2016 has simply flown by. It has been an incredibly busy year with lots of high notes! Now that Christmas is near, it is a good time to look back. What did 2016 mean for me? There were exhibitions and blog posts, videos and politics, a dog and an article. Below I list the best bits.
I am not overly concerned with ratings and pages views, but I do check my Google Analytics once in a while. There I can find how many people visited my website and which blog posts were most popular. Throughout the year the most popular blog posts already became clear. Even though I wrote some of these posts in 2015, the series ‘Busting the Myths of Oil Painting‘ has proved hugely popular and gets a lot of visitors. The most popular ones in 2016 were:
- Toxicity in Oils : Are oil paints really toxic and how careful do you need to be?
- Oil Painting Supports : Linen, cotton, copper; there is so much to choose from when it comes to supports!
- What’s in a (Brand) Name: so many brands so many types. Oil paint comes in many qualities.
While we are talking stats, I quickly looked up the most visited paintings on my website and found these the most popular: Self Portrait with Lace Collar, Brabant Lace, Fallen Leaves.
This year I had two solo shows. Although one could argue that was bordering on madness as I worked very hard to get everything ready and finished, I would argue it was fantastic. These were my first proper solo exhibitions and I am really proud and pleased how they went and were received.Catto Gallery took me on and put up a wonderful looking show, created a brilliant catalogue and a private view to remember. The show truly looked beautiful. Here is a video of the exhibition, and a link to my blog post with more pictures.
My second solo show is still running as I write this. The Harley Gallery kindly invited me to come up with a new series of works inspired by the Portland Collection, which they show at the Welbeck Abbey Estate. It was a unique experience to work with this collection and learn about the history of the house, the family and the collection. The paintings I created took on many 17th century topics and themes, which connected well with my paintings created after winning the BP Travel Award in 2013. The ‘BP paintings’ were portraits of modern women wearing authentic 17th century lace or 17th century inspired costumes. Both collections of paintings were brought together at The Harley Gallery from 29 October onwards. The exhibition is still on until 8 January.
Here is a video showing the exhibition and a link to my blog post with lots of pictures.
The Harley Gallery also made a video in which I introduce (nervously!) my show. Have a look here or click the picture below:
Other exhibitions that included my work were at the Royal West of England Academy of Art (RWA) in Bristol where I had two paintings selected for their annual Open Exhibition. This was my 6th year running with the RWA and I hope for many more years to come. The Royal Society of Portrait Painters also kindly selected a work (pastel self portrait) for which I am grateful. Their show is always a highlight for any portrait painter or portrait lover. I had work exhibited with Haynes Galleries in the US, with the Blackheath Gallery in London and even at a local secondary school.
A wonderful event was the article published in the December issue of Artists & Illustrators Magazine, written by Natalie Milner. She described my work so very well and included many images of my recent work. A highlight of my year! Click here or on the image to read it.
Of course 2016 has been quite a year for the UK and Europe. As a Dutch woman in the UK, the ‘Brexit’ referundum played a very large part in my life as I followed the political events closely. As most EU citizens in the UK, I have no idea what will happen in the future and how it will affect my status. These are uncertain times.
On a brighter note 2016 also brought me and my family our wonderful new companion Flynn. He is now 11 months old and full of cuddles, naughtiness and walkies. He is a beautiful Welsh Springer Spaniel and we love him to bits.
I have no idea what the new year will bring. I have very few plans and am going to just see where it will take me. I might do some more workshops (depending on whether my dog would leave the students alone!), I will definitely join the Severn Vale Art Trail and open my studio doors for a weekend in the spring. I will soon get back to the easel and start new works. I have some vague plans but nothing clear enough to share here. I would like to experiment a bit with different subject matter but I also want to dig deeper into the relationship between us and our past. I know I am being vague! I can only hope you will join me on my journey.Thank you to all my readers for following me on my blog, on social media or via my newsletters. And thank you also to all who purchased from me and commissioned me. I could not create my art withouth you all and am very grateful for your support and enthusiasm.
Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
See you on the other side….Sophie