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Monday, December 29, 2014

My Favorite Paintings of 2014

It's been a Monday or should I say my Monday type of day started yesterday when the worst thing that could happen to me while I'm working on a project happened...I'm not going to jinx myself and tell you what happened because I think I have it fixed but heart attack city (nothing I'm working on commission wise so no worries for the few that I have going was technology related), but yes, I about had a total melt down and freak out over it.  The fix is going to take me many hours if not days to fix but at least it seems to be working. Phew. phew. phew.  Can you imagine months of work just poof?  See what I mean? lol  ya.  It's only 2:30 here but I think I need a glass of wine after about pulling an all nighter and then getting up early to continue working on my issue just to calm down :)
Here's me in a much better mood than I was yesterday!

It's another lesson that I have to really take to heart that I seem to be re-learning over and over again this year, you can't have all your eggs in one basket and you should always have a back up plan, system, and well, a plan b or c!  Even when I think I have a back up plan, things don't always go as they should so, another lesson learned that you have to be flexible and learn to think on your feet to make the best dang lemonade you can when the lemons are served up on your plate, right?  

Well enough talk of my little (BIG) crisis,  as I was checking the Facebook this morning, I came across my friend Nathalie Kalbach's post of her favorite paintings /memories of 2014 and I thought I'd like to piggy back off of her idea and share some of my favorites from 2014 as well throughout the week.  

(PS...if you haven't seen Nathalie's collaborative class for 2015 called "Creative Jumpstarts Summit 2015" you should definitely check it out! It's only 25.00 for 25 lessons during January.  

Onto my some of my favorite paintings from 2014.  It was hard to choose so I just picked one from each month, in sharing, I thought I'd tell you why it's my favorite or what I was thinking about while creating at the point in time.  What fun it was to look back in time and relive the journey of 2014 through my art.

1) Down by the River (sold) was one of the first pieces I completed back in January. It is one of my all time favorite pieces because it started me off the year working rather large again and extremely detailed. The theme of community, villages, houses, and water continue to be a major influence in most of my work, but this piece is quite different then others I have done...a very special piece indeed.  I completed most of this piece with a palette knife until I got to the very end where the smallest details were finished with a brush or pencil/charcoal.   

2) (Sold) Oh how dramatically  have my portraits changed since I first started painting several years ago! This piece was my sample painting for Extreme portraits class prior to filming my class.  I tend to favor contemplative portraits, maybe a bit moody with exaggerated color, but always with a sense of strength and resolve.  I love this piece because it really had the depth and richness I was trying to go for and taught me to truly never give up on a piece because there were many moments I was ready to throw in the towel.  The way I paint faces tends to take a long time because I do underpaintings and the under painting isn't always a pretty process to say the .   At the same time, if I can't follow through and make sense out of painterly chaos, how could I expect my students to?  I worked through the rough spots obviously and finished her:)

3) More Time (available) This piece is probably my favorite in my Grunge Ink series and ironically it was the first large piece I did in preparation for my class that I released later on in the summer during 2014. The colors are totally different for me as I am much more known to paint in bright contemporary colors, but I felt a need to shift my direction a bit and just get really raw and emotional last year especially early on. I had lots of doubts and questions at the time (and still do..probably always will) about my life both professionally and personally.  Just letting go and getting gritty was good for me and it led to my development of my class which I'm so proud of and had so much fun doing last year. (For you Grunge Ink fans, I'm working on a new release for 2015 behind the scenes!) 

4)  Wandering in the Wild  30 x  40 (sold) .  For the last few years, I've participated in a show locally called "Double Takes" hosted by Eye Candy Gallery which is run by Frank Pierce and Nancy Rawlinson (I used to work with Nancy back in my banking days). The show pairs up a photographer with a painter and as the painter, we take the photo and interpret it in our own way-it can either be exactly like the photo or we can take our own artistic liberties with the piece.  I chose to work fairly close to the photo as it was just amazing. My first thought was this was perfect for a more impressionistic style-which again, very different then my normal repertoire. I love this piece because it was different than what I normally do. The sky was another point of pride for me, I love how the clouds came out, you really feel like you are walking among the wild flowers towards something off in the distance.  This painting also was a winning entry in the  contest for their annual paper sampler advertising kit, which is thrilling for me as well. This is the second year in a row that one of my pieces won in their contest.

