Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ode to 2012

It’s that time again when all the major TV stations, news papers and magazines look back and recap the previous year. People get sentimental and decide to get more fit, lose weight or resolve to do something better for themselves. Well, I’m no different; so let me digress and lament about the previous year. This way I can justify my lack of fitness and the few extra pounds to decide if I did better than I thought. Feel free to skip this blog post and come back next week for my worldly views, rants and random thoughts.

As I look back to the beginning of the year I had such high hopes. A dream project that would take care of my financial needs for the remainder of the year. That didn’t happen, I spent/wasted a lot of time on the project. Let’s make lemonade out of these lemons, because I’m not celebrating with champagne like I thought I would have. Lesson learned: that a business projects, ideas, commissions must have scope and benchmarks must be met if you want success, aka champagne.

Then move into spring when I lick my wounds, gather my pride, and muster up the energy to continue. I look back at the work I did during the spring and one could say it was a little sporadic. In artistic terms, that’s “experimenting.” In gallery terms, that’s “playing,” with a heavy suggestion on figure it out and get back to doing what you do best. While I played, I found Evans Encaustics colored Holy Grail and spray paint to be very exciting and useful in my movement forward. No worries, all these paintings aren’t hanging on a wall behind a collector’s sofa. These early experimentations never made it; they were my little advancements to enjoy.

Fast forward to summer when all I want to do is vacation and relax by the pool. There was no time for that. I had a new public arts project to complete. I had also stopped playing and was seriously committed to making awesome paintings for my October show. I sweated away the summer and completed a 40’x 12’ mural to be installed in Lexington KY at the end of the summer. In between mural drying time I worked on my encaustic paintings for the show. After all they were taking twice as long since I had added all my new little toys to my palette of talent.

Now I was ready for that vacation! Having one of the best vocations in the world, I could combine the mural installation with some southern sightseeing. I packed up the family; we had to leave the dog behind, and headed to Kentucky to install the mural. I put my kids to work for five days. We primed, painted and produced a magnificent mural. I considered that a fun vacation, however, the family had other ideas. So we headed further south to sight see, stopping in Nashville, Memphis, Grace Land, a quick stop in Tupelo to see Elvis’ first house then to Alabama for the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament. That concluded our summer and I found myself back at the easel slinging wax. To my and the gallery owner, Isabelle’s, surprise, I was pretty well ahead of the game and had completed more artwork than the gallery could accommodate. Wow! Considering all those facebook posts where it appeared I was everywhere but the easel, I had managed to be productive. It is now October and my wife and I are on a plane to Switzerland for the opening of my show. Like I previously stated, what a great vacation… I mean vocation. The show was well received and despite all the newspapers, magazines and news stories about the European crisis, I had sold half the show. I don’t take full credit for being one of the U.S. major exporters; it might be that European culture. My financial worries were over, my credit cards paid off and I can start the year at… let’s just say a more positive number than a negative one.

The year-end review is in… the year consisted of a few steps back than a few steps forward. Sometimes it felt like exercise on a treadmill. You know that feeling like your moving but you look around and it’s still the same scene. Usually the person next to you is panting and all sweaty and gross; he looks like he is working harder but your both in the same spot not going anywhere. I like to put my headphones and jam to a different beat, close my eyes, picture the places I have been and enjoy the moment while thinking of the places I am going.

Enjoy the New Year!


  1. Happy New Year Jeff! I have followed you and your posts and can only say, congratulations for staying on course no matter the bumps. I just completed building new studio (well almost) and need to purchase your 2012 calendar to finish it off. It was always a source of inspiration in my last studio. I can purchase on your website? Thanks for your blog as well.

  2. You have made an entertaining synopsis of your year! Life doesn't go in a straight line, so why should art? It sounds like you ended the year way on the positive side of the scale with a lot of work made, a couple of good vacations, a really great family experience and a very successful move into the international market. Good for you! You have a great attitude. Having heard you speak about your career on the panel at the conference last year, I know that you are a serious businessman with a creative approach to your work and life. We should all be so fortunate to blend a life in art with a strong family bond and a commitment to fun.

  3. @ Suzanne - you can click on the "New Year" link on the blog it will bring you to my website for the calendar. Happy New Year, congrats on the studio.
    @ Nancy - Thanks, i really appreciate the kind works. I figure I only have one chance at it so i better enjoy it.