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Looking back, looking forward.

2013 has been a great year.
I think at the outset I was determined it was going to be a good one. 2012 had been pretty shit, I badly broke my ankle, and then, having recovered from that, was diagnosed with cancer. There seems to be a general view that skin cancer is somehow a less dangerous form of cancer, more of a cosmetic irritation. Which I admit, was probably a view I also held. (Got a dodgy mole – just get it chopped off; problem solved.) Turns out, that’s not how it works, and skin cancer is as frightening a black hole to look into as any other cancer. I was lucky.

So, my aims for 2013 were to get fit and healthy, and to acquire an agent/gallery in London, plus at least one other in the UK.
I also wanted to grow my ‘brand’ through PR, social media, retail outlets, and by entering a selection of Art competitions. People always seem surprised when they ask me about my daily working life how much time is spent away from the studio, but being successful as an artist is largely about being successful as a business. No one is going to wander into your studio and buy enough art to warrant you to pay tax. So it was a happy moment taking this photo of my picture “Ivy Leaping” in prime position in the window of Oil & Water in Wandsworth, another goal ticked off the list!

Oil & Water Gallery, Old York Road, SW19

I also signed up with The Stockbridge Gallery in Hampshire, and managed to get into the BBC wildlife artist of the year finals. It has been clear through my work that I’ve managed to rediscover sense of joy, that I think had been noticeably absent.
I’ve tried to be bolder, more experimental and use greater colour than ever before, and have found that this has seeped out of the studio and into what I eat, what I wear and my outlook on life in general.

“Over the last”

I am excited about 2014, about the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead; my solo show with Oil and Water Gallery in June 2014, the competitions coming up, and of course, the many and varied people that I so love meeting in the course of work. I feel very blessed (well, except for the tax bill obvs!)
Happy New Year

Me, wearing my favorite new jumper!
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Shepherd linocut

Shepherd

I love this wistful old fashioned image of a shepherd, his dog, and some feisty sheep. This lino cut was based on some photos taken in Scotland, of Angus, the gamekeeper, shooing away some sheep, with his none too helpful Labrador.
I’ve painted Angus before, a few years ago now, he has a well lived in face.

After many frustrating hours, I bought a book on lino cutting, and had a bit of light bulb moment – less ‘eureka’ and more ‘DUH!’ So that’s how you do it. Multiple plate lino cuts to follow (ie: more than one colour, as the plate for each colour has to be carved on a separate plate.) This one of angus is a cheats version, as I’ve just filled in the colour digitally, but in my next spare moment I’m going to carve a couple of colour plates for it.

Gus & Torro

I finished this painting for my brother, as a gift for him and his new wife, Karen. The dogs, Gus and Torro, were fantastic to paint, such characters, and such a great contrast between them, Gus is wonderfully elegant, and mannered, and Torro, well, Torro is not. Can you tell which is which?!

The commission for June is taking shape, I have a rough composition in charcoal down on paper, and it is throwing up quite a few challenges.