Before lockdown I had been pondering my art practice.
I work freelance to make up any shortfall in income and to be honest the back half of 2019 and into the first few months of 2020 had me wondering whether to jack the whole ‘fiddling around with paint’ thing in altogether. I work out of what was our dining room and my husband works out of our kitchen so the house is in a permanent state of flux – add to that two teenagers that do what teenagers do best and you will understand that any social invites was out of the question without at least a weeks notice!
Then along came lockdown.
WOW! I sat in my studio going through my diary crossing out all the exhibitions, committee meetings, and events out for the next few months and then looked around me.
After about 5 minutes thinking ‘what is the point’ and full of self pity my eyes fell onto a quote that lives on my notice board…”Remember why you started. Don’t give up, find a way”
Spurred into action I wrote a list of things that I wanted to get out of my Art career and set about making them happen.
I have painted pet portraits for a long time but also love to paint landscapes and do more experimental stuff which never really sits right when trying to communicate this on my social media and web pages.
First a rebrand and split of ‘commission’ based business and ‘exhibition’ and personal art goals business. After getting it all on paper it was like a weight had been lifted, but I now had to actually put the plan into action.
Before I could change my mind I put a post out on facebook – I was going to challenge myself to paint something everyday with the help of anyone that wanted to get involved. I asked for photos of things that made people happy. It could be anything…pet, favourite holiday destination, person…. It soon became clear that pets were the things that brought joy to most households and so my Lockdown Challenge was born… ‘30 Paintings in 30 Days’ I would choose a photo sent in via facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and paint it. On my list of things to improve was ‘Technical Skills’ and so I filmed each painting and edited it in iMovie and posted to Youtube. All paintings were completed in no more than 2 hours leaving an hour or so to edit and plan the next days painting. Having a self imposed time limit made every brush stroke count and helped to get my eye in early and commit to the canvas. I felt brave and out of my depth in equal measure!
When the videos were uploaded they were posted to my social media channels at the end of every day and then posted to the recipient if they wanted them. Everyone did!
I only charged for materials and postage so I could pay it forward to the next recipient. It kept me in business and instead of me paying to do an online course, people were paying me to learn new skills. This is my attitude to my business now. I want to work every day. I have learnt the discipline of getting up early every day, coming into the studio, doing admin, planning the next painting, and getting on with it! I don’t want to stop!
So far since the 1st April I have painted almost 100 cats, dogs and horses and am just about to start Christmas commissions!
My exhibition with Karen Sillar as ‘Print Pastel and Paint’ at Bear Steps Gallery in Shrewsbury in September was a success with the new landscapes and abstracts that I worked on during the evenings after painting commissions during the day.
I have honestly never been busier and I love it!
I know that it isn’t easy for some to find the love and inspiration in their art during this difficult time, but what I have learnt is that now is the time to find joy in whatever you can and celebrate the small stuff. Do whatever makes you smile…the rest will come around.
To book or enquire about having your pet painted please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or for art for your home or office (or home-office!) you can view my portfolio or send me an email at email@example.com
If you would like to see more of my art you can find me here:-
Facebook – pawsomepaintingsuk
Instagram – pawsomepaintingsuk
Twitter - @pawsomepaintings
Web – www.pawsomepaintings.co.uk
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook – AlisonStaffordArt
Instagram – alstaffordart
Twitter - @alstaffordart
Web – www.alisonstafford.com
Email – email@example.com