As we begin a new year, I always find it important to take time to reflect upon the events and achievements of the prior twelve months. Through pushing the pause button and reviewing, I can realize how far I've come in my artistic journey and set realistic goals for the coming year. 2021 was an especially dramatic year for me, marked by lots of change and some uncertainty. I completed 19 paintings, decided to pursue my dream of becoming a full time artist, had a painting accepted into a juried show, and sold my first painting through a gallery. On the flip side, I was also rejected from a show I was hoping to get into, made some paintings that weren't my best, and felt anxious about leaving my office job for a career in art.
Here's my recap of 2021:
Pet Portraits Dominated
This past year really felt like the Year of the Dog. Though I suppose as an animal lover, I could argue it's always Year of the Dog. I painted 5 pet portraits this year, and this is a subject I am excited to continue to explore in 2022. I love painting animals of all varieties, but dogs have always held special place.
Personal note: This past year we said goodbye to our family dog (see the Shadow painting below) after 16 remarkable years together. She was a loyal friend, gentle, with a kind personality, insanely smart - truly a special dog. After her passing, I knew I had to commemorate her in paint. I am so fortunate to have known her and to have been able to honor her in this way. Her portrait was gifted to my family for Christmas.
Painted a Small-Scale Study for a Much Larger Commission
Some of you may know I am working on a massive painting of a pineapple for a client in Florida (honestly what better fruit to represent The Sunshine State?) This 11" x 14" painting was just a small scale study before I began its big brother, which will measure larger than 2.5' by 3.5'. I have been, and will continue to post progress updates on my social media accounts. As of now, most of the first layer has been painted. It has been such a great challenge painting on a large scale since I normally work much smaller. I am really excited to see it completed.
Experimented in Human Portraiture
I painted this portrait of a friend's daughter to practice facial features and color, but portrait painting is hard! Potentially one of the hardest subjects to do successfully. If one feature is a millimeter off, and the artist no longer has a convincing likeness of her subject.
This is my best human portrait to date and I love the pure joy in her expression, but this painting took tremendous effort. Her face alone took about ten hours. I make no promises for human portraits in 2022!
Became Obsessed with Marigolds
My Marigolds at Dusk painting was, in my opinion, the best painting I created in 2021 (and thus far in my career). I created two other Marigold-inspired paintings after. I fell in love with the orange and blue color scheme, but it was the complexity of the different greens, as well as painting parts of the scene out-of-focus that ultimately enchanted me. This painting took a long time to complete, but I hope to create more work like it in 2022. This was also my first painting to enter a juried show in October, and my father built a custom floating frame to display it. Right now it is proudly displayed in my dining room, as I love it far too much to sell.
Created Another Holiday Series
In September I started and completed my second annual holiday series comprised of four paintings. In November, I created another painting for The Very Affordable Art Show, and displayed many of the holiday series works with Art House Gallery in Jersey City, NJ.
I am thrilled to say that Green & Gold Nutcracker, below, is the first painting I've sold through a gallery. My father also build a custom floating frame for this piece.
This year is also the first year I was able to create and offer holiday cards from my holiday series paintings. I had to teach myself how to create the digital files for print, taking into account where they fold while leaving space for a 1/4 inch border. This may sound easy, but designing these really made my head spin. However, I'm pleased to say I did it! And what's more, my holiday cards completely sold out!
Goals for 2022
So what's in store for the coming year? Glad you asked. I will be seizing my art career by the reins and steering myself to becoming the best artist I can be. This includes:
Completing more paintings than I ever have in a year
Creating more dynamic, interesting work
Entering into more juried shows and exhibitions
Connecting with more artists
Expanding my work onto other platforms
Have you taken the time to reflect on your achievements in 2021? What do you look forward to most in the new year?