Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Resolutions: Something Old, Something New

I took stock of 2014's resolutions and came away with a solid C.

That means the 2015 resolutions will include some unfinished business from 2014 as well as some new entries.

So, here then is what's on tap for the new year:

  • Read 52 Books
  • Paint 52 Paintings
  • Watch 52 TED Talks
  • Exercise Every Day
  • Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
  • Write at Least Eight Art Reviews for Columbus Underground
  • Keep Up With My Social Medias
  • Record With Jim Diamond in Detroit (2014 carryover)
  • Take a Class in Painting or Drawing (2014 carryover)
  • Attend either OAL's Sunday Life Drawing Sessions or Wild Goose Creative's Wednesday Life Drawing Sessions.
  • Restore My 1977 Rally 200 Scooter (This will actually be outsourced to Jim at ScooterSource Inc, still I'd like to get it done.)
  • Rake Leaves (2014 Carryover. Seriously, I haven't raked leaves in two years. Hmm, maybe I don't need too...).
  • Paint the Living Room Dining Room, Stairwell and Hallway (2014 carryover)
  • Remodel the Kitchen (!!!!!)
  • Enroll in a Krav Maga Self-Defense Class (2014 carryover)
  • Listen to More (New) Music
  • Buy More Local Music
  • Take My Lovely Wife Out More
  • Take Some Sort of Vacation and Travel Somewhere! (Maybe not Europe (see Kitchen Remodel and Scooter Restoration above), but somewhere!)
  • Develop and Grow Professionally (Library-wise and Art-wise)
  • Submit Entries to at least Five Art Exhibitions
  • Arrange at least one Solo Show for 2015-2016
  • Acknowledge Birthdays and Anniversaries as Appropriate (You know, like adults do).
  • Send out Christmas Cards (You know, like adults do).
  • Listen More
  • Be More Patient
  • Be More Understanding
  • Ask More Questions
  • Ask Better Questions
  • Leave Things Better Than I Found Them
 Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014: The Year in Review

I've been dreading this. My 2014 resolutions were made pretty explicitly and pretty publicly in this January blog post. Since then, they've been in the back of my mind, mostly in that, "Oh yeah...I should do that..." sort of way. Some I've acted on, some I haven't.

So, since I'm a bullet-point kind of guy, and this is the season for making lists and checking them twice, let's look back and see how well (or poorly) I did with my 2014 resolutions:

