The best laid plans, and all that
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.