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18. 2023: The Year I Love to Hate

Updated: Mar 31



I’m late to the party, intentionally & as usual. Well, that’s not quite true. I am usually on time to things but, as we wrap up another year and I pause to reflect, I get hemmed up and decide to circle back at a later date. And I’ve done that for weeks so, in the last 5 minutes, I’ve decided that I’m going to write this, revise only lightly, and call it done. 


This past year has had a lot of positives which I’ve written about in my month-to-month updates, but it’s had some challenges too. I’ve been dealing with health fallouts related to a midbrain cyst for the last few years and 2023 could be titled “the year that it grew.” I mean, it was growing before but this was the year where it really started to impact my day-to-day living. In October, we did some “doc talk” and, by November, I decided that I’d do the corrective surgery but that I wanted to do it after the holidays and after a visit to my son in Arizona. It’s not quite a “dragging me kicking & screaming” kind of scenario because I am opting to do it, but as far as WANTING to do it? No. Flat out & emphatically: no. But magic results will not arrive from magical thinking so I need to ‘operate’ in the real world. (pun intended) Here we go: Brain Surgery #2




This year of visual struggles has brought new views of the world (mostly with eyes closed from behind my sleep mask) which has prompted change in my artwork. That part, I like. When I close my eyes with a migraine, I see space with “floaters” that seem random and unrelated but, because they’re moving and interacting, they’re connected. Philosophically, this idea feels important to me– the idea that we can each be solo and on our own trajectory and yet we can maintain connections, even if they are distant & pulled thin at times. When I’m painting, the more open space I can include, the better I feel about the work. And when I look back at what I’ve been creating the last few years, that is a big change.


I was honored this 2023 year to start the year with my work on solo display in Kamie Haynes’s shop, LulaBelle Designs. In November, I filled the gallery space in The Village with 20+ pieces. As we roll into 2024, I have been invited to display at the Ankeny Kirkendall Library for February/March and then, looking out to June/July, I’ll have my work at the Urbandale Public Library. Every chance to share my creative work is an honor and, seeing it hang together in public, quite the thrill! In each of these spaces, people who may not be “artsy” are seeing artwork– and I like that. The teacher in me knows that exposing ourselves to new things is how we grow as people and I love imagining that my art may do that for someone. 


So, see what I mean? A lot of good, some bad, and a brain surgery on the way. I suppose it makes sense that I’d resist trying to make sense of it all. But this writing captures a snapshot in time, and this is where I am today. 









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