December 31st, 2010 / posted by paularath

My bird paintings offer me a happy release from stress.

At the risk of sounding like a cliche, the dawn of a new year causes me to reflect on the year just passing. I can honestly say I will not be sad to say “aloha oe” to 2010. It’s been a really tough year for all of us who worked at The Honolulu Advertiser. It began with uncertainty about the fate of the 154-year-old newspaper. On June 6 it marked the publishing of the venerable paper’s last issue…ever. Its demise left many of us out of work for the first time in our lives.

For those of us in the newsroom, it also comes with the realization that not only were our jobs lost, but journalism as we know it, a career we chose with such optimism and enthusiasm, may be dying. We chose this career path to make a difference. How can we do that now, in such a fractured and confusing media environment?

Many former Advertiser employees are finding ways to completely reinvent themselves. They are going back to school to pursue other subjects or taking jobs in fields far away from journalism. Others are seeking new avenues for their writing or photography. That’s what this blog has been for me. I desperately miss my readers and their heartfelt appreciation. I hope to reach them through this blog and to continue to grow it and improve it throughout 2011 so it will be welcome and useful to them.

Watch my blog throughout next year for occasional stories about where former Advertiser employees have landed. Let me know who you would like to hear about. I will do my best to find him or her and report on their lives post-Advertiser.

Another avenue some former Advertiser folks have pursued is art. I know I have dedicated much more time to my art since June. Several of the artists who participated in our “CathARTic” show last summer have continued, and expanded upon, their art pursuits. I came across this interesting observation about the importance of art in our current times from artist Robert Genn. He began his treatise with statements about the demise of newspapers in his town, the demise of books due to the rise of Kindle, and other comments on the new media. He ended with optimism for the future of art:

“Fine art is on the way in. In our gadgety, thing-happy society where Walmart and creeping meatballism threaten, painting is hot. Old fashioned as the shoeing of horses–about the same methodology for the last six hundred years–art fills a vital human need for life enhancement. Art reboots the cerebral cortex, teaches new skills to underutilized hands, arouses dormant sensitivities and promotes latent passions. If need be, art gives us something to talk about besides the kids, grandkids and celebrities, hence making us more interesting people. And it’s cheap–a month of art supplies for the average Daumier is about the same as a round of golf.”
So here’s to art in 2011. You’ll find me out on my deck throwing paint at canvas or paper and dyeing silk with rusty detritus, or in my makeshift studio, turning paint and fabrics into a new form of communication.
– Paula Rath
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