03 Jan New Year’s Greeting
A very happy 2024 to you
We had a wonderful family Christmas and New Year, with incredible food expertly planned and prepared by, Helena, assisted in the kitchen by Ruaidhri. Covid swept through rekindling those moral dilemmas and a cocktail of guilt and anxiety that delivered a few blows.
As their surprise gifts from me, the family all received a sketch book and a roll up pencil case, stocked with a wide variety of drawing tools, pens and pencils of different widths and softness plus a wide mechanical clutch pencil. They also received one of my favourite Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks, with an index that is my key to good note making and re-finding. My studio walls are currently covered with drawings I made before Christmas and now we are all well equipped to draw our way through 2024.
I am full of ideas for the year ahead. I’m continuing to make discoveries studying the Renaissance paintings of Lavinia Fontana, alongside the echoes I see in contemporary fashions with sumptuous details, always tightly cropped. I have filled the gaps in my paint colours, added new drawing tools and I have some new painting substrates and techniques that I am excited to experiment with.
In the studio I am planning to get a carpenter in to batten the walls in order to make adaptable painting supports and to install shelves in the alcoves. I’d love to find a ladder to reach the top shelves in this high-ceilinged room. That fantasy of a library with high shelves requiring a ladder is an appealing one isn’t it? Rather than just find homes for all of the paintings I’m thinking about hosting a studio sale to clear the decks in readiness for a productive new year. If you would like the opportunity to come and meet me, see what I’m up to now and have a look at the paintings on sale just answer with a yes to this email. It would be a nice thing to look forward to, the opportunity to connect with you, whether you buy or not.
I have just been reading author James Clear’s Atomic Habits. In the bonus chapter The Biology of Bad Behaviour, he writes about the influence of biology on behaviour. “The natural process of aging influences dopamine production… which peaks around age twenty… as a result feelings of desire and motivation tend to decline over time…similarly the desire to explore tends to decline over time. For some people, life begins to feel less urgent as they age.”
I am very happy to say that these tendencies do not apply to me. I have had some traumatic hurdles in my life to overcome to thank for that. While I may not have quite as much energy as I once had, I am developing the ability to edit out the unnecessary and focus on what inspires me. This gives me an excited sense of urgency to learn, explore and produce that means these next decades are set to be my finest.
I recently received some heart-warming feedback from the brilliant novelist Tim Robinson: “I love the way you educate yourself in order to paint something new and then pass on that education to your fanbase. It’s a bright light on an increasingly dark world and I, for one, am very grateful.”
I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year, that you are also looking forward to new possibilities in 2024 and that we will have the opportunity to meet up soon.
Warmest wishes from Fiona