Chapter 2021 Begins.

And so, as a cold frost settles over the country, a fresh, crisp new year begins..

There is a lot to be said about last year, but I think a lot of it need not be lingered upon now - we were all there, we know what happened and we do not really need a reminder thank you very much! However, 2020 did have some upsides just like all challenging times. It taught me the important lesson that plans are sometimes very rudely interrupted by life and circumstances well out of our control; and how that impacts everything, including our work lives - especially when you are newly navigating the role of self-employed. I am very glad to say that my fire and enthusiasm for my artwork and it's potential has not been dampened by the difficulties and stresses I faced last year. In fact, I think it has somewhat strengthened my resolutions and goals for my career in the art world.

Furlough from my second job meant that, for the first time, I had a taste of working solely for myself and gave me insights into how well I can stay focused and motivated when I am having to be my own boss. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I managed to achieve during the long four month UK quarantine. Finally, I was able to spend time creating my own work rather than just commissions. Starting with my first series of works that were actually inspired by the way quarantine interrupted my usual flat-out lifestyle, making me slow down and really appreciate the beauty and life going on all around us in our gardens. Following this, with the help of Kylonian Design, I was able to set up my online store to sell the prints created from the Garden's Glory series, as well as dusting off my old dormant Etsy to begin selling there also.

As well as the creative freedom the year allowed, it also gave me ample time to start planning and daydreaming about what I'd love to achieve and create in the future as I grow as an artist. I am currently halfway through my next short series of works inspired by the coast where I have grown up and some of the wildlife I have always loved spotting.

This beautiful grey seal is one of the portraits in the series that i am perhaps most proud of so far. I stepped out of my comfort zone and allowed myself to be more expressive and try some new techniques (including generally including a background - eek!). I am looking forward to trying some similar techniques in the future (stay tuned - like I say I got big plans brewing!).

I want to sign off this little ramble by saying a massive thank you to everyone who supported me last year. Last year more than ever showed the importance of friends and community as everyone had to help each other out and be considerate. It was tough for us all and unfortunately we have started a new year in much the same predicament of fear, uncertainty and isolation. So the support and time people have found in the past year whether it be my friends and family being there for me when times got difficult or worrying, or the strangers who have followed my social medias, liked a post or left a comment or share - THANK YOU. Every tiny bit of support means the whole world to someone like myself. It has allowed me to do something I adore every day that not only makes me happy, but makes other people happy too by giving them something beautiful to cherish forever bringing them closