A Good Year – 2016

I know that 2016 has been a crazy year for so many reasons but I’ve spent some time going back over the year to reflect on where I started creatively in January and where I’ve arrived at in December.

So here are my highlights.

January to March 2016

What can I say – lots of painting. I really did begin with a bang and managed to keep this up for quite some time.  My favourite painting is this one of my son’s first pair of shoes which I have kept all these years.

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I had the pleasure of participating in the #TwitterArtExhibition which supported Foster Pride NYC New York, USA.  TAE had the biggest number of entries they had ever seen with close to 1000 cards from artists covering 35 countries around the world.  I’m pleased to report that my postcard sold on the first night raising funds for Foster Pride’s “Handmade” Programme, where young women in foster care learn to create and market a unique line of handmade goods.

If you fancy supporting this, click here to see this years event which is being held in the UK.

 

 

April to June 2016

Exhibiting at an Art Fair was a first for me and I took part in the Frome Art Fair in Somerset.  I enjoyed spending the weekend talking to people about art and I’m sure it’s something I’ll repeat again.

I joined Artists 303 in April and now enjoy being part of a formal artist community.  We’ll be exhibiting at the Round Tower in Frome, Somerset in May.

Remember the collaboration project I did with my printmaking friends.  Well, we turned this print into a tea towel and it has sold like hot cakes!  Such a good thing to do with others.

The end of June saw a return to Staithes and the production of my favourite painting of the year.  I’m not sure I’ve even given it a name, but I’m sure I’ll get around to it.

img_5111I started painting this one en plein air (outside) but I got so cold, I packed it in and came indoors.  I finished this at home using my sketches and a photo.  I was really pleased to say that all this painting outdoors is developing my visual memory and I was able to recall quite a bit of detail about the scene.

It sits in my studio to remind me what I can achieve with a limited palette and some good brushes!

 

 

July to September 2016

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#DrawingAugust came around again and although I didn’t get as many drawings done as I’d like, I was so pleased to see so many drawings on my twitter feed from all level of drawing ability.  Great fun!

I took part in Somerset Art Weeks again. This time I shared my exhibition space with two friends and I have to say, it was our best SAW yet.  Lots of visitors, tea & cake, sales, commissions and bookings for workshops.  A great result all around.

 

 

 

October to December 2016

After all the hard work of getting ready for Somerset Art Weeks and the exhibition itself, I flew off to Portugal for a painting holiday.  It was unseasonably hot which brought its own challenges.

I received a number of commissions for artists books during Somerset Art Weeks and these were mainly for Christmas presents.  Nothing like a deadline to keep you focussed!

deerparkAnother commission that meant a great deal to me was for a friend who married the love of her life in November.  They were married at Deer Park in Devon (such a lovely wedding) and so it only seemed natural to combine the name of the hotel with my love of nature.  The Deer Park commission was born.

This was an edition of 35 just for the guests on the day.

 

 

I realise that in doing this post, I have neglected to post so much throughout the year.  An indication of how much has been going on.  Hopefully this year I’ll be more disciplined about posting on my blog.

Happy New Year to you.  Thank you for your support through the many likes, shares, and comments/feedback that I receive.  It means a lot.  I hope that 2017 is a good year for you and that you have a successful year.

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Fox: new linocut in progress

I started off today thinking I would go out painting.

Then it rained.

Then the sun shone.

Then it rained again.

So, I decided to tidy up my studio.

Now that my studio was (sort of) tidy, I sat down to review the latest linocut design that I started before #DrawingAugust.  My printmaking took a back seat throughout August and there’s a risk it could do so again now that #PaintSeptember has started.  So, here’s a reminder of what Fox looked like;

Jean_Stevens_Fox1

 

I thought I’d familiarise myself with this work in progress and try to get it a little bit further along the design and transfer process.  This design is 25 cm x 25 cm so there will be a lot of cutting out to do before I can print.  I don’t want to get this wrong and have to make amends or start again.  I decided to isolate the fox and have an afternoon of experimenting with him.  If I spend time getting him right now before I transfer the design it will make the other stages in the lino-printing process less pressured.

So, here’s what I’ve been playing around with;

Jean_Stevens_Fox_2

Lots of positives about this one but I wasn’t sure about all the small black marks.  I decided to take it back to the base outline and slowly cut out.

Jean_Stevens_Fox_3

 

No 2:  Base outline, a good starting point.  I’m sure that this isn’t enough detail so decided to start with the head as that’s where the viewers eyes will go first.

 

Jean_Stevens_Fox_4

 

No 3:  Although the marks are too uniform, this is definitely an improvement.  Decision made: face must have random hair marks on it.

Jean_Stevens_Fox_5 copy

 

No 4:  I thought I would experiment with keeping the body black and putting more detail into the tail (or brush).  Okay, I don’t think this works, I prefer the tail the way it was originally.  I don’t want to draw onto another lino block so I thought I would experiment with larger marks on the back of the fox …..

Jean_Stevens_Fox_6

No 5: I think these marks are too long, so where am I now.

Now I can’t do anymore with this block so I’ll have to start again with another fresh piece of lino.  I could go back to the whole design as I think I know where I am going with this now, but I may just have another small practice taking on all the decisions that have been made.  So, just to recap I’ve ended up back towards No1, only I won’t have any of the small marks that are down the back legs.

This is a really good exercise to undertake if you’re not sure about something.  I’d rather spend time getting this right and not waste hours cutting out the whole design only to get to this part and mess it up!  By the way, in order to keep using the same block for proofing, I used water based inks today.  They are easy to clean off the lino so the whole process isn’t too disjointed by having to clean oil based inks off the block.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the fox, so please let me know what you think.