Let me paint a picture for you…
Like the boundaries of a canvas time has perimeters that define it - confines which we all have to work within. Yet at the beginning of each year, as I do with my canvases, I tend to set goals that attempt to stretch those boundaries with big ideas and wild dreams.
As I reflect back at year's end and appraise 2022 I'm both encouraged by what's been achieved and challenged by what didn't go as planned. Ultimately though, the canvas of 2022 has been completed and another work of art was added to my life collection.
The first half of 2022 began in Florida with a colorful and vibrant mix of travel and experiences...new exhibitions and events, new friends & collectors!
I held my first alligator and explored the Florida Keys, showed my work at the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic and the Ferrari Club's Cars on 5th in Naples, was featured in Avants magazine (thank you Karl Noakes), and in Panorama magazine (thank you Michael Jackson), as well as having my work added to the world famous Petersen Automotive Museum’s store collection in Los Angeles.
Sort of like the initial layers of my paintings, these experiences brought color, vibrancy and delight to my world, and I was grateful for these unexpected blessings.
July however is when my year's defining "subject" layers began to take shape. With the launch of another summer at Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach I was feeling blessed, hopeful and excited but I was also starting to feel the pressure of staying in front of commitments already in the works. Then, a week after the opening of the festival, my Dad was rushed to the hospital with calls going out to the family to fly to Oregon to say goodbye. Wait...What?! I’d just visited my dad a month earlier, and although he was battling stage 4 prostate cancer, we were told he had years remaining on his prognosis. Now I was traveling to the hospital not knowing if this would be the last time I would see him. Although the prognosis was dire (stage 4 pancreatic cancer), he was able to return home to be with family. Those two months on hospice care seemed to pass in a blur. Shortly after returning home from an extended visit with my dad in early September he quietly left this world and entered eternity. I miss him.
Its weird, I spent more time with my dad during that period than I had over the last decade and yet the time spent away from my studio and the commitments I had been concerned about became less important. Seems, when you’re given a definitive finish line, your priorities become laser-focused. The people we love are far more valuable then anything this world has to offer... I wouldn’t change a thing.
The word “savor” comes to mind, as shadows and highlights were added to my life's canvas.
On that note, let me say thank you to my sisters who were so amazing! I cannot say enough about the quality of their characters privately displayed under the most challenging of circumstances. Likewise, back at home, my husband was the most incredible human ever! Managing our business, covering for me at the Festival and supporting me as I flew back and forth to be with my dad. Nearly 30 years of marriage and Rob still amazes me. And finally a big thank you, to my friends/collectors who patiently waited for me to get back home and into the studio. You are treasured!
The month of October allowed me to take a pause, grieve and get some much-needed rest. Similar to the ‘pause’ I take once I believe a painting is completed I needed to take time to sit with and consider my "work". Time to talk to myself and God about what happened on the "canvas"… Does it feel complete? Does it make me smile when I look at it? Do I believe I’ve achieved what I had set out to to do? This break in the process is very important to my work and me personally - I want the experiences of my life (the good, the bad and the ugly), to refine me, to come through my hands and knives to the surface of my canvas and create something beautiful...without it, a painting is just a picture, life cannot be fully lived - a work of art comes from pausing to breathe in God’s grace. As I referenced earlier…appreciating the shadows and highlights, pausing to see the beauty and reflecting.
Lastly, among several other fall events, the final two months of the year brought with it the SEMA Show in Las Vegas (which also marked the fifth anniversary launch of the “Petrol” series - can you believe it!) and getting caught up on projects. Yes, I am also enjoying the Holidays, and taking a little time to reconnect with my wonderful family and friends.
So how do I typically finish a piece of art? Well, if I find it hits all the marks I mentioned above, I'll sign the piece and come up with a title - usually a personal reflection of where my headspace was during the process. If I were to title my life within the boundaries of 2022 like one of my paintings, I could call it “Journey With Gratitude” or perhaps “Grace For A Season.” I'm still not settled on one yet, but you get the idea where I'm going with it. No, it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses but I am working on being grateful even in those difficult moments. This is how I am choosing to complete this "year/canvas".
As for 2023, we do have some exciting projects planned...but I guess we will see what the New Year brings. ;) Stay tuned for updates.
In the meantime, I am wishing you and yours a special Holiday season and praying you are incredibly blessed in the New Year!! I want to express my heartfelt THANK YOU for being a part of this adventure with me! From your FaceTime calls to show me your recently hung artwork to the social media posts of the print you got at the most recent show, YOU are a gift to me and I am so incredibly grateful for you!!!
Until our paths cross again, here’s to experiencing more beauty in our daily adventure!