My Favorite Paintings from 2018

Sipping my coffee this morning after waking up early for the first time since before Christmas.  I’ve cleaned up my act the last few days, so the carb and booze brain fog is lifting and I’m getting excited as I look at the goals I’ve put together for this year. I’ve personally always loved setting goals for the New Year…there is so much hope and excitement in the first couple of weeks of January.  

As I plan and prepare for 2019, I am mindful of how important it is to look back and evaluate the year. What went really well? What didn’t work? What did I learn?

With my artwork specifically, I went back to the beginning of 2018 and reviewed ALL of the work I produced. You guys, it was so cool to stand back and evaluate the progress and evolutions that happened creatively in this past year!! I know you guys have hear me talk about how I am self taught and working hard to evolve my artwork and develop my style. When I first started out, I grabbed onto a style of art that I really liked and to be honest I was heavily influenced by one artist in particular because I really liked HER. Her vibe really translated into her art and I LOVED it. Not knowing any better, I just decided I was going to be that same style of artist - intuitive, abstract.

How do you guys think that worked out? Exactly. It sucked!! I couldn’t finish a painting to save my life. I just kept painting over the canvas again and again so frustrated because it wasn’t working. I am stubborn and it became a fight with myself to conquer this inability to produce a piece of art that was “intuitive and abstract” the way I thought I was supposed to paint.

Looking back, I saw that my turning point was a commissioned painting. The client wanted me to paint some flowers that were representational by still painterly and abstract. I just had so much fun painting that canvas and guess what? I actually finished the art….didn’t paint over it once…and loved the final product (so did my client). After that, I realized how silly it was to force myself to try to paint in a style that wasn’t working for me. Duh.

With this newfound interest in painting more representational art, I started taking hard core foundational art classes….portrait classes that studied old masters process…figurative classes using live models. Nothing like what I wanted to actually produce in my own portfolio of work, but I knew to produce the kind of work that was starting to call to me, I had to develop my foundation. So, I spent much of 2018 studying and trying new things. I didn’t post a lot of what I did and once again found myself painting over canvases but this time it felt good…like I was finally intentional in my art practice. Toward the end of this year, I felt strong. I started producing work that felt like ME. I was merging my learnings and my vision.

And here I am! I know I have so much to learn. But I finally feel like I am on a path to developing work that represents who I am and what I want to communicate. It feels good. As I look at the work I started producing in the final half of the year, I’m content.

The best thing about the year is I finally started understanding what I’ve heard teachers saying to me for a long time. “Do it for the process” “You have to paint 100 bad paintings before you finally start producing good art” “for every 1 good painting, there are 5 bad ones”.

There is no shortcut. You just have faith and keep showing up. I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel and it feels good! Cheers to a creative, fruitful, and successful 2019!!

Here are my 5 favorite paintings from 2018:

Nina Ramos