Advent 2014

by Alden Cole on December 1, 2014 · 0 comments

HolidayGreetings2014WPIf the piece in the email looks familiar, it’s because that was the artwork with which I initiated my first Advent-season series of emails December 1, 2012, which ran through January 6, 2013 – 37 emails in a row. The series was my way of tooting my own horn, saying “Hey Friends I’ve been having a great creative year, thank you very much, and i want to share some of my excitement over what i’ve been up to”. The format was simple: each day I sent a single picture of a painting finished that year. 2012 had been one of my most active years at the easel, so there was a considerable amount of work to choose from for the series that I envisioned and started planning just after Thanksgiving. Also included in the email were verbal reminiscences: varying amounts of text focused on the technical creation of the painting, the emotions that initially sparked the work, sometimes just song lyrics, even links to internet websites that seemed to relate. If i was at a loss for words that night while writing, I was brief. Writing a ‘letter’ to an audience each day was an interesting process for a non-diarist.

In December 2013 I decided to repeat the series again, but the format changed: I continued to send a picture each day via email, but the text was separate, available through a link to a website with a blog. What a fabulous combination of media – email to send pictures that are worth thousands of words, and a blog in which to talk all about it, when the work deserved explanation. After the second series ended last January, I invited people to sign up for a weekly update. A number of friends and family, scattered from Maine to Florida, Pennsylvania to Alaska, responded with “Hola, sign me up!” So what happened? I didn’t plan it this way – seriously – but within two weeks of my starting a supposed ‘weekly’ update, I was back to sending an email every day, with links to a back-story, sometimes lengthy, sometime brief. With the onset of computer problems I resorted to emailing photographs of my view of Center City from the third floor of my home, which spoke for themselves, not needing explanation. In mid February after computer problems were resolved, I decided that the combination of media were perfect for writing an autobiography. Thus I commenced writing one, a Slow Motion Memoir: an Illustrated History of my Life through the Art I’ve Made, one posting at a time. In the intervening months – with the exception of times when I go on vacation, taking a total break from the internet and computers – I’ve risen to the challenge of finding a piece of art or a photograph to share each day with my friends, sometimes talking at length about it. Hope you’ll enjoy the month ahead as I focus primarily on photographs of Maine and the family I was growing up with 60 years ago… This year’s holiday series is my especial holiday greeting and gift to my two older brothers Clark and Wallace, and three older first cousins Bob, Gordon and Marge: we all grew up together in a family compound in the country in Maine; now we are the senior generation in a family spread far and wide.

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