Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Year Ahead and Reflections

There are so many things I want to achieve this year that it is hard to know where to begin. First up is my new one-day botanical painting workshops starting in Feb at 'The Spring' Arts and Heritage Centre' in Havant. Of course, I have mentioned this before but it's so much fun to be getting back to something I love. More of these have been planned, so I hope to be teaching throughout the year.

Also, I am looking forward to taking part in a wonderful project with some highly talented fellow artists. For a whole year we will exchange our sketchbooks and add paintings, sketches, ideas and anything we fancy following a nature theme to each one as we get it. By the end of the exchange, we should each have a beautiful sketchbook, filled with the work and memories of our friends. A special project I feel privileged to be part of. Can't wait.
The start of something new

Next is the nerve wracking part. The start of my artistic process to becoming accepted as a member of the Society of Botanical Artists. The six pieces I need to enter into the annual exhibition are nearly finished and ready for framing, although there is always time for tweaking. Next will be the trip to Westminster and the nervous wait to find out if all six have been accepted. This is something I am  really eager to do and there is a mix of anxiety and excitement building already. Also on the cards is my first 'Open Studio'. Hopefully, the new HQ will be ready in time for this annual event and I am delighted to be sharing the experience with a truly great friend and fellow artist.

Hearing the call

The daunting four page entry schedule

With lots of other projects also in the pipeline, I am really hoping that 2014 will be a fun filled extravaganza. It will also be my first full year as a self employed artist. Crikey!

It is not often that I get reflective here, but up to this point it may seem that everything at Squirrel HQ is rosy, a place of constant sunshine and happiness. If only. 2013 has been a pretty dreadful year for 'Husband' and me. The house we love seems so often to conspire against us with boiler issues, a collapsed fence and damp patches caused by dreadful weather amongst others all looming expensively large. Also, ongoing health worries for me means that 2014 will start (as with the five years previous) with consultations and potential further surgery, although just now many of my friends are also going through horrendous battles of illness too. In my dark moments I take strength from their great fortitude and courage. A problem shared may not always mean a problem halved but it certainly helps to have good mates, and in my case, an extraordinary family.

Also, being unable to return to work in a career I trained damn hard for, and was on the cusp of applying for a PhD in is pretty disheartening. Reconciling yourself that retrieving your life as it once was has passed the point of no return is one of those life affirming moments, and not bringing in a salary is harder still to come to terms with. However, I try not to dwell or linger too long in the past, and embrace the joys of the life I have, the opportunities I gain along the way and the people I hold dear. It is after all a whole new year, and that fence needed replacing anyway.

One of my favourite literary quotes is from Peter Pan, and is a beautiful reminder to seize the day and go for your dreams. 

'The moment you doubt whether you can fly,

you cease to be able to do it'

JM Barrie

And there is always room for Yeats

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats


Dianne Sutherland said...

Lovely blog post Jarnie, good luck with the SBA membership...you're very organosed! I'm sure you don't need luck though as your work speaks for itself :) Hope you have a great year and that the suns shines on you x

shevaun said...

I love that poem... we did Yeats for school and it was always my favourite. Your dreams and plans sound so exciting. I can't wait for the sketchbook exchange to start too...it's already shaping up to be full of fun, creativity and above all friendship. Hurry up postman and deliver that last sketchbook!! You will achieve your dreams this year, Jarnie. I wish you every success and the best of health.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Dianne, your blog is so inspiring to me and your work always a delight to see, so your support is much appreciated. :)xx

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Yes, me too Shevaun so this one has remained a favourite. I guess we all get our reflective moments but these can also spur us on. Looking forward to our project. :)xx