Now that the whirl of the holiday season is over, I decided it was time to stop for a minute and reflect on achievements of 2022, before I become completely engulfed in the activities of 2023!
My husband, Bruce, and I spent the first part of the year in Lansing, Michigan, helping Bruce’s Mom, Crystal, who sadly passed away in early May. At 89 years of age, Crystal lived a happy and fulfilling life and most importantly she went on her own terms, without suffering and even won at the casino that very last day. She will always be an inspiration to me in terms of living life to the fullest.
By August we were on our way to our next adventure and by September we had settled into our newly acquired fully renovated historic home in St. Louis MO – a wildly underrated city that we have decided to make our home.
In additional to creating new art in 2022, Bruce and I continued our road trip tradition, discovering new cities, towns and communities with many new and wonderful friends made along the way.
Please enjoy my whistle-stop re-cap of 2022!
JANUARY & FEBRUARY: EXPANDED MY ICONIC AMERICAN SERIES
Here are some of the latest paintings in this series. They are all well-known places that have played important roles in the history of the USA.
MARCH: DEVELOPED A NEW MULTI-MEDIA STYLE OF PAINTINGS
I love the vibrance of thriving communities — especially artsy and historic ones. This is one of three paintings I created, capturing the character of Old Town Lansing, Michigan. The subject is Turner Park which in warmer months is teaming with people including street performers and artists displaying their work. I had a lot of fun with this new multi-media technique which includes watercolor, acrylic paint, pen and colored pencil.
APRIL: LIVE ART SHOW FROM LANSING, MI
Being that Covid restrictions were still in place, I had a “live show” via Facebook and Instagram and used the living room show to present my new work. The painting on the easel in this photo is one of four “In Memoriam” art pieces I created to commemorate beautiful buildings that are no longer with us. This particular Queen Anne home is the C.M. Forbes House in Portland, OR. Built in 1829, unbelievably it was torn down only 30 years later!
JULY: STARTED SERIES DEPICTING OLD FACTORIES IN AMERICA
We all know that they don’t build commercial buildings like they used to and it concerns me that these old beauties are being torn down when many could be repurposed. The first in my factory series were two subjects in the Lansing, MI area. I went on to create two more, the last one being the old Lemp Brewery that is right up the road from me in the Benton Park neighborhood of St. Louis. I am excited to continue my old factory series this year.
AUGUST: MY HISTORIC PRESENTATION AWARD GOES TO. . .
I was proud to present by Historic Preservation Award to the Friends of Turner-Dodge at the Turner-Dodge House & Heritage Center in Lansing, MI on August 5th, 2022. The Classical Revival Turner-Dodge building is a National Historic Registered Place that was built in 1858 by James and Marion Turner, who helped establish Lansing, the Capital City. The home was recently restored to the turn-of-the-19th-century period and is maintained by the City of Lansing Parks and Recreation Department as a Cultural Heritage Center.
I instituted the Leisa Collins Historic Preservation Award in 2013 to recognize deserving individuals around the country who have set a stellar example of historic preservation. The Award consists of a framed original pen and watercolor painting of the home or building that has been saved or restored.
AUGUST: ACTIVITIES TO HELP ARTISTS SUCCEED
I continued these actions in 2022, and while in Lansing MI to present my Historic Presentation Award, I had the honor of facilitating a workshop for a dozen extremely talented local artists. The event was organized by the founder of Lansing-based Opportunity Arts LLC, Mike Mariott. The workshop took place at the Lansing heritage landmark, Turner-Dodge House, and the theme was how to create a niche market for ones art.
SEPTEMBER: OUR BIGGEST MOVE OF 2022 – NEW HOME IN ST. LOUIS, MO
This is the house we purchased in the historic neighborhood of Benton Park. Built in 1911, this Victorian that was once a two-flat home, was taken down to the studs and converted into a fully renovated open-plan style home.
I have always dreamed of having sun-room art studio — that is light and airy and feels like I am painting outdoors. As luck would have it, the previous owners of our home built on a sunroom extension which now serves as my dream studio!
SEE THIS SHORT VIDEO STORY ABOUT OUR NEW HOME AND MY STUDIO
DECEMBER: USA ROAD TRIPS & FIELD TRIP TO ASHVILLE, NC
Throughout the year we did our usual tripping around the country, and covered an estimated 20,000 miles.
There are too many places to cover but one special trip was to Asheville, NC. We treated ourselves and stayed at the famous historic Grove Park Inn.
We took the time to browse through the River Art District which consists of an array of artist studios featuring stunning glass work, pottery and visual art.
The highlight of our Asheville trip was a full tour of the Biltmore Estate.
NOVEMBER: COMPLETED HOUSE PORTRAIT SERIES IN SEVEN CITIES
These are the cities I worked on throughout 2022 and completed house portrait series in the following cities in Ohio, Wisconsin and Illinois.
DECEMBER: COMPLETED FIRST FIVE PAINTINGS IN ST. LOUIS SERIES
There will be many more St. Louis paintings as 2023 unfolds and I am excited to create a legacy of art that depicts this vibrant, interesting city.
That wraps up 2022 for me. I hope the last year has been a fun rewarding one for you and your family, and most importantly, I hope you have great plans for the year ahead. Let’s face it, if you don’t plan good things, there is very little chance of them happening. My year will consist of art shows, workshops for artists, a Historic Preservation Award event in February as well as a trip to New Zealand for a family reunion in May to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday.
One of the games my husband and I like to play as we travel around the country is to find amazing coffee places in the middle of nowhere. Just two days ago we found that very place. An open-air coffee and burrito stop tucked away within some unpaved back-roads in the tiny coastal community of Steinhatchee, Florida. Sitting on the open fire pit was this hand-painted rock with the perfect 2023 message. The owner told me to take it with me. I willingly agreed. Let’s all work to make this rock-message a reality!
Here’s to a happy, healthy and fun-filled 2023 for us all!
And don’t forget, I would love to hear from you. How was your 2022 and what is in store for 2023?