To my mind, a New Year is a shiny fresh start to be charged into with optimism, renewed energy, and a brand-spanking-new diary. Unfortunately it’s often the case that the sparkling threshold of the New Year is something to be crawled across, whilst tipping alka-seltzer down a sluggish, partied-out body and feeling spiritually bankrupt after too much compulsory bonhomie!
Or is it just me?
But not this year. This year, the quiet optimism that started to settle around me - I think I first noticed it in November - has come through untarnished. How peculiar that in the midst of the doldrums of Brexit, in one of the toughest times to be a small business selling stuff people need, let alone being an artist, I should feel so chipper.
2018 was a year of firsts for me, professionally, which has left me in slightly uncharted territory. In terms of shows, I stepped up from good solid craft events to some of the UK’s most prestigious art fairs, selling alongside some art world heavy-hitters, with success. Subsequently, I’ll be travelling to far fewer shows this year. I was approached and signed by one of the country’s finest art publishers, so with luck I shall be spending less time having to work out where best to sell my art. This is all fantastic news, except I’m the sort of person who’ll have fifty goals written down for the coming year by January 1st, so a few months of the ‘wait and see’ strategy is going to be uncomfortable to say the least!
But the real bonus of 2018’s success, if it follows through, is earning myself more time to concentrate on my art in 2019, and therefore grow in my painting. The reason for my unshakeable optimism is that I’ve seen what I need to see in my art over the year ...
Progress! Delicious, steady progress.
How do I measure progress? This January, my art looks fractionally more like it does in my head than last January. There are still good painting days and bad painting days. Still good composition paintings and frankly awful ones. But the general trend is forwards: Planning how to achieve what I want a little more decisive. Brushwork more assured. Colour theory more instinctive. Less unnecessary detail and more expression.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing these things.
2019 - anything could happen!