For several years I asked myself when would be a good time to take a sabbatical from career development, to focus only on painting. Economic malaise presents the perfect opportunity, so I took 2010 as a year to pursue intentional isolation. My plan was simple: no marketing, only one show, even less blogging. Instead, I would spend my time in my studio painting and working with those students who were at hand.
The year of stillness is now done, and I am glad of it—both that I did it and that it’s finished.
Some of the risks proved real—for instance, when you stop showing, you stop selling. Students wander off, and if you aren’t looking for new ones, you eventually find yourself pretty lonely. On the other hand, you’re able to look at your own work independent of others’ opinions, and you become very invested in the students you retain.
I’d like to be able to recount some sort of spiritual journey which resulted not only in enlightenment but also in a tidy little book deal, but if that happened, I missed it. On the other hand, I did get much better at sketching every day—especially in church.
I also got into the habit of doing a daily small still life (6”X8”). These are “gesture paintings.” With rare exceptions, they take me 1:20 or less to finish. This is from New Year’s Day, 2011—a new year, a new decade, and back to engaging with the world.