Goodbye 2013

So this is it – my very last post here on this blog. Please read the instructions below to follow me on my new blog over at www.gillianleesmithartist.com. Thanks for reading!

(I am a little late at copying these posts over from my new blog, but these are the last ones to be posted here. If you follow me here or in a blog reader you and you would still like to follow me then you will need to do so at http://www.gillianleesmithartist.com/blog/ – alternatively there is now a ‘follow’ button on the bottom right of my website – many thanks)

The year is almost out and as I have my annual dose of a head cold and am taking a sick day it is always good to look over the past year to see where I have been, where I am at and where I could now go. For the best part of the year my blogging has been sporadic until November when I seemed to hit a new stride. Looking back over my journal and blog it is interesting to me to read back on the various markers of the year in order to make plans and dreams for the next.

studio shot

January saw the start of some changes in my schedule which would influence the whole year. At home circumstances meant I increased my part time work hours whilst also trying to become much more focussed on my studio days and making painting a priority.

studio shots

February onwards was quite a productive time with me finding my feet in painting more and I spent a lot of time writing, searching, seeking clarity. My writing during this time is deep and expressive and satisfying to read over again. More than anything I wanted to create work to ‘please myself’ rather than creating work to ‘be seen’ and this was very much a theme for the whole year. March I began painting my small portraits, studies to improve my understanding of the head and expression – we also brought our little Mille cat home from the cat shelter to join our other cat Munro and she has become my constant studio companion, my shadow and my delight. A favourite painting was finished and exhibited in London at the After the Monet exhibition (one of the few shows I attended last year).

studio shot

April I bought a video camera and painted in my large journal to my hearts content. In May to August I opened a new online store, painted this, began dreaming big, another painting, exhibited here winning an award for my artwork and decided to make a permanent change in focussing solely on my paintings in my studio time.

Holy Island

September we had a beautiful short break away in Northumberland and I fell in love with the history and atmosphere of the place. I began teaching the occasional art class, I grounded my intentions for 2014 in reality by taking this class, I exhibited in York and began the task of completely building a brand new website in October (no small task for this complete novice) which took the best part of November and launched in December. I revamped how I spent my time in the week, rediscovered my blogging voice, began learning oil painting and dreaming of all that may be to come in 2014.

studio shot

So whilst not my busiest year in terms of work produced, shows attended and projects completed it was a year in which I began to unearth a vision of the direction I want to be heading in and germinating the seeds of ideas to enable that to happen.

So now to thinking of what comes next!

I sincerely hope your 2013 has been one of peace and joy and wish you even more for 2014.

x x x

Time to rest, time to create

(I am a little late at copying these posts over from my new blog, but these are the last ones to be posted here. If you follow me here or in a blog reader you and you would still like to follow me then you will need to do so at www.gillianleesmithartist.com/blog – many thanks)

A few days off is good for the soul. Christmas and the days leading up to it went so fast but our day was spent with family, eating, chatting relaxing and then friends on boxing day. So good. I have been spending lots of time with the hubby – a Harry Potter marathon (every single film over 5 days – so rare for me to sit down and watch a whole film without working at the same time) and just having a lovely time together, the two of us and Munro and Millie (our black cats).

oil painting

Yesterday and today I spent a little time in the studio each day finishing this oil painting. You may remember I purchased this online course from Will Kemp and has been a brilliant gift to myself – helping me to plough through my worries about learning how to work with oils – I am rather pleased with the result! Now I can’t wait to start using them in my own style, to see if I can create the atmosphere and emotion in this medium – also gradually introducing colour and more glazes. I may start a new painting tomorrow. (Incidentally Will Kemp has just added a new online workshop to his site for a bargain price so if you are interested in acrylics and still life then take a look. His teaching style is very relaxed and thorough and he explains everything really well.)

self portrait

I received some money for Christmas and decided to treat myself to some new paint brushes – some for oils and some for acrylics. I went with the brushes Will recommends from Rosemary & Co, ordered them late Monday afternoon and they arrived Tuesday morning (talk about fast delivery!) and I am over the moon with them. I have only used them for oils so far but they are far superior to the cheap hog brushes I had been using up till now.  They are a synthetic bristle, slightly softer than a hog brush with more bounce and are extremely responsive to work with – they also clean up brilliantly and are really reasonably priced – I will buying more for sure. I also ordered a couple of kolinsky sable brushes which are also wonderful.

rosemary and co brushes

I really hope you had a wonderful time over the holidays whatever and however you celebrate. It can be a wonderful time of year but I also know that it can also be a lonely time for some, so I wish you all the very best. Thank you so much for reading along on my new blog so far!

x x x