I think no matter where you’ve been this year, 2020 has been a bit…..well a bit ‘2020’ for lack of any possible other way to describe it.
I count my lucky stars that this year I’ve been in an area that hasn’t been hit as hard by Covid, from a worldwide perspective. Even when we were in lockdown, I was with good people, and in a safe environment – I’m so incredibly grateful for this. I hope that if things have been tough for you this year, that there have been at least been a few good moments, and that the next year might bring you some better times.
Whenever the year comes to a close, I like to take a bit of time and look back on the good parts (because otherwise I’m very forgetful!) and also to set some goals or hopes for the new year. As it’s 2020, let’s do 20 highlights? Is that too many? We’ll see by the end of the list if I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel…also these aren’t in order…
1. Exhibiting at ‘Planet Art Gallery’ in Coffs Harbour (now Alykat Creative Gallery and Studio) 🌳
Even though I didn’t make it down to Coffs Harbour in person, it was a pleasure to exhibit alongside a lovely community of artists and (virtually) meet the talented Aly who now runs this space under the name ‘Alykat Creative Studio’. One of the reasons this was a highlight was the quick turnaround time I was given to create a painting for the show! It was a great challenge, and I feel like the painting has been one of my favourite’s from this year.
Below see ‘Moth, Moon and Cockatoo’.
2. Visting Melbourne 🌃
My partner and I went on a 2 week trip to Melbourne right at the beginning of the year (which seems so strange in hindsight, as Covid really hit a month or so after that). We mainly wanted to go to get to know the city, enjoy the arts, do lots of day trips and spend some time together. It was an awesome trip, and hands down the best part was seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on stage.
3. Exhibiting with Gala Gallery 🌱
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Tracey from Gala Gallery last year when she came to visit me in my studio. This year I was a part of two group shows with Gala Gallery – Botanics and Vaycay!
4. Doing ‘Species Speed-paint Sundays‘ 🦋
In preparing for the 2021 calendar, each time I completed an artwork, I’d make a short video showing the process and talking about the endangered animal I was painting. It was a great way for me to learn more and also share what I’d found with others.
5. ‘Catherine’s Garden’ Oil Painting 🌺
This was the largest oil painting I’ve ever worked on. In the end, I think I worked on this one on and off over about an 8 month period. It was a real challenge to shift my mind to working this large scale in oils. I’m so happy it came together in the end!
6. Little Art Earrings Collaboration 🍃
The amazing Liz from ‘Little Art Earrings’ contacted me earlier this year about potentially collaborating – of course I said yes! Liz is amazing, she hand-makes the most beautiful earrings and collaborates with artists to use their designs in really unique and creative ways! I feel so lucky to have been able to work with such a wonderful business.
7. Spending Lockdown Living on a Farm 🌾
It was around the end of February, or early March, when it felt like everyone was really taking Covid-19 more seriously in Australia, and it was looking like a lockdown was on the horizon. I was no longer working my other job, and my partner had also temporarily lost his job, so we had ended up living on his parent’s farm when the lockdown was implemented. It was not really something I had expected to do in 2020, but living on a farm (with lovely people I should add) was a real highlight and I am soooo incredibly grateful that this was where I was during the lockdown, like very very grateful. I am also quite introverted, so I enjoyed the quiet, the nature and it was a great space for creativity to flourish. Now that I’m living in the city again, I do miss it.
8. Plant Empire Markets 🎉
Again – grateful to have had any markets this year, so the three I did have I really enjoyed!! It is very special to meet people face to face and build relationships with customers in person. I like hearing people’s stories, and who they are going to gift items to.
9. 2021 Calendar Crowdfunding 💚
I ran my second crowd funder for the 2021 calendar! I was overwhelmed by the support and sense of community for the project.
10. Collaborating with The Linen Press 🍃
At the beginning of the year I was invited to collaborate with The Linen Press – a Melbourne based company that specialises in giftware. I had been custom printing with them for a few years, which is how they knew about my work. They were looking to find some new artists to work with for their products, and I felt like our companies’ values aligned quite well!
11. Stuartholme Art Show 🖼
I was able to see both sides of this exhibition as I was both an artist in the show, and helped out the committee with hanging and curating. It really makes me appreciate those who put on exhibitions like this, it’s a lot of work! The opening night was really rewarding, and it was great to meet lots of local artists.
12. Biome Windows 👚
The Biome Collective, in Paddington, opened a more permanent ‘slow fashion’ section this year and I was able to do some window artwork for the space. To be honest, I wasn’t 100% satisfied with how the window looked when I first finished it, however with some time I actually warmed up to the design – it just goes to show sometimes you need space from your work before you’re able to value it.
13. Picture Book Portfolio 📚
Something I would love to do more of is children’s book illustration, so this year I worked on a few portfolio ideas.
14. Painting my First Mural 🖌
Early in the year I was contacted by a public arts curator about potentially doing a mural for Brisbane City Council. They asked 3 artists to come up with concept designs – mine was then selected to be installed at Carl St park in Woolloongabba. I was so excited, but also terrified to do this, as I’ve never worked on such a large scale before and in a very public space.
15. The Guardian Featuring the Calendar 📰
So this was a huge suprise – one morning I woke up to way more shop orders than usual. I just assumed it was some scam or something, but it turns out the beautiful Clare Press had included the 2021 calendar as one of her picks in The Guardian’s Christmas Gift Guide. A very surreal moment, thank you Clare for choosing it!
16. Seeing Art School Friends and Artist Friends Doing Well 💫
It’s been about two years now since I graduated, and in that time it’s been wonderful to see my uni friends grow and develop their own art practice. Whether its doing their honours, exhibiting or painting murals – it warms my heart to see them succeed. I would like to see a creative world where we build each other up, rather than always seeing each other as competitors.
17. Seeing the Etsy Shop Grow ⭐️
I’ve been on Etsy since 2017, but only really started putting effort into the shop in 2019. Seeing it finally grow this year has been very rewarding, and the feedback from customers has also been heartwarming. I’m hoping to grow the shop more next year, but also take some time to reassess the products and their environmental impact.
18. Exhibition at Tiny Tree Gallery 🎨
My friend Kalyanii (JadeTree Ceramics) and I had a joint exhibition at Tiny Tree this December. It was a wonderful opening night, and so nice to catch up with people after not seeing most of them this year with Covid. I was also happy to see so many artworks find new homes!
19. Bought a Bird Guide Book 🦉
This shows my inner crazy bird lady! For the 2022 calendar I’m planning for all Australian birds – so I feel like this purchase is justified right? I love this book!!
20. Camping by the River 🌌
I know this one isn’t super art related, but I feel like its worth putting in because taking time off is just as important as time on, so that your brain and creativity can be refuelled. It was really nice to just go slow for a few days and enjoy the campfire and river sounds.
Ok so that was 20 highlights/good things – I think it probably was too many, but hey at least I can look back on this at the end of 2021 and think ‘wow… she was comprehensive’. And of course, some goals and wishes for the new year…
Goals or Wishes for 2021:
- Start a ‘bird of the week’ painting series using my bird book 🐦
- Open my own independent online shop – not just rely on Etsy seeing as they give you very little control and also have big fees ✨
- Have another exhibition – maybe with the bird paintings! 🕊
- Make a 2022 bird themed calendar 🦉
- Look after health more – not directly art related, but important in keeping this job sustainable! 💛
- Continue working out ways to make the shop more environmentally sustainable 🌿
- Make more time to see friends, and also give yourself breaks! 🌈
- Travel up North to see more of Queensland and have a travel sketch book 🏝