5) Answers Appear(sold)   As I was working on Wander in the Wild, I found that I loved the colors so much I did about 10 other pieces all in that same color family with this piece being the first of several that were to come over the next few months.  Over the last couple of years, I've taken my doodles and abstracts and combined them into pieces I call my Pods and Portals collection.  The process is so soothing and fun to me because you get lost in the process from background to the final details, it's like creating little worlds inside of each and every little area of interest. You can tell your story but at the same time, leave room for interpretation. The title itself might have been a breakthrough of sorts for me as I was painting....after many months of deep contemplation at the beginning of the year and I was finally starting to see the light again or at least find my way towards the light.  At the beginning of 2014,  I had found out that one of my pod pieces had been chosen for publication in the book, Incite 2, the best of mixed media for 2014. The fact that the collection was recognized was again, just an over the top moment for me and has led to several other pieces that have been born from a combination of several of my favorite techniques.   It also has led to classes I've taught in person and will be teaching online in January (have you seen my class, Podtastic, yet?)

6) Renew (24 x 30) available.   My word for the year in 2014...Renew came to have many meanings for me including the renewal of my faith in myself and confidence in what I was doing for a living.  It also is one of our brand phrases for my business venture, "ReMe" a retreat business with 2 other of my artist friends. Rest, Relax, Renew.... I did this piece as a sample for our very first retreat in May as our theme for the class  I taught was abstract word art...but more than just a class sample, I think this piece is one of my favorite abstracts because it incorporates all my favorite things: color, texture, geometric shapes mixed with organic shapes, words, and layers and layers of hidden words, phrases and meaning.   It also celebrates my love for the water and our NC coast line and...and this is a big and, it celebrates the new beginning of our retreat company which has taken on a life of it's own over the last year or so.  Let's just say its has touched everyone's life that has participated in many profound ways none of us could have every imagined.

7) Behind These Eyes (available for sale in March 2015-held for class at Random Arts in Saluda, NC). 
I wanted to include a beginning picture for this piece so you can get a glimpse at the transformation a portrait takes on in its beginning stages. This painting  was a piece I finished for my class Extreme Portraits in our 90 minute exercise--the students were supposed to let go of perfection and set a timer (other than their background work) for 90 minutes and just be loose and painterly with their strokes.  This is a favorite of mine because It's not perfect or too girly, it has the quiet resolve radiating from her just as I felt the same while painting, the story still unfolding of her and me.  Never give up but let go of perfection as its a fleeting goal. Learning and doing is a better way to approach life and art. 

8)  (sold) During the summer and actually pretty much most of the year in 2014 I traveled quite a bit. I had spent a lot of time the first 6 months doing very intense work, some of it dark, most of it very time consuming and large but by the summer I was ready to go back to my funky little houses and whimsical themes.  Alot of my pieces this year had the flags on the top of the painting, I don't know why other than I drive by this store near my house every day and they had pennants in their window for months and months and months and I just loved seeing them so I decided to add them as an element in my designs. I love these two pieces in particular because they just bring me back to my beginnings as an artist and also to my philosophy of every day is a reason to celebrate and to give gratitude for what we have.  

9) Stand in Love  (sold)   I love this piece because it is the transformation of one idea that has led to the off shoot of so many more ideas.  Angels, texture, color, love, graffiti writing..all combined to create my simple message of peace, compassion, simplicity, friendship, and strength.  The year before I did this piece, I had created a class called Texturize this (hence the textured marks on here that truly so fun to do and see)  and it was so popular I changed it up a bit  for 2014 and added a larger composition to the class after sampling the technique on smaller tiles).  I love doing angel paintings all throughout the year and this was the first of many other that were to come in 2014 that hopefully are touching others lives as they have touched mine.  

