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New Year

It's tough to make resolutions in such an uncertain time. I would like to get back to swimming, but with COVID cases skyrocketing and the rollout of boosters here in BC on a glacially slow trajectory it's hard to imagine ever returning to a public pool. I have been desperately homesick, but the thought of boarding a plane seems unlikely to the point of fantasy. The gift and the challenge of this period is that the only reliable possibility is to think about how I want to live, how I should live.

I am happiest at work, I'm most honest and courageous at work, so I hope to cultivate those qualities in my work. I have a couple of paintings in mind that I am afraid to paint, that are so outside my experience and my comfort that I don't know whether I can paint them. I don't know what will happen, I don't know whether I will ever show them to anyone, I don't know whether I will end up hiding them away from myself. I hope to do as much of this as I can this year. I hope to make paintings that might fail, that might make me feel bad. Every painting I make has that potential to a degree, but I want to push that risk, I want to step closer to that edge. This year I hope to fail spectacularly, and then I hope to keep going.

I also plan to make a lot of little paintings, little risks, little studies. It's very very good for me to think about bigger, harder paintings, by making smaller, easier paintings. It's fun, it keeps me in groceries, it makes me a better painter, so I am planning to make nearly daily paintings all year. I won't feel badly about taking days off here and there; if, by some miracle, travel becomes possible I am going to get in my car and drive and I won't think twice about it. But as long as I'm home and healthy, I'm going to be painting every day.

I need to walk in order to think, and I need to think in order to paint. My daughter and I have decided to walk 1000 miles this year, over and above our usual shuffling and trudging. I did this a couple of years ago and it was very, very good for my mind and body, and since I need both, this is how I am going to take care of myself.

Finally, last year I resolved to start writing something other than Facebook status updates, and thanks to this blog and a piece I wrote for Thimbleberry magazine, I have done that. This year I will try to write something concrete, possibly something I might consider trying to publish.

That's it, I think. This year I will focus on the things I always focus on: more love, more care, more honesty, more courage. The work that matters to me, the people and animals I love. Oh, and I am going to get some bees.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope we make of it the best we can.


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