Another year is coming to an end. For me, 2022 was life changing. In my mind, however, it seems to blur together with the Covid years that came before it. Maybe that is why writing this summery feels so difficult…
- In spring 2022 I lost my mom, becoming a middle-aged orphan. The vastness of this loss is increasingly more apparent with each and every passing day. Life without my parents feels different, lacking. There’s a gaping hole that nothing else can fill.
- In the fall, my second daughter left for college, leaving us with only our youngest. While not empty nesters yet, the difference between being a family of five and being a family of three is huge. The house feels emptier, and all the routines changed. Laundry, shopping, cooking, etc. require new schedules. We’re continuously adjusting.
- The pandemic is still around, though everyone pretends it’s over. Life went back to almost normal. And yet, many of my close friends were ill with Covid 19 recently, as was my husband. We’re back to socializing and traveling, but Covid is always at the back of our minds. It effects every aspect of how we go about our lives.
This year has been a mix of taking time off from art, sometimes for weeks at a time, and being very productive.
Meeting Last Year’s Goals
When I look at the goals I set for myself last year, I see that I achieved many of them. This feels good.
- Last year I felt that I was mostly done with functional art. In 2022 I created only fine art, though sometimes I missed making other things or was really tempted to do so.
- Last year I hoped to be able to take more classes and expand my skill set. In 2022 I took more online art classes and workshops than ever before, and enjoyed them greatly. Many of those were mixed media classes, which helped me reach another goal: expanding my mark making and surface design skills. Some of the new things I tried: carving lino stamps, making my own paint brushes, incorporating paper into my collages, further experimenting with Gelli plate printing and much more.
- I wanted to keep experimenting with new techniques and ways of doing things even it meant not having a recognizable “style.” In 2022 I kept doing exactly that. I am now less worried about having a “style,” even though many people claim that every artist needs one. For me, I realize, experimenting is both important and exciting. I simply get bored doing the same things over and over.
- Last year, I hoped to make meaningful art, though I recognized that fun, playful art is important, too. I thought that balancing the two will be challenging. In reality, it really wasn’t. The meaningful art came by itself, forcing itself out of me. The playful art was a palate-cleaning of sorts, inserted in between the “heavier” art.
- An important goal I set for myself last year was to create at least some larger pieces. In 2022 I started experimenting with different ways of doing that, and made more larger pieces than ever before. The problem with large pieces, however, is that you need to store them, and I am out of storage space. That’s a problem I’m constantly thinking about.
Art for Fun
Last winter, my mom noticed the dreary colors that filled my new artwork. Knowing me better than I know myself, she told me to make something more colorful to lift my mood. The result was the Color Therapy series.
I made a little series based on my dad’s first seaweed collection as a way to feel closer to him.
After my mother passed away, I needed color. Hence the Spring Colors minis.
I created a few small, 12″ square quilts after printing on fabric with a gel plate.
Finally, our trip to Greece, the first international trip since Covid, inspired me to make a collaged art journal.
Art with a Message
In 2022 I also made lots of more meaningful art, that came straight from the heart. I added several important pieces to my State of Human series, some of which I haven’t shared yet. They dealt with loss, the Ukraine war, finding the meaning of life and more.
The Absence series was based on images of the loved ones I lost.
And some art was a response to supreme court decisions…
- In 2022 I took advantage of the SAQA mentorship program benefit. My mentor was the amazing Ann Johnston, who, for an entire year, patiently answered all of my many questions. Thanks to Ann, I now understand the world of art quilts better, am aware of many possible surface-design techniques, have a better system of keeping track of all my artworks, and even figured out how to install a design wall in my studio! I am extremely grateful for Ann’s guidance and her endless patience!
- This summer, I finished conquering our guest room, turning it into a “real” artist studio (albeit a very small one). Having a dedicated space to work in, and the ability to change the functioning of my workspace according to my constantly-altering needs has been amazing. It has opened up so many new options!
This year I participated in more exhibitions than in past years. Some were local, some national, and one was overseas. I’m honored to have had these opportunities to share my art with the world.
- In the coming year, I would like to continue making art that feels meaningful and important. I’m giving myself permission to play and experiment, and am removing the burden of “having” to find a “style.”
- I learned a lot in the last few years. Now I need to experiment with what I already know and see where it takes me.
- Before she died, my mom left me some homework. She commissioned a few artworks about people who were important to her. I’m sure she wanted to honor her (our) loved ones, but I also think that my clever mom was concerned about me. I suspect she wanted to keep me busy and creative, because she knew this would prevent me from drowning in the ocean of grief. Well, the grief isn’t going to go anywhere anytime, but her plan is working. Staying creative has kept me sane. I started working on my mom’s orders, though it’ll take many months to finish them all. I hope to share some of them with you next year.
- Between saving my in-law’s linens and taking various textiles from my mom, I now have a largish-pile of ancestral linens I would like to incorporate into my work. They’re all white, however, and I don’t work with white. Learning to dye fabric, therefore, is on my to-do list for next year.
- Likewise, I’d like to experiment with screen printing.
My creative adventure keeps evolving and changing in ways I’d never have anticipated. Thank you so much for accompanying me on this long and unpredictable road!