A Year In Review... 2021
Updated: Jan 12, 2022
I'm sure I'm not alone in saying this, but this past year and the latest lockdown has by far been the hardest. With the cold, long nights, and dreary days I found my moods ruined on many occasions. Looking back on it now, I'm incredibly grateful for my studio set up in my bedroom. I think I would have given up without that little space to work. That being said I've been extremely busy over this past year and latest lockdown though. So much so that I've completely ignored my blog for the entirety of the year!!
To give a bit of a rundown of what has happened for me over the past few months. Over the Christmas period 2020, I began working on a couple of commissions. I had so much fun, and learnt so much from drawing and painting them! I have now become much more open to working in new styles, and topics recently. Once I had finished these commissions, I knew that I needed to do something almost daily, just to fill the creative void. I decided that I'd start working on small, watercolour illustrations. I bought a few sheets of 20x20cm watercolour paper, and found as many reference photos of characters and landscapes that I liked. And then I began working. I think in the end I probably painted somewhere in the range of 30 to 40 paintings. Many of these paintings were solely based on characters from Beatrix Potter’s wonderful children's stories and the landscapes they were portrayed in. These paintings have been so invaluable to my progression as an artist, however. I've found myself adopting new styles, and becoming far more confident in my own work, especially my painting. At the start of the series, I forced myself to paint with a new palette. Exploring new tones and textures within it.
Luckily for myself, that exploration was for the best. As I now had a newer, fresher way of painting, building up tones and textures through layering paint over each other. I continued working in this style throughout the new year, painting until late March 2021. These pieces were incredibly popular amongst customers during the Easter break and I found great popularity and received positive feedback which was a huge treat to me. These pieces are still available on my store to purchase, if anyone is interested in a little watercolour treat.
I continued to work with this new palette throughout April 2021 for a few more pieces, but I found my reference images were wearing a bit thin, it was time to crack out the camera. It was around this time I continued to explore analogue photography and digital photography, practically carrying on my work from the summer of 2020. Once I had captured some fresh photographs it was time to start a new series of works. It was around this time I found myself reflecting on previous works, mainly that created during my university years. I found old journals and sketchbooks which re sparked my interest in printmaking. I remember thoroughly enjoying the processes of printmaking but found it difficult to create pieces outside the university studio mainly due to the lack of funding, materials and equipment.
Once I had started a new small series of paintings, the desire to transfer these works into a different format grew stronger, I found myself asking, “what would this look like as a linocut" or "how nice this design would print as a woodcut” I even explored the possibility of image transfer, a fast and effective way of using my photography directly.
I had the desire to explore printmaking further and try something new. This year was beginning to be a huge experimental year for me, artistically I was really beginning to find my passions and what medias I enjoyed to work in, what was a success and what didn’t work as well for me. I racked my brain a bit. I didn't particularly want to do an entirely different style of work, but I wanted to create these pieces in a different medium. So, I purchased a lino cutting gift set, nothing to extravagant but something I could use to ease myself back into the process. I was hooked. I am so glad that I chose this way of working. The sheer scale of freedom and the beautiful way of building up colours and textures within the inks during multiple printing techniques was beyond comprehension. Each print, seems to have a slightly different style of texture, and variation in the way the inks settled on the paper, it was enthralling. By the end of the series, I think I'd created about 4 or 5 new favourite prints, and managed to push on my artistic style so much! One of the main things that this series made me realise, was how much I wanted to invest in a printmaking press and explore the process further rather than using a barren and wooden spoon.
Covid restrictions had been lifted a fair amount now, so it's meant that I was back working in my usual job, this wasn’t for long though as I would quit my dead-end job to focus thoroughly on my artwork in June 2021, using my last pay check to buy my pride and joy... a printing press. Because of this, I've decided to start focusing once again on my larger pieces. (More progress to follow on this printing journey)
Slowly but surely, I am working through a new series. At current I have completed three out of the four prints, and I'm about 70% through the final piece. Once these are finished, dried, mounted and framed I will be on the lookout for a place to exhibit them. I have had lots of interest from galleries and shops already so this shouldn’t be a problem. I may even possibly add more prints to the series over the coming weeks, as I have always wanted to experiment with differing pressures and inking techniques.
But that concludes my little update! I'm sorry about the confused writing. It's often hard to explain things cohesively when writing from memory alone. I will be posting a piece about my new year prints and all the things I'm getting up to, over the coming days, so keep your eyes peeled!
Thanks for the continued support - Adam