New Beginnings

Five Artspan artists explore what it means to start anew

“For last year's words belong to last year's language

And next year's words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

-TS Eliot, Little Gidding


This is the time of year for starting over, for deciding all of the ways you want to begin anew. You can leave the past behind, jettison your bad habits and regrets, and imagine a new life for yourself. For many artists, this goes beyond a change in diet or a new exercise regime, and extends instead to a relighting of the creative spark. We decide to fully explore all of the pictures and stories in our head, and to dedicate all of our energy to finding a new language with which to speak them.

Connie Sales observes, prays, documents, questions, and plays. “For me, drawing is a contemplative process. I begin with physical observation and end with raw, inner emotion and intuition. I love earthy materials such as charcoal and graphite. I make many of my own ink washes with things I find around me; extracting pigment from coffee grounds, leaves, discarded items found on walks; buried over time in the dirt. Focused on line quality and texture, I aim to create truth and beauty. A simple means of communication; the strength of the human soul. 

 “She Wore Flowers is about a moment of literal pause. This past summer I was diagnosed with a large tumor in my abdomen. I overcame cancer in 2008, so, there were many questions going into surgery. By grace, this tumor was benign, but I was bed-bound recovering from the surgery. Forced to rest, I began to reflect on how "busy" life was, and realized things I had given up, and why? I remembered how I used to love to wear flowers in my hair. So I drew myself, and some of the flowers given to me in the hospital.  Out of this came a renewed commitment to myself, and a shift in my work. She Wore Flowers represents a metaphorical "new beginning" in commitment to being change and living the same truth as I seek in my work.



Patty Neal works in oil on wood, sometimes combining multiple panels sometimes using a single panel. “In this single panel piece, In the Beginning, I used a few geometric shapes (buildings) and a contrast in light and dark to frame the construction backhoe. The composition is a classic one of portraiture. The backhoe, sitting in profile, represents new things to come to that site, while also sitting in the space or hole where an older building had once been.



New Day Beginning is a mixed media collage by Joan Fullerton. “I started this painting by dripping acrylic paint on a birch board, and as I pushed the paint around the surface, an abstracted image of a horse appeared. Painting the horse more concretely, I designed the surrounding landscape using ideas from books on “Sacred Geometry.” I had been inspired to start my painting career after ateaching sabbatical in Italy, so I put a small map of Italy in the upper right area of the arch. The rusted metal pieces form an ancient symbol of a sun on a horizon. At the end oil paint was added for richness and to give a burnt sienna “old world” finish. This painting reflects a moving through to new adventures.


Grayce DeNoia Bochak’s Morning is a watercolor depicting the greeting of the new day. “The figure looks out to New Jersey's vast Delaware Bay for signs of high or low tide. Symbolically each morn brings high or low tide of daily experiences.”  


Curtis Ripley uses artist’s brushes, house painting brushes, scrapers, rags and his hands to apply the paint, and the process is very spontaneous. “There is a lot of painting, wiping out and repainting, and the build-up of gestures and marks creates the movement and space. The painting A New Beginning finally appeared to me to be a rush of emotion, a fresh start and a new beginning.”


Happy New Year to all of our Artspan members, and best wishes for an inspired and inspiring year to come.



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