2017: What A Year So Far! (And Not In A Good Way)

Clockwise from top left: Snowy Landscape with Sheep and Birds; Midnight Walk 4; Snow Storm Coming; In The Dark Forest. Acrylic on canvas, various sizes. All of these were created during early January 2017.

Clockwise from top left: Snowy Landscape with Sheep and Birds; Midnight Walk 4; Snow Storm Coming; In The Dark Forest. Acrylic on canvas, various sizes. All of these were created during early January 2017.

Well, hello there! How are you all? I really hope you're all feeling better than I am at the moment. You may have noticed that I've been silent on the blog, and I've also been pretty quiet on social media too. The reason for this is that 2017 has been a difficult year so far and I've been struggling with several different things.

Just before Christmas, my partner and I both came down with a very strange virus. It wasn't a cold or flu, but it caused painful, swollen glands and a general feeling of weakness and fatigue that lasted throughout Christmas and well into the New Year. We finally managed to shake that off in January, and then it was time for me to complete my annual Tax Return by the end of the month. It quickly became apparent that I need to implement a different system this year for my accounting, because as my business has grown I'm finding that what worked before - and took far less time - really isn't very efficient now. I had to put painting on hold while I worked on that for a week or so, but consoled myself with the fact that I would soon be able to concentrate on my long overdue personal projects when the paperwork was out of the way. It was also the first time in maybe a year that I had reached the end of my commissions list, and I was excited to think that I'd finally have the time to put all of the new ideas I have into action. So I paid the larger-than-expected tax bill, and got back to work. We're in the middle of house and studio renovations at the moment and I'm also living in two different places as well, so I'm basically working wherever I can set up a temporary work space, which is disruptive to say the least. I'm actually very happy about all of this so I don't want to come across as an old moaner - I'm worried it sounds that way! It will all be worth it in the long run, it's just a little difficult right now.

Anyway, as soon as I started getting back into my art, I became ill again. Firstly with a bad migraine for a couple of days, then with what we'll politely term as "hormonal issues", immediately followed by the flu. I've spent most of February ill, and it has been truly awful. We both came down with this flu virus at around the same time and it knocked us off our feet. I'm somebody who usually gets ill maybe once, sometimes twice, during the winter season. If I'm ill twice I consider myself unlucky. This is the THIRD virus I've had this winter (I also had a cold a few weeks before the weird glandular thing over Christmas). I've mentioned this online recently, and whenever I have, I've been inundated with people saying the same thing - that the viruses this year are very intense and hard to shake off, and that there are more of them. I haven't had something that has made me feel this ill for YEARS, and it appears I'm not alone. Sadly, as I haven't been able to do anything, my work has fallen by the wayside again, we also haven't been able to get on at all with the house and new studio as planned, and I've been struggling to get well, regain my energy, and just get back to normal. I'd love to be able to replenish the money I spent on the tax bill, but as I'm working so little at the moment, my income has dropped severely over the past month or so.

Also, at the beginning of January I started a new project, where I will be painting one mountain per week throughout 2017. I've been intending to create more mountain paintings for about a year now - ever since I went to Scotland! - and yet I never seemed to have the time during 2016. I thought that this would be the perfect way to encourage myself to make a little time for it each week. All was going well at first, but due to ill health I am now four weeks behind! I am going to try to catch up - it shouldn't be too difficult as I can choose how complex or quick each mountain painting can be. But as you can imagine, all of this has been very frustrating, and it's hard to feel positive about things when each day all of your energy and effort goes into just trying to feel "normal".

Well, this blog post has just turned into a massive whinge-a-thon, hasn't it?! I apologise for that, but I wanted to let you know what's been happening this year so far, and explain why I seem to have just disappeared. I also wanted to write about how I feel about my work in general at the moment and some plans going forward, but this has turned into a very long post already so I will leave that topic for another day. There are lots of positive things happening in my life right now as well so it's certainly not all bad, but I think we all go through times of struggle and maybe it's not such a bad thing to share those sometimes. Honesty is a good thing.

Here's to good health and getting back to work...and looking forward to Spring, which is just around the corner!

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