When one is a blogger, it’s fairly standard behavior to look back on the past year, be disappointed in how little you’ve posted, and make a New Year’s Resolution to do better. Wanting to avoid being original in any way, I’ve decided to embrace this thinking, and to start 2015 right by looking back at 2014. Since this blog started back in 2010, 2014 was actually, to my surprise, my second most productive year. I averaged about one post a week, which is not terrible. These are the posts that statistics say reached the most people.
1. Southeast Asia Travel Journal
This is actually fourteen separate posts on my February 2014 trip to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. This was also my biggest project of the year, so I wanted to call special attention to it. While I don’t have anything especially revelatory to say in this journal, I’m pleased with how it all turned out. And some of the pictures are nice.
2. Looking at Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert
As far as single posts are concerned, this was the most popular of the year. Perhaps not coincidentally, the most popular post in the history of my blog, by a wide margin, is a similar explication of a painting with a religious theme, Giotto’s The Lamentation.
3. Roger Lipsey: The Spiritual in Twentieth-Century Art
This is an excellent book on a subject of great interest to me. Along with this review, I followed up with another post with a few thoughts on the same theme, Notes on Spirituality in Modern Art.
4. Chinese Calligraphy, an introduction
This post and its companion, #6 below, were by far my most ambitious project of the year. After seeing the exhibition Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, I was desperate to learn more about a subject to which I had previously paid almost no attention. These two posts took months to put together, and while they don’t pretend to break anything like new ground on an exhaustively-studied subject, I believe that the information is accurate, and interesting (to me at least).
5. Ten Books That Have Stayed With Me
A meme that was making the rounds at the time. Ask me about this in a few months, and I may have a new list for you.
6. Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy
A review of the catalog for the Asian Art Museum exhibition of the same name. See #4 above.
7. The Hungry Ghosts
I believe that I first read about the Hungry Ghosts in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and wanted to know more about this theme that ranges more widely, geographically and historically, than I might have guessed.
8. Umberto Eco: The Book of Legendary Lands
A review of a lovely book on a fascinating subject. The art that comprises a good portion of the book is beautiful and very well-chosen.
9. Quint Buchholz: The Library
A work by a very interesting artist that I came across on someone’s Tumblr.
10. My Home Library, the meme
Another meme that was current a while back. Some of the questions weren’t especially relevant to my experience, but many were, and it was interesting to contemplate some of the issues raised.