2017 certainly flew right on by...yet seems like it was waaaay too long. I know I am not the only one who had a challenging year, nor the only one who will be glad to start writing a different year on their checks...
In the reverse of a 90s movie title, 2017 sadly brought to us 4 funerals, and a wedding. Happily, the wedding was in December, so it was nice to have that joy after a year of such loss and challenge. Both my mother and my mother-in-law faced serious surgeries and recoveries. One of our vehicles unexpectedly had to be replaced (I have since added a minor dent to its shiny not-yet-6 months old exterior), as did our television (the upside to that is I now have a TV smarter than I am that doesn't require 3 remotes, a special dongle and a change of input to watch Netflix).
Challenging indeed, but 2017 wasn't all bad ... in no particular order...
• We were adopted by a new cat, Buddy Boots. He'd worked on me for nearly year, and I finally realized he didn't belong to anybody. While we really didn't want another cat (we already had 2), we opened the door and let him into our hearts. What a character! He has certainly been lightness in a dim year, although he gave us a scare when he went missing for 2 days – I found him trapped in a neighbor's attic. Too long story, but he used up one of those 9 lives (and one of mine!).
• In January, hubby & I went to Amsterdam for our birthdays (yes, we have the same one). It was certainly MUCH colder than it would have been in October when we were originally scheduled to go (thank you, hurricane Matthew for that change of plans), but we had a great time anyway, exploring wonderful art museums, eating fabulous food and just enjoying a change of scenery in general.
• In February, my bestie, artist Joyce Shelton and I traveled to Franklin TN for a workshop that was completely out of my wheelhouse – exactly what I like in a workshop - a challenge that scares me! It was fun, I didn't suck, but it certainly confirmed I have little desire to paint plein air or interiors. And we had a chilly, unpredicted surprise while we were there - snow!
• Our niece started law school in Savannah this past fall. This involved a handful of trips to Savannah to find her the most darling little apartment and then move her from FL to GA. I was reminded of how hard moving is, how hard moving out of state is and learned that when you're not the one actually getting to live in the cool new place, it is largely unsatisfying. But now we have a reason to go to Savannah (more) often!
• I participated in a couple group shows at Arts on Douglas Fine Art Gallery, including Nocturnes and Small Things Considered, which is still on display in the main gallery until January 9, 2018. These pieces, 6x6 each, are available here.
• In October, I had my second solo show, Versatility. It was a challenge to fill such a large room and I did one of my largest paintings to date, 5'x5' - titled Tomorrow Afternoon. This painting, as well as In the Silence, I waited for Autumn, is available from Arts on Douglas, where you'll find several more of my paintings. I am so grateful to Arts on Douglas for all the wonderful opportunities they've given me :-)
• Somehow, between creating a roomful of paintings, I also created designs like these for my licensing clients. I do need to switch creative gears now and again, truly demonstrating my versatility :-)
• This year also found me teaching one-on-one in my studio as well as giving an artist's talk at the New Smyrna Beach Artists Workshop.
• I once again designed the graphics for my rowing club's annual regatta and had many adventures on the water this year. As always, so many beautiful sunrises. I learned to row a single scull (hairy but fun!), ran into a floating water-logged 6'x8' section of dock in the dark that was a leftover from hurricane Matthew (thankfully, I was in a double rather than a single with an excellent partner when that happened!) Put a pretty good crack in my pal's boat! I was twice caught in a manatee-maelstrom (if you've never seen what a manatee can do when spooked, watch this example - it's rather violent & terrifying! And, one morning we sadly even found a dead body floating near the dock. Never a dull moment on the river!
• My high school art teacher, Sandi Garritano Provencher, who now lives in Australia was in town and we had a couple days of fun visiting Atlantic Center for the Arts and working companionably in my studio (so much so, we didn't think to take any photos!). Come back soon, Sandi!
• Hurricane Irma - now that was an event. A two week event. From the time it was predicted to impact Florida, to watching it march towards us, changing its path every few hours, growing larger and larger, the preparations - the food, the gas, the ice, the boarding up the house, etc - to riding it out (with 3 cats in the house), to cleaning up afterwards. Exhausting and full of anxiety. Felt like deja vu - probably because we'd had a major hurricane less than a year prior. I was amazed (and grateful!) that once again, our screen porch made it through intact.
• And, finally a real highlight for me this year was an impromptu retreat at Lake Logan that fell into my lap at the moment I needed it most. I can't say enough good things about this trip where I also got to spend a couple days kicking around Asheville, catching up with friends. While I live in Florida, my heart is in the woods - I love the lake, the trees, the moss, the rocks and lots of down time in front of a fire!
I had just come off my solo show and consequently didn't feel like packing up my painting supplies, so instead, I took jewelry-making supplies with me. I had been collecting bits and bobs for around 20 years± and had always dangled them in my peripheral vision as a treat I would someday work on. I spent many blissful days, sipping tea in a fire-warmed room, tinkering with my treasure stash, finding a new creative passion. I'm not entirely sure where I might go with this, but if you want to keep up, sign up here for notifications of debuting designs & special offers.
I'm sure I must be missing something but if you've read this far, that's probably enough, LOL. Wonder what 2018 will bring???? Happy New Year to all!