The best laid plans, and all that

Caroline Richardson painting Floral Explosion in her studio

If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that there is very little point in meticulously planning the year ahead of you! I started the year with a fair idea of what I needed to do, for whom, and a couple of big ideas for the tantalizing day I would have time to play around with a bit of paint, stress free. So when the galleries closed their doors, and my portrait customers couldn’t meet face-to-face, I decided to carry on with the still life work I would have been painting anyway, in the hopes of selling it after lockdown.

My painting took on an unfamiliar level of detail, as I think I searched for some focus to take my mind off the alarming development of Covid-19. After a few weeks of this, I realised that I was missing an opportunity, and that this was the perfect time for me to do those long-awaited personal projects, and also to try something new.  

My first project was a full-length, life-size portrait of my youngest son. I had never painted such a large portrait and was a little scared of the canvas as it stood, bone white, glaring at me from the easel! However, it soon turned out to be an utter joy, and I found it easier than the smaller compositions I had been used to. I was enormously proud of the result.

Feeling a bit more confident, I next moved to a project I had been toying with for over a year. Huge paintings of close-up floral blooms. I posted my work in progress on social media, and received such a lot of positive feedback, that I concluded this was probably a good avenue to pursue. I have since been given the go-ahead by Collier & Dobson to produce a series of these for print, which I couldn’t be more delighted about.  

The whole experience of lockdown has been different for everyone. I have been enormously lucky in that my friends and family have been untouched by the virus, and I have a little garden I can escape to. I have certainly had more than enough time to really examine what I want to get out of my career in art, and an opportunity to try something new that may make a real change to my working practice.

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