Along with the world and his mother, I’ve been thinking about what I want to get out of the coming year. Last year, I made a resolution that I actually stuck to. I wouldn’t let anything out of the studio that I wasn’t 100% thrilled with, and if anything didn’t meet the mark, it would be covered in a fresh new coat of gesso to prepare for a new, better painting. I had been far too precious about hanging on to canvasses that I hated, and I would find myself making excuses when people popped in to see me at work. Hardly a great selling point.
I also decided to slow down the pace a bit. By the end of 2018, I was a frazzled, pasty cave-dweller who had run out of ideas. In contrast, I downed tools at the end of 2019 with energy to spare, looking forward to a break but also excited about what I’d be doing when I went back to work in January. I had a body of work that I was pleased with and plans up my sleeve for the next few projects.
So, I’ve found a formula that works for me. What next then? Education. Last year I did a portrait painting course with the fabulous Sofia Welch, and I will do so again this year. I spend such a lot of my time painting on my own, that I absolutely delight in the company of other artists and a tutor with answers to practically every painting quandary. A week with Sofia gave me an arsenal of tactics to apply to a painting, to elevate it just so. I am excited about what I will learn next, and hope to stretch myself further in terms of my technical skill.
Also, very boring, but I plan to… plan. I am guilty of winging it on occasion. This is OK sometimes, but exhausting when done in desperation. With my figurative work this year, I am not setting foot in the studio until I have a detailed sketch of exactly what I’m going to paint, with print outs to hand of any details such as lace, wallpaper, or pattern. So far, things are looking good. Of course, you can be the judge when I eventually post my work here!
I wish you all the very best for 2020, in whatever it is you do that brings you joy.