Looking Back at 2008

Looking Back at 2008This is that time of year when I think it’s natural for us to look back and see what we accomplished (so we’ll know what to focus on next year, and what to pat ourselves on the back for). This has been a really good year for me, artwise, and I think–even with this sucky economy–it’s only going to get better. Call it faith, call it hope, call it what you will. It’s a great feeling that has eluded me for far too long, so I hope to hang on to this feeling.

PAINTINGS This year I painted about 50 paintings — which for me is a lot, as I also freelance as a designer/illustrator, and my clients have kept me very busy for the past few years!

SUCCESSION SERIES – 20 PAINTINGS I began the year with the small 12″x12″ succession paintings, in oil (back to my old favorite), in which each new painting evolves from the edge of the previous painting. These 20 paintings constitute one large–60″x48″–piece, which you can see here. You can read about the 7-month process beginning here (all links in this post open in the same new window or tab).

MORE ABSTRACT OIL PAINTINGS – 5 PAINTINGS A few pieces I painted for the succession series didn’t make the cut, but may go into another multi-panel series; they are the four green paintings in the center of this page. I also did another 24″x24″ oil painting, which was a bit of an experiment, though I’m thinking of working on it some more — there are a few areas I feel I’ve never resolved to my satisfaction. Also began about 3-4 other related works.

ACRYLIC PAINTINGS FOR 5×7 SHOW – 2 PAINTINGS In May, I did a couple of 5″x7″ acrylic paintings to donate to the 5×7 Show at the Arthouse. You can see them here and here.

ENCAUSTIC ABSTRACTS – 10 PAINTINGS Just before I finished the succession series in July, I whipped out the first ten blue encaustic paintings on this page.

ACRYLIC ABSTRACTS – 11 PAINTINGS At this point, I still wanted to paint fast, as one does with encaustic, but with more control, as with oil paint. So I started working on a 36″x36″ canvas in acrylic. Yowza! It felt great! I was very energized by the speedy process, and pretty happy with the result. So I did eight more over the next few weeks, and two more within the next couple months. Woo-hoo! They are (as of this writing) the first 11 paintings on this page. And there are actually several more that I’ve started, but haven’t completed yet.

PAINTINGS ON THE TRAIN (IN VAIN) – 5 PAINTINGS Well, I tried to do five little (6″x6″ and 5″x7″) paintings on the train to LA, which I am reworking now that I’m back on steady land. The first completed one can be seen here.

2008 Exhibits


  • I began this year working with four other Austin artists to prepare for a group show we had planned for October in Fort Worth. If you’ve done a show, you know how this goes. We met monthly, we had to figure the dimensions of the gallery space, how many paintings of what size would fit and look good in the space, how our diverse works could be made to look good together, and come up with not just our paintings for the show, but also postcards, press releases, statements, resumes, price lists, guestbook, images, etc. It is a great idea to start a year ahead of time when you’re planning a large show like this. We did well in our planning and execution; the show looked great, and the only downside was that the date of our opening coincided with the largest to date drop in the stock market. So here’s my list of exhibitions for the year:
  • 5×7 2008 AT THE ARTHOUSE The 5×7 show at the Arthouse had a happening opening in May (view pics here).
  • TEXAS KAOS/NETROOTS NATION AFTER PARTY AND ART EXHIBIT I was invited to participate in the Texas Kaos/Netroots Nation After Party and Art Exhibit at Bay6 Gallery and Studios–political art for a political conference. My pieces went over very well with the Netroots Nation crowd. You can view pics of the opening here.
  • TEXAS WAX EXHIBIT AT JERRY’S ARTARAMA In August, I showed many of my ten new encaustics works in a show of Texas Wax Artists at Jerry’s Artarama.
  • REAL AND IMAGINED GROUP SHOW AT FWCAC For the month of October, the Real and Imagined show mentioned above was on display at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center in Ft. Worth. Pics here.
  • AVAA 2D WORKS AT ABIA Also in October, one of my new acrylic paintings was selected to be in the AVAA 2D Works Exhibit at ABIA (Austin-Bergstrom International Airport). It will continue to be on display until the end of January, 2009.
  • FUSED EXPRESSIONS AT BAY6 GALLERY AND STUDIOS View the pics of the November opening of works by Texas Wax artists here.
  • 7th ANNUAL EAST AUSTIN STUDIO TOUR My last show of the year, the East Austin Studio Tour, during which I open my home and studio for art lovers to view my art…me and 200 other artists on the East side of town, that is. You can see pics of my open house here.


Looks like a lot; feels like too little.

  • Austin Art Start and Metrohouse: Artist Talk by Andrew Long, Steven Dubov, Roi James
  • “20 To Watch” at Austin Museum of Art
  • “Double Identity: Works by Andrew Long and Michael Long” at the Dougherty Arts Center
  • “Fresh Hell” by Susannah Blanton at Bay6 Gallery and Studios
  • “Big Head” Liz Penniman and Sharon Kyle Kuhn at Bay6 Gallery and Studios
  • “Phoenix: Rising from the Ashes” at Studio2 Gallery
  • “Marcel Duchamp Redux” at the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
  • “On the Enlightened Path: Jain Art from India” at the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
  • “Ruth Weisberg: Guido Cagnacci and the Resonant Image” at the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
  • “Under the Influence: Art-Inspired Art” at the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
  • “The Art of War: American Posters from World War I and World War II” at the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
  • “Cut: Makings of Removal” at the Vincent Price Museum, East Los Angeles College
  • “Oranges and Sardines” at the Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
  • “Gouge: The Modern Woodcut 1870 to Now” at the Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
  • Aaron Curry at the Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles


  • Sold more original paintings than during any previous year(!)
  • Helped organize group show “Real and Imagined”
  • Designed and printed postcard for “Real and Imagined”
  • Designed and printed several new business cards
  • Joined Texas Wax Austin group of very cool encaustic artists
  • Organized my art “brag book”
  • Rewrote my artist statement and bio…twice
  • Updated my website on a regular basis; redesigned it a little. Streamlined it a bit.
  • Added a News Archive to my website here
  • Created an Etsy shop for some of my paintings.
  • Compiled my two artblogs into one, and renamed them (this one).
  • Added a billion networking gizmos to my blog; still evaluating which ones to keep.
  • Joined Facebook and Twitter.

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The art we produce lives in queasy balance with the art we can imagine.

— Michael Cunningham
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Comments on My Paintings
  • Your painting reminds me of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings. Although your painting reminds me of her work, it does bring about a different kind of experience. Her flowers to me are beautiful. But they also seem reserved, formal, almost abstract, not romantic in anyway, not even alive but more like something plucked and then frozen in time. Your work has some of the same shapes, and yet the relationship of the shapes to each other is different and not at all formal like O’Keeffe’s. There is more movement in your painting, more energy, more aliveness. (I’m not taking your title into consideration.) To me, I’m looking deep into the heart of a living flower.
Gallery of Recent Paintings
Easter Confection - Oil on canvas - 4 x 4 - © 2015 Marilyn Fenn Discreet Investigation of Exuberance - Oil painting by Marilyn Fenn Untitled (2015-005) - Oil painting by Marilyn Fenn Untitled 2015-026 - Oil on Canvas - 10 x 10 - © 2015 Marilyn Fenn