In an attempt to get my New Year's goals off to a running start, I put a bunch of books on hold at the library back in December. I figured they would trickle in as they became available over the next month or two. Turns out they were all available, so by January first I had a pile of books on my kitchen table.
[At least I'll have enough reading material for my trip to Alaska in a few weeks!]
I've knocked one off the list: Wide Saragasso Sea, by Jean Rhys. As an English major, I wrote my thesis on another Rhys novel, Voyage in the Dark, back in college. I am ashamed to say I did not read this, her more famous work, all the way through while writing my paper. I wish I had! My thesis was perhaps too introspective without taking my author's other works more widely into account. Ah, well, one can only have so much foresight at 21. It's a good one if you have read Jane Eyre -- Rhys tells her version of the backstory of Eyre's "woman in the attic."
Now that the slimmest book is out of the way, I am onto another female author: Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
I read in little hour slots at the end of the day when it's too late to lesson plan or too cold (I need the windows open to ventilate) to paint.
But truly, the week has been lovely, with the "first snow of the season" in Portland Proper. (I'm sure up in the hills, where I used to live, has had some flurries before this week!)
2012 Goal #1 Finish the painting series I am working on, Journal.
[Second Thoughts, acrylic on panel, 20" 36", dappled in sunlight as it dries on the porch.]
I am working hard this week to finish these paintings for my solo show next month. The weather has been cooperating (sunny enough to be inspiring, warm enough to keep the windows open for ventilation in the studio, dry enough to spray sealant and leave work outside to set). Nice tagteaming, Portland!
I tried to make my 2012 goals realistic this year -- things to work towards, to look forward to, things over which I had control. We're into the second week of January, and they are starting to spiral... out of my control!
For example, Goal #1: "Finish the series of paintings I am working on, 'Journal,' and start another."
If I resolved to, say, find a venue for said series somewhere in town, it might not have happened; I could have gotten frustrated, which isn't the best motivation. I have control over whether I pick up that paintbrush.
[So close! Give me two weeks!]
But 2012 had other plans. I just found out a fabulous café and coffee shop in northwest Portland has asked me to show my work on its walls for the month of February in what would be.... my first solo show! The space calls for quite a bit of large work, and it's the large works I am in the process of finishing. If a promised show on the (very near) horizon isn't motivation to complete Goal #1, I don't know what is.
And how about Goal #9? "Keep exploring this wonderful state I moved to, plus its friendly neighbors."
A weekend in Southern Oregon's Crater Lake, I thought, or a day trip to Mt. Rainier in Washington would satiate the old travel bug. But the first week of January brought about another unexpected twist. Yadda yadda yadda, I'm going to Alaska in early February (just after that café show is hung!)
So in a roundabout way, I'm working on my goals my goals are working on me.
More on sneaky #1, #9, and the rest as they unfold.
This might not have officially been on my 2012 goals list, but I think it's understood. I've updated by blog pages to reflect recent information for 2012 -- the "Bookmaking Classes," "Shop," and "Portfolio" tabs above have been revamped. Also keeping sarahfagan.com up to date.
"Resolutions" are hard work. I'll avoid that word and offer a list of things I am looking forward to experiencing, making, and doing in 2012!
1) In the world of painting: Finish the series I am working on, Journal, and start another.
2) In the world of printmaking: simply continue to print! Whether it is work trade hours at my old school, joining a printshop, or miraculously stumbling across my own press, using my skills in some capacity is the most important thing here. I hope to print some new card lines and other merchandise throughout the year.
3) In the world of bookbinding: Bookbinding is a bit easier to do from my home studio than printmaking, so let's be a bit more ambitious. One project I would love to create is an edition of board-book style structures, hand bound, featuring my own painting work.
4) Book related crafts: I love to make boxes with book board, and I've ventured into toy-making too with tic-tac-toe sets this past year. I plan to progress with that idea and make a playable checker board that functions as a piece of art as a work of art as well as a playable game.
8) Read at least twelve new books. Best sellers I have not yet gotten to and Classics that somehow I missed are at the top of the list. Novels like The Grapes of Wrath, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, The Handmaid's Tale, Gone with the Wind, and Jude the Obscure at the helm. Suggestions welcome.
9) Keep exploring this wonderful state I moved to, plus its friendly neighbors. There are so many beautiful places in Oregon I have not yet been: Bend, Crater Lake, Ashland (for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival). A trip up to Washington's Mt Rainier and Olympic Peninsula, and a ferry to Victoria, BC, are contenders as well.
10) Keep up this whole foods, cooking from scratch trend A few years ago my recipe index was looking grim. And canned. Now I'm no stranger to breads from scratch with spelt and coconut flours, curries and soups, home roasting coffee beans and soaking dried beans. I'll also toss in phasing out non-stick cookware (it's going to be illegal soon, anyway) and packaged goods with BPA (it's illegal in Europe... come on, America).
This year, as I foster the relationships I have made with clients, schools, individuals, and shops around Portland, I hope to catalog the inception of above "ambitions," tracking my progress and adventures throughout the year. Let's see how many check marks there are next to the above items come 2013!