Ten years ago, as part of an online group, I started choosing a word for the year instead of New Years resolutions. I like doing this and have made it my practice since. I make a small artwork to hang in my studio to remind me of the word.
For 2020 I chose “And...”. In retrospect it seems like a reckless choice, as if inviting the chaos that ensued, but I had plans and a sense of excitement about 2020. We had a trip to Mexico planned. We were looking forward to celebrating our 50th Anniversary, with our family in Hawaii. I had a renewed enthusiasm about my art practice and was planning to take some classes and learn some new skills. We did make it to Mexico before COVID 19 reared it’s ugly head, but most everything else was cancelled and we joined everyone else in hunkering down, waiting for a vaccine, for an election, for things to get better. But, of course, it all got worse as the pandemic grew, the country erupted over racial inequality, schools shut down, the economy tanked, the election brought drama, and the human toll of all of it became almost overwhelming.
For 2021 I, unsurprisingly, chose the word “Hope”. There is a vaccine. There will be a new President. There is cause for hope. But, make no mistake, my “Hope” is not joyful or shiny and bright. Too much has happened for that. It is a cautious, beseeching kind of hope, because we’re not out of the woods. It is a conditional Hope because we’ve lost what can never be regained. It is a Hope steeped in mourning and regret. I feel we will never be the same. This year we have lost more of our fellow citizens than we have ever lost to any war or natural disaster. When I think of our personal pain in losing our cousin Phil, of the big laugh, the big mustache and the big heart, and multiply that by the more than 300,000 souls lost to the virus, I wonder how we can even consider Hope. But we do. We must.
So, here’s to 2021. Surprise us. Justify our Hope! We’ve had a bad year, but I think, maybe, we’ve learned a few things too. Despite it all there have been sweet moments. I’ve had a lot of studio time and gotten a lot done. Here is a sampling of my 2020 art.