Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Year In Review

2013 was a year of growth and change for me, expanding to new areas and pushing myself farther than before. It was also a year full of mountains and valleys, which I suppose is all to common to the working artist and small business owner. The year was marked by my largest month of sales ever, along with my smallest month of sales ever as well. I've often mentioned that I don't think success is always such a good thing, as it can cause the artist to plateau and stay in a place they find familiar and safe. I stayed at such a plateau this year for a while and I must admit I grew weary of the plateau, and began planning my ascent to the next peak. I'm excited for what 2014 may bring, and have a large scale triptych on the easel to kick off the year with that I'll be sharing here soon. But first, I thought I'd take stroll back through the memory lane of 2013 and share some highlights.

January was a month that featured many winter landscapes such as By The Bright Moonlight and Moon Sparkle. I began to incorporate the moon and sun into my work as a subject and had fun playing with the contrast and light source/shadows in my work. I was also contacted by Riverwood Gallery in Eau Claire Wisconsin to represent my work and have had a great working relationship with them this year, here is photo of the wonderful display they created with my work in their gallery space.

February was quite a whirlwind of a month as I created a new group of work for Stone's Throw Gallery in Bayfield, Wisconsin, including this piece titled Key Lime Cardinals, to prepare for the busy tourist season. But what was  really fun and scary all at the same time was the Fireside Chat I gave at Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais, MN. You can view the chat here. It was fun to meet people and talk candidly about my work, it helped me to get an idea of what people see in my work, which is great as the only input I usually get are my wonderful children telling me 'that's nice daddy!'. :)

March was not only a snowy month but also a busy month as I prepared work for yet another new gallery in Ironwood Michigan called Z Place Gallery. I was having fun painting a new bird, the blue jay, and shipped several new paintings featuring this delightful blue bird with it's distinctive black, blue and white markings including this one titled Hidden Blue Jay. I love blue jays, they may be a bit of a bully around the other songbirds, but their loud call and large size makes them an imposing sight and fun to watch in the forest.

April was a month filled with snowstorms here in Duluth, MN where we set an all time record for snowfall. All in all, twelve and a half feet of snow fell in 2013, and we broke many records. Since I was shoveling basically everyday, I was not too fired up to paint, and thus I embarked on a mission to get back to creating again, enjoying the artistic and creative process. The painting featured here, titled Don't Stop Believin' was one of many pieces created this month that spurred me on and got me through an difficult time as the winter burnout and spring fevers were getting to me, much like they are today as I write this and it's 11 degrees below zero for a high, dropping below 20 tonight. Brrr.

April snowstorms bring May flowers and as the flowers pushed through the snow and the forest started turning green once again, I found myself painting up a frenzy of green. Spring titled and themed work was on the easel the entire month, and I enjoyed the warmth of the sun in the studio once again as greens, blues and golds were favorite colors on the palette. This painting here is titled Spring At The Lake and it sold at Z Place Gallery in Ironwood, Michigan to a collector.

In June I expanded to yet another location, this one being a business called Lake Superior Title here in Duluth. It was just another opportunity to show my work outside of the galleries to people who wouldn't otherwise view my work in person, and this piece is titled Gold waters. Other opportunities like showing work in a coffee shop or restaurant help in exposing my work to the public, and even if it doesn't always lead to sales, it's fun to hear comments and feedback from others. In this upcoming year, I have a show scheduled at a coffee shop in Duluth in February that I'm looking forward to.

July was another month filled with large scale canvases, one of which is still available at Lizzard's Gallery in Duluth titled In the Hands of Time. Another large piece from July is titled Somewhere North of Here, and this one was very ambitious as it features a lake with foreground trees, and distant trees as well. Compositionally it was a challenge, but I was pleased with the result, and so was the person who purchased it from Siiviis Gallery in Duluth. I'd love to have many large scale works for sale at any given time, but they are time consuming and so I don't usually have many in the galleries. I hope to work on that in the future though, working large which is something I'm known for.

In August I took a trip to Boston, MA where I toured the city and visited the Museum of Fine Arts where I was able to view three of Van Gogh's originals in person, along with a host of other impressionist artwork. It was a very rewarding experience for me, and consequently, I wasn't as productive this month, yet I did manage to create several vibrant pieces that were no doubt influenced by my trip to Boston like this painting titled Autumn River that was sold at Lizzard's Gallery.

September was a challenging month. I tackled a new subject matter as I was inspired by trips to Duluth's parks and the rocks and streams I viewed there. Painting rocks in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors, along with the sparkling waters was a rewarding challenge. In the painting here titled Pine River, you can get a feel for the subject matter. The rocks add so much depth and visual interest to the work that I may just have to incorporate them more often in the coming year. I also spent the month preparing new work for an upcoming show...

October was exciting as I rolled out many medium sized canvases with the season of fall as the subject matter. The canvases were full of color and life, and I was excited to hang my show titled Fall Forests at First Lutheran Church in Duluth in their reception area which overlooks the rose garden and lake Superior.
While a few pieces have sold, the majority of the work is still available for viewing for the next couple of weeks, please stop by there if you can before the show comes down.

In November I expanded once more to a new gallery in Minnetonka, MN called Your Art's Desire Gallery. As you can see, the year was quite busy for me, and things just kind of happened, calls and emails were made, people connected with me who enjoyed my work and wanted it hung in their places of business. It was amazing and crazy all at the same time. The piece featured here titled Red Carpet sold at Your Art's Desire, along with many others, and I've been enjoying the ride so far. I greatly desired to have my work in a couple galleries and paint full time, little did I know what would happen as I've been painting the landscape around me, and I often reflect on how the work has found it's way into homes and collectors hands and how blessed I am to be doing what I love.

December .... what can I say about you? You came in like a lion, dropping two and half feet of snow on my birthday, the fourth, and then dropping into sub zero weather for basically the entire month. December is on it's last day as I type this, let's hope for warmer weather in the new year. This month I rolled out a new bird, the chickadee, and painted several vertical pine paintings such as this one available at Riverwood Gallery in Eau Claire, WI. Wow, what a year, I painted over 375 paintings, moved to a new house, shoveled too much snow, expanded to new galleries, and now I feel as though I'm ready to get into rhythm, keeping galleries stocked and enjoying the ride ... and remembering to make time for adventures into the landscape that makes up my subject matter and inspires me to paint. Happy New Year! All my best, Aaron

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