I was never a fan of summing up a year like it’s some sort of book I just read and I have to give a book report. New year is just a date like any other and we can’t just hit a reset button on Jan 1st as much as we might like to. But if I was to try and sum up this book, would it be a horror story? An adventure story or maybe with the virus a whodunnit? Or is there any point? For everyone the story would be different. Many ideas and projects start in one year and come to fruition in the next one so why try and define a year. A tradition I have to make the transition seemless is to start a painting on New Year’s Eve and finish it on 1st January. We all share the same big experiences but our years are viewed from our individual standpoints.
With that in mind this year more than ever I dreaded the thoughts of looking back. It was the Year of no exhibitions and shows. The year of no regular classes or workshops. None of my regular meetings with fellow artists, be it every Thursday for Portrait Club or Urban Sketchers monthly meet ups or Gorey Art Collective Committee meetings. Nada. Nothing. But every cloud has a silver lining, right? Of course they have and the year was no different so now let’s talk about the positives.
Yes my indoor classes had to be canceled but I did have a series of outdoor classes for Oatfields. These were organized by the Oatfields management and offered to their residents which I’m delighted to say embraced the experience. We were really lucky with the weather so we painted mostly outdoors and mostly roses. It was good fun and enjoyed by all. Sadly the lockdown happened after this and so even outdoor classes had to be knocked on the head but the lockdown also increased the requests for classes and workshops and when could we start. To this end I posted a weekly challenge online which was a bit of fun and something to look forward to. I got lucky as just before the big lockdown I finished my second mural in Gorey – seascape at Civic Centre.
In April I joined Art in Lockdown Exhibition – a great initiative by fellow artists.Together we shared hundreds of artworks over the whole year, starting with a daily virtual exhibition on Facebook and finishing with weekly ones. They all can still be seen here.
In July together with Grzegorz Chudy I had the pleasure of taking part in a double interview for Polska Eire festival in Ruda Śląska. The Festival happened online and I was able to join from my studio.
In August I took part in Art In The Open – this plein-air painting festival got updated and went ahead for a couple of Sundays. It was great to get outdoors and see familiar faces…albeit masked, something only a few months before didn’t seem possible.
Another personal highlight was joining The Rosslare Gallery, run by a fellow artist and friend Jane Mayler. My paintings were also displayed in Greenacres’ Open January show and Christmas Show at The Narrow Space Gallery in Clonmel. Always good to get my work out there.
I think this year more then ever made me realise that my colourful paintings are an antidote to the mundane life. This year had people truly looking and appreciating their surroundings. I got a record amount of emails and messages saying thank you for my paintings and how they bring a bit of much wanted colour and outside in. And these emails always made my day and gave me the strength and confidence to continue.
And to finish my book report on the bestseller that was 2020 I would just like to thank everyone who supported me either by buying something or recommending me to a friend or simply liking a post. All those emails and positive comments on my work really did make a difference and it certainly helped me get through a tough year.