 2013, as I'm about to plunge in for another round, this strikes me as a very complex and exhausting way to make a living. Yet like many other artists, I feel incredibly blessed by my career, and would have it no other way. Wishing all my art friends and readers a wonderful and creative 2013!