Looking Back At The Whirlwind That Was 2022

This past year had plenty of ups and downs (as pretty much all years do) in my wild artist's life. Like the last two years before it, I wouldn't point at 2022 and say, "Now THAT was a great year!" But I wouldn't call it the worst year either. Here are some of the highlights.
"Glades, Late Afternoon," 16x20 inch oil on canvas painting.

The year started out on a high note for my art career. After a very successful studio sale in December 2021, I was contacted by an art consultant about working with me. She now places my work on loan in corporate environments, and immediately sold a large painting from the first batch of loaned work. Another big thrill was winning American Contemporary Art's Annual Award for 2022. Out of a small group of finalists, a public vote chose my painting "Spring Brook After Rain" for the top honor. 

All told, I had my work in only two gallery shows this year, one at the Library Arts Center in Newport, NH; and in WREN's annual holiday show. Mostly, I just did not feel like paying to apply to group shows, driving far away to drop work off, trying to make the opening reception, then driving to pick work up again. It's not that I don't like group gallery shows. It's just the amount of work put in rarely pays back in sales or promotion of my work. I did participate in three pop-up shows and one art festival. The Mount Washington Valley Arts Association festival in August was great as always, and I'll continue to do it regardless of how much work outdoor fairs tend to be. Even though it was about a million degrees all weekend it was the best outdoor show I've ever had!

"Carter Notch Light," 9x12 inch oil on panel painting.
My studio was littered with canvases and panels in progress throughout the entire year. I just could not stop painting. With every hike taken and picture snapped, there was a growing stack of new painting ideas building up in my mind. At one point I think I was working on seven different paintings at once! Having so many new and recent pieces available meant plenty of choices for my collectors. They found the work through my website as I posted it, and they discovered it in the five galleries I worked with this year. I must have been doing something right, because I sold a whopping forty-three paintings in 2022. Everything from great big forty-inch panoramic canvases, to the cutest little four-inch square painting out there. 
I made it through my first full year as a board member at WREN: Women's Rural Entrepreneurial Network, my local arts and entrepreneurial non-profit! Serving on both the board and the Gallery Committee, it was fun and exciting seeing where we could take our org this year, be it through ever more beautiful gallery shows, winning grants to support excellent programming, or studying the economics of women and the workforce here in the North Country. I also continued to have my work on display in WREN's gallery and shop, and had the pleasure of joining two meet-and-greet events, one of which was for the World Affairs Council of NH, where we welcomed economic leaders from Spain and Andorra!
"Mount Garfield at Sunrise," 9x12 inch oil on panel painting.

My life out on the trails was no less busy. Over the winter months I took plenty of short walks and runs on local trails, almost keeping to my streak of climbing Mount Willard every month (January was a bust!). There was one epic ski along the entirety of the Spruce Goose Trail in Zealand Notch, with a fabulous glide down the entire length of the Zealand Road to wrap things up. I tried to stay in shape and keep up road running through the winter and into spring, mostly in preparation for running the Mount Washington Road Race, which I'd been admitted to by lottery early in the year. When race day arrived, there was sleet and high winds on the summit, so we ended up going halfway up. Disappointing to not do the whole road, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless!

When the warm weather returned and the trails began to dry, I was able to get out on a few of what I like to call "Casually Not Tracing the White Mountain Guide" with my hiking buddy, Sarah, who is as gung-ho as I am to make poor route decisions. This made for a few long, fun days with a weird loop around the backside of Chocorua (featuring a ridiculously steep section of the Bee Line trail that had me examining my life choices), and a hike of most of the Davis Path in all its scruffy glory. Toward the autumn we did a nice, reasonable hike of Goose Eye, though we were sorely tempted to carry on along the AT as it stretched across the Mahoosucs. One last big hike for the year was with my friend Liz and her two dogs. We climbed Mount Washington on a fine October day and walked the entire Crawford Path into the sunset, arriving back at our car spot under moonlight. A fun though chilly overnight at Carter Notch Hut finished out the season.

"Who Passed This Way?" 8x10 inch oil on panel painting.

The two passions of painting and hiking had ample time to meld this year, for which I am more and more grateful as I see how they nourish each other. In the coming year I have plans for several big hikes and a short painting "residency" in the White Mountain huts, since I have not visited them much since 2019. I have a two-person show booked at WREN in July and August that I am beginning to prepare for now. Adventures with friends and family, covering miles of canvas and panel in paint, and continued enjoyment of my own back yard of the White Mountains are all not so much resolutions as things on my to-do list.