A fluid life

Almost two years ago I was standing on our station platform, nervous and masked, heading for eight days quarantine in Yorkshire before starting on my five week artist’s residency on board HMS Protector in Antarctica. Now finally my book ‘Antarctic Sketchbook’ has arrived, and it brings back all those vivid memories. The day after the books arrived and I carefully stacked the boxes in my studio the rains came.. and the rains came into my studio, so the next afternoon was spent restacking them all! I was just in time, only a few were damaged.

Anyway, this weekend the book is officially launched by the Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge and it’s available to order on my ‘shop’ page – copies will be posted next week. Thanks to the wonderful Julia Jones and Francis Wheen at www.golden-duck.co.uk for bringing my hazy ideas and icy scribbles into print. But I do think I need to go to Antarctica and South Georgia again, there were a few things I missed……

It’s been a funny year – a difficult first few months, when I was trying to move onto a slightly bigger boat, finances were looking very much like a falling tide and creative ideas were also at a low ebb. I’d go to my studio each day feeling decidedly uninspired and find yet more ways to sit at a computer being busy without actually improving my situation. But the tide turned gradually, as it does, helped by some inspirational teaching holidays. First was ‘Sketch and Sail’ in the Scottish Islands on the wonderful sailing ship ‘Lady of Avenel’. The weather was ‘interesting’ but we had some glorious sketching and sailing, ate well and a good time had by all. We’re doing it all again next May and the last trip booked up very quickly, so get in touch if you’d like to come along.

A dedicated sketchbook sailor (though he did drop his sketchbook in the sea…)

Soon after that I was heading to Cornwall with Mary-Anne Bartlett from Art Safari where we hid away in the glorious surroundings of Boconnoc House for a gentle and inspiring art retreat amongst the old buildings, deer park and woodlands of this peaceful estate. We were well cared for there too; no chance of being a starving artist!

We’ll be doing that again next year too, so I’ll keep you posted.

I do find teaching keeps my own ideas simmering as I face the challenge of finding out new things to pass on to my zoom students on the ‘Sketchbook Wednesdays’ series which started last week. There are plenty of winter courses in the pipeline, both real and virtual, and once they’re finalised I’ll update my Tuition page – and they will all be on www.artsafari.co.uk along with lots of other inspiring arty opportunities, so keep an eye on that too!

What else is happening? Ah yes, my open studio is coming up fast – 18th/19th and 25th/26th November – do come along if you’re local. If you’re not, then I’ll be updating my web shop as new stuff comes in. Which reminds me, the year planner is on its way. Gadding around in Scotland and Cornwall waving a paintbrush around meant that I was a bit late with getting it to print this year!

Next year will happen! Year planners due next week…… hang onto those dates

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