It has been quite the year.

I started off with a small show, my first in eight years, exhibiting everything I had created in recent times. This led to a huge show, engorged even, one that was twenty times larger of an undertaking that my heart had hoped for or my brain had imagined. Then there was a one-night gig, re-displaying two of my more recent collage works. I’m happy to say that I was approached by multiple contacts at the one-night gig with some new and very exciting opportunities. This was surprising, of course, only because I went into that night with my lowest of expectations and a desire to “just have fun with it.” Perhaps my biggest lesson of the year.

I went to Europe this year. That feels like a decade ago, now.

I created a very cathartic series of paintings. I have been quite reserved in talking specifically about my work, rather talking around it, but the more I move away from that huge undertaking (the one I compared to childbirth,) the more confidence I feel in both my triumphs and my weaknesses. As such, I can call that series cathartic because it was. All the little layers of pain and frustration that had built up over time, like philo dough, are stacked on those achromatic panels. Their shaky qualities, wobbly structures, I kept thinking about the places I would hide in as a child of suburbia as I was painting. And they happened fast. That immediacy of acrylics is similar to the rush of methamphetamine: a loud and instant definition. Working with pigment and mediums is how I have tapped in to my undistilled creativity, cruder abstractions of the structures I usually think about.

The hardest part of being an artist for me is being on stage, which unfortunately is an essential part. I do enjoy the comfort of an artificial vacuum every now and then, but I want my work (my children, really) to be out there. This year has been a long exercise in tempering myself for being under the hot lights of interrogation. Maybe someday I’ll have the luxury of orthodox solitude that Agnes Martin did. From Wikipedia, “When she died at age 92, she was said to have not read a newspaper for the last 50 years.” Man, I wish I could convince myself to begin approaching that milestone.

My goals for 2011 are approaching their light. I have a desire to move, to a new neighborhood, perhaps in a different country, hopefully into a larger studio. More shows. More sales, economy willing. Having found a brilliant community of photographers that amplify my joy, and inspiration, I keep wading in that pond. It seems reasonable that the next diversion I take from the meat and potatoes of my vision will likely be photographic. I’m really looking forward to the expanse of that vacation.

Having paused to write this final paragraph, imagining what I needed to do to improve, it occurred to me that I didn’t need to change any one specific thing. All I need to do is keep doing. I’d love to say “work harder” but that’s just sell-yourself-short bullshit. My mantra this year was “I make work. My work improves. I make work. My work improves…,” a good, cyclical recitation to transform the circle of life into my circle of creativity. I think I’ll stick with that.