Sunset on 2008 – Review of my Year 2008

‘Sunset 31 December’
30 x 40 cm ( approx 16 x 12 inches)
© The Artist.
150 euros

Review: My Year in 2008

  • First off …. I can’t seem to take good photos of my paintings with my underexposing camera cannon EOS 400D & the burnt our screen of my seven year old iMac.
  • Managed to do some painting, though other years have been more productive. I’m less time-rich than previous years.  The leaking roof of our house has to be replaced next year in 2009 & I’m also a part-time house-dad of two young children.
  • I did however manage to paint in 2008 one medium size oil painting which I am genuinely pleased with. One of those paintings that challenge the painter to go even higher, even futher , even better. One of those paintings I look at & wonder will I ever been able to paint as well as that again? Good to have that challenge.
  • I ditched the 30 x 40 small size oils (see ‘my blog project’) for a good while in 2008 but now want to pick it up again. The 30 x 40 small size paintings at a small price for sale via Paypal haven’t soldnone at all via internet from this blog but sold OK in the exhibitions. I enjoyed doing them anyhow so I don’t think it was ‘sunk & lost’ time.
  • Small formats are good for plein-air as they can be painted within the three to four hour time slot (excluding packing, cleaning & travel… & retouching). I really enjoy my core practise which is plein-air painting. I love doing it but…something….what?….a little voice in the quiet of the night….it’s just that I want to take my vision of what I want from plein-air painting further into new territory. I realise that this means that I must work harder so as to push my plein-air further.
  • Watercolours were less prioritised in 2008. 2007 was a good year for watercolour. Watercolour is my first love. I remember being amazed by ‘wc’ when I was sixteen, which is coming on thirty years ago. I dream of ‘the natural way’ of wc painting… & maybe there were some signs of this in 2008. Don’t however confuse ‘natural’ with ‘easy’. A trap which many fall into & end up painting glib, formulaic wc’s, which is fine if that’s what you want. Something however bucks inside of me that this & I realise I must follow this little voice, even if it means… I digress. Lovely watercolour.
    • In 2008 I worked a lot on sketching, especially ‘moving targets’ sketched whilst they were in motion ‘on the hoof’ ‘Sur la Vif’ like my children (see blog label) moving about & musicians playing. I would however like to develop these into larger works which exist outside of the sketchbook & can be exhibited/framed/sold. That will tie up all these seemingly diverse & contradictory threads I play with & get all tangled up. Still what else would I rather be doing? In some ways my musicians are my hymn to what I admire in humans : our creativity. Music is… lovely.



  • My ‘How to Paint’ book developed slowly in 2008. This ‘book’ has been growing out from both my painting practice & my teaching notes over the last ten years. Offline & not here on online in this blog. I want to start publishing in 2009 via the ‘how to paint’ press. It includes the painting techniques & tips that I pass on whilst teaching (& occassionally here whilst blogging – see the painting & drawing : techniques & tips label).
  • Good painting workshops & day teaching in 2008. Good teaching is a learning experience for the teacher as well. I really enjoy teaching. You get to meet lots of interesting people & ‘put your heads together’ to find the answer. Yes, they was good painting, good learning & good fun.
  • Our painting holidays team developed a new venue : Chateau de Beduer in the Lot. It was a roaring success & everybody was most pleased. We had a student return rate of over fifty percent 🙂
  • Some good invitations to exhibit in 2009, including a good commercial gallery in St. Emillon (yes thanks) & another from a prestigious but bad commercial gallery in Paris near Le Pompidou (no thanks).
  • A good year followed by a bad year tax-wise is crippling as the taxes are paid retrospectively ie I pay for 2008 in 2009. I pay taxes & social charges as artists are legally obliged to do so here in France … Health cover is important…. but perpetual money worries are dehabilitating. You’ve got to earn it to pay it.
  • I fear the recession & the collapse of sterling will hurt me badly in 2009. I fear we are all up for wounding/low revenues/debt/possibilty of insolvency in 2009.
  • I worry for mankind, the next generation & my children. In my little way, see my blog category artists & ecology. But then again painting isn’t politics is it? Nero’s fiddling away whilst Rome burns?

  • well developed & SEO placed. Recent paintings need to updated however.
  • Coming soon to : the return of my Carnet de Voyage en Egypte – an online sketch book dating from 2001 but updated in 2009 after a visit to the Egyptian dept. in the Louvre – read it in this blog somewhere or other.
  • ‘Dordogne Painting Days’ blog – I enjoy it but is it a waste of time? That Robinsoe Crusoe feeling of hours wasted on the type pad… painting = don’t talk about it, do it!
  • This blog’s blog stats growing at 15 percent per month. Seth GODIN : art blogs tend to generate attention but not revenue.
  • Decided to get out, read, inter-react & meet other blogging artists, even if that too is a waste of time in terms of money. But I enjoy these meetings as they makes me feel less isolated. I need to talk through/clarifying the tangle that is my brain as well as take great care of my creativity & my painting practice. Thanks blog readers & internet friends 🙂