A look back at my art in the year 2017

2017 was a year of much growth for me. It saw the beginning of this blog, saw much introspective writing and onion peeling as I worked hard at personal growth, and yet it also was a very productive year for me artistically. It began early in the year with me attending an art night at the studio of Rhoda, which resulted in me doing quite a few paintings similar to this one. These paintings were done in mixed media of sharpie markers and water color pencils. I did somewhere between 2–3 dozen of these. They were fun, free form and without any real thought put in to the meaning or shapes of the lines. This was very therapeutic work for me as I was reminding myself how much I love to draw and paint and was very happy with the outcomes of the drawings.

The blog started as a suggestion from Rhoda that I would one day want to write a book about the growth and change in shedding the layers of the onion and becoming a healthy artist. She suggested I should start recording some of the thoughts that come out of our on going texts back and forth about art, life and balance. I really had no idea what the blog would look like or become when I started writing it, and still feel that there are times when I have said too much. In those times, the reactionary silence that some times flows from having said too much, is my self defense. I am glad that I started the blog and hope that others have gained at least a little benefit from it. This blog has seriously helped me sharpen my writing skills and has even gotten me to write one poem so far (there will be more). That is always a positive! The blog has helped me share memories, share experiences in shedding the layers of the onion, and to discuss the inner workings of some of my artistic creations. I look forward to what the blog will entail in the coming year.

Eventually after I had done enough of the paintings and had the blog going , Rhoda asked me when I was going to start drawing? What ensued next was a series of a dozen or so drawings which were purely abstract, in various grades of pencil and charcoal. Again, these were not meant to have any real meaning, and what I focused on was the balance of light and dark in the tones, as well as the harmony of the lines in relation to the other lines in the composition. Like the paintings which proceeded the drawings, I was very happy with the work which I was doing. The drawings helped me to remember many things which I had learned in drawing class back in high school, some 20 years ago.

In the summer I did a one week mini-class with the Cove Summer Camp which was directed by my friend Brittany. I was very nervous to teach this class because I had only ever taught a student to paint icons and not modern art. Also my student was an adult, and this class was being taught to junior high and high school students. However, the nervousness only lasted about 10 minutes into the first of the 4 sessions this class took up. The nervousness was very quickly replaced excitement as I watched the paintings that my young students were creating and saw that they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.

After the summer class the paintings started taking a much more formed approach. Gone were the quick sketches with sharpie on canvas which were filled in with watercolor pencil. In their place came structured drawings and painting in acrylic paints. Acrylic paint behaves very differently than water colors or even acrylic gouache. These were much more complete and time consuming works. They were a serious challenge to me, artistically speaking. I put much thought into the shapes of the lines, the thickness of the lines, what colors to use and where each one should go. Unlike Byzantine Icons which have a very clearly constructed form and a definite beginning and end, these paintings required much thought and feel into what colors should go where and when to say when I was actually done with the paintings. These paintings are actually preparation for a series of very large paintings that I plan to do once I get my studio set up. I already have four 36x48 gallery wrapped canvasses for the future paintings once I decide that it is time to get to work with them.

Looking back on 2017, it has been one of the most productive years of my life artistically. I attribute much of this to the process of onion peeling which I was heavily involved in over the past year. I look forward to what dreams might come to artistic reality in 2018! Thank you to everyone who has shown me support over the past year. I hope you have gained a little inspiration from my musings.

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