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“Space for Gratitude” 20x20x1.5, oil on canvas $320.00 Buy Now

I’m not talking about cups. I don’t care, and I’ve yet to meet a person online or otherwise who does. Usually controversial topics enter my newsfeed in the form of two very different types of “friends” taking the opposite positions. But all I saw on Starbuck’s holiday cups were people of various political and religious persuasions talking about how silly the controversy was to begin with. That never happens. Was there ever really any controversy at all? Who are the people up in arms? I’ve yet to see them.

But yet red is very much on my mind.

The assignment on my Artists who Art blog was to create a work of art that answers the question, for what are you thankful. It was a question that weighed on my mind these past two days as I’ve been working on this abstract.

There are many things from which I could have chosen, but the thing that was at that moment filling me with the most gratitude was Art itself.

I still feel like I’m making it up when filling out the occupation line on the forms at the dentist’s office. Artist? No way. But I’ve no other option for answering that question.

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This is the magic of cadmium and alizarin

I like red. In college, I mixed cadmium red medium with a little alizarin crimson and the most amazing thing happened– a red so bold and vibrant I wanted to put it on everything. My newfound art career has taught me to tone it down a bit– the thing you most love, you must reserve a sacred space for, a place where it can shine without overwhelming, often whispering rather than shouting.

Most of my abstracts are about creating understated, soft spaces where little bits of red can dwell. On this painting, I was even more aware of my process.

I’m thankful for red. For painting. For being able to do daily that which I most want to do. For those who’ve helped me to do so.

My early paintings were louder, less thoughtful, like the supposed social media controversies most of us secretly enjoy. My newer paintings, I hope, are a little softer, a little more thoughtful, and showcase a touch of gratitude for what I’ve learned and from where I’ve come. I think they appreciate red more. I think they showcase it better.