I’ve been looking back over 2013 and celebrating successes, but I also know that there are areas that weren’t so successful. We tend to push our failures to the back out of sight sometimes, instead of really analysing them for what they are and understanding what lessons we can take from them that will help us perform better in the future.
There is an expectation that each piece of work we start with will become a keeper. Unfortunately that’s not always the case. There are a combination of factors that come together to create something that ‘works’ and that combination is rarely the same twice.
Its a combination of human and environmental factors that make a painting become a pleasing object. Technical ability, energy or fatigue, silence or interruptions, emotional state of mind, quality of tools, subject matter, and available time all contribute to how well a piece turns out.
Artists beat themselves up regularly over outcomes without really looking at why something did not work and how to change it. Its the same with any venture in art. We see an outcome and despair over its failure, but often chalk it up to experience instead of seeing how we can learn from that or do it differently in the future to secure success.
So while I look back over 2013 I hope I learn from mistakes as well as celebrate in the successes. I made a number of goals at the end of 2012 and its interesting to look back and see what I matched or missed.
From this date a year ago, my dreams were:
Produce a new body of work
water people paintings and pushed into more palette knife painting on a larger scale, even venturing into fluorescent colours.
Representation by a new gallery
I applied and was accepted by Peter Lewis Gallery in downtown St. John’s, participating in two group exhibitions there in July and November.
Deliver an online workshop
I didn’t deliver an online workshop but I did offer a series of workshops at my home studio in the fall of 2013 which were successful and all fully booked.
Update my gyotaku book to include more technical information
This did not happen. My focus moved more towards painting, though gyotaku still featured in my work in 2013 and will continue to do so with a gyotaku workshop planned for the summer of 2014.
Produce a minimum of three short information videos and ebooks
I did produce a book on palette knife painting “Introduction to Palette Knife Painting which is available through Amazon in hard copy or Kindle editions.
I produced several video tutorials on colour mixing that I put on my Youtube channel, along with several other tutorials. Unfortunately, due to an individual taking advantage of my work, I had to make the tutorials private and available to workshop participants only. They will be enhanced and made available for a fee or through subscription in the future.
Create a series of reproductions of gyotaku prints
I didn’t get around to doing this and will push it into 2014 for completion.
Experience an art retreat
While I had access to art retreats on the island, time became the challenge this year with visitors, work load and getting an elderly parent into a care facility. Having said that, I seem to produce my own retreats of sorts by immersing myself into blocks of time regularly for art production and experimentation. Retreats don't have to be in another place, you can do them at home.
Produce a minimum of three significant drawings in dry media
Fishy Bits prints
In 2013 I completed a series of twelve original relief prints of fish found in the waters around Newfoundland and Labrador. This fueled an Indiegogo project, as I wanted to purchase a printing press to complete the series and continue to develop my printmaking muscle.
Unfortunately, I didn’t reach my goal for funding, but I did create my own printing press using a bottlejack press that works beautifully and continued to print the remainder of the pieces in the series.
Five of the prints from this series were used in the December “Harvest” issue of Highbrau Magazine.
Sketch A Day in March
In March I threw out a challenge for others to join me in sketching daily and posting the results on my blog page. It was a challenge some days to get a sketch done and posted online but I and a number of others managed. The results can be seen here.
I have progressed in areas and pulled back in others, trying to balance my wants and needs with what is necessary and what fulfils my artistic abilities. There are always ideas swirling in my head that are stored or written down for the future. Already, I have plans in progress that lead me into 2014 and I know there will be more areas that will unfold and time passes.
I will be making goals for 2014, but as with all plans, they should be elastic enough to let me be side tracked into areas that pull my interest and offer opportunity.
Lunch & Learn - mini art consultations
I firmly believe that part of the artist code of ethics should be one of sharing knowledge. There are a lot of questions out there and I get asked quite a few, some technical, some about marketing, some regarding the business of art.
The "advice over lunch" concept is one that I use frequently in my business and wanted to extend that opportunity to artists, but online instead of in person. In a busy world, one on one conversations are the best way of transferring information.
So I created Let's Do Lunch - an opportunity for artists or collectors to ask questions from the simple to the complex and get practical answers, based on realistic pricing that fits everyone's budget.
Happy New Year!