2013: My Year in Review: Art, Diversions, Dog

Apricots and Butter Jar, Flemish Method, oil on panel, 10x10 in

Apricots and Butter Jar, oil on panel, 10×10 inches

I like to spend New Years Day reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the new one. While last year’s review post was full of artistic accomplishments, 2013 was a mixed year. It started off about art and ended with diversions, digressions and Dog. And in the middle I spent the summer studying Flemish oil painting technique with Alex Zonis, resulting in the painting above. (I took photos of each step along the way in this painting and will post about the process very soon.)

January 2013: Urban Sketchers show and painting dogs

Cocoa: Dog Portrait, oil on panel, 8x8"

Cocoa: Dog Portrait, oil on panel, 8×8″I

The year began well. I completed this commissioned dog portrait (one of five I did in December/January) and my Urban Sketchers group had an exhibit of our sketchbooks and hosted a sketchcrawl for the community.

February and March 2013: Sketching and Painting

Waiting and Watching at Peets, ink, 5x8"

Waiting and Watching at Peets, ink, 5×8″

I continued having fun sketching and completed several oil paintings (a decent portrait and some mostly unsuccessful sunflowers).

Poultry Panorama (2-page spread in my sketchbook).

Poultry Panorama (2-page spread in my sketchbook).

April 2013: Spring sprung; creativity flowed

Crab Apple Paired, Oil on Archival Panel, 10x8"

Crab Apple Paired, Oil on Archival Panel, 10×8″

April was a creative month, with several oil paintings completed including my favorite above. I started sketching in an 8 x 11 Moleskine (see bus sketch below) and attended a sketchcrawl, several museum shows, and the Codex Book Fair.

El Volado the Mexican Bus, ink & watercolor, 8x11"

El Volado the Mexican Bus, ink & watercolor, 8×11″

May 2013: Every Day in May

May was the best month of the year because of the Every Day Matters “Every Day in May” project. I had so much fun doing daily sketching!

EDiM 24-25-26, Laugh (Fiona), Tote, Screw, ink & watercolor, 8x10"

EDiM 24-25-26, Laugh (Fiona), Tote, Screw, ink & watercolor, 8×10″

A UK publisher asked to include a couple of the May sketches in a 2014 book on sketching.

June 2013: Started Flemish painting class and more dog portraits

Sam, A Dog Portrait in Oils, Oil on Panel, 8x8"

Sam, A Dog Portrait in Oils, Oil on Panel, 8×8″

After completing another commissioned dog portrait I began studying the Flemish oil painting method with Alex Zonis over Skype. The result was the Apricot painting at the top of this post, with more than 10 layers of paint, and three months work. I will post about the process soon.

July 2013: Hosted First West Coast Sketchcrawl

Coit Tower, from Levi Plaza.. SF Sketchcrawl 40, ink & watercolor 7x5"

Coit Tower, from Levi Plaza, SF Sketchcrawl 40, ink & watercolor 7×5″

My Urban Sketchers group worked hard for much of July to prepare for hosting the first 3-day West Coast Urban Sketchcrawl in San Francisco and Oakland which was a great success with nearly 75 people each day. Meanwhile, I continued working on the apricot painting.

August 2013: Show at the Collector Gallery

My wall in the group show at the Collector

My wall in the group show at the Collector

August was a month of many successes: after a lot of prep work for the show at the Collector gallery, I sold 5 paintings and a print (4 at the show, 2 from my website, 3 of which went to France and Switzerland). I continued working on the Flemish method apricot oil painting with Alex; still the only oil painting in progress in the studio.

September 2013: New York Art Adventure!

New Makeup for New York, ink and watercolor, 7.5" x 11" spread

New Makeup for New York, ink and watercolor, 7.5″ x 11″ spread

I bound a new sketchbook and shopped for things I needed for my trip to New York City after deciding my funky, frumpy Berkeley visage wouldn’t cut it in NY. FINALLY finished the Flemish method oil painting of apricots!

Battery Park, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, ink and watercolor, 5.5x7.5"

Battery Park, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, ink and watercolor, 5.5×7.5″

The NYC trip was fantastic! I had a blast, visiting with New York artist friends, going to museums and sketching the city. I didn’t want to come home!

October 2013: A sketchcrawl and the flu

Jack London Cabin and Wolf Statue, ink and watercolor, 10x7 in

Jack London Cabin and Wolf Statue, ink and watercolor, 10×7 in

I did very little sketching or painting in October as I was sick nearly the entire month from a bug I caught traveling that lasted three weeks and finally required antibiotics. I did manage to get to a sketchcrawl at Jack London Square.

November: Thanksgiving and surgery

Thanksgiving Centerpiece, ink and watercolor, 5x7.5 in

Thanksgiving Centerpiece, ink and watercolor, 5×7.5 in

I recovered from the October illness just in time to have a planned surgery on Halloween to correct a long-standing problem. The supposed 2-3 week recovery time took nearly 5 weeks. I was very grateful to be well enough to attend Thanksgiving dinner, my first real outing all month. I did very little sketching and no painting in November, due to limited mobility and energy.

December: It’s all about the DOG

My new dog Millie, ink and watercolor, 5x5 in

My new dog Millie sketched from life, ink and watercolor, 5×5 in

I’ve wanted a dog for years and finally, just as I recovered from surgery I found my perfect pup. I’ve had 5-month old Millie for one month and she is so much fun. We’ve been walking 3 to 7 miles in nature every day. She’s a 20 pound Formosa Mountain Dog, who was rescued with her litter in Taiwan and shipped here by a rescue group for adoption. When I met her it was love at first sight.

Millie in a winter sweater

Millie in a silly winter sweater

I’ve done very little artwork or blog posting while working out a routine with the dog and my two cats in December, recovering from surgery in November and October’s flu bug. Now it’s a new year and I’m finding my way back to painting and sketching again (and hopefully more regular blogging)!

Millie and I on adoption day

Millie and I on adoption day

Looking ahead in 2014

My goal for 2014 is to continue to explore and focus on how (and what) I most enjoy drawing and painting, and then work more consistently with that approach and subject matter. I also want to focus on being more present and connected to nature, the seasons, weather, and the calendar, and reflecting that connection in my art.

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