  • Read 52 Books: Done. This will happen. I've read 51 books so far and will certainly read one more before 12/31. For a full account of my 2014 reading, check out my GoodReads page: (As a side note, I should mentioned that I'd also resolved that at least half the books I read in 2014 would be by authors who are women. I ended up reading 27). 
  • Paint 52 Paintings: Not done. Not even close. I completed 15 paintings in 2014. I'll do better in 2015. I promise.
  • Exercise Every Day: Not done. This didn't happen either. While I do exercise most days, often, and semi-regularly, I've yet to nail it every day.
  • Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: Done. I've eaten marginally more fruits and vegetables, mostly thanks to Tutti Jackson's fruit salads and regular stops at Northstar Cafe (see also Beechwold Salad).
  • Write at Least Eight Reviews for Columbus Underground: Not done. I wrote seven. You can see them here: Realistically, I still have time slip an eighth one in. I really did like the Now-Ism show at Pizzuti Collection. Maybe I'll write about that.
  • Keep Up With My Social Medias: Done. I did reasonably well here. I could probably stand to improve my Pinterest presence, but overall I think I'm mostly staying in the game.
  • Record With Jim Diamond in Detroit: Not done. This didn't happen. We'll roll it over onto the 2015 list.
  • Take a Continuing Education Class at CCAD: Not done. See above
  • Fix My Scooter: Done. This happened! For the first time in probably five years I rode my long neglected 1965 Vespa 125 to work. Here's it is, humming along on Vine (In related news, I also won a (running) scooter at the Scoot-A-Que raffle. All in all it was a good year on the scooter front. Next up? Win a garage!).
  • Rake Leaves: Not done. LOL. Seriously. Not one leaf was raked; not the old 2013 leaves and not the new 2014 leaves.
  • Get a New Car: Well, new to me! Done. There's been talk around our house of retiring the Saab. It's been spending a lot of time in the shop and presenting a lot of niggling issues that make it a hassle to drive. I'd been "informally" looking for something in a little better shape, and when a friend mentioned she was getting rid of her 2000 Saturn, I snatched it up. I know it's not the coolest car in the world, but when you've got multiple vintage Vespas (see above), you don't really have to sweat how cool your car is.
  • Paint the Living Room Dining Room, Stairwell and Hallway: Not done. LOL. In fairness I took a week off in the spring with the intention of doing this. Apparently I got side-tracked. We'll add it to 2015.
  • Enroll in a Krav Maga Self-Defense Class: Not done. We'll add it to 2015.
  • Establish a Primary Care Physician: Done. This happened! For the first time in my adult life I have a PCP. That means regular check-ups, physicals, bloodwork and paper gowns!
  • Get All Those Horrid Tests Men My Age Get: Done. Completed without comment.
  • Listen to More (New) Music: Done. Well, more for me, which isn't a lot. For the last few years I'd paid very little attention to music and was kind of starting to miss it. This year I started listening to more music; not a lot, but more (baby steps).
  • Buy More Local Music: Done. Thanks to Connections and Lydia Loveless I've purchased more local music in 2014 than I have in the previous 20 years combined!
  • Take My Lovely Wife Out More: Done, though I got this one backwards (she takes me out). Still, we got to go out a lot and do a lot of fun things!
  • Talk My Lovely Wife Into a Trip To Ireland: Done. I don't know that I really talked her into this (it was more like a tough week at work and a desperate need for a vacation forced her hand). Still, we did go to Ireland. You can read what I learned here:
  • Barring That - Take Some Sort of Travel Vacation!: Done. I did however talk her into going to New York to see the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney!
  • Listen More: Done. I think I do! The truth is I'm so determined to not be one of those awful, insufferable, close-minded, intolerant old people that I probably spend more time on intentional self-improvement now than I ever have in the past.
  • Be More Patient: Done. See above.
  • Be More Understanding: Done. See above.
  • Ask More Questions: Done. See above.
  • Ask Better Questions: Done. See above.
  • Leave Things Better Than I Found Them: Done. Isn't that why we're here?
So, what's the finally tally:

26 resolutions presented.
18 completed
8 incomplete

That's a solid C, right? Really, considering how hard life can be sometimes, I'll take it.

Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

We'll see you in 2015!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Latest Addition

My wife and I have been putting together a modest collection of original art over the last few years. In this case "modest" means that we buy within our means and usually stick to smaller works, often by local artists. In the process of building our collection we've maintained a "wish list" of artists whose work we appreciate and would like one day to own. Paul Emory has been one such artist.

So, it was our good fortune that we managed the winning bid for his painting "Tonya" at a recent Ohio Art League fundraiser.

If you're not familiar with Paul Emory's work...well...honestly it's hard to talk about. I say that because the words that one might be inclined to use (words like weird, naive, creepy, and childlike) can make his paintings sound...well...unattractive. Similarly, the works themselves present something of an acquired taste. The first encounter with them can be jarring. In his narrative paintings, haunting, stylized figures exist either in dreamlike interiors or shabby small-town tableaus.

His fauna series depicts vaguely anthropomorphic animals crowding the foreground and gazing directly at the viewer as if sitting for portraits.

Beyond first impressions though, it's clear that Paul Emory knows a lot about painting and a lot about art history. Looking at "Tonya" it occurred to me that one could present a pretty comprehensive lesson on painting from 1860 to 1930 using just this single work.

Tonya 2003 

It has the impressionistic brushwork of Monet, the flattened figures of Manet, Matisse and Modigliani, the creepy Surrealism of DeChirco and Balthus, the patchwork of patterns favored by Bonnard, and the fractured compositions of Cubism. Going back even further, it's hard not draw the connection between the mischievous children in "Tonya" and the putti who appear in many classical and renaissance works.

For me I suppose that's part of the attraction of Emory's work. It carries on a dialog with painting's past while presenting a vision that is both refreshing and singular. I'm thrilled to finally have one we can enjoy in our home.