Sunday, 31 December 2017

My Painting Year 2017

A selection of paintings in my studio 
Its been an amazing year....over the past 12 months I have blog posted 127 paintings, taken part in the Surrey Open Studios plus 5 joint exhibitions, and been on many paintings trips home and abroad!
It was a very busy year but it feels like I have made some progress in my painting and career (and had fun with it too!)

My focus has been plein air - working outside: the more I do the more I love and I find it is quite addictive :-) Although plein air is not easy! As there are so many elements which you have to battle to be able to paint. From changing light, tide, weather, sun in your eyes or snow freezing your feet to rain resisting your oil paint. There is a challenge every time I go out, but I like that and it keeps me on my toes and interested! 
Painting at The Seven Sisters, East Sussex
I had some valuable input from artist Richard Pikesley who suggested I paint small and often, my average size is 8x10". 
I really want to improve my painting and I do all I can to make that happen! I read art books, watch painting DVDs, talk to other artists but I think the most important thing to help improve is to paint as often as I can.  There is a tussle between working on my art career and having a life away from it. Getting a balance is not easy!

I think the most paintings I did in one day was 4 but on average I paint 3-4 a week. I am getting quicker at completing a painting so I generally finish outside. I may make small adjustments back in the studio but as artist Ken Howard says painting in 'one wet' or alla prima is the ideal: often if you come back to complete the painting the next day the light is different.

Light conditions, whether it's sunrise or sunset feature a lot in my work. It’s what excites me when I’m looking for a subject, for example contra jour, looking into the light when you get sparkles on the water & strong tonal shapes. 

London has also become a project. I aim to go at least once every two weeks, finding inspiration along the River Thames - the life and structure around it and the light on the water!

I won two national awards at The Patchings and with The Artist magazine, which means I will be doing an exhibition ‘The Artist Collection' at the Patchings next Autumn. 
I was also pleased to win a local award with top painting in the Haslemere Art Society exhibition. 

One of the highlights was getting into the ROI (Royal Institute of Oil Painters) Exhibition at the Mall Galleries which is so hard to do (high standard and a lot of competition).  To sell the painting at the Private View was also very exciting!

I’ve just had a painting selected (see below) into the Royal Society of British Artist (RBA) Open Exhibition which means I'm through the first round.  The next step is taking the framed piece to London to be judged for their annual exhibition.

'Fishing Boat Beer, Devon' 8x10"
I was really lucky to go on several painting trips this year. Some on my own and some with husband Nick who is a photographer. Ile de Re in France stood out as I enjoyed being with other artists and painting sunnier climes. Venice was amazing and inspiring I plan to go back next September.  Going to so many varied places to paint has stretched my comfort and helped my skills.

Its been exciting to sell to people around the world with clients in America and Australia and home in the UK. Several people would have opened my paintings as Christmas presents too.

I have been working on my Social Media especially Instagram where I’ve just hit 2000 followers and Facebook. I would recommend Social Media to other artists as it does help with getting people to know you and your work and and can be a selling platform too.
My Instagram page & name
I aim to continue to blog. It is a commitment with posting my work regularly but I like having the record and the story saved for each painting and I hope my tales can be of interest and help others!
I also plan to do some more informative posts for example continue the plein air equipment theme and favourite painting DVDS & art books, & social media using it as an artist.

I really appreciate your support over the past year. I enjoy reading your comments, they help to keep me going! Heres to a happy & creative 2018 for us all. Clare


  1. Clare, your year when set out like this has been AMAZING. Hats off to you. Total respect for braving all weathers! I would be envious (okay, I admit it, I AM envious), but you've worked so incredibly hard for your achievements. I would love to have achieved a tenth of it but from the warmth and comfort of my home! You're generous with what you share. As you say, here's to a happy, creative 2018 for us all, and I hope to be able to join you in one or two of your London plein air paint-outs if you don't mind company ( if you do mind, then I'll just stand a long way behind you with a long lens). Cx

    1. Hi Caroline, Thank you!! I would really love you to join me for a paint in London, any time :-) Cx

  2. I agree with all Caroline has said and especially your generosity in sharing what has helped your amazing good fortune this year. However, “there’s no such thing as luck, play the game as hard as you can, and you’ll make your own luck” or in other words, the harder you work the luckier you’ll get!

    1. Hi ebbybow, Thank you for your kind comments. I'm liking 'the harder I work the luckier I'll get' thought, lets see what 2018 brings! Clare x

  3. An inspiring body of work and I always read your blogs with interest. I don't think I could brave the elements like you do but I enjoy seeing the results. All power to your elbow in 2018.