As the last day of 2014 fades away, it is time to say good-bye to what has been a time of incredible growth for me this past 12 months on a personal level but also artistically and in my career. So many exciting things have happened and after a lot of years of not quite knowing what I was doing or where I was going it has all of a sudden become more clear – the hard work has paid off, the procrastination has (for the most part) given way to a new focus and realisation that I can dream things and that given the right circumstances these dreams can become reality. This time last year I was thinking of how I could nurture all of the ideas that were brewing in my mind – how I could make changes and sort myself out (giving myself the proverbial kick up the a**) in order to support myself and my household in the way that I now need to do.
So this year has been one containing many firsts and here is a brief(ish) sum up – It is always great to look back and see what has been, in order to see where I wish to go next.
Unearth Gather Create
So this year I wrote, developed and taught my very first e-course Unearth Gather Create – a 6 week art course for all levels to kick-start the budding artist and refresh those already practicing or those wishing to dig deeper and extend their practice. This might have been one of the scariest things I have ever done! The learning curve was steeper than the steepest mountain you can think of. Without the gentle encouragement of those who have faith in me and support me with their kind words I don’t think I would have even tried. But I am so glad I did.
With no idea if anyone would even be interested, it has far exceeded my expectations and it has changed me as an artist and as a person (corny but true). I have discovered a love of teaching, of sharing, of communicating with those who love to learn and create also. The feedback has been incredible and gradually I am beginning to believe some of the lovely things that are being said about the course and me as a teacher. Three times the course has sold out now and I am just about to run it again in January before it possibly becomes an annual event as long as there are students who wish to study on it.
A Moment in Time
This past year I also organised and taught at my very first art retreat. What a joyful experience that was!!
I waffled on Facebook about possibly teaching someday in a tiny remote fishing village in the far North of Scotland – a place with no restaurants or cafes, limited Wi-Fi, only one tiny pub and one unreachable-without-a-car-shop and was amazed that folks trusted me enough to come and create in a fully equipped art studio high up on a hill with spectacular views and unpredictable weather.
With students travelling over the sea from America and up-land from England we sketched and painted up a storm – down at the harbour, cosied up in the studio during a storm that was the tail end of a hurricane and laughed our way through the evenings in the living room size pub. The work created in that week was incredible, the friendships made were life-changing and one of the best things is I get to do it all again in April with a new group of students.
We all Cast Shadows
2014 was the year of my very first solo gallery exhibition – We all Cast Shadows – a body of work that has been in my mind and on my heart for a very long time. Lots of research and sketching resulted in 18 pieces of work, all created this past year, my first few paintings in oils, a sharp growth in my acrylics techniques and a series of paintings with a story – more work than I could have even imagined but I am so proud of how it came together and the response and support that I have had from everyone who visited, or commented online.
It made me feel that I can go even further with my work in the future – that I have so many ideas that I can bring to canvas and that I want even more to create art that reflects my imaginations and dreams and interests.
My first book
So connected with the exhibition and body of work I self published my very first book – pages of images and writing from the exhibition and the inspiration behind it.
A huge financial commitment to do this off my own back but so wonderful to be able to put something out there into the world available to those who visited the exhibition and were inspired or moved by it or those who could not visit the exhibition but were still connecting emotionally with the imagery and subject matter in some way.
Of course the year has not been without it’s up and down moments (life is never perfect!) and much of the changes have been born out of necessity – but I think that is also what I have most needed – to know that I can pull the rabbit out of the hat when things are down to the wire. Apart from my husband, family and cats (in no particular order) art is my true love and to be able to make a living from it is something that I do not take for granted – not even for a second. I am so grateful for everything that has happened this past year – for everyone who has encouraged me and supported me whether that be by being a student on the e-course or at other workshops, whether through likes and comments on Facebook of here on my much neglected blog, whether by visiting the exhibition, buying a card a print or a painting or coming to a show I have attended and saying hello.
It is no exaggeration to say it has been a life changing year for me and I very much look forward to seeing what 2015 will bring.
Wishing you all the very best for the brand New Year and thank you for visiting this wee space here. I hope to take better care of it in 2015 : )
x x x