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The Year in Review & Grape Zotz

December 30th, 2011

As another year draws to a close it’s impossible not to reflect on where I was at the beginning and where I am at the end.

Personally, it was a roller-coaster ride of emotions with some severe lows balanced by wonderful highs. All-in-all, my family and I know that we are truly blessed as we enter 2012 healthy, whole and still in our home. God is good.

Professionally, I started 2011 as an artistic nomad. I was in the middle of a transitory period that found me floundering around as I searched for relevance in my artistic endeavors. Not being one to sit idle even when at a loss, I continued to experiment and explore – creating many pieces, but few that truly felt ‘right’. One of those experiments was to design a few masks using blank pre-made paper mache’ masks that I’d found online. I’m really glad that I did, because those home-made masks would become a conduit to something new and exciting for me – my Eye Candy series of palette knife paintings. (more on that shortly…)

I believe that there were three huge game-changers for my work that occurred during the first half of 2011.

  1. The painting I did for my brother, David’s, book cover, The Door to the Sky. This was the first major ‘non-mask’ painting that I had done in several years. It was a fun challenge that ended up informing several works as the year progressed.
  2. Painting the two hearts for St. Judes. Most of March and April were spent painting those two hearts, but all that work ended up being not only a blessing for our local St. Judes hospital, but being a blessing for me and my family. Little did I know at the time that I was ‘tithing’ forward… (The blessing I refer to was a huge one and can be read about here.)
  3. The painting I did for the event called Circus Couture (which can be read about here) was probably one of the biggest of these game changers. The painting I did for them, Dare to Believe, solidified a direction I was considering for my Over the Under-Schmeerings series.

As 2011 progressed I found that all of the experimenting I had done while in my search for artistic relevance had been laying the groundwork for something bigger and better in my Over the Under-Schmeerings series. I have since done several major pieces in this series and have ideas percolating for several more. I’ve never been more excited by a series and I cannot wait to see where it all takes me.

In May I did a palette knife painting of one of my own mask creations on a 5″x5″ canvas that would start something that continues to this day. I titled that painting Butterscotch because of her coloring. Later, I realized I had discovered a new naming convention that I could use on a few paintings – titling them after different types of candy. When I posted the fourth of these paintings my friend Celeste left the simple comment, “Eye Candy”, and voila! the series was titled. On a personal note, I am so glad that I had started this series because when my family and I went through some dark times in July it was these little treats that helped to keep me painting and sane. (that story is referred to above with “tithing forward”.) After happy times returned and as the year has progressed I continue to create these tasty treats and am proud to say that the one posted below is the 50th in the Eye Candy series – and the 3rd in the Eye Candy: Zotz sub-series…

Grape Zotz – 4″x4″ – Acrylic on canvas – Completed 12/30/11

©2011, Don Michael, Jr.

All-in-all I would consider 2011 a successful year as an artist. I painted almost every day. I shared my love of painting in my Michael’s/Grumbacher workshops. I created several book covers. I did some design work. I created several masks. I got into some shows. Most importantly, I fellowshipped with art friends all over the world.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year’s weekend. Party well, but party safe!!! I want you all back for more art chats in 2012…

Happy Creating!

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8 Comments for 'The Year in Review & Grape Zotz'

  1. Linny D. Vine Said:

    And, you’ve finished the year with another gem, Don! Happy hearts and happy new year to you and yours!!

  2. Dean Said:

    Love the “Grape Z”, Don!
    You have indeed had an amazing year! Through fears,tears,and cheers God was with you. Have no doubt He will remain by your side throughout 2012.

    Keep the palette knife flashing and the paint splashing through the upcoming year.

    Happy New Year to you and your great family, Don!

  3. hw(hallie)farber Said:

    What a year for you! This is a great blog post–your faith, your family, and your paintings are an inspiration (and I can’t forget your wonderful sense of humor). Have a blessed 2012.

  4. Dan Kent Said:

    How wonderful! I am so glad that you had a wonderful year and that I was fortunate enough to watch from my virtual porthole. You are on a great path, and I wish you a happy new year, and doubly painterly 2012!

  5. Stan Kurth Said:

    An incredible year indeed. But I’m not surprised because you are an incredible artist, husband, father and Godly man.

  6. Don Michael, Jr. Said:

    Linny… Thank you! I hope you had a great New Year’s Eve. Ours was nice and mellow. I even finished another painting…

    Dean… Thank you! …and, Amen! I anticipate much flashing and splashing – it’s just too much fun to forgo… 🙂

    Hallie… Yes, it was! Thank you. I pray blessings for you, as well.

    Dan… Thanks for being along for the ride, my friend. Keep checking that porthole, ’cause I anticipate even more for 2012!

    Stan… Thank you! I’m truly humbled. God Bless!


  7. Nicki Ault Said:

    What a great year it has been for you and your art. It has been a pleasure to watch unfold. I am staying tuned for the next year… I know you won’t disappoint!

    And may I say that I am so relieved that the lowest part of your year had a happy outcome.

    A big hug for you and your family,

  8. -Don Said:

    Nicki… Thank you for being along for the ride. I look forward to what 2012 brings us. We enjoyed your cyber-hug and reciprocate to you and your family. Happy New Year!!!




Copyright © Don Michael, Jr.