Bye bye 2020
For much of the world, 2020 turned out to be anno horribilis. A worldwide pandemic, lockdowns, business closures, fires, floods, political upheaval..... it never seemed to end.
As our universe is so small, our lives didn't change very much. We drove less and walked more. We adjusted to the restrictions as they happened and kept creating in the studio. Sales of some products were down while sales of puzzles doubled. And while my output of painting was a little less than 2019, it wasn't by much. By the time the dust settles on the year, I will have completed over 270 paintings. I did 280 the previous year.
I have noticed that many artists are sharing their "Best of 2020" selections on various social media platforms. Some are sharing the ones that garnered the most likes. Others are sharing the ones that were most successful using other metrics. I decided to skim through my 2020 catalogue and wrote down the names of the ones that felt the best, energetically. I didn't overthink the process, I just observed which paintings made me feel the most strongly. These were the nine that rose to the surface.
I painted this holy man from India while in Siem Reap, Cambodia in February. I thought I had left it behind with our host family, but I remembered incorrectly. Thank goodness, I have a spreadsheet that I can refer back to. It was one of two paintings that I removed from stretcher bars, rolled up, and brought back with me to Canada. I loved this painting as I managed to create it using unfamiliar paints in a foreign country and still achieve a sense of mysticism with it.
Tyson in Blue (30" x 40")
This portrait of boxing legend Mike Tyson was significantly influenced by my wife's work. In the early part of 2020 she created a series of abstract works in what I call "blue land". Those colours found their way into this large painting right at the very end of the process using a glazing technique. I loved this piece; still do.
Great Horned Owl (14" x 18")
In the spring of 2020, we discovered a family of great horned owls living in the forest a couple of blocks from our home. We returned on an almost daily basis with cameras in hand, taking as many pictures as we could. One of these photos inspired this painting. While it sold right away, we do have 5" x 7" prints available in mats that fit into an 8" x 10" frame. They are only $25 + gst, which includes shipping to anywhere in Canada.
Michael Jordan (24" x 36")
Lighthouse (24" x 24")
Painting the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove gave me a much needed win. It inspired a strong and immediate reaction from many of my fans and followers who come from the east coast. I loved its creation and the way people responded to it. It made me wonder what kind of painting would cause that kind of reaction from prairie people. The answer to that question came the following day.
Elevator No. 2 (20" x 30")
I've always thought of grain elevators as the skyscrapers of the prairies. They were the sentinels on the horizon that heralded the next town on the highway. In Kamsack's case, we had eleven of them at one point in my youth, lining railway street in "The Garden of Saskatchewan". Painting this elevator - not from Kamsack - felt like going home: warm, welcoming and familiar.
Kani (elephant) (30" x 30")
This elephant painting felt special immediately. The balance of the colours and the way they popped off the canvas set against the black background inspired a new series that happened throughout the fall of 2020.
The Heart of Christmas (24" x 36")
My sister Corinne launched a blog in 2020 - The Craftiest Workshop. She has been doing a great job with it and is finding an appreciative readership. Her post about Christmas songs introduced me to "The Heart of Christmas" by Matthew West. Its message and its music greatly influenced this painting that was done for THE REASON concert in Fort McMurray. We have 5" x 7" prints in mats available of this one. We'll send you one for only $25 + gst.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta (16" x 24")
Mother Teresa has been part of my painting journey from the very beginning. This recent wild colour portrait is my new favourite as it seems to express her kindness in such a strong way. Of the nine paintings I picked, this is the only original work that is available for purchase.
I'm grateful to be living a life where the creations yet to come are a mystery. I have no sense of what a similar post will look like on December 2021. That's pretty exciting.