oil painting studio - uphill battle

January ’23 Studio Update

It simply feels like I’ve been running uphill for (insert period of time here).

If you are wondering just what period of time to fill in the blank above, it’s probably longer than I’d admit. For example, this little website alone turns twenty years old this month. Last year I hit twenty years working fully as a self employed artist, so the hits keep on coming!

I’m not one to make resolutions, and this year is no different. After a tumultuous end of 2022 filled with loss and the crazy stress of a show, I’m left wondering when things will feel easy again. Or if things ever felt easy. While visiting family in Boston, I swung by a bunch of old haunts my 23 year old self liberally visited. I’ve been seeing ghosts for a while, with lots of late nights questioning past decisions, life choices and envisioning my future.

The pragmatic optimist in all of us want to see a Hegelian line of improvement in our lives. A line trending upwards, changes, sometimes subtle, sometimes hard to ignore, of a betterment in our lives. Each stage and event giving way to another stage, ourselves the culmination of all these stages. Sometimes shit sucks. Sometimes, there are dips, dives, and frustrating plateaus that seem virtually endless. Through it all, our lives encompass everything and we’re ultimately the sum of all our experiences, sometimes just a sad total. It’d be wonderful if all those little inspirational signs and slogans added up to something more than a shitty wall hanging from Hobby Lobby, but often it doesn’t.

Back to Work

After an uncharacteristically long and draining holiday break, I came back to KC for some downtime. I ended up tearing apart my studio, repainting and rearranging everything. It was yet another uphill battle. The disaster of months of endless work wore me down, physically and emotionally. A bit of order was finally restored and I finally felt like I could breath a bit again.

After finishing up my busiest week of classes in years, I figured it was time to start painting again. i grabbed a couple of canvases from last year. Inspired by sketches done at Madrid’s El Retiro, they only had a sketch and some washes on them. I just wanted to push paint around mindlessly, so they were perfect. Hours flew by, followed in quick succession by an entire weekend.

I’m happy with where they are and have some loose details to work on, but here they are. With Charon’s assistants and viking boats, these funeral images are quiet meditations. We’ll see where everything goes from here. I’m prepared to keep running uphill, but am really hoping for a break soon.

uphill battles oil painting

For music this month, I’ve been all over the map, trying to find the music that fills the need my soul has at the moment. About a dozen or so songs could’ve been put in here, but I went with Broken Social Scene’s Sweetest Kill. It’s a pretty song.