Friday, January 02, 2015

Starting 2015 Right!

The holidays have thankfully come and gone and with it the year known as 2014. 2014 was a very, very mixed bag of a year, maybe even more of one than most. The highs were higher and lows lower than any year in a long while. The good is that I graduated from PAFA with my Masters which finally ended my official time as an art student. The whole MFA experience was also pretty mixed and its still an open question as to whether it will pay off artistically vs the cost of doing it. I guess its a question that might take a few years to answer, but I will say that I think one thing I can point to is that the MFA experience made me even more sure and even a bit strident about what I like and don't like and what matters to me as a painter.

So many things are changing now in art education, fueled by the crazy high costs vs the unfortunate outcome for most students. Not being an artist and huge debt.

The fact its too easy to get an A or B in art school which does not translate into actual skills that can later be a real way to make $$ as either a commercial or fine artist is just the start of the problem.

I as returned to doing comic conventions in 2014 after many, many years which was also quite enjoyable and profitable---surprisingly so, even leading to my current gig at DC drawing part of the new Convergence maxi-series.

The bad was dealing with taxes and watching the Ferguson situation and all of its fallout. Seeing how big the whole issue of racism is still a huge open wound on America. How dumb our country is , how polarized and how much we have reversed in a way, driven by fear and the profit made from fear. I mean I know it was this certainly more this way since 9/11, but to see the ugliness that has been squeezed out of people is always unpleasant. You wonder how can and should you respond and I think the best way to start is in your own personal life and dealings with people.

Now that I am 6 months out of grad school the dust is sill not settling quite yet on the home front. The studios here are going to get a major shake-over. After seven years as a student and four with a studio in school--all that STUFF came home. I have to really retrofit my life here. I have already tossed a lot and recycled old painting for new surfaces, yet that is just the tip of the iceberg as they say. I have to really rearrange my home to have a painting studio and a commercial studio. since i decided that for now to not get a studio outside of my home to save some bread sicne I am now paying back that student loan. I am getting rid of so much old equipment as well. old printers and such, old tech that just piles up. So its the middle life trim down. Its amazing home much stuff piles up while making art, fine or commercial!

I had much less teaching than planned as classes didn't run last fall and so far doesn't look like this spring they will either, so I'm moving in other directions now. I am going to be spending that time working on a few new series of paintings and even have a Detroit project I want to do maybe this spring or summer. That will involve travel and logistics I am still looking at now. It sprang from a travel proposal I submitted in my MFA.

The Judge Parker strip is still the main an regular gig and I start my 6th year this Feb on the strip. Man, time flies and the strips are piling up too! I never imagined I'd be a regular comic strip artist but since not juggling so many things like teaching and school I have more time on my hands to enjoy drawing the Judge.

Judge Parker pencils from a Sunday strip later in the month. I made some changes due to learning things about mounting a horse ( only on the left side as I found out). I have never had the chance to ride a horse but an artist friend of mine pointed this out to me.

I even managed to get my brushes wet in the last week starting on X-mas day and do a few small paintings. The two landscapes are for the group show I am in with my fellow Philadelphia Plein Air Painters which open at the Newark Arts Alliance next Friday. The two landscapes are in acrylic, which is a medium I have become quite fond of in the last year and the still life is in oil. These smaller one-shot paintings are a good way to keep the hand warm while waiting to start on the bigger projects.

                                                          Contre Jour  8 x 10 Acrylic
                                                        Japanese Garden 8 x 10 Acrylic
                                                  Ghosts of Christmas Past11.5 x 11.5

I have plans to do more plein air work and even enter all of the new PA competitions one more time. I have been rejected from every one the last several years, and rejection is part of being an artist, so I decided if I don't get in any this year I will abandon trying for those competitions and instead put my money and time toward my other painting endeavors. It also ads up to a tidy sum to enter a lot of competitions. The main goal is to expand my gallery coverage to include galleries across the country this year. So, 2015 has a lot of work to do and hopefully many possibilities.

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