10)  Crazy Good Life  (sold)  The title sort of exemplifies how I feel about my life right now. It's crazy. It's good. It's a crazy good life working as an artist and teacher and for one's self.   One of the reasons I chose this piece as a favorite is because it was a custom order for someone that found me through Pinterest, a link from a link from a link of one of my older pieces similar to this one. Is not this world within a world of the internet not amazing?  Anytime someone asks me to do something special for them, its truly an honor and this piece was especially so as I was coming down from a long haul of traveling for quite some time, not knowing exactly what the future held for me other than I know I want to keep doing what I'm doing. I asked for a sign and I got this order. Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe not. 

11)  L-O-V-E   (sold) can you see what I mean, when I work in one color family I like to carry it on to other pieces as well?  This piece has one of my favorite words featured. I had (have) an idea of doing more pieces that just words, grunge, and lots of texture...but it's more than that.'s a theme I like to paint about, maybe because it's something I'm still searching for. After spending many years (and I'm trying to talk myself out of the belief I currently have that the years were wasted but I feel sad that they were)  with the wrong person and now several years alone...will it always be this way?  Will I find it again?  Or will I walk into the sunset without another soul beside me during my final years?  Time will tell I suppose so while I am by myself, I fill the time with focusing on my kids  (whom truly are the main love in my life) and of course, my art.

11)  Seasons of Change (sold)   Again, after many months of bright and colorful house paintings, I was ready to grab a great big warm swash of earthy colors and create a town that showcased in my own way how I knew it was time for a change in direction once again.  My career took a big hit when a few doors closed (Create Retreats announced they were no longer doing their mixed media retreats) and Art Is You could not use me in Stamford as they had in the past but wanted me in Ca which I could not do during 2015 due to a schedule conflict). So there it seasons of change, I have to be honest...I went through a bit of depression over the loss of what was probably 50% or more of my income...but at the same time, it has made room for new doors to open that I had not even contemplated or had time for before.  November and December of 2014 I had the most sales of original paintings than I ever have for a non-show or class timeframe as well as many online class sales during that yes this painting marks an ending to one phase of my profession but it also serves as the door opening to new adventures in the coming year.  I know that I am on the right path but it's also easy to go down the rabbit hole of perhaps I'm not doing the right thing and need to go back to something else.  Well...I'm still here and will continue to grow..and well...Flourish (which is my word for 2015 btw...more about that another day).

12)  Dirty Birds  (sold)   In fact the person who bought the above painting, bought this painting as well..which is my first piece of my series of my crazy talking,  snarky and  amusing birds --I love grungy color and texture and wanted to create my birdies in a little edgier style than my previous subjects. I love how this piece turned out in particular, it's like they are having a show down but at the same time, they are saying to eachother, despite it all...I Got You Babe.  That's all any of us wants, when it comes down to it. We want to know we have someone in our corner, someone that has our back and gets us despite our flaws or quirks.  We want to be loved, understood and accepted for who we are.

13) Faux Leather Feathers.    I'll end my favorites of 2014 with these little guys that I did for the holidays (and may do more beyond the holidays) as I love love love them.  They materialized after walking through an Anthropology store and I saw a beautifully decorated tree with leather and suede feathers....and so I figured out a way to create my own style  of feathers for not just a Christmas tree but really any place to hang little inspirational hopefully who ever has purchased or received as a gift, they are reminded to soar each and every day.

It's your time to

And that's a wrap folks. I hope you enjoyed this journey of my favorite paintings of 2014, I know I've had a great time looking back. It's time to look forward now.  Here's to the new year. May you flourish and soar in it as well!




Chrissy said...

I'm glad you are working through whatever technological catastrophe you are experiencing. Your paintings are gorgeous! I hope you have a spectacularly awesome New Year and that 2015 opens many more doors for you.

Gail Brule' said...

Love hearing the "back story" behind the evolution of your year! And so happy to have met you, my friend...hope we can see each other in the new year. One which finds us both "flourishing" and celebrating life"!! :)

Saskia said...

Thanks for sharing your amazing work and the story behind!!!

Smiles & best wishes, Saskia :)

Theresa Collins said...

A fabulous year for new beginnings.. And ironically enough, which gives me the chills, the pieces I bought represent very similar stages in my life as well... Like I said... When souls collide :)

Lynne Suprock said...

You are a creative powerhouse.... :-) flourish and inspire!