2018: The Year in Paintings

When I look back at 2018, I can’t help but feel gratitude for the opportunity to paint and connect with so many people. I was able to find homes for a number of paintings and that allows me to create more paintings. To borrow a line from Walt Disney, I sell my art so I can make more art!

When I look at my top nine images from Instagram, I notice a couple of things.

All my top images were of my paintings. This is significant, because in the past few years I have made an effort to focus my Instagram account on my artwork rather than everyday life. Sure, I like to document a delicious cappuccino as much as the next coffee lover, but that’s not what my Instagram account is about.

You guys love the moody, hazy landscapes.

And I love them, too. There’s something powerful about sunsets and sunrises and fog that I find compelling, and I know I’m not the only one. It’s those liminal, in-between moments that I like to capture in my paintings. And I’m thinking of ways to make them moodier and hazier. 🙂 Can’t stop, won’t stop.

My experiment with gold leaf was met with enthusiasm

When I shared the painting I did for my wife last summer, y’all sure liked it. I’ve done a few other things with gold leaf, some similar to this same piece, some different. They’ve received a similar response. I’m going to keep doing these, too. It’s a tricky process and I’m working on refining my technique.

Everyone loves puppies!

Who doesn’t love puppies?! I admit, my first pet portrait intimidated me. I’ve painted abstracts so long that I wondered if I still could do representational art. Turns out, I can! It just requires a different way of thinking. I got some good advice from others who have done a lot of pet portraits. I think the secret is to make sure you get the eyes right. That’s because when you hug your dog, you look her in the eyes! This was a lot of fun and I hope to do more pet portraits.

My colors have gotten brighter

My color palette skews blue and orange with pops of red and tan. This is an interesting trend to see in my work yet it’s not entirely surprising. I’ve loved this color scheme for a long time. In college I had a pair of Adidas sweatpants that were royal blue with orange stripes. Compared to a few years ago, there’s a wider distribution of values and a lot more light and color in my paintings. This may have to do with the more optimistic outlook I’ve adopted over the past few years.

The more consistently I post, the more consistent the reactions I get

I’ve found a sweet spot for when to post on Instagram: 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. It happens to be when I would post brand-new paintings from the 40 Days of Abstracts series. And it’s not just the time I’m posting that’s consistent. The nature of what I’m posting is consistent. People have come to expect a certain kind of image from me at a certain time every day. The built-in analytics confirm this.

Why 9:00 at night? I guess that’s when people are winding down and relaxing from the workday. That’s when they really want to see something that gives them hope and a sense of beauty in the world.

Well if that’s what people get from me, I’m glad.

If I can provide a sense of hope and optimism when everything is falling apart, that’s what I’ll do. That’s why I paint. I want to share hope and possibility.