Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2012: How'd I do?

2011 ended (in the blog-world) with me posting a list of goals and ambitions for the coming year. The list certainly gave me a reason to follow through on many things that needed to be done, and I more or less plugged through it nicely.

I like to think of the year as more than check marks, however. I didn't "do" everything on the list, while other accomplishments surpassed my wildest dreams. The realizations about why some things happened while others didn't are perhaps more rewarding than mindlessly ticking through goals.

What did I want to do? The list is below, with musings to help me get things sorted.

1) Be an artist. Actively. Work. Paint. Make.  Show. "Finish the series I was working on," to be specific.

If nothing else is clear on this sometimes-updated blog, I think readers will se that I have completed several bodies of work this year. I got my first solo show at a restaurant in Portland last winter, and have had several more, including two in galleries, since then. 2012 was a wonderful year in growth as an artist. My paintings traveled the U.S. to juried shows in New York, Chicago, and Washington, DC. My bank account may be in the red, as all that packing and mailing costs a pretty penny, but I'm doing it: I'm painting ever day, I'm selling work, I'm applying to shows. I'm also happy to announce that 2013 will see me through my first artist residency, at a ranch and art center in Saratoga, Wyoming.

{explaining my work to Portland's mayor, Sam Adams, at an opening}

I am what I wanted to "be when I grow up!" There are many miles to go, but I'm on my way! Check!

2) Print. Big red "X" next to this one! As I focused on my painting, my "other" art form of printmaking on a press fell to the wayside. That is one way to look at it, but I like to think I am focusing on one main goal rather than wearing myself thin. This year, it became clear where my focus as an artist was going to lie, at least for the time being. I'm embracing it. When people ask me when I'm going to join a printshop, I will no longer say "oh, one of these days... you know..." as I look at my feet. Now I can confidently say "I'm not." I make my choice and am going to stick with it.

Lesson learned! Something to be said about the motivation to say "yes," the courage to say "no," and the wisdom to know when to say what. Qualities I can only hope will continue to become clear in 2013.

3) Keep Bookbinding. This one isn't difficult, as I teach bookbinding classes to children and adults at a number of venues to "pay the rent," if you will. I co-led a wonderful camp last summer in the book, paper, and glass arts of the Medieval period to Portland youth. Making models and teaching keeps me on my toes, and I do continue to make books as a side art form, even though I am not letterpress printing.


4) Along with bookbinding, make some creative creations, like boxes and game boards: Yes, as part of the camp I made a playable checkerboard (and glass game pieces!) with a group of the greatest kids in the Greater Portland Area. I've been making small treasure boxes and ornaments, too, for holiday sales and the like. I nice way to switch up my focus when I'm not feeling the painting.


5) Get curtains. 

CHECK! (Though I probably would not have admitted it if I hadn't.)

6) Try Yoga.

I really had to when I won a yoga mat in a raffle last spring. And I did. Man it's a full body workout. I would like to continue gentle classes periodically this year.


7) See Portland's Weather Machine go off.

Yes. Although it was only by accident when I was taking the train past Pioneer Square right at noon. Score.


8) Read at least twelve new books:

Why yes. And I even count the senseless ones (like the Twilight Trilogy) as one single book.


9) Explore this lovely state of mine, and it's neighbors.

2012 saw two trips to Bend, Oregon (beautiful high desert), a trip to Crater Lake, Oregon's national park, and trips to the coast. Also made it to Washington's Mt. Rainier. Farther abroad? Oh, just Alaska, Texas, San Diego, and two weeks all over the East Coast. Whew!

{On the rim of Crater Lake, September}


10) Cook from scratch with whole foods as much as possible.

This is a way of life. One thing 2012 brought was a bit too many bits of unsavory health revelations, and for my own good there are many things my diet now should and should not consist of. While I now need to avoid some things that I once thought were healthy (like dairy), I'm doing my best to make what I can at home and love spending time in the kitchen. I bake bread once or twice a week, and make grain-free cookies. I often have home-grown produce. When I don't, I go to the farmer's market. Cooking and inventing new recipes is a huge part of my life, and a true passion.

{Farmer's Market Pineapple tomatillos. Forget beets, Doug Funnie; THESE are nature's candy}

Check. Yum.


What a busy year. It came with both good news and bad, as most years do. Now I am reevaluating 2012 and coming up with goals for 2013. Simple. Nothing earth-shattering. Many related to saving money, for my own well-being and sustainability. Many to do with exploring. Taking every opportunity but knowing when to say "no."Finding balance. Plugging away.

Happy 2013,