2022: a year of growth
This past year has been a whirlwind of learning and growth as it was the first year I launched my painting business and began to show my work online to others. I’ve always been involved in the arts in some capacity, but it was really the pandemic that made me realize that I wanted to share my work and my process (all the highs and lows) with others. I launched this website in April of 2022, and it’s seen incredible growth since then and I’ve been overwhelmed by all your kindness and support.
There are so many important lessons I’ve learned this year, and I wanted to take a moment to share some of them with you.
One of the biggest lessons I learned this year was the power of community. For so long, I hesitated sharing my art with others. But as soon as I started to post of social media and launched this site, the level of encouragement for other creators was incredible. Sharing my work online allowed me to connect with other artists and receive valuable feedback and encouragement to grow as a painter.
And… let’s talk about balance. As an artist, it’s wildly easy for me to get caught up in the excitement of creating and lose track of everything else. There’s the growth of an artist and the creative process, and there’s also the growth of the business. As both grew a lot this year, so did the demands on my time. I learned that to create well - to create beautiful works that resonate with me, and with others - I have to take care of my own well-being. This is a big growth area for me as we head into the new year, too.
I learned a lot about self-pressure. When an artist sits downs and creates something new and original, it’s impossible to not have your emotions and internal state come out on canvas - through your colors, your brush marks, your compositions. This is especially true in abstract work, where often times it is a portrait of the artist’s internal landscape and how they view the world. Others might spend a couple moments viewing an abstract work, but for me, it takes hours of labor and love and self-assessing my internal state and my skills. But learning how to not only recognize mistakes but permit them has been an important lesson from this year. Every work that doesn’t turn out quite like how I want means I have so much more to learn - and that excites me.
And, I learned a lot about inspiration. When I was younger especially, I waited for inspiration to come to me. This year, through reading some amazing works like “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, recommended to me by my friend, Nate Canada (@ncanada), I realized this is a surefire way to get absolutely nothing done. It is the process of creating that creates inspiration. For me, it’s a cycle of a dedicated painting practice, paired with things that spark ideas and excitement in me, like books, music, and beautiful places, that fuel a fire of inspiration that will only ever run dry if I stop showing up.
My other big journey this year is about finding my own style. I love abstract work - I am drawn to its freedom and expression, and also how extraordinarily complex good abstract work is. I am trained in realism, and creating abstract work is using an entirely different part of my brain. There are no references. There are just raw design principles, of balance, harmony, contrast, rhythm, and so on. To me, realism feels a lot like non-fiction, and abstract is poetry. This year I experimented with blending these styles, and while I’m still on this journey, I love abstract impressionism and the flexibility to paint in a way that conveys how I view the subject.
Finally, I learned the importance of pouring yourself into every piece. Creating art is one of the most joyful experiences a human can have, and embracing play, experimentation, and my own perspective has not only changed my art, but changed me.
In the new year, my word for the year is “harmony.” I want to explore what this means to me personally, as well as how to embody harmony in my paintings. I’m excited for all the new adventures and lessons the coming year will bring and I’m grateful for all the learning opportunities in 2022.
The work featured in this blog post is a painting made in December 2022, titled “Wildfire Sunset.” It is based on a view from my neighborhood of Alki Beach and from many summer beach drives to look at the amazing sunsets we had this summer.