Posted by: bluelanternstudio | January 3, 2012

Looking back, looking ahead

I’m not much for New Year’s eve parties or morning after resolutions. But, as one year comes to a close and the next opens up before me, I do find myself reflecting on the past 12 months and wondering about the next dozen ahead.

This year’s turning point was no exception, perhaps especially because 2011 ended on such a soft and mushy note for me. After spending nearly two months sick or caring for sick family members, I needed to remind myself that I had accomplished something earlier in the year. And I’m certainly motivated to get back to work now that everyone is feeling better.

So, without further ado, here are my highlights from 2o11:

  • Curating art exhibits at two scientific conferences, which allowed me to merge two of my passions (art and conservation) and continue to build my community of artists and scientists with shared interests. The art shows were part of the International Marine Conservation Congress in Victoria and the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver.
  • Pulling off my first major solo show, featuring more than 30 of my ocean paintings. As someone who has never really worked in series, I’m proud of myself for producing so much work on a theme and stretching myself to keep it interesting and meaningful (to me at least!). The show was well received, written up in the local papers, and is the springboard for new work and opportunities.
  • Writing and illustrating a fairytale about a contemporary issue that means a great deal to me. I’d been wanting to write about the Alberta tar sands in a meaningful way, yet offer hope and resolution to the bleakest, most depressing environmental crisis in this country (particularly since there is almost no political will to deal with it). I first shared my fairytale at the Seymour Art Gallery and have since been refining it and looking for new ways to share it. You can read it here.
  • Launching my career as an art teacher, something I’d previously avoided because I had the mistaken idea that I would have to do it the way others do. Instead, by focusing on what I wanted to teach, where, when and how, I had a fabulous time running a four-week introductory collage workshop out of my studio. I’m looking forward to expanding my teaching repertoire in the coming months. Many thanks to the 6 wonderful “students” who took a chance on me 🙂
  • Attending the Balance/Unbalance conference in Montreal, which brought together artists, scientists and policy makers to talk about the intersections in our work and practices and how they can benefit each other, particularly when trying to solve environmental issues. Hugely inspiring!

And then there were all the wonderful events I took part in (the art show fundraiser for the Wake Project at Rhizome, Artful Sundays, the Eastside Culture Crawl) and the many, many new people I met and had meaningful conversations and connections with. My gratitude is deep.

As with the start of any year, I have no real idea what lays ahead. Time and circumstance seem to always bring more and different things my way than I could ever plan. The best I can do is set forth with good intentions and a bunch of ideas. These I seem to have in abundance, from a series of new paintings created inside old cutlery boxes to a range of classes to teach on everything from collage to nature journaling to how to be more radical (at least on Thursdays). I can hardly wait for the new year to get into full swing.

What are you looking forward to most this year?



  1. You certainly had a busy and productive year Robi. Glad you are all feeling better. Have a fabulous year ahead, which I know you will.
    I wrote about my goals for next year as well.
    Hope to see you soon!

    • Thanks Darlene – and thanks for sharing your own new year’s resolutions. Much to think about 🙂 !

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