The year has essentially been good, with a decent level of production, some sales and positive gallery contacts in Edinburgh.
In terms of quality, the work varies. Art is not craft, nor is it decoration: it's an experimental research, and the products of any artist necessarily vary in quality. A percentage of work -even whole weeks or months- can be spent in futile searches. This is not enjoyable, but the alternative is to lean into insipidity or mere craftsmanship.
This year, however, has consolidated somewhat: when I began blogging a couple of years ago I was in a very uncertain phase, trying many new media, and techniques, and themes, in an attempt to find my feet.
I elected to follow the path of "itinerant painter", humbly in the footsteps of painter-heroes such as Turner and Lear. I felt that this would be a way to combine the pleasures of travel, of observation, of personal reflection with the delight of painting, and allow me to escape from private ruminations, which are rarely, in truth, of much interest to anyone else, even when lent artistic form. With this role, I joyfully visited Italy, Malta, am touring Brazil, and will, in February, go to London, Scotland and Tunisia.
Ergo, over the last year, I have been considerably more focused on painting "pochades": portable small paintings about the sises of postcards, or even smaller.
My production, naturally, varies in quality: there are a fair proportion of "duds": at least 15%. There are works which are, I think exemplary, perhaps one in thirty , and then there is the grey mass, whose quality is never easy to discern.
It can be said that making very bad painting is better from an learning perspective than making mediocre ones, in that they illustrate faults with much less ambiguity. Contrawise, when things "go right", I always hate that touched by the hand of God feeling, which both athletes and artists share on rare, brilliant days: such instances teach nothing, even as they lend moments of ecstasy.
Like many artists, I possess a "blind spot" when it comes to judging my own work: things which seem wonderful to me on the day of painting, on the next appear meretricious. Others, which I dismissed soon after making, later seem to possess some interest.
This site remains excellent for attracting new viewers. The fact that I can show my work in various virtual groups allows me to find new followers. The site is elegant and easy to use.
There are 545 followers, up from 454 last year.
I have been posting here steadily, with commentaries. I went through a period of posting film reviews on here too: later I came to the conclusion, from reading other online film reviews, that I have little or nothing to add to the good work done by many well known critics, my own opinions really differing little from theirs. Ergo, I slowly stopped publishing my reviews.
The indexing system is superb, allowing : rapid thematic connection between postings. Choosing keywords is not easy: too general and it is useless, an too specific fill fail to connect one post with another. Should there be separate keywording for "sea" and "sea painting" for instance? But, as my blog develops, which keywords are useful will become more obvious.
So now the site concentrates almost entirely on my own art production.
There are now 59 followers, up from 43: I rarely get feedback though Blogger, however.
I've been showing work here steadily through the year. It is quite effective as it bridges social networks and art sites. I recommend it. It has been good for generating sales and interest. I have "friends"- few of who met me there specifically to follow my work.
This inelegant and fussy site is not much good- I think it''s primarily aimed at teenagers. I have now 39 followers, up from 10 last year.
I have found this site utterly useless in terms of making contacts with other artists, rarely receiving comments or any interest whatsoever. My feeling is that it attracts strictly careerists, and they have little notion of community. I will probably stop posting here.
Art and Architecture
I have joined this site a few days ago. Let's see how it goes: http://artandarchitecture.co.uk/
I feel a broad sympathy with it's objectives, though it isn't elegant.