I commonly don't give myself New Year's Resolutions. I don't like them,mostly because i don't like disappointing myself when I can no longer hold onto them. But last year I gave myself a New Year's objective and, when I could, I implemented it. This year I am doing the same, except I'm going to tell you what my resolution is, and hopefully you'll keep me in check if you think I'm not holding up to my side of the bargain.
As a child I drew art in the fantasy and horror genre. I was a huge Robert E. Howard fan, reading nearly everything from him I could get my hands on from Wolfshead, to Black Canaan to Queen of the Ivory Coast. I was enamored with Frank Frazetta's book covers and John Buscema's representations of Conan in Marvel's Savage Sword of Conan comic book. I would spend hours copying their work. And then there were the weekends I played Dungeon and Dragons with my brother and friends all weekend long. I had a blast coming up with new creatures and monsters for us to battle — drawing them out in great detail along with figuring out their Armor Class and Hit Points and such (for us D&D geeks). I used to know all of the fantasy and sci-fi book cover artists/illustrators (and mostly still do). I would walk around the book store and test my girlfriend (now wife). "Who painted this one?" I'd ask her, picking up the latest book by Tim Powers with a James Gurney cover, or a Stephen R. Donaldson with an illustration by Darrell K. Sweet. I'd buy the books of the artist when I could, such as Wonderworks by Michael Whelan. I was also big into certain comic books and movies like Star Wars and the beautiful animation and story of The Secret of Nimh where I could escape to another world. I still love animation, and most recently went to see Tangled — ah, the opening sequence of composition, camera angles and viewpoints alone is amazing and well worth the price of admission. But I digress.
Art school introduced me to both fine art and illustration and I held both in high regard. Richard Schmid hung on the hallway wall alongside Haddon Sundblom and Thomas Blackshear. It was also where i was introduced to NC Wyeth.
After art school, I did some freelance illustration, but nothing like what i really wanted to do. Layouts of interiors with furniture for a photography studio mostly. I then got into advertising and have been a designer/art director since. A little over 10 years ago I began to get back into drawing and painting, first with pastels then with oils. I started with the landscape, because it was around me and I wanted to draw from life. And, of course, I liked it. So I followed that path. And it has been wonderful and fulfilling in so many ways.
But I draw so much more than that. I have been hesitant to show others what else I do, because I have begun to build this little village of landscape art and hope it continues to grow into a city, per se, and don't want to see it fall. But I've also learned it's not the only village I want to build and see grow. As artists, we may paint for ourselves, but we only feel complete if we share it so the work can connect with others. It's an odd mix of selfishness and selflessness. Of doing something for ourselves and giving it all away for others.
And that is where my New Year's resolution comes into play. This year I am going to open up more; show work I haven't shown before of all genre's, from my landscapes to my figurative to my fantastical works. Discuss artwork I've created on a deeper and more emotional level. I don't know how others will respond — I hope positively. (Somewhere in the back of my brain I can still hear my mother say, "That's nice, but why don't you paint something pretty?") I will continue painting and sharing the landscapes as well. I also plan to continue teaching workshops this year as I've done in the past, sharing what I've learned — and continue to learn — with others, there and on this blog.
I am excited about the year ahead and the possibilities it holds.