I'm late posting my new year plans because I've been waylaid by flu for a good first ten days of the year.
Waylaid times can be useful for thinking and such was the case for me. I started keeping a daily journal again. My writing had become sporadic and sparse in the busy, extroverted year that 2016 was. There were also world events that eclipsed my inner life, at least the act of thinking and writing about it.
World events loom huge today, but I separate from them by taking to the studio, to the outdoors, and to the balm of friendship. And on this page, here, with you.
On the studio score, I'm very excited! All that pent-up painting energy, accumulated over the months of travel in the fall and winter, is coming out in leaps and pirouettes! My Places Project gave me so many opportunities to experiment and store up ideas and inspiration. In 2017, I'll be able to see what emerges from that in the form of more sustained pieces, paintings and such.
I was afraid that my trip to Wales might eclipse the ideas that occurred to me during my Alaskan residency, but no!! The Wales imagery and ideas seem to be patiently waiting in the queue for Alaska to happen first. I have several paintings started and a sketchbook bursting with color, texture, and compositional studies, but I resist the urge to share those here. Let us not queer the deal by showing too much, too soon. But the textures and the colors are giving me ecstasies of delight!
Oh, and I've been drawing, too. Drawing is central to my life. As I've said before, drawing is one of my earliest memories, and one of the happiest, of my often-challenging childhood. Here are two simple pencil drawings I made last week of our Jonas lost in Legoland!
Pop ups in my sketchbook!
I don't know exactly where the impulse came from, but I started making pop-up sketches in my sketchbook a few days ago and now I'm in love with that idea! Here are a couple of recent examples. The pop up approach seemed especially right for expressing that mental image I've had since October of jackdaws wheeling in the dawn sky at St.David's Head. Not that this one perfectly captures that image, but it's a start!
I wanted to learn more about this technique, so I bought two books on the subject and quickly learned I had been doing it all wrong! ;D. That didn't bother me a bit. I can carry on my way, but still add traditional techniques to my repertoire. Here are some early attempts at learning popups the normal way. Who knows where this will take me? I have no weighty plans or expectations. Pure play is what this is. But there WILL be more to come!
I'm going to carry on working for Charleston Style and Design. I love working with the AD and the editors there. It's a quarterly, so the timing perfectly suits my resolve to keep work for others at a minimum. There is ONE other job that I've been approached about and I'm very happy about it, but the when is uncertain. This year, for sure. Or, for maybe. I'll let you know more when I can.
My latest illustration accompanies an essay by Katherine Wilson on her mother's lifelong obsession with Italian style and notions of beauty. I am sharing a just a few of the many draft sketches I made to show how, at my searching hand, Sophia Loren looked like Zsa Zsa Gabor, Gina Lollobrigida, and other anonymous retro beauties, until I got the style I wanted and a good enough likeness.
Because I found Wales deeply inspiring, I knew I had to get back and see where those geology-based images would take me. So I have made arrangements to go back to Pembrokeshire for two weeks in May! And maybe in fall, too. We shall see. I long to go back to Norway and that will be my next big travel goal.
As long as I draw breath and can stride, I'll be on the move. Who knows what the future holds? And that last question, dear friends, will be last allusion I make here to the events of the world for a while.
Happy and safe 2017 to one and all! Thank you for your support and interest.