Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 | Year in Review

Every year I do a little recap on New Year's Eve - a sort of celebration of all that has transpired. I love the energetic push that comes after Christmas. Everyone is looking forward and turning a new leaf. As I look at the highlights below, I am struck by how supported I felt this year. None of these events or accomplishments happened in a vacuum. Each was buoyed by someone who loved me and/or believed in me. I'm so grateful for my community.

On a national and global scale, its been a tough year. The rise of Trump has been terrifying. The continued violence in Syria mixed with our own domestic terror - I'm thinking of the Pulse nightclub shooting, and the murders of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and so many other black citizens. Here in Dallas, we had officers gunned down during a peaceful protest. And while I can hear my Grandfather's voice saying, "It's no tougher than any other year", we have to understand that we are living in a time of enormous shift. Whatever veneer we were maintaining as a society is being stripped away. The divides are deep and we are all processing it in a visceral way.

In years past, this New Year's review usually features home improvement projects. But as I look back on 2016, I see lots of internal shifts, travel, and personal leaps of faith. But before we get to the review, I want to acknowledge YOU. Thank you, friends, for your committed readership. Even as my blog morphs and I go through fallow blogging periods, you're still here. Thank you, thank you. I hope you have a beautiful New Year's Eve and that 2017 brings peace, rest, and a renewed sense of community and healing.

Okay... enough chatter. Here is the 2016 La Maison Boheme Year In Review!

I began the year by completing an 11-piece art series based on a recent trip to Cape Cod, where I was visiting family. These pieces were commissioned by local interior designer and hung in a Dallas dental office. You can see the whole collection read more about the series and the inspiration for these pieces HERE

The beginning of the year is a great time to brush up my business tools, which is why I re-tooled my website this year to include multiple galleries and an online shop where clients can purchase available work. I was also laying the groundwork for adding art workshops and classes. Come visit me at

In February, as Trump emerged as the Republican candidate for President and gun violence was seeing a national uptick, I was feeling particularly low. I wanted to engage locally and see what might be done in my own community to combat the xenophobic rhetoric. I joined a multi-faith social action group and also attended a racial justice workshop with activist and author, Chris Crass. This was a life-changing month for me.

2015 was marked by grief for me and my family. In response to my own feelings of overwhelm, my mother-in-law gifted me with a motherhood sabbatical to California for a few weeks in March. My trip to California was so restorative. I traveled up Highway 1 to Big Sur and the Henry Miller Memorial Library. I also spent time with family and made my way to L.A. to visit Center Theater Group where I met with The Kilroys, a gang of female playwrights and script-writers working for gender equity in the arts. On my way home from California, I stopped for a two-day excursion to Ghost Ranch in New Mexico.

Upon returning home from California, I dove head-long into the ground breaking for our local school garden. This is a project I had been working on for two years. I would say this was my greatest accomplishment of the year. Our community came together to support this effort in such a strong and beautiful way. The ground breaking was on Earth Day and you can read all about the whole process HERE.

In April of 2016, in the wake of the release of the cringe-worthy reality TV series, Real Housewives of DallasI was featured in D Magazine as one of "7 Incredible Women Who Deserve More Attention than The Real Housewives". It was a huge honor to be included in this group of powerhouse women. Read the full article HERE.

My own garden flourished this year. My family had countless meals harvested directly from my little backyard eden. It was my fourth season as a backyard vegetable gardener in Texas and I think I am finally getting the hang of it!

For my mother's 65th birthday, she took me to the outer banks of North Carolina for an art retreat. Squam by the Sea was pretty magical and I was able to spend some down-time with my mama and some dear friends. I also was able to attend a painting workshop (pictured below) with Danna Ray.

In May of 2016, I was in a play by Ruby Rae as part of the Women Galore Festival in Dallas, which focused on gender imbalance in the Dallas arts scene. It was a blast working in collaboration with House Party Theatre for this production.

My chicken coop saw a lot of action this summer. It was on a Dallas urban coop tour and was also used as the backdrop for a fashion photo shoot with photographer Dixie Dixon and model Roxanna Redfoot. My favorite hen, Gladys, wasn't signed to a modeling contract, but she did great anyway!

In June of 2016, I took an enormous leap of faith and moved my studio out of the house and into the Continental Gin Building in Deep Ellum, Dallas. The studio was pretty rough when I first moved in, but I had it up and running in short order. Thank you to my studio mate, Jay Bailey, for making this all possible!!

In June, I ran a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for Statera Foundation, a non-profit for which I serve as Chief Creative Officer. We raised over $11,000 to assist in hosting our 2016 Conference at the Denver Center.

This summer, I started hosting art workshops in my new studio! I'm thrilled to be teaching and so pleased at how well-attended these classes have been. Sharing this fabulous studio is an important part of the work for me. To find out about upcoming classes, please visit my website!

This year I added a new skill to my tool belt - figure drawing. One of the huge boons of sharing a space with Jay Bailey is that I am able to attend his Drawing Club sessions, where we sketch and paint with a live model. This new practice is informing my work in some surprising and beautiful ways. I'm so grateful!

This October I ran an auction for the local PTA, where I serve as president. Then a week later, I headed to Denver for the Statera National Conference on gender equity in the theatre, for which I served as co-chair. The Statera team worked on this conference all year and it was an enormous success. The photo below was taken during my opening remarks for the conference at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Learn more about Statera Foundation HERE.

This  fall, my family and I said goodbye to our home of seven years. We bought the house in September of 2009 and have LOVED living there. It all started when my husband and I decided that we needed more time and resources to devote to our special needs son, Charlie. I could feel, on a deep level, that change was coming. And it was becoming an urgent priority for us to simplify our life. (I mean, I love hosting social justice conferences and fighting for gender equity and building school gardens, but it taken every ounce of energy I have.) So, the first step was to divest ourselves of the thing that was absorbing the most time and money - our house. We sold it to a company called Open Door and they have it on the market right now. Wanna buy our house? You can see it HERE.

At the end of October, we moved into our new apartment. We love it. We sold two-thirds of everything we owned in a blow-out estate sale and walked away from the old house. Now, we are in a sweet little two-bedroom and couldn't be happier.

And just before the holidays, Jay and I hosted our first Open Studio event in the new space. Our next one will be March 25th and 26th!

Thank you all for a great year here at La Maison Boheme!
More to come... 

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

It's hard to believe you crammed all that living/activity/productivity/introspection into ONE year! I hope you'll continue to find/take/MAKE the time to do the soul work required to sustain such a pace. And don't neglect the most important thing (Mark 8:36, Bible) ♥