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Skint, but happy.

(I'm adding this here, in case you don't make it to the end! and really, if I'm honest, the whole point of this blog post).

So, 2022

The year of big changes.

The years are still going by in a bit of a blur, I don't know if that's age or that I'm wishing them by in the hopes that the next year will be a better one.

Maybe next year eh?

But really, as I look back on this year, I achieved a whole lot more than I expected to and some things I didn't expect.

I thoroughly enjoyed the #100dayproject that I took part in again this year. The subject I chose was to create 100 Hare and Snail illustrations based on the music, songs or lyrics from music I listen to. You can see them here. These projects are always great fun but tiring, having to get up at 4am to paint and photograph, so by the time I got to work, I could post on Instagram, get home from work and prepare for the following days painting. The people I 'meet' through online challenges are always interesting and inspiring, especially when I ask for help towards the end, that final push to finish and I can't thank you all enough.

(Pale Moon Guide Us Ashore - I Hear Sirens)

The Ukranian/Russian war must have broken out by this time because I sold a load of these paintings to raise money for The Red Cross who were working out there, helping those on either side. We raised something in the region of £250. So. really, thank you.

I'm planning to do this again in 2023. I had a great idea whilst I was working on this year's project and now I'm not working a day job, I'll have the time to do it, sticking with music, because, as well as nature is one of my biggest inspirations. This time I intend to re-design album covers to a nature inspired Hare and Snail theme.

I can't remember at which point I got involved with East Gate Gallery and Creative Hwb in Pembroke, a not for profit company who's mission is to create an artist community, mentor those just starting out and they also hold free or subsidised workshops for local unpaid carers and people with disabilities, mental and physical. The guys there have been so supportive and helpful, especially with things like pricing, every artists nightmare!

It was also around this time I began listening to VerseChorusVersepod regularly, they were already on my radar, I heard them a few times, but not being a podcast listener, kept forgetting to listen. The podcast made Monday mornings bearable. I'd set my loom up for the day, wait for the orders to come in and sit in my corner of the workshop, giggling to myself, while the podcasters discussed music related topics, sometimes with the help of alcohol and the listeners.

"Did you see that? I flew" (Chicken Run - That has to be said in a northern English accent)

In fact I flew twice!

Once to see Alex Henry Foster in Munich (I'd already seen him in Bristol that year) and then to see my good friends in Cantoria, Spain. These were a huge deal to me, being a long time sufferer of anxiety, which was getting quite bad at this point. I was working but still with the overhang of Covid, that I had caught the previous year. I had no energy at all, I was also getting serious heart palpitations, but seemingly no reason for them, and apart from work, wasn't leaving the house. I had the best time on both occasions, tiring, but very worth it.

And it was at this point my partner convinced me to give up work. He'd been trying for years as he watched my health declining again, I stuck it out because I like human contact, to feel part of something and I liked the job itself. I'd trained at university level to use these marvelous machines! But the anxiety of driving to work in the Winter was building and I was having to turn away commissions because I didn't have the time or the energy.

There was the exhibition with my dad and daughter, just before she ran off to the big city with her partner, and I had a load of Christmas fairs to attend (another first).

Which more or less brings us to now. What's in store for next year? I have a few things up my sleeve.

Apart from a couple of book illustrations I am doing for other people (exciting!) I WILL finish my own "Adventures of Hare and Snail".

I will do the usual online challenges, #100dayproject and #inktober but adding #wtfeb which is run by a fabulously unique Steve Chapman, artist, writer and speaker. I've been promising to do this challenge since it began, but never got around to it, as this year will be the last time he's running it, I must. This challenge will take me completely off my usual thing, which is the point.

I'm also embarking on a year long project, I'm not going to give too many details away, but it involves home made ink and a lot of gardening. I'll post snippets and things as I go along, no doubt.

There is a plan to do another exhibition with my dad in the summer, though this time, I will exhibit my more expressive paintings, which you rarely see, and I'm hoping my dad will do his larger paintings, which are just wonderful!

I'm also hoping to do an MA in Illustration with Falmouth University. It's online and part time, so hopefully I can fit that in with getting my health back on track.

And somewhere in there....I'm getting married! Eeek!

See you on the other side. Stay Warm, Stay Safe. Keep Dancing.

Have a fabulous time, whatever you're doing!

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