A year closes and with that, it gives me the chance to reflect on some wonderful moments in 2018 that shaped my work and added to my ongoing experience of combining travel and art.
In February I got stranded in Iceland when my plane missed a connection. Ever the explorer I took a bus from the bleak, bitter cold wasteland of a hotel where I had been dumped together with other passengers from the plane, into Reykjavik. A stolen day from a busy trade fair schedule gave me the opportunity to dip my toe into the unique culture of Iceland, make new friends and create a new design ...
In the Spring I travelled to Asia and created a live Cityscape at #007 Ginza. I generated a new, and young fan base in the beautiful new store where I drew this well-heeled shopping district of Tokyo with its cute feline residents.
Throughout the year we embarked on a major renovation project of our house. We turned our tired, 1920's seaside bungalow into a 3 storey, contemporary dwelling which included a separate, 3 floor roomed studio. At last I was able to escape the confines of the back bedroom and stretch my artistic wings in my own, private space ... well almost, my little cat BiBi decided that this was a shared space and is by my side every day that I'm there creating my artwork.
Journeys around the world continued. A favourite was taking the overnight sleeper train from London to Edinburgh. I was so excited that I didn't think that I would ever sleep but the gentle, rocking motion of the train winding its way north on the tracks, led me into a deep slumber until I woke with a start in the Scottish Borders and breakfast beckoned.
Another live Cityscape at Black creek Pioneer Village in Toronto gave me the opportunity to make friends with other, young, budding artists. As I travelled around the world I built up new relationships with licensees, enabling my artwork to turn into sustainable and stylish souvenirs, tote bags and homewares.
As I live near a big migratory plain in Devon I signed myself up to a bird-watching course and my interest in birds increases as I look out from my studio into my garden and see gold finches, great tits, blue tits and marsh tits fluttering about in the foliage. A favourite weekend activity is walking from Topsham back home to Exmouth where we spot lots of wild fowl, waders and raptors. All comes in very handy when I'm creating my Cityscape designs, which now include lots of birds. This one I created for the RSBP in my childhood playground of Sherwood Forest was a great learning opportunity too.
As the year drew to an end I downed my tools and took up my travel gear and headed off to the Pacific Northwest. Family, friends and business opportunities lay ahead and I discovered a part of the world that was new to me but already I want to return to. I fell in love with Portland and Oregon and here's why ...
2019 beckons with lots of travel already scheduled in so here's to a new year and New York! :-)