Looking Back . . .

By Sally Pudney on 31st December 2020

What a strange year it has been!

I’ve been thinking back over my ‘art’ year. In some ways it was so bad! And in some ways it was so good!

All the galleries have been closed for most of the year and I had to cancel both Open Studio events. That was bad. I  still have work in the Buckenham Gallery and the Church Street Gallery, but even when they have been allowed to open I imagine that the foot-fall was very low compared to normal, and I have sold nothing through a gallery all year. The Haylett’s Gallery has actually given up its  real gallery venue in Maldon and has gone completely on-line which is a big disappointment.

I have sold some paintings from my gallery pages on this website, and a lot of cards, calendars and prints from my on-line Shop. That was good.

But what has been really good, and has kept me going all the year has been my painting project Twelve Months in an Essex Field. I have loved visiting the farm each month and seeing what had changed. I enjoyed learning to recognise new wildflowers, and seeing birds I had never seen before. I enjoyed watching the changes to the trees, and the field itself, and looking out for signs of the wildlife. And all that before I even come on to the paintings, and how much I enjoyed painting them. I hadn’t really planned on doing the ‘snippings’ drawings, or the small  jam-jar paintings, but they became an important aspect of the project – and have in fact lead into one of my 2021 projects as you will see if you pop back tomorrow!

When I started to think about what a main painting project for 2021 might look like I had to think why was this year so good? My 2019 North Sea Project, and 2018 Four Seasons on the Stour were both fun but nothing like as absorbing.  I concluded that this year I have been going back to the same place each month so I was able to really get to know that environment and notice the monthly changes in great detail. And that made a huge difference. I bore that in mind when I planned my 2021 big project!

My Towers and Spires series got off to a good start, and I painted five churches – Marks Tey, Great Bromley, Brightlingsea, Stanway and Lexden. It became difficult to visit further afield during the lockdowns, especially to discover churches which had been suggested by other people but which didn’t know myself. I felt I shouldn’t really be driving around miles away, so the series rather ran out of steam, but I may paint a few more churches next year.

I added two more paintings to my Landlines series in 2020 – both railway related! The branch line running along the edge of The Field became one subject, and the huge viaduct at Chappel, which was suggested to me by one of my Instagram followers, became a second. If I come across another suitable subject I will continue the series – I’m up to Landlines 11 now!

So, looking back, and then looking forwards, I have three new art projects for the next year, which I will write about tomorrow. If you get my email newsletter you will know already! I am excited to start all of them, and have made sure that Tier 4 restrictions – or even another lockdown – will not stop me working on them. I’ve ordered some new art materials this afternoon ready for one of the projects  . . .

As this year ends I wish you all, lovely blog readers, a safe and healthy year in 2021 – a year which will gradually fill up (as the vaccine rolls out!) with all the people, activities and places that we have missed during 2020! 🙂


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