The last year has been challenging for many as we adjust to living in a time of heightened insecurity and restricted freedoms. For me, I have found both sanctuary and liberty through my art, as ever, submerging myself in a creative world of awe and wonder. As I discover cities, islands and regions from my drawing board, it engages my interest in a world that I know one day I will explore and it brings back memories of travels past too. In 2021 I created 137 artworks, most of which were commissioned by my licensees that convert my artwork into best-selling product ranges.
I also walked. Living by the South West Coast Path of England, I am fortunate to be able to walk this well trodden path, up and down cliffs and onto deserted beaches, where I usually take a dip whatever the weather. Walking for me is a meditation that connects me to the world. Next year I will be hiking through the Sinai Mountains over 12 days so the 1,000+ miles that I have done in 2021 is good preparation for this adventure in the desert mountains.
In 2021 I said goodbye to my beloved hen Hilary, who broke my heart when she suddenly passed in May. Bringing Jennifer and Miranda into our home shortly after, brought back the joy of living in the company of chickens .. chaotic, dirty, entertaining and rewarding.
I won a national award for my business: International Gift of the Year 2021, in recognition of the success of my brand around the world through licensing my artwork to a curated portfolio of manufacturers. It was a wonderful achievement, shared by the team that supports my brand, which includes the many employees of my licensees around the world that make such amazing, sustainable products, printed with my art.
I also spent most of the year training to become a foster carer, and with that learning how to communicate with severely traumatised children through playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy (PACE). And the year drew to a close with looking after a young girl who taught me more in a week than I had learnt in a year!
I swam in the sea in every month of the year and as the year drew to a close, I found love :-). So 2021 was a wonderful year for reflection, creative expression and humanity, which without the restrictions of the pandemic, may not have happened. So here's to love in a time of loneliness and the opportunity to stretch our wings and fly in 2022.