2017: Year in Review

As 2017 comes to a close (how did THAT happen?!), let's take a look back at my many and varied artful endeavors over the last 12 months:

In December of 2016,  Stan and I took an anniversary trip to Sedona, AZ, which provided a much-needed break as well as visual inspiration from the color palette of the rocks surrounding us everywhere we turned.  Though I didn't set out to consciously reproduce this palette, I'm sure it influenced a number of pieces I created this year.  Back at home, I gained some new collectors as a result of my work being included in a show called "The Masterpiece Exhibit" in Garner, NC.  My "Tribal Triptych" has a lovely new home alongside two older pieces which look like they were designed to accompany it (which they weren't!) see the post about it here.   In January and February, I resumed my teaching schedule, with new class projects, ranging from a Picasso still life to painted paper undersea scenes...ah, variety!

Painting with food at Morehead School for the Blind
March and April: found me fully engaged with the accessible art community here in Raleigh.  Between creating projects for another Artist Residency at Wake Enterprises, presenting an art workshop at a spring dance, working with children at a local kids' museum's sensory-friendly night, creating wacky paintings with food as paintbrushes at a school for the blind, and providing art supplies and instruction for click bug art to kids at a science museum, I was extremely, happily busy! Teaching art to people with disabilities of all ages is both challenging and rewarding, and it's always a big thrill whenever I get to see the spark of creativity shine.
I also began working on what I'd be exhibiting at our first show of the season, which is one of our favorites, the Columbia Festival of the Arts, in June.

May and June:  featured show preparation, travel and teaching--not necessarily in that order. During this time, I was also handling the art program director duties for the African American Cultural Festival in Raleigh.  People often ask me how I juggle so many different balls in the air, and I tell them my secrets are that a) I'm a very organized Virgo, and b) I have a great calendar on my phone, and a backup paper one in my studio. It does get a bit crazy at times, but I love it.  Columbia was a great show for us; I ended up selling 40% of what I'd brought (a first!). Delightful added bonuses:  we stayed with one of my collectors (thanks so much, Allison!), and I got to have two mini reunions.  Here I am with Donna from college (left), and with Karla from high school, who I hadn't seen since we graduated in 1974! 

At the NMAAHC with Jordan
July was a month filled with travel.  First to DC to visit Jordan, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which was incredible.  From the impressive exterior to the pathways through the museum, to the amazing artifacts, to the food, to the art in the gift shop--the entire experience was almost overwhelming.  A second visit is a must--you can't take it all in during just one.  Later in the month, we flew to Los Angeles to visit a friend from Wellesley (thanks, Holly!) who lives in Santa Monica.  During our 10-day stay, we visited so many art museums and venues, I nicknamed the trip:  Michelle and Stan's Excellent Art Adventure. Creative inspiration quota:  filled.  

August and September:  were filled with the planning and execution of the 8th annual African American Cultural Festival (AACF), which was a great success in September; a welcome weekend getaway to the beach to celebrate my sister's birthday (thanks, Melanie!), where we saw a spectacular double rainbow over the ocean (!!!!); my first stint as a member of a jury (a very interesting 4-day event); and the launching of an idea many years in the making (more on that, below).

October included a variety of artful endeavors:  mid month, we did a new to us show on Kure Beach, NC, which was fun and surprisingly successful for me, despite a low turnout; later the same week, I was a presenter at the Wake Arts Inclusion Project, speaking to school art teachers (and encouraging them to create a 'hands and hearts' mural as shown below) about strategies for adapting art projects for children with disabilities; and the end of the month found me in Hilton Head, SC for a polymer clay retreat, where I presented two demos and was part of the organizing group.

November and December so far:  brought the launch of "Your Creative Connection" with my dear friend and now business partner, Penny L. Arrowood.  Our concept of a 4-day, all-inclusive mixed media art retreat has been in the back of our minds for a long time, and we've decided to take the leap to make it a reality! The retreat is scheduled for October 11--15, 2018 at the Haw River State Park, in Brown Summit, NC.  Penny and I will be joined by a third Artist Instructor (details on who it will be to come in early January, so stay tuned--we're excited!), and together we will present 3 full days of instruction, all art supplies, extra goodies, and a show of everyone's work at the end of the retreat.  We are very excited about what we've got planned, and would love to have Artventuring readers join us!  Visit our website for full details, including the registration form. 

What will the new year bring?  Spring shows (potentially 3, in Georgia, Virginia, and Maryland), another AACF, more classes, another Artist Residency, and our retreat.  These are just the things I know for sure.  The wonder happens when those things occur which are total creative surprises...'looking forward to those, so stay tuned, and Happy 2018!