Happy New Year to one and all! I don’t know about everyone else, but that festive season went by far too quickly for my liking.
I promised in my last post of 2017 to review the past year in the first post of 2018 but to be honest, I’m not totally sure that I feel up to it! I do however think it’s important to reflect and acknowledge some of last year’s highs (and lows) before setting out my stall for the year ahead. Just to get warmed up, here’s a montage from my Instagram account of my best nine paintings of 2017:
So, let’s begin, in no particular order of priority or significance, with some highs:
- Managing to paint something just about every week of the year
- 52 weeks, 52 posts. Posting something on this site every week of the year
- Being featured on WordPress Discover for the second time in less than a year
- Exhibiting and painting in public at two events
- Selling more paintings than ever before
- Making lots more connections with people through this site, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
- Enjoying many positive comments and conversations
and then the lows:
- Going through an awful creative slump
- Submitting work to two exhibitions and being rejected on both counts!
- Feeling overwhelmed with trying to keep up with various social media stuff when what I’m really interested in is painting!
- Arriving to set up my first exhibition only to find that I’d remembered everything except my paintings! (surely none of us actually enjoy being reminded by our own stupidity of what idiots we can be!)
Looking ahead to 2018 there’s a lot more of the same old same old that I’d like to build on and refine, however, if I were to pick an over-riding theme for the year, it would be to put myself out there a little more:
- Submit my work to some of the more high profile/established open submission exhibitions in a spirit of nothing ventured, nothing gained
- Participate in Brighton Festival’s Artists’ Open Houses and (weather permitting!) the Brunswick Square Art Fair again
- Approach a gallery or two for exhibition opportunities/advice
- Explore the merits of ArtFinder (I’d welcome feedback from anyone that has any experience of ArtFinder!)
- Paint more plein-air/on location
Some of these things are already underway while others have ominous deadlines looming so I’ll hopefully have some updates to post soon.
In the meantime, and getting back to priorities, here’s my first painting of 2018:
This is a view of a fountain on the harbour front at Dieppe. It’s been on a long list of potential subjects while I’ve been plucking up the wherewithal to tackle the spray of the fountain! Overall I’m quite pleased with how this turned out. I think I’m likely to have another pass at this as I’d like to introduce a little more subtlety to some of the areas (such as the right-hand side buildings and some of the foreground figures). I was actually pleased with how the fountain turned out – 99% of which is done with the white of the paper, some dry brushing and just a tad of white gouache at the very end to tidy the odd bit up a little. I’m still getting used to the change of paper from Saunders Waterford to Arches but I’m gradually beginning to get used to it and to really enjoy painting on it, rather than tackling everything with nervous trepidation!
I think one of the reasons that I was keen to tackle this is that there’s a fountain (albeit very different to this one) in my hometown of Brighton. I photographed it many years ago – so long ago that I can’t even find the photos – and always thought how wonderful it would be to paint such a scene. This was well before I picked up my brushes again. Now, after all these years, I think I might just about be ready for it – which I have to say feels like a great way to be starting a new year.