Top 5 Paintings for 2023 – Selecting Painting of the Year
Each year in November, we take a look back at the paintings I have made over the course of the year. This year 28 new paintings found their way from my hand, to canvas, which makes choosing a painting of the year challenging. It was a year where my Ukrainian roots, the changing and warming climate with our long hot summer (wildfire season) and the continuing journey of the Polar Bear King, were on my mind. My year began with a group exhibition in Banff at Willock & Sax Gallery, as my paintings and writing from my residency at the Banff Centre were still commanding my attention.
The year began with paintings of people enjoying skating on outdoor ponds. The Polar Bear King on his continuing journey across Canada, came floating in and out of my view as I created a series of small and large paintings expressing what has now become a series, and a few stories for this blog about my adventures in the Canadian landscape. I came to find my way back to figurative paintings inspired by my deep connection to the Ukraine and family roots. A portrait of young Ukrainian Shumka dancers and a self-portrait to add to my growing series of annual examinations of self.
I found myself blogging about top Canadian painters, Ukrainian Artists, and art school teachers who have reached out to me this year. It has been wonderful to connect with the next generation, hear and see what they are inspired to make in their art classes. I delved into the Lawren Harris and Rockwell Kent connection and how both painters have captured my attention over the years. In Banff, I had the pleasure of making work for an art gallery outdoors on the Bow River path in the centre of town, the Art in Nature Trail.
You could find my paintings in print this year in two Toronto publications; the Hart House Review published by the University of Toronto and smART Magazine – both equally wonderful Arts publications made in Toronto, Canada. In August I finished my 21st Polar Bear King painting, in as series which continues to grow and evolve. Heading back to my writing room, I leaned into blogging about the importance of music in my art making and the healing power of Art.
There was also some talking this year, live on camera, something I don’t do very often. I spoke with Artists in Canada about my art practice, my goals, why a five year goal is a fluid thing as a professional artist and why I paint self-portraits. We touched on the privilege of not only living in Canada, but of being able to pursue a career you absolutely love. I also signed on with Mastrius as a Master Mentor and hope to assist emerging artists in their journeys. I delved into why Pop Art is Canada and how I am taking care of business as I work towards new opportunities for my Art.
In late 2023 I packed up my studio and took it with me to an artist residency in Newfoundland. The Pouch Cove Foundation, now 30 years in the residency business, invited me to join their group in October. For a month I had the opportunity to paint, photograph, and film many areas of Newfoundland, from a private studio with a loft attached to a building housing the remarkable James Baird Gallery. With my time in Newfoundland I created three new paintings, which then came home with me to Vancouver Island, dipping my feet in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, I am now a coast to coast to coast, Canadian artist. This opened a door to ARTSY and you will now find some of my paintings available through James Baird Gallery on this top website for art collectors and galleries worldwide.
As the Polar Bear King continues to roam, so do I. Out of 28, here are what I consider to be my five best paintings of 2023.
5. Peaking at Peyto
4. Glide Away
3. Spirit of Ukraine
2. I Lost my Sou’Wester in Pouch Cove
1. Monarch of the Artic Realms