It's that time of year again, when my thoughts turn to putting together a calendar for next year. This year seems to have flown by. My age is creeping up on me, I suppose, and while it feels like it must only be about March-time, it's nearly the end of October and the clocks change tonight.
I had a sift through the photographs I've taken over the past year (and a few from the tail end of last year) and have been pleasantly surprised by what I have found. I tend to take a lot of photographs if I'm out and about somewhere - at the beach (any beach), out in the woods for a walk, down at Stonehaven for an afternoon, over on the west coast for a long weekend. It's easier to take pictures when you're on your own, I find. It takes more concentration than I used to imagine, to capture images that are worth looking at again later. And one tends to walk very slowly, looking at things along the way. Up through the trees, down at the shells in the sand at your feet, over at the rock formations of the cliffs or the rocky shore. The bit of the whole process I love most is the looking through the images afterwards. It's like opening presents - free ones, ones from myself to me. Gifts of memories, instants in time. The slope of a roof, the brilliant colour of flowers or leaves against an azure sky, the patterns made by lichens on old wood. With the help of friends and followers on Facebook, I've whittled the images down to twelve, for inclusion in next year's calendar. It was tempting to put two together, one of abstract images and one of purely flora, but I managed to resist. Time to get on and finalise the order - I'll let you know when they arrive! There is already a watercolour paintings calendar available for 2015, on the Store page.
I have finally managed to find time to stop, sit down and take stock. And update the blog, which I'm afraid I have neglected for a while. My laptop suffered a bout of bloating and was on the go-slow for a while. In fact it stubbornly refused to anything at all for a day or so. This resulted in me going out and about "touting my wares", to put it crudely. The result - some of my greetings cards are now with a new, local stockist (Jack Tierney Gallery) and stocks of cards have been replenished with another one (Buchanan's Bistro in Banchory). Connections have been renewed as well. Some more prints were delivered to the lovely Pebble gift shop in Aberdeen that has some of my paintings on its walls. And last but not least, I visited a gallery which has only been open a few months, the owner of which would like to see some of my work with a view to hanging it/stocking cards etc. I'll keep the name of that one under wraps for now!
In the meantime, it's always good to visit exhibitions and learn about different artists and their techniques and styles. My tutor at art class mentioned the artist Tom Shanks to me the other week. I have seen his work in the past, and liked it. So, I investigated a bit more online and printed out a few images for reference/research purposes. I loved the boldness of them, the string use of colour and line to give shape to the Highland landscapes he depicts. Last week at art class, I had a go at painting in similar style, using sketches I made this summer for reference. Above are the results. I think I need to acquire a really large brush (think emulsion paint or wallpaper glue size) in order to be able to achieve really big dramatic skies. Both these works are larger than what I have done before. Plenty more work to be done, but I am enjoying this new, bolder direction.