I got this idea from a fellow blogger who is a photographer, and thought it was really a wonderful idea.
A great exercise to do at the end of each year for any artist is to select your 5 best pieces of artwork. By doing this annually, you can (hopefully!) see improvement and growth. It is also a fun way to reflect on the year and look ahead to the new one.
One major challenge in selecting the “best” pieces of art is the artist own personal feelings that came with the creation of that piece of artwork. The common thread, as I selected each piece is the history that came with each piece. I really feel the history of the artifact tells such a huge part of the painting. The research itself is just as much fun for me as the actual process of painting.
2018 was a year of challenges, and I think this played a huge part in my growth as an artist. I did very few graphite drawings, as my time was pulled in many different directions. I plan on altering that this year.
Without further ado, here are my top 5 best paintings in 2018, in chronological order.
5. Vintage Saddle Pack
I saw this vintage saddle pack while delivering artwork for an upcoming art show at Museum of Western Art in Kerrville, Texas.
The detail from the saddle blanket looks itchy, and the colors are authentic from the era that this saddle pack would have been used, probably during the early 1900’s.
I was taken by this saddle pack. Just imagine the stories this piece could tell, the places its been and the miles logged.
4. Sun Kissed – Color Study
This is probably the only painting I did last year that was completely different for me. In early August, I took this reference photo. I loved the way the light bounced off of the flowers in the background. It really seems like the sun kissed these lovely little flowers, and the challenge for me was to see if I could recreate the effect.
I absolutely loved the way it turned out.
3. Hawk Bells
What I discovered with this piece is the fascination the Native Americans had with simple items brought to America by the Europeans.
That is exactly the case with the hawk bells incorporated in this headdress. The Europeans utilized hawk bells to attach to their hawks and falcons. Native Americans incorporated them into a form of decoration. Hawk Bells became a “must have” and in high demand.
2. Sunday’s Finest
This painting depicts a wonderful set of antique Garcia Spurs, spread across the mantle with a saddle blanket.
The story of Garcia spurs is straight from a page of Old West history. Learning his craft near my hometown in Santa Margarita, California, G.S. Garcia became a legend for the finest spurs available.
At the time these spurs were made near the turn of the century, these probably were Sunday’s Finest.
1. Warrior’s Knife
What I love about this painting is… well… all of it.
I love the vibrant colors of the Indian blanket, the texture of the tiny beads on the hide of the knife sheath, the brass tacks that line the sheath and the texture of the antler and the blanket.
Painting red is an intimidating color, and it requires getting the bold color right, on each and every layer (there are probably 12 layers on this particular painting). I was really happy with the vibrant colors, the textures and the mood of this painting.
And with that sums up my 2018. I learned so much, and am excited to see what paintings I create this year.