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January. New Year new lockdown - but some good news

Well, here we go again. Another lockdown. Looking out of the window at the stunning winter sun and itching to go out and paint plein air. I treated myself to a lovely New Wave Ugo pochade box which is a thing of beauty. I can't see I'll be able to put it through its paces for a while yet. In the meantime, I've fashioned a tiny palm-sized pochade box out of a shoe box lid which I'm going to trial on my next walk. I reckon if I can't go out with all my usual painting kit I can at least do some quick captures whilst walking, then take these back with me to the studio.

I found last week a bit shapeless to be honest. Wake up times are variable, which shortens the painting day somewhat as the light is so poor after 3 pm at this time of year. My son starts back at online school on Monday so I'm going to pretend I'm seeing him off the premises at 8 am each morning and start work. I feel much better when I'm productive.

Decided to reinstate the weekly art challenges I introduced during Lockdown 1. These were initially for my lovely students to keep their creativity buoyant but I managed to gain a

loyal following of random others as the weeks went by. I'm starting these on 11 January and anyone can join in. Just contact me at The challenges each week will focus on removing options when you are painting or drawing. Many artists (myself included) tend to overwork when we have unlimited time, materials and colours so each challenge will limit those choices. This will hone observation and force decisions. It’s all about economy. Really looking forward to seeing the results!

I also received some exciting news last week. I'm a finalist in the British Contemporary Art competition 2021. Gallery representation is something I've put on my list for 2021 (despite lockdown limitations) and I really admire this online gallery and how it works. I've had variable experiences with bricks & mortar galleries and I already make 95% of my sales online so I'd love to be a part of this online gallery's stable of very fine artists. The winner is based on a popular vote so hoping clients and students will vote for me at

More exciting news. Last July, I competed as a wildcard in Landscape Artist of the Year. My day painting at Chartwell was undoubtedly the highlight of my year and I have many happy memories of the day. My wildcard episode airs on 3 February at 8 pm on Sky Arts or Freeview channel 11 so do tune in to see if I make a complete plonker of myself. I will post separately about my day as a wildcard in February.

Although the year has started with a lockdown, I am determined to build on the progress I made last year with my art career. Opportunities may be limited but I will keep slogging away, painting, trying new materials and subject matter. Can't wait to see what the year brings!


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