My 50th year as an artist comes to a close as I write the last post, about the years 2017 – 2018. It’s with a sense of accomplishment that I complete this series, retrospective, 23 posts in all. It became a big visual resume that gives me a grounded sense of accountability to myself in regards to creative purpose. I hope it will serve to give perspective to anyone who inherits or buys my art, a real legacy, in my opinion because the images are served up with story.
My grandfather, and first painting teacher, would have approved. Once he started painting late in life, he kept good notes as he learned through his correspondence courses.
He was an amateur painter, but not in the eyes of the people he gave his paintings to. It thrilled him to capture a likeness in oils, make the frame, and share it with the model.
I have always aspired to be as large a human being as he was. A true self-made man who evolved from orphanage to retirement that afforded him any art supply he needed, and a grand tour of Europe’s great art centers with me in tow.
Atlas of the Year
So much of this period has been developing the Atlas of the Year. It started with the idea to create one collage for each month of the year to symbolically trigger the qualities of being in the right place at the right time. It would be one more iteration of the four seasons-four directions theme of my career.
Then further I did twelve graphite drawings that were the maps to accompany the collages. These twenty four artworks will be shown publicly at Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning March 2019.
Then those twenty four artworks were formatted into four notebooks to be the material component to the Atlas of the Year eCourse. Perhaps you can understand how much work this involved, since I had to study and learn how to conduct on online class.
My focus for months has been creating the content that goes with the notebooks, for downloading each month. I discovered the joy of making the eBooks and designing their covers, the extras that will support the student’s process of creating their own artistic maps.
Art and Shows
The art from this period were watercolors and watercolor collages. Bouquets was a series of twenty seven florals, painted on my porch near the garden. Working in series is often how I develop greeting card sets, they have a continuity.
I usually have a bead project in process. It’s a nice counter point to working in 2-D or on the computer.
Other shows were the two year traveling exhibit with the Kentucky Arts Council, Illustrated Word, Visions at the Capitol, Kentucky Painters Exhibition and Put a Bird on It, both at Berea Arts Council, Feeling Blue at the Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center, Lexington to name a few.
We’ve been calling it the Studio Annex, but for year’s it’s been “the multipurpose building” in our imaginations. You’ll have to come see for yourself how we define multi. We envision a place for rest, learning, creating, exhibiting, folks from near and far…
All during the process of celebrating my 50th year as an artist, a Sam Gilliam quote has reverberated in my mind; “now that my career is over, I can flourish”. Yeah…