Being my own art historian
As I said a couple weeks ago, over the holidays I spent some quality time at my parents’ house.
While there, I enjoyed their wood burning stove quite a bit, and it happens to be in the same room as these bits of my artistic development. The letters stand for Gwenn, Annie, Kristan, and Richard—my family—and I painted them just as I graduated from high school in June 1999.
The two portraits of beloved bubbies were added later. (When I made this vlog and the painting it features—a composition that’s very similar to the 2012 portrait above—I had completely forgotten that I’d painted Roo running on the cabinet door.)
But I only know these dates after some digging. I wasn’t that organized about my art at seventeen or eighteen. Originally, I thought I did the letters in high school, but guessed they might be from as late as 2001 based on the brushwork. When I went through old sketchbooks though, I found designs that were dated 1999.
My favorite discovery of this mini research project is the paint on the back of the G drawing, as shown above. It appears I was worried I wouldn’t place the composition properly without transferring some key points this way, a concern that seems pretty foreign to me now and something I would never have remembered without this evidence.
I recognize these details of my teenage art process aren’t particularly important or interesting. And while I know some artists save every scrap of their creative output for when they get famous, I’m not into that. After college, I purged a bunch of high school art without documenting it, and I regularly recycle painting surfaces when a piece just isn’t working out, like here for example.
All that said, I have to acknowledge that this little look at who I was as a teenage artist does me good in a more general sense. It gives me confidence in the skills I have today by showing me how far I’ve come. I can’t wait to look back at this moment in my studio after another sixteen years of art-making!