Another one of my scrolled sculptures, I made this one for a friend. More faces would show up later in the year. "I am not a woman of leisure"
Towards the end of January, things started picking up and it seemed like 2020 was going to be a busy and fruitful year of new gallery representation, exposure, exhibitions, and of course potential sales.
April also brings the death of a friend, patron, and kindred spirit. I work prolifically as I process his passing as that is what he would have wanted. Still absolutely sucks. My solo exhibition scheduled this month in Helensburgh is cancelled and so I put it all online and dedicate it David. I create podcasts as the galleries switch to online sales. The idea of giving people the gallery experience from home pervades. I start to find my rhythm and really embrace working on paper and spreading it all around my house. I enjoy the natural light, and living and working in the same space. My goal in life has always been Van Gogh's bedroom and I am approaching it. Everything in its right place, maximising space and using the outdoor world as solace in these strange days.
In August I remind folks about my remaining bicycles for refugee paintings, hoping to raise more funds. I also create five new works on paper. These works were inspired by life, real and imagined, and the words, 'the loss of physical touch is distancing my soul' written by my friend Rosa Macpherson.
These are the first finished abstract works I have created since May 19th (after a spate of faces and drawings).
This opens the gate again and more pieces come tumbling out. In late August, Theo (the best cat in the world) gets incredibly sick and the diagnosis is not good. A very tense time and he becomes the priority. Luckily, with amazing home and vet care, he makes a miraculous recovery but now has a chronic condition that must be managed with expensive food and follow up visits to the vet. He is worth it and I am grateful.
Once he is stable and we have our new routine down, I return to promoting work, exhibitions, and looking for opportunities, I apply for grants and funding throughout this time.
In September, I get real about money in my studio blog, writing: "I have been focusing on selling my older small works, studio sale works, works on paper, and my book works. Working on the promotional aspects of my art world than the making and doing. Honestly, I would rather be painting but I have to stand squarely in the reality that I need to sell the works I have already made so that I can survive and continue to work in the future.
The bottom line is I want to be able to continue being a painter and in order to do that, I have to sell some work. I am still paying rent on a studio that I have only been to about 4 or 5 times since the pandemic hit Scotland in March. I am not even sure if in the future I will be able to maintain or support a studio. Like many people, the virus is making me rethink a lot of things and to consider different approaches to living and working."
I offer up more of my latest portrait drawings as prints during this month as well. These statement pieces capture the collective feeling with a minimal palette and a strong line as we wade through the strange days of 2020 and beyond.
What viewers are saying about the debut of my new print series, “Tell me how you really feel...”
“These are edgy cool and graphically stark, you do it so fucking well.”
“I like the mood, angles, and the honest and brutal mark making, they are severe in their grace!”
I am continually looking for more affordable ways for you to be able to live with my art and for ways that you can help support the work I do.
At the start of October, I share some new larger works on paper. I am really enjoying working on paper while not working in my studio. This spurs me on to keep going and flesh out the series. At this time I am also starting to more seriously focus on walking as exercise, mediation and social action. I think this series reflects that. The series expands into a 13 piece series called, "This is how we tell the story." I am concerned that during all of this home working I have let my Tuesday Studio Video Visits slide. Something has to give I guess. I also start talking with a small group of peers and together, we create a Scottish based women's abstract art collective called The Abstractionistas with the goal of advancing the abstract in Scotland...(stay tuned for more news about this in 2021).
November is all about the presidential election back home in the states. I watch the news, I walk, I work a bit here and there. Biden wins! Also in November, I was delighted that one of my latest paintings, 'The maps have changed' was used in the SCAN (Scottish Contemporary Art Network) member mailout. I am a proud member of SCAN. Find out more about the organisation and consider joining. We are stronger together! https://sca-net.org/about/. It is always rewarding to be able to have my work shared within a community of my peers across Scotland.
I also created a colourful and fun 8-page pdf pep talk for artists to help us gather up the evidence, gently step into our truth, and believe in ourselves and our art! It's a short, sweet, and kind guide to thinking a little differently about putting ourselves out there. I am offering it in my ko-fi shop starting at £3. I hope to make other guides in the series soon. It's a bit of an experiment just now. Thanks to those that have purchased and those that previewed my wee guide so far. Suitable for most ages and experience levels. You can find it here, https://ko-fi.com/s/706ceb33e5.
This month I work on spray fixing a large pile of finished paper works that have been collecting - I am using the bathtub as a spraying station. It is amazing how much work has been created all over this house since the pandemic changed my way of working. We are more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for. I create the last new works of the year this month. Six new original mixed media paintings on 200gsm heavyweight acid-free A5 sized paper (5x7"). They are mounted and ready to pop into an 8x10" frame and with each sale, I donated a nightlight for a refugee.
December starts to see things winding down as we prepare for the holidays, I decided to have a last sale of the year on some of my older colour series of works on canvas via my WiX shop as I am not planning to renew the shop in the new year. I sell three pieces and am extremely thankful. I am also the current recipient of the ButterBiggens Prize! The prize is a micro-grant and an interview and feature of some of my latest paintings. I was honoured to have my work selected and love the ethos of the micro-grant. I was interviewed in a chat room, a first I must say.
Thankfully the Drill Hall management offered studio holders 1/2 off our studio rent for July, August, and September which I made use of. They also notified me late in the year that I was the recipient of a grant from The Out of Blue Artists Solidarity fund, which is helping to offset half of another 3 months of rent payment.
To feel supported in my work, to be seen and heard during these days has meant the world to me. Thank you to all involved. My heart is full. I can't do this alone and thankfully this year I didn't have to.
What will 2021 bring? Stay tuned...