New Year, New Ideas
Over the last few years, I’ve realized that I don’t get much done in terms of actually making anything in January. I used to give myself a hard time about it, but I realized now that there’s just no use feeling guilty about it, and besides, a lot of what happens during the year comes out of the reflection and planning I do during these darkest weeks of the year. I’m always surprised at how much of what I write down actually happens. It feels good to see evidence that I’m getting closer to accomplishing some of my big goals.
All this to say that we’re well into the fourth week of the year and I haven’t been painting at all yet. I have managed to tidy up the studio, inventory last year’s work, work on a business plan for 2019, and look at what I want to do to get my work out there this year. Every January brings new goals, but the big questions I find myself wrestling with come back every year. How do I carve out more time for painting? Who do I want to connect with and how, and when? What can I do to generate more income? And of course, what do I want to paint?
I have ideas for two new series, one inspired by the light and colours that I see in the sky, and the other will be works on paper that explore a lexicon of mark-making and random thoughts that I have about painting.
Kind of vague when it’s described in words, but both are starting to gel in my head. Both series are based on things that came up while working on Mare Incognitum, which is by no means being put aside. The sea still beckons, and I have a number of pieces in progress that are part of that series. I also have a couple of incomplete pieces from my Flow series that I pulled out this morning, that I finally think I can finish. Sometimes work sits unresolved for a long time, waiting for me to learn what I need to learn to be able to finish it. It’s taken me years to understand that.
January hasn’t been just sitting around thinking and sipping tea. It’s been a month of taking care of the practical things that artists hate to have to address, like going to the dentist’s, shovelling, accounting, shovelling, vet appointment, shovelling, shopping for a new car, shovelling. You get the idea. It’s been brutally cold too, and I have a full-time day job as a ski patroller, so I’ve spent a lot of my free time curled up in front of the woodstove trying to drive the cold out of my bones.
I’m not going to complain – they pay me to ski, for Ullr’s sake! It’s a great job for an artist despite it taking a lot out of me. I get to be out under the sky, among the trees in all weather, from dusk to dawn, and witness the incredible show that nature puts on in winter. This is something that I’ve always loved – even a moment of paying attention will reward you with something spectacular: light, pattern, texture, line, colour… just like art.