I’ve mentioned in this blog that I’ve decided to set a goal of creating one hundred paintings in 2020, mostly because it really started to seem like it was achievable. And guess what? I finally did a proper count of my work. I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t keep a good record of what I’ve been doing and that for reasons I didn’t get into, it was tough to figure out exactly how many paintings I’ve made. So since I spent a couple of hours this morning finally doing that count. I’ll explain myself.

The reason it’s been hard to figure out is partly because, while I have photographed the process of most of the paintings (with some of the smaller ones I’ve only taken a single photo after it’s finished), it’s been hard to count them visually just looking at my phone. That’s because sometimes I take photos of paintings weeks or months after they were painted. So while I’m counting them, I’ve ended up counting the odd one twice, because it’s hard to keep track in my head. So I had to write it down. I went through the photos on my camera week by week to see what I had done and I ended up finding out some things that surprised me. First of all, I didn’t do anything at all in week one. I guess my wife must have had the week off. I didn’t take any photos of anything, so I suppose we didn’t do anything exciting. I know we didn’t go anywhere. What the hell did we do? It’s a mystery, maybe Mrs. Ak has some photos? I’ll have to ask her.

Mrs. Ak, 10″ x 10″, oil on canvas, 2020.
My first attempt at painting Lando Calrissian

A few other surprises: the first painting I worked on was a no-so-successful painting of Lando Calrissian. I’ve mentioned before that about one in ten of my paintings don’t work out, but it’s interesting to me that in a year that I’ve done a lot of pretty damned good stuff (if I say so myself), it did not start off auspiciously. And the second one I did is one that I have not posted to social media yet. I don’t think it’s unsuccessful, but I might work on it a bit more. I haven’t figured that out. It’s on the wall in my studio and most days I look at and say “should I, or should I just leave it?.” By the way, it’s Rey from the Star Wars movies. The third most surprising thing for me was the fact that there were four weeks (three in February and one in March) where I only did one 11″ x 14″ painting. What the hell was I doing with my time? I have no idea, but apparently those ones just took a long time? I don’t normally just not work, so I’m baffled. It’s possible that I did some of the small artificial realism (made up faces) paintings, because a few of them just kind of show up in my photos completely finished and almost out of the blue. I’m not sure when I painted three or four of them, so that could be it.

Chris Simonite Self Portrait (Potato), 10″ x 10″, oil on canvas, 2020.

Okay, so the final question is: am I gonna make my goal of 100 good portraits by the end of 2020. Well I’m pretty confident that the answer is yes. It turns out that by week 26 I was at 51 paintings that I consider to be good, if not all great. And right now–drum roll–I’m at between 89 and 92, depending on whether I think the self portrait I did as a cat, for example, is good enough or not. Actually here it is, what do you think? Yay or nay? Once again, I wish I could enable comments, because I’d really like to hear your thoughts. Both of you that is, or the one of you. I have no idea how many people read this! Anyway, I also did a painting of a sloth that I think I might be able to rescue. And I’m also counting a painting that I haven’t started yet as of this writing, but I’m gonna do it. Anyway, long as I stay healthy, I’m pretty sure I’ll reach my goal and then some. Stay away you damn COVIDS! All nineteen of you!

Marilyn, 10″ x 10″, oil on canvas, 2020.

Addendum: Just as I was about to post this I realized I didn’t count Marylin. How did I miss it? Are there any others I missed? Ugh! Next year I count from the beginning!