I actually finished working on that body of work (Beyond Now) at the beginning of November. Then, with all the framing, photo-shoots, admin etc I didn’t actually really do that much painting between then and the end of December.
So when it came to picking up a paintbrush in January I was keen to get to the studio and to get stuck in. Having time off painting is always so beneficial and I think with the Christmas we had, it felt right to just take a step back.
The first couple of days back in the studio were fantastic. I had a lot of energy and felt like just throwing it at the canvases. It felt fantastic.
However, this burst of energy only lasted a few days.
Usually after a body of work finishes, I make a point of getting away from the studio. I usually escape to North Norfolk for a few days, or I’d usually have a trip planned – to Wales, or Suffolk or somewhere new. This allows me to surround myself with fresh inspiration.
But, with the lockdown in December, and then the January lockdown, I obviously haven’t been able to get away. And this has been hard.
A lack of inspiration, a lack of seeing new things and of going to new places, of seeing art in person and escaping from the studio has had an impact of my work.
By mid Jan like the studio and my work was getting stale, and nothing was really exciting me, or bringing me new inspiration.
When this happened back in April last year, I started my dawn walks, however January dawn walks didn’t quite have the same appeal.
I attempted to start following the sunsets, but these were often too early in the afternoon, and VERY hit & miss. I also find sunsets beautiful, but the orange skies, although very stunning, don’t always do it for me!
Never one to be defeated, I invested in many new art books and took some time to read these books, make notes and work out the next move. These have helped for sure, as they have given me fresh colour inspiration if nothing else. A painting did finally come together last week, and I think this was because I’d spent time reading a wonderful book recommended to me by another artist.
And I guess that’s where I am now. My daily dog walks offer inspiration, but I would say I’m struggling a little. Although my village walks are beautiful, I haven’t been on any new dog walks in quite a while because everywhere is so wet and muddy. The marshland that I love going to is flooded, which in one way is a new aspect of beautiful, and gives me a new dimension to paint, but it also logistically is now a nightmare to get to!
I usually do have this period between works and that’s fine. The only difference is I usually know it’s coming so actively hunt down fresh inspiration, and that’s just something I can’t currently do outside my village this time. SO I will continue to photograph the winter skies and I promise to go on a few new dog walks before I speak to you next!