A merry watercolour Christmas

Starling Studios finale

The pop-up gallery at Starling Studios closed on Sunday, although a number of my paintings will remain on display in the window until the 2nd January 2022.

It was sad in some ways to have to pack the show up but it was nice to do so in the knowledge that it had been more successful for me than I could ever have dared to imagine. Including paintings bought from Starling Studios and some that I sold directly to people from my website as a result of the show, sixteen of my paintings now have new homes to hang in.

Here are the paintings that sold since my last post:

Market day, Perigueux, France
Morning light
Woodland Lane
Sussex Hay Bales
Tete a tete

The whole experience has been incredibly affirming for me. It’s the first time I’ve exhibited publically since 2019 and the reaction to my work, not just the sales but the response from visitors generally, has been so overwhelmingly positive. It’s left me feeling incredibly uplifted but also slightly under pressure too; I suddenly feel that I have to back this experience up with many more new paintings!

The International Watercolour Masters 2022 – the judges’ decisions are in!

As many of you may recall, I was recently over the moon to learn that I was one of 300 artists out of 3,725 that had been shortlisted for the final round of judging for the International Watercolour Masters exhibition 2022.

Well, the final stage of judging to determine six first-place winners, two special guest awards, 20 rising star awards and 200 Merit Awards has been happening over the past few weeks. This means that I haven’t had to wait too long for the final announcements which were made at 4pm today, 22nd of December!

Drum roll please…

Out of the 300 shortlisted artists, I can confirm that I’m not, one of the six first-place winners. Nor am I a recipient of one of the two special guest awards. Finally, nor am I one of the 20 rising stars!

That only leaves the Top 200 ‘Merit Awards’, for the pursuit of excellence… and to find out whether I may be included in this list, I have to keep an eye on my emails as Award certificates are going to be sent out to people over the next few days!

And just when I thought I might be able to uncross my fingers and toes too. This also means that any further updates on this will have to wait until next week’s post. In the meantime, I remain over the moon that I was one of the 300 shortlisted artists, which by my reckoning still positions me in the top 8% of all entrants.

You can see the full list of winners that have been announced so far on the International Watercolour Masters news page. I extend my congratulations and admiration to all of them. There are quite a few names on the list that I recognise and who I already follow in one way or another, but I’ll be spending some time over the next few days looking up the other artists. It’s always good to be able to be inspired by and learn from the best of the best!

Back to the sketchbook

It seems fitting that, as we come to the end of the year, I also came to the end of my sketchbook. After devoting all my time to the Starling Studios venture over the past few weeks I’m feeling pretty rusty on the painting front so intend on easing myself back by spending some time just playing around in my sketchbook.

I think these smaller works have been a bit of a revelation this year. It’s certainly been the first time that I’ve completed a full sketchbook for as long as I can remember! Aside from being great practice studies for larger works, some of them have been successful paintings in their own right and, mounted and framed, I’ve already sold enough of these to keep me in sketchbooks for quite a while.

I doubt this one will be making it into a mount or frame but it did feel great to be painting again.

Merry Christmas to one and all

This is my penultimate post of 2021 and my last one before the ‘big day’. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful festive season. I hope that you may be able to spend it in the company of loved ones and that it’s peaceful, restful and littered with delicious treats.

Thoughts on A merry watercolour Christmas

9 thoughts on “A merry watercolour Christmas”

  1. Pingback: Thanks for another great year

  2. Congratulations John on a very successful end to your (rather exciting) year.
    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and that the New Year will be full of exciting new artistic ventures for you.
    Warm wishes,
    Carole 😍

  3. Well, those sales should help pay for Christmas this year, John! How do you do it! I think I need to pay more attention to your blog if I want to emulate you. Well done. Have a great holiday and happy painting in the coming year.

    1. Thanks Rob, though to be honest, I think there are lots more successful people around that you’d be better off trying to emulate! It has been a real boost for me though! I’m trying not to spend the money on Christmas (typical scrooge!) but am thinking about investing it in developing the website. It’s been added to my ever-growing list of new year resolutions! Hope that you have a great Christmas too Rob and that you have another great year of painting (and life drawing!) ahead!

    1. Merry Christmas to you too Dave and many thanks for this! I’m sorry to say that I’m not familiar with New England so will have to look it up! Now that I’ve sold the paintings that I had of this view I’m in need of some new inspiration!

  4. Excellent John a great result which I can see your building on. Enjoy the experience!
    Looking very much to seeing your work next year. Thanks for sharing it.
    Have a manic Christmas with your family and friends

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