Oh, 2013, you were a weird one. You had your good moments, to be sure, your elevated events and small everyday joys. But you were also moody and difficult. Hard to anticipate. Unpredictable.
I did not write here a lot in 2013. I did not feel focused enough to write here very often. My energies were spinning off in different directions. It felt like enough to just focus on my studio practice and hold my shit (mostly) together. Yet still, people came and visited. I spoke to a few of you who read what I write here, and you let me know that it’s valuable to you. That is gratifying to hear, as I often feel like I am hurling words and images into the void…
So, in the spirit of looking back and catching up, I present to you 2013, in brief.
- After a hopeful post-heart attack recovery in 2012, watched as my father’s health started to fail.
- Helped my parents move when his care was moved to UCSF and he was given a place in a heart study. He received a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) that helped his heart pump and alleviated the worst of his heart failure.
- Found some balance between letting go of my (college and high school age) children and listening/being present/giving help when they needed it. It’s a moving target. It’s a dance.
- Moved toward abstraction. I created my first entirely abstract group of paintings. So much harder than figuration. So much less to hold on to.
- Took an overnight field trip by myself to photograph in Northern California. Wandered for two days on rural roads with numbers instead of names. Saw a dead coyote nailed to a telephone pole and realized I was really in the sticks. Came back with lots of new material to think about and paint about.
- Taught two classes at Wax Works West in Santa Cruz. Had a ton of fun doing it. Will do it again.
- Finished a certificate in technical writing. Spent a few months working part time at writing and graphics. Felt like I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Wondered why I was so stressed. Wondered why I wasn’t painting more. Started grinding my teeth.
- Wanted to draw. Terrified to draw. Did not draw.
- Didn’t paint for weeks on end. Did nothing but paint for weeks on end. Continued like that throughout the year. Stop and go-go-go.
- Started re-designing my website. Still redesigning my website.
- Had my first “real” solo show in 20 years as part of the visiting artist program at R&F Paints. Taught a 3-day workshop there and thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Kingston. Thank you, R&F!
- Froze my ass off in NYC while I visited with great friends, drank gallons of coffee, explored Brooklyn a bit, and said hello to the Vermeers at the Frick Collection.
- Finally remodeled the 1970’s “Tahoe Style” family room that came with our house. Whew!
- I cut back on coffee and decided to just focus on my family and my artwork in 2014. Started exercising again. Felt better.
- My father was placed on a heart transplant list late in the year.
- The day after Christmas, the phone call: we have a heart. 24 hours later, that healthy strong heart beat in my father’s chest. I’m still trying to get my head around this gift. The amazing humanity, sacrifice, and science of it. Being by my parents’ sides as they’ve gone through this has been one of the most moving things I’ve experienced. A month on now, and my dad’s recovery is strong.
So long 2013… hello, 2014!
PS: The images above were taken on that field trip I mentioned. The land and water glowed at sunset.