A happy New Watercolour Year to one and all!

I hope that everyone was able to enjoy a happy and safe New Year and that you’ve been able to start 2022 with a spring in your step!

As is so often the case, I find myself starting the new year still tidying up a lot of loose ends from the previous year!

I’m still revelling in my surprise selection in the International Watercolour Masters top 200 Merit Awards that came through just before Christmas. In my reverie, I’d totally forgotten that I had received a number of inquiries from people asking which paintings had I submitted for consideration. I’d been reluctant to share these prior to any announcements being made, largely for superstitious reasons, despite not being especially superstitious.

Now that the results are in, however, I’m happy to share the paintings that made up my entry:

I submitted five paintings, which was the maximum number allowed. All of these paintings had been completed in the previous year and, collectively, I felt they showed a coherent style and approach across a range of different subjects.

Of these, ‘Winter Light, St Nicholas, Church, Brighton’ was one of the first paintings to sell at my recent exhibition at Starling Studios.

New Year’s resolutions

I’m still deliberating on some of my resolutions for the year ahead but here’s what’s on my watercolour painting list so far!

  1. Revamp my website. This is quite a big one for me but I think it’s probably time! Ever since starting my watercolour adventures, I’ve done all of the website myself using the available templates and advice that available to me from WordPress. This seems to have served me well over the years however I think it’s time that I sought a little more professional advice. The main element that I’d like to introduce is a better means of selling my work via the website. At the moment, I invite enquiries but I’d like for people to have the option to buy directly without even needing to make contact with me if that’s what some might prefer.
  2. Continue to submit to competitions etc. Even though the odds may be slim on me being selected, there’s always a chance!
  3. Buy a new pair of glasses. This might seem like an odd one so allow me to explain! I need to wear glasses increasingly often and always for reading and painting etc. The lenses in my current glasses have a faint tint to them that reacts to sunlight, getting darker the brighter the light. When I took part in the recent Brighton Painting Group plein air gathering, the tint on my glasses totally threw my ability to judge values accurately. As I’d like to attend more of these events, and generally to paint outdoors more often, I think a pair of glasses without any tint to them would be a great help.
  4. Paint plein air more often. Following neatly on from number three, and no surprise here as I think this appears on my list every year! I’m hoping that the monthly meet ups of the Brighton Painting Group will provide a little more motivation and companionship. It’s fair to say that I wouldn’t need to attend many of these to far exceed what I achieved in this area in 2021!
  5. Sketch more. This is something that I did start to do a lot more of in 2021, in the first instance because I had such a bad back I couldn’t stand up to paint. I really enjoyed some of these smaller sketchbook studies and a nice spin off to them has been that some of them, the more successful ones, have sold. It’s been nice to be able to offer smaller works at a different price point to my larger paintings. My hopes for 2022 are to continue to work in my sketchbook, less so for the selling (though that’s always a bonus!) but mainly so that I keep my hand and eye in more frequently.
  6. Artfinder. This is another one that has appeared on a few New Year resolution lists! I know of quite a few artists that promote and sell their work on Artfinder and, every year, I download the application pack, have a read through it and think, ‘I really should do this’. This decisiveness is then followed by… absolutely nothing if I’m honest! I think that my recent experience at Starling Studios proved to me that some people do actually like my paintings and, even though I would like to exhibit more often, realistically this isn’t something that I’m going to be able to invest the time required. Platforms like Artfinder provide the possiblity of reaching an audience that would otherwise be beyond my means, and which is within my limited resources.
  7. Masterclass with Alvaro Castagnet. This is less of a resolution and more of a fingers crossed! I’m still booked to attend a weekend Masterclass with Alvaro Castagnet in May. I’d originally booked onto this in 2020, which was subsequently rescheduled to 2021, and now to 2022. While ‘resolving’ to do this is slightly out of my control, I’m very hopeful that this will be able to go ahead this year.

As I said at the beginning, this is the list so far!

Please do let me know if there’s anything else that you think I should be adding to this list! Even though it’s only January, when I add this list to all my other resolutions (lose weight, save money, knock down this, rebuild that, redecorate everything etc) I feel quite daunted!

Just to show that I’m making a little progress on one of my resolutions, here are some sketches that I’ve done in the past few days or so:

Sadly nothing of any particular note in this selection, but it’s nice to be painting again, to be using the sketchbook in a regular and relaxed manner and to be discovering subjects that I might be able to work up into larger paintings. I’m hopeful that much better things lie ahead!

I wish you all the best in whatever personal resolutions or hopes that you have for the year ahead.

Thoughts on A happy New Watercolour Year to one and all!

6 thoughts on “A happy New Watercolour Year to one and all!”

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  5. Hi John
    Very laudable resolutions!
    Well done on you two recent successes,well deserved
    I reslly think the Window light paint is superb by the way
    With 3 paintings sold this week I can endorse you trying Artfinder even though the commission rate is high it gives me about 20 to 20 views per day.
    I too hope to paint more en plein air this year, it is too easy to sit at home with photos and outside is s much better
    Have a great year

    1. Happy New Year Brian and thanks for the Artfinder encouragement! It’s definitely on my list and I think that my recent exhibition at Starling Studios was helpful in making me look at my pricing a little more carefully so I at least feel a little more confident in this area now! Good luck with your plein-air commitment, thought I’m not going to be too hard on myself on this at this particular time of the year – it’s freezing cold out there at the moment! Hope that you have a great year too Brian.

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