On again, off again. It's winter now.

Finn in the woods, out for a ski with Darby and me.

The holidays are winding down, a new year beginning. I'm not making any big resolutions this year, but I am really excited about the way things are going. The Small Works have really gotten off to a good start, and I have already found an unexpected benefit. I have struggled for years to paint the season I am in, normally running weeks to months behind, painting summer in winter, fall in spring. Not getting a chance to paint the things I see every day.

But the small paintings move along, not taking weeks or months to finish. I have several small pieces, that will finish in the next few days or so, of the weather we have enjoyed during our two bursts of winter. And as Darby and I went to the Yard Of Ale this evening to celebrate the new year, we drove through a stunningly beautiful scene of softly falling snow in the last light of day. Not an image meant to be a small painting. And with all the small winter scenes I am working on, my mind is there already. I'm stretching a canvas next week. A big one.

New Year

Resolutions. I try not to make too many, as it so often seems there is just that much more chance of falling short. I have had the same goals, short and long term, for several years now, but resolutions seem different.

I am trying to make a few changes in my work habits. More drawing - a bit every day. It's amazing how quickly you get rusty, and with two dogs and three cats at home, horses surrounding the studio, and things seen walking everyday, there is no shortage of subjects for a quick drawing session. This is Finn, our younger dog, in the middle of her post-walk nap. She's 80 pounds of love, muscle, and boundless energy.

In terms of painting this year, I want to do more large scale work. I love the intimacy of smaller pieces, but the mass of a larger piece has the opportunity for much more impact. To me the real challenge of a larger piece is to paint it in such a way that you have increased the scale without increasing detail. Everything needs to be bigger -paint loads, movements, textures - so that the surface quality carries the viewer, rather than a multitude of details. I am really feeling limited by my van, as a four foot canvas is as large as I can carry. I'll aim for a new ride by the end of the year.

Finishing up a couple large pieces, and experimenting with a piece as a Christmas gift to my wife, Darby, kind of got me off track in December. I am feeling pretty energized by a great holiday break, and I'm prepping several large canvases and a couple dozen panels to start the year.