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Painting Challenge results

6 December 2019

So as I've mentioned in previous blog posts, I have had a rethink with my painting and print challenge since I got back from Japan. I thought you would like to see the results of the paintings from start to finish so I have photographed them all together. Another reason I wanted to get a photo of them all is because I have decided to start listing them for sale. I have ordered lovely little oak frames for them which they look very cute in. Anyway, here are all the paintings, some need a little more work, but others are ready to find new homes :)

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Autumn update

22 October 2019

I had a bit a revelation regarding my printing and painting challenge last night... The current print I am working on is a new one of the Gold Pavilion, I tried painting it last week and I didn't really enjoy doing it - although I am enjoying printing it... And yesterday I went on a mushroom hunt at Evenley Wood Garden and took some lovely mushroom photos that I fancy painting but don't fancy printing...

It seems silly to make myself paint the same subjects that I am printing just for the sake of making my challenge neat and tidy, when it is stifling my creative urges to do something else. Maybe it is time for the paintings to take a different path to the prints...? And maybe that turns out to be the point of the whole process... the personal revelation that some things will be more appealing to me to print and some things will be more appealing to paint, and some scenes suit paint better than relief print? After all, I don't really want to replicate my prints... I want to accompany them with some paintings, they don't have to be exactly the same.

16th October 2019

So 2019 began and I decided that I would like to create more prints than last year, so I set about thinking of ways to up my productivity. I decided to set myself another challenge – It worked in 2017 when I managed to complete fifty prints in a year - it had been really hard at times and I worked my socks off, but I did it, so I can do it again right? This  year I also wanted to focus on developing my painting without abandoning my printing. So #25prints50paintings2019 was born. The paintings would be small and quick and there would be two for every print, like companions to the prints.

The challenge started out really well, (you can see all the work in the previous blog post) and I was very pleased with how my paintings came on so quickly and some of the prints I produced, I think, were my best yet. The paintings were always inspired by the current source material for my prints so I didn’t have to spend time trying to decide what to paint; I just got on with it. 

However, I have fallen behind with my challenge. This has been largely due to other artistic commitments using up too much of my time and energy. Despite a few attempts to catch up, I think now that it would be better to have a rethink and maybe find a new goal.... Although I did not achieve my target, it has helped me improve my painting and that was one of the main reasons for doing it. I used to do much more painting and doing a few quick paintings for the love of it has been enjoyable and brought some fresh perspectives on analysing colours and scenes. This should also help with my printing. 

I am disappointed that I didn’t manage the challenge, but having been recently ill and away on a trip [to Japan! More on that in a different blog post] I have come to the realisation that I don’t need to push myself quite so hard and can maybe concentrate more on my achievements rather than failures...

So with that in mind, here are some positives to come out of my challenge...
• I have a stack of paintings done which I am quite pleased with
• I feel I have found new perspectives on colours and compositions
• And I feel I can now paint quicker, better and more loosely
• I am excited about painting again

I was planning to show all the challenge prints and paintings together next year, but I think I will just plan a general solo show at some point, rather than this challenge being the focus. I need to take the pressure off myself a bit. I will continue to do the paintings and prints and see how I get on, but not get too hung up on whether I get the quantity that I was aiming for. I might also start to approach selling the paintings rather than hoarding them all.

I guess sometimes things don’t always go as you plan, but you get benefits anyway, and need to keep re-evaluating your working practice.


2019 CHALLENGE: 25 Prints and 50 Paintings

4 September 2019

I have challenged myself this year to complete 25 prints and 50 mini paintings. For every print I do I am also painting two mini companion paintings in acrylic. I am interested to see whether the prints start to affect the paintings or the paintings start to influence the prints.

Newest at the top - it will read better if you start at the bottom (I didn't really think that through...)

4th September 2019 Summer Tree Glow
Very pleased with the lino and the paintings. I completed this piece before going on a fabulous trip to Japan in September. Expect a few Japanese looking works for a while!
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9th August 2019:Blue Field Tracks
This was a slightly intimidating linocut to attempt as it has a lot of repetitive detail. I am very happy with how it has turned out. I'm not so happy with the paintings... I have at least two more prints I want to try. 
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12th July 2019: Mini Lily Pond
This mini print was a demonstration piece for Handmade Oxford.
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23rd June 2019: Mini Grasses and Parsley
This is another mini print demo piece from Bucks Art Weeks which I might not include in my 25 prints. I will see how I get on throughout the year...
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19th June - 2nd July 2019: Sunset Ripples
Another mini print demo piece. This is based on my larger print Golden Sunset, Brackley Lake. I used the print as reference rather than the original photo which has made the mini print quite abstract. The mini print was then used as reference for the paintings which has made them even more abstract, also less well observed perhaps... Even so, I quite like this approach as a route towards abstraction.
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8th - 16th June 2019: Windswept Clock
Instead of working on the print inspired by Fountain Ripples I started this piece as a demonstration at Claydon Gallery for Bucks Art Weeks and finished at the Green Dragon Eco Farm. I don't really want to include this piece in my challenge as I don't fancy painting dandelion clocks and also it doesn't really fit with my current body of work that well, but at this stage, I don't know that I will get all 25 prints complete in the year, so I will declare it for now! Paintings to follow - maybe.
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4th - 16th June: Fountain Ripples inspired piece
Oxfordshire Artweeks and Bucks Art Weeks always take their toll on the creating and my challenge has got a bit out of sync. I decided to work on this piece inspired by Fountain Ripples from 2017 so completed the paintings for it, but then didn't get chance to start the print. Print to follow soon hopefully!
**Update** I completed the print for Lilies and Ripples on the 26th July and I'm very pleased with it. 
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21th May 2019: Pinkbells
Another Evenley Wood inspired piece. And yes they really do have pink bluebells there. I completed this one during Oxfordshire Artweeks. I think these pieces demonstrate more than any others so far that my printing inks and my acrylic paint are quite different pigments. Also it is worth noting that I am completing the paintings away from my studio in different lighting which is affecting my colour mixes. Perhaps my photographs were taken in bad light too...
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9th May 2019: Batsford Blossom and Batsford Blossom in Shade
These two prints seem to take me forever. They came with me as demonstration pieces to Court Barn, The Bucks Craft Guild and Bicester Village... Very happy with them though. I consider them a loose pair as they are of the same tree. Quite happy with the paintings too, particularly the second pair.
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6th May 2019 I have fallen a little behind with my challenge I think... though I have two super (very nearly finished) prints and 4 mini paintings to share with you very soon! Watch this space...

3rd April 2019: Bluebell Path
This is a mini print, I seem to complete one of these every year! Actually happier with the paintings than the print to be honest!
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19th March 2019: Woodland Snow
Inspired by Evenley Wood. I am really pleased with the light effect in the linocut and happy with how the paintings turned out too.
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2nd March 2019: Woodland Hellebore
I am very pleased with this set and particularly happy with the second painting which I think this is the best painting of flowers I have ever managed.
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26th February 2019: Snowdrops and Melting Snow
With the linocut I was particularly keen to see if I could make the snow look half melted and in the shade... the paintings could be better...
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13th February 2019: Grasmere Birches
Very pleased with the atmosphere in this linocut and I enjoyed painting these two.
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24th January 2019: Lakeside Puddles
This year I plan to complete 25 linocuts. Alongside these pieces I shall also create 50 mini paintings. Here is the first print and mini paintings, see them all above as they are completed...
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