It's hard to believe that a little over two years after doing the linocut course at Birmingham Printmakers I am sitting here blogging as a full time artist! I renewed my Car Insurance the other day and had to give 'artist' as my profession as I suppose that is what I am, It makes me smile, although it is also quite scary. There's still a long way to go until it could actually pay my way in life!! Still, never say never!
I haven't actually done a review of the year as a linocut or a drawing (idea for next year?) - but the collection above comes from my instagram feed (if you click on the picture it should take you there) where you can get your most popular pictures from the year pulled through to make a lovely montage! It is missing one of my favourite from the year though - my White Tailed Eagle from our Norway trip, so I'll probably add him at the bottom. It's a lovely reminder of some of the different things I've done this year - although you will notice that #projectBlueTit makes another appearance! It does make me smile that #projectMagpie One appears too - I really must check to see if it has actually dried yet!!!
(I've tried to be a clever Trevor and have linked things to other blogs where you can go and read more about them if you are interested.... any links should turn your cursor into a little pointy hand when you hover over them and they will open in a new window when you click them....)
It's been a busy year and one of big changes in the Almond household..... I finally knuckled down and signed up to Warwickshire Open Studios in January, and from then on it was kind of "well then, it looks like I need to start getting lots done". If you remember back to my January blog, it was actually a quote on my cereal packet in the morning that got me to just do it.... "If it scares you a little, then it might just be worth doing."
The lovely Hilary offered me a space in her house for Open Studios who I found via the Lonely Arts Column - then I needed things to sell! I found a great chap to print up some of my drawings professionally as cards and prints (Rennison Publications in Earlsdon, Coventry) and started making more prints as well as framing some of my original drawings and prints. The tiny bedroom at our house has also been changed from 'general storage dumping room' to a little art studio - the light in there in the morning is just lovely. It is great to have a space to work in that doesn't turn the rest of the house into a place of chaos - although I am still doing my printing in the kitchen.
I loved doing Open Studios and met lots of great people through it. It also gave me confidence that I was 'OK at this thing'. I will be signing up again in January for 2018.
The biggest change came at the end of July when I left my job as an Assistant Head. Hubby and I had made a decision back in January that we were both going to take some time out from work. It was actually quite hard to start off with making myself sit down and actually do art stuff. All of a sudden (after a lovely holiday and a 50 mile race in the Lake District) I had all of this time that hadn't been there before...... Dave finished at the end of August and then we had a bit more time away trying to switch off!
In between being away I was contacted by The Herbert Art Gallery who asked if I wanted to take part in a ceramics and print fair they were hosting; this kind of sped up the next part of the artiness happenings as I decided I needed to get my website sorted and a web store set up too (#projectOnlineShop)..... there was a lots of time spent in front of the computer sorting stuff out, (including a trial product of selling my husband for a penny to see if it worked - it turned out a penny was too cheap and I had to buy 100 of him!) and then finally in the middle of November it went live! In October I spoke to the lovely Jenny at Badgers Tea Room at Brandon Marsh Wildlife Centre and offered to frame some of my art for her to hang on the walls there; it was lovely to take mum and dad over just after Christmas to show them, as well as having a mighty fine cuppa and a great wander around the nature reserve in the snow - I do love going there, well worth a visit.
I have had a couple of commissions for lovely people which I have loved doing (I've added #projectPoppy and also my latest commission - #projectDipper - below too, I will do another blog about more recent work in the New Year), as well as enjoying turning some of my other drawings into prints. The plan for the next month or so is to focus more on drawing, I have some ideas of some creatures (feathered and non-feathered!) I'd like to do, and then I will turn back to the printing - I have my next idea for a reduction linocut sorted already. Knowing how things work though, I'll probably end up multitasking! If you have any requests for any creatures - feathered or furry, or scaly, let me know. And of course I will keep on blogging - is there anything else you would like to see? Would a page in starting up in printmaking and the equipment you would need be handy?
Next steps for the beginning of 2018 are to get an etsy store up a running - although I have the website shop it would be good to have another marketplace set up to be able to get a few more folk seeing my artwork. I also have somewhere that I will be taking my cards and digital prints to sell too - more info when they are actually there! And then it will be finding more art fairs to be able to visit and sell my wares. I know I've asked before, but if you wouldn't mind sharing any of my links you do see via facebook etc, that would be marvellous. You can find my facebook page here. (Clicking on the here will work!!) or my twitter feed is here. Thank you.
OK, all that is left if for me to say a HUGE thank you for your support over the year, here's to an exciting 2018!
Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year.
Here we go...
The ramblings of a linocut printmaker.... and other artistic adventures!