After 2 months of anticipation, I just learned that I was one of a few artists chosen, out of hundreds of international applicants, for the 2018 Autumn Arctic Circle Residency Expedition!
As an artist primarily inspired by place and water, I’m sure this will prove to be the expedition of a lifetime and I couldn’t be more excited!
In October 2018, I’ll be traveling nearly 4,000 miles from my studio in Portland, Oregon to our port of call, Longyearbyen, Svalbard. Near the edge of the polar ice cap, Longyearbyen is a mere 600 miles south of the North Pole and is about the same distance north of the Norwegian mainland. And yes, it is truly the land of icebergs and polar bears!
For nearly three weeks in October 2018, I will sail on an ice-class barkentine tallship, exploring the arctic region around the Svalbard archipelago. I’ll be joined by a small group of artists, educators and scientists for this once-in-a-lifetime residency program. Yes, I have nearly a year and a half to wait, prepare (and raise funds!), but that enables me to focus on other events already on my calendar for this coming autumn here in Portland.
Stay tuned in the coming months for more info and thoughts as I prepare for this epic adventure! In the meantime, I’d love to hear from anyone who has traveled to this part of the Arctic – please share with me and my readers what you thought of your adventure!
This year has been a struggle for me as I live my artist’s life with ongoing depression and rising anxiety. Some might say I’m just another “tortured” artist, but it has taken me 20+ years to become accustomed to what “normal” feels like for me. And how I feel has changed alot this year for me.
So, as I work to get back to my own normal, one of my trusty therapies is my painting process. And besides trees, the sea and sky is one of my most favorite subjects. Painting the expansive sea and the ever-changing sky along with a nice, crisp horizon line holding them together almost always calms my nerves.
See what you think (and feel) with my latest sea and sky painting below. It’s titled No. 6 but is the only larger sea and sky painting to date that I’ve completely finished and mounted on panel. Click the painting or the link below to view it on my website.
Have you ever seen rain streaming dramatically down a window like it does in the movies? In those fat, silvery rivulets? I could sit in my comfy studio armchair and watch rain rivulets all day here in Portland.
Instead, I started a new series of oil and metallic watercolors called Pacific northwest rains. Water – especially rain – makes me feel cool, calm and balanced. Do you feel the rain in these abstractions, like the new one below?
I feel like a caterpillar.
After 12 years of my artist career, I’ve kicked off 2016 by examining everything I do:
Why do I paint?
What do I hope to share with you, through my art?
How do my inspirations guide what I put on paper?
Why do I love painting trees?
As I “metamorphosis” on these questions and more, I will share my discoveries with you this year. Right now, I can share a bit about those trees I love to paint so much.
As I travel my life’s path, I create idyllic places for me to “hide” — to keep me safe, and to belong — and all of these places always have trees. Trees that shelter, that protect, and that cool. Evergreens and aspens from the mountains of my native Colorado, and towering hardwoods in the forests of southern Belgium. Trees that have trunks with those crisp lines that I love.
How could I not paint these trees, in those idyllic places?
What will be my inspiration/guiding light/catalyst/focus for the New Year? I’ve done this exercise in past years and find that brainstorming The List is a pretty interesting process. And maybe this year I’ll leave it at just that and glean from the process rather than the choice of a single word. I’ll give myself a few days to percolate on that!
I’ve been a fan of Michael W Smith’s music for a long time – surely over 25 years. His music and message always inspire me… all year around and at the holidays. His music is especially a favorite of mine for listening in my studio.
I recently commented here that I was listening to some of my favorite holiday music in my studio, including Michael W Smith, and received an interesting message from one of my blog fans. In a nutshell, the point was, how do I reconcile being a big fan of a musician who most likely would condemn and oppress me for being gay? I’ll admit that it is a question that I’ve avoided researching over the years, not really wanting to confirm anything. But, this message from a fan made me google around to see what I could find. I didn’t really stop to think how I would solve this problem, depending upon what I found out…
Well, there doesn’t seem to be much out there about what Michael W Smith thinks of gay folks. But, he does have a recent, dramatic video on his website that encourages conservatives to vote and highlights the fear of “redefining marraige” as a motivator. He also seems to be a fan of Rick Santorum, and we all know what he thinks of gay Americans.
So, how do I solve a problem like Michael W Smith? Is there a problem? Can I just not care what he thinks and still be inspired by his music? I’m certainly not a book-or-CD-burning kind of guy, but will I stop listening to his music? Blech – I don’t know.
Maybe I’ll try focusing on a simple message that is on his live Worship album. I wrote it down to send to members of my family years ago and dug it out to hang back up in my studio today: