Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 - The Year of Bad Dice Rolls

Mother's Day Memorial Picture
by Stacy J. Garrett
Many of you have probably been wondering where in the world I have been this year since 2014 has been seriously lacking in updates. Could it be that I've been on an epic journey which would allow me to level up as an artist? If that was the case, either the DM has a really bad sense of humor or the dice has been cursed to give bad rolls. On the plus side, I have been able to find ways through many of the obstacles that have come up and in the process it would seem that I have been reinventing myself as a person and an artist. So join me in your comfortable chairs with the beverage of your choice as I retell my journey of 2014. 

Wings of an Angel 
My year started like many before it, with positive hopes for a good year for business. I nor my family were prepared for what was about to happen. In February my mother, who's health had been steadily declining in the last 2 years after her fiance had passed away, had passed away at home when she and my father had returned from running some errands and picking up dinner. It happened suddenly so I could not prepare myself for suddenly seeing the light from her eyes quickly dim with the expression on her face of 'I'm sorry'. I cried my heart out that night as did my father but I was determined to carry out the last wishes my mother had - to have her cremated and placed next to her fiance at the cemetery where his remains rest, to celebrate her life with a smile, and to continue making her proud. So I have refused to cry since that day. It is hard to think that she is physically no longer with us but I have the knowledge that she is keeping an eye on me which allows me to keep smiling and that I will make her proud by continuing on improving in my work and business. I did end up designing a tattoo for myself in memory of my mother and her fiance who we were rather close with and a second father to me. 

Personal Collaboration Project
It was after everything was settled with taking care of my mother's remains and last resting place along with the 'you need to fill these out now that your relative has passed' required paperwork for the government was taken care of that I ended up getting an idea. Of course it was one of my 'late night - oh god I'm still awake at 1 in the morning- could this be a good plan' sort of thoughts which usually have a 50/50 way it could go. There are times I go ahead and post these thoughts at the time I have them then look at them the next morning wondering is my sleep deprived mind was on something the night before. This, however, was one of those rare times I decided to hold off and let it simmer in the back of my mind then wait until morning to see if I feel the same way kind of moments. 

What was going through my brain that night in late July? I had the sudden drive to create an art book with my photography friend Stacy J. Garrett, combining her photography and my paintings into an illustrated 'story' of a dreamer who's duty is to deliver messages to those in the Realm of Dreams. I was beyond excited when she jumped on board with the project idea but was not prepared to see the amount of support I ended up receiving from several other people who were willing to not only be a part of the project but to help bring my vision for it to come to life. Right now we don't have a deadline since we're working around everyone's schedules but it is slowly coming along. Once it gets a bit more fleshed out and such, we will probably be making announcements since we're aiming to have this published once it's done. 

Overwhelming Orders but an Artist Block 
Between March to about November, I had suddenly ended up receiving a large amount of orders from several customers both frequent and new. I was astonished as to the plethora of commissions but there was just one thing that was troubling me - Halfway through I was feeling burnt out and was experiencing Artist Block. It wasn't that I wasn't feeling creative. Completely contrary actually. I was having thoughts of inspiration bubbling over as if a volcano was about ready to burst. The problem? I had come to the realization that my skills as an artist were not where I wanted or needed them and it was frustrating the hell out of me. I knew I was capable of more then what I was producing but for some reason I was feeling as if I was hitting a wall that was not letting me get through to move my work to the next level. It took some time before I was able to break through that barrier. During this time of struggling, I did however end up with an unexpected opportunity which was becoming accepted as an illustrator for a small publishing company known as PDMI Publishing and have been chosen as the artist for a children's book. It will be one of those projects that I will not be able to share the work until everything's finalized and then i will be announcing things as soon as I'm able to. 

Ashes of the Phoenix, Temporarily Misplaced Artist, and Another Family Crisis
In November, things became chaotic once more when the sudden passing of a close friend occurred. My group of friends and I gathered together and gave her wife whom we are also dear friends with support and assistance to help her through the rapid change in her life. Between exchanging stories and fond memories as we celebrated our lost friend's life, I received word from the curator of the gallery I'm with that the location that they were at was being given to another business by the landlord so they were being forced to move out. The news was a bit of a mixed blessing, really, since my curator and her husband were thinking of finding another location anyways since they wanted to have a larger venue in order to represent the collective artists better. However, when speaking with her, she did express how sudden the news was and how she wished that she could have handled the situation with a little bit more grace. December ended up being our last show at the location they were at before they had to move. They are looking for a new location at the moment and planning on reopening some time in 2015. What else could possibly happen? A week after my friend's passing and just about the time that I was finding out about the gallery temporarily being misplaced, my father and I ended up getting news that his brother had been diagnosed with cancer and would be starting chemo treatments as soon as they could. Not exactly the most happy news to find out as we were preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas but we took the news in stride since there's not much that dad and I can do on a personal level.

So as you come to the end of this and wonder to yourselves how I'm able to smile after incident after incident of bad news. Honestly, I can find bits of humor in it all. Of course in order for me to pull myself through each trial, I have found that I have been reinventing myself in order to improve. One thing I have noticed about each situation is that with each moment of negativity, there has been something positive that I have been able to find. It's as if things have been balancing out. Pretty much 2014 has been my year of Chaos. For those not familiar with the reference, it means that things of old are being destroyed in order for new things to be created and that middle point which has so much upheaval as things are breaking while other forms are being created is where I have been. Will I miss those who have passed away and locations that are no longer there? Of course I will. Every day. But I have the knowledge that they are still with me in my heart and I will see them again at a later time. May not be in this life time but while I'm here, I intend on making as positive of an imprint as I can to make them proud. SO! Again I apologize for the lack of post for 2014 but I do hope that this rather condensed version of my year will give some explanation as to why I've been missing from the blog. I am planning on returning soon once things are settled and I can reorganize my thoughts on the content you have come to expect from me.