Monday, December 26, 2011

A look back at 2011

With this post, I look back at a productive and joyful 2011. The best thing about this year for me was the progress I made in the studio. I had six weeks to devote exclusively to painting over the summer, and during this time, I was able to learn a lot about color mixing and color combining. I also developed my compositional ideas in a number of directions … including letting go of the idea of composition entirely, and allowing all my lines to float in a nice democratic square. Finally, I expanded the scale of my canvases up to 56 x 50 inches.

I was fortunate to sell a number of my artworks this year: 3 works on paper to the Boston Public Library, and 2 paintings on canvas to Bain Capital, located in the John Hancock Building in Boston. (One of the library pieces, "Seaweave 2," acrylic on paper, 30" H x 22" W, appears above.)

I proposed, co-curated, and participated in a four-person show, “Squiggles and Squares,” at Artworks! in New Bedford from September to November of 2011. The others whom I invited to join me for this show – Adria Arch, Elin Noble, and Jeanne Williamson – are three of my favorite artists … and people.

I certainly did my share of teaching in 2011 … I taught 3 classes to adults: Beginning Drawing, Colored Pencil Drawing, and Botanical Watercolor; 3 classes to high school students: Observational Drawing and Fashion Illustration (2 semesters); 3 workshops: Basic Watercolor Techniques, Basic Acrylic Techniques, and Watercolor Landscape Techniques; and 5 professional development courses to public-school art teachers: Museum to Studio, Art of Fauna, Art of Botanicals, Mixed Media, and Advanced Acrylic Techniques. I also taught an art education course at the college level.

I was able to keep up with my writing, something I always wish I had more time for. I wrote five pieces for the New Bedford Standard-Times during 2011: reviews of the Surface Design Association’s “One Passion, Many Voices” at Artworks!, “Beauty in the Beast” at Gallery X, UMass Dartmouth’s MFA Thesis Show, and Willoughby Elliott’s retrospective at the New Bedford Art Museum (all venues located in New Bedford, MA), as well as an article about the careers of Willoughby Elliott and Severin Haines upon their retirement from UMass Dartmouth.

I was honored to be invited to serve as judge for three exhibits at the Post Road Art Center in Marlborough, MA, this year: their Animal, Mixed Media, and Miniature shows.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to view many eye-opening exhibitions during 2011. In particular, I was impressed by Alexander McQueen’s retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Willem de Kooning’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, and Mark Bradford’s show at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. I was also pleased to visit the newly renovated facilities of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Worcester Art Museum. And I was jazzed to see Dedee Shattuck’s glorious new exhibition space located in Westport, MA.

I anticipate 2012 with excitement and hope. I will be turning 50 in June, and I look forward to savoring the confidence and wisdom that’s possible only after having been alive for half a century. Also in this upcoming year, I intend to seek and find more and new opportunities to create, view, write about, and teach art.


Stephanie Clayton said...

Congratulations on your many accomplishments of 2011!
Letting go of the idea of composition...I've done that before, and it was liberating; it was during a time that I concentrated solely on color, and I learned much.
Best wishes for a very productive and prosperous 2012, Catherine.

Catherine Carter said...

Thank you, Stephanie! It boggles my mind how much there is to learn about color. It's one of those topics where, just when you think you've figured something out, you realize you've only scraped the surface.

Happy New Year to you, too!