Tuesday, 24 January 2012

2011 - a year in pictures

Greetings everyone, welcome to the first post of 2012!  I know, I know, we're already three weeks into 2012 so as "new year" themed blog posts go, this is tardy as hell.  What can I say, I am rubbish at updating when I'm busy with other things!  When I'm working on a time-consuming project I tend to get tunnel vision - the only thing I can focus on is the deadline in front of me.  Project completed, I emerge to find that the routines of domestic life have fallen apart: the fridge empty, the flat a complete tip and a mountain of angst-inducing, tedious little tasks awaiting me.  I often imagine how much I could get done if I had a robot servant to deal with all that crap - I would love to have a perfect, clean, neatly organised home but have no patience for domestic drudgery when there are more important (and infinitely more interesting) things to be doing.

Anyway, down to business.  This post sums up the best bits of my 2011: partly as a nice way to round off one year and start another, and also for myself to reflect on the year that's passed.  It seems to me that one cannot move forward without learning lessons from what has been.  So, I want to understand what I did well last year and the things I would like to improve on or do more of, in my professional as well as personal life.  And plus, if I set goals and talk about them on here, the threat of public embarrassment/ failure will hopefully be adequate motivation to ensure that I achieve them!  And even though this post isn't in time for western new year, it does coincide with the Chinese new year at least. Hung hei fat choy, everyone!


Christmas is the season of giving, so it seems appropriate that I finished the festive season last year by donating one of my digital prints to How Bazaar Charity Auction, which was in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.  The auction, along with other events, raised over £6,800 for the charity.  Admittedly the part I played in this success was fairly small, but I am sill enormously proud to have been a part of this worthwhile cause.


At this point in the year I was finishing off a piece for a private commission, but I managed to justify an evening off and headed along to the launch of the first Flamingo Magazine at the Fashion Exchange on Brick Lane.  This was also in support of my buddy June Sees, who had work on show at the launch.


The privately commissioned piece that I had been working on for several months on and off was finally completed!  I was very pleased with how this cute pair of owls turned out.


By April, my schedule was starting to get really busy - there were lots of projects to complete, as well as the upcoming SORTED London exhibition that needed to be organised and supplied with fresh new work to entice the punters with.  Nonetheless, I found the time to take part in the Travelling Sketchbook Project, creating this spread featuring a pair of Song Thrushes perched in Cherry Blossom.

This is a piece previously unseen on this blog, as at the time of making it I was far too busy to write!  Which is a great pity, as it was a really challenging and interesting commission to work on.  I was asked to create a picture for the Radio and Space Plasma Physics Group at Leicester University, showing a large, jupiter-like planet accompanied by a moon with eruptions on its surface.  The piece also needed to show other features, such as a magnetic field and auroral rings.  This was a bit of a departure from the usual subjects that I draw, but was very rewarding project to be part of.


After many months of hard work, my pieces for SORTED London were finally complete.  This picture, featuring a Wren with Dog Rose, may just be my very favourite piece!


Most of June was spent hanging, framing and otherwise making arrangements for SORTED London, which opened in the middle of June and was a big success for everyone that took part.


July was a pretty busy month!  After meeting Flash Bristow at SORTED London, I completed a piece of work for her, featuring a Siskin sitting in a Birch tree.  While dropping it off I had a tour around the Leytonstone Arts Trail, a varied and exuberant local festival featuring sculptures, paintings, performances and community art projects.

I also squeezed in making this Greyhound for Jo Cheung's We Draw Dogs blog, he loves to run!

And finally for july, my picture of a Gallic rooster was featured on the Chicken and Pig Book blog.


After the hectic schedule of the last four months, I needed to take a little off to chill out and recharge my creative batteries.  So, I hopped on a train up to Edinburgh to stay with my brother and his missus for a few days, taking the opportunity to sample the delights of the Comedy Festival and soak up the city's historic atmosphere.


Once home it was nose to the grindstone again.  I have a long-standing love of otters, which is reflected in this drawing.


These two pieces were created for Ten Paces and Draw, who regularly post themed drawing challenges on their blog.

This creepy Mermaid was featured in Issue 7 of Peculiar Bliss Magazine, which had 'creatures' as its theme.


In November I finished work on my two Christmas card designs, which had an autumnal theme this year.  The shy Dunnock and the splendid Waxwing were my favoured subjects, with their rich, warm colours.


December was an incredibly hectic month!  Along with the usual preparations for Christmas to be made, there were also lots of creative projects that I was involved in.  This cute little Hummingbird was created for (you guessed it!) Hummingbird Magazine.

I also created these three festive French Hens for Minirice Graphic Design and Illustration.

The last event of 2011 is a bit of a blast from the past - featuring my Yorkshire Christmas Pie picture (remember that one?  It's a piece from my last year of university!)  Clearly there is a dearth of images of heritage pies on the internet, because this picture was featured alongside an article about festive pies on the Josephine County Historical Society blog.

Well that just about rounds up all the major happenings of 2011, join me next time when I will be looking forward and making plans for the new year.  I hope you will join me!