Thursday, May 28, 2009

Well where have YOU been?!?!

Look, just chill out and have a pint ("Pint of Stout" oil on linen panel, 6" square). Let me fill you in, okay?

First of all, if you hadn't deduced it from between the lines here, my corporate day job was stifling my creativity BIG TIME. Frankly, the whole thing was getting me really, really down to the point where I had kind of gone into a shell art-wise and personality-wise, and it was becoming more than a bit noticeable around house and home. I stopped blogging because I had nothing to add, Berehaven-wise. It hurt to even be reminded of that, frankly.

So I stopped pre-holiday 2008/09, I see. Yeah, Christmas was fine: there was money for presents and New York City extravagances and the like. And I was so unhappy. But, I ain't no quitter, so despite my lack of desire for basically anything at this point, I stayed on at the office. Steady paycheck & insurance - this is our lot in life, right? The cliches are right: money is no substitute for happiness. Or staying true to oneself, for that matter.

Some bright moments during this time: My 15 year wedding anniversary, for one. Me & D. celebrated sans kids, and we enjoyed it immensely. Despite everything else, we're doing okay There's a lot more ahead of us, and plenty of love to keep it going. The other thing was a 25 year reunion with my elementary school buddies. You read that right. We were all pretty close growing up; it was a Catholic school that went from K to 8, and most of us were neighbors or pals of some sort. It was an absolute blast, and I love every one of those people.

Then, as February of '09 drew down to a close, and as the economy bottomed out so hard you could hear it like a thunderclap in a snowstorm, my company had a round of layoffs. I knew it in my bones that I was done. Sure, part of me felt afraid - afraid of what to do next, afraid of the end of our savings, health care, etc. But then there was that part of me that was like William Wallace getting his guts pulled out at the end of Braveheart: "FREEEEDOOOOOMMMMM!!" I even preemptively packed my things and wiped my hard drive clean. When I got the last bit down off my wall, the CD came in, looked around, and said, "Well I guess you know why I'm here." Yup.

The severance was okay, not great, but whatever - it was my first brush with the corporate life and perhaps my last, unless the REALLY right job comes along. At the moment, as we all know, that obviously is not happening. We're surviving, but happier - and let me tell you why...

I'm painting again. A LOT. For about 40 days (7 weeks, with weekends off), I 9 to 5-ed it at the studio and produced 28 new paintings. I was hoping for 30, but I didn't factor in some of the prep time, so there you go. I decided to go full on, alla prima, and plop a new still life every day on the stand. It was GREAT. What a catharsis of energy release! I created a theme, too, using my practical illustrator's sensibilities (heh). I decided to create a series for everyone. That sounds grandiose, but it's really the opposite. I chose items for the home, or from the home, that were interesting enough to keep me interested, and fun enough for others to find some connection. And since they are all the same size - small, at 6" x 6" - yet painted with true affection and attention to the singular object, I titled the series "minumentals" (lowercase intended).

Rather than describe it to you, you can see them at my website... WHAT? A website? Well, I've been talking about it for friggin' months, already - isn't it about time? Damn right, it is.

Also, this idea was also designed with a show in mind. And guess what?! Yes! - the work is now up at Art House gallery in Portland, and will be there until June 27th. The opening went very well, and 10 pieces have sold (see my site for current availability) thus far. There is another mini-reception on First Friday, June 5th. I'd love to see you there!

And what else? Well, you know how much I loved teaching. Okay, if you don't remember - I loved teaching! It was just difficult, because NHIA was so far away. Well, problem solved. I am now faculty in the Illustration Department at the Maine College of Art. There is, of course, a story behind it, but the most important thing right now is that I'm teaching again, period. The chair and my co-faculty are just wonderful. I am looking forward to September with huge anticipation.

All right, that's a lot to digest, and now that no one is reading this blog anymore due to my neglect, it may have been superfluous. Whatever - I don't care, because I have made up for the time lost with painting! Yes!

Me, after the last of the minumentals went off to the gallery:


Martha Miller said...

what a long strange trip it's been! when a door closes, a window opens. glad you're back, rob ("back" in more ways than one) i'm so happy for you! xo

Anonymous said...

Yay! I already knew most of this, but it's still fun to hear again! Definitely excited for the fall semester.

Rob S. said...

Martha, your support and kind words are some of the things that help a fellow artist come back. You're awesome.

Katie! We're gonna do great stuff!