The new year always brings the urge to plan a big series of work, paint a huge number of paintings in the next twelve months, or jump into a daily challenge of some kind. But I'm slowly learning, with every passing January 1, that this is not my style. Things like thirty-day challenges especially frustrate me. Feeling obliged to create some whole, finished thing every single day for a month despite my busy life in and outside of art makes me feel resentful and rushed. The work is always sloppy and slapdash, and it in no way actually furthers my abilities. I'm not even committed to learning to paint fast and loose or even that efficiently. It doesn't serve my practice. It works for many, many artists, but not for me.
Strangely enough, 2021 has decided to force my hand in the painting marathon arena. I was expecting to have a nice, quiet little end of December into January slowdown, when two opportunities landed in my lap. One is a gallery I've never shown at, inviting me to join a group show. The other is my local gallery, which asked me to contribute a half-dozen paintings to a winter-themed show in February. The first is relatively easy, as I'll be sending mostly existing work. The winter theme? I had one painting. One. Plus, I had started the above oil on canvas in early December, and suddenly it needed four additional companions.
So much for a quiet start to the year. The easel is full. Everything needs to be dry, framed, photographed, documented and ready to hang at the end of this month. When it rains, it pours.
Painting: "The Yellow Blaze," 16x20 inch oil on canvas, 2021.
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