Celebrating these 2023 art highlights

Wow 2023 comes to a close. The year started and ended with lovely commissions. Always a treat to work large. The first: a textured flowerscape (read about it here) with a lavender sky to match the blooms. The second: an abstract with a specified colour palette. It's in the studio drying before it heads to its forever home yet, so I'll blog about it in the new year.

Flowerscape oil painting of lavender field

I enjoyed some lovely studio and plen air creation time this year. Most of my paintings this year have been flowerscapes, landscapes and seascapes. I also worked steadily towards my goal of extending my danseur series. There are a couple more additions to this series that you've not yet seen (waiting for them to dry before I confirm they're truly finished).

Trio of 3 images of plein air sketching

Suprisingly, overall, my 2023 art highlights are about people and places rather than paintings. It's great to look back and reflect how much my art community and reach has grown this year. What a wonderful thing to be able to say.

Here are my highlights:

Staying grounded with my life drawing pals

Top of the list. My lovely artist friends who keep me grounded and happy with a bit of life drawing and laughter on Thursdays. What a perfect combination! I've now got a whole shelf full of life-drawing sketchbooks. My best works in these are the ones I've sketched in oil paint, using a limited palette of burnt sienna, naples yellow light, indigo and whichever white is closest to hand when I'm dashing out the house. I love the drawing but I definitely go to catch up with my drawing pals after we put the sketchbooks away. 

Woman behind counter in shop with plants and paintings

Feeling part of the local community in Otley

I love living in a market town that's got a true sense of community. I'm grateful to Dot for inviting me to exhibit in her lusciously green shop in my hometown (and for all the lovely plants and pots I've bought from her too). This week I've put up my third mini exhibition in PlantsDOTcom. More about that in the next blog. I was also thrilled to be part of the Wildlife Friendly Otley festival, exhibiting at the Courthouse alongside other local artists, including fellow life-drawing pal Tim. 

Building an art community in Leeds

Kirkstall Arts Trail and the first Pyramid collective market were fantastic events to be part of. I had so much fun at both and met wonderful artists. I'm also very honoured to have joined North Art and have my work featured among their collection of fabulous northern artists. Looking forward to more Yorkshire events next year. 

Exhibition room with people looking at art

Joining gallery exhibitions

It's been a record year of exhibitions for me. I'm proud to have taken part in 3 exhibitions at the Fronteer Gallery in Sheffield, 3 at the Open Gallery in Halifax and 1 online exhibition with Collect Art. Delighted to have made new art friends through these events too. Big shout out to the wonderful team of framers at Artworks who have been brilliant at framing my work this year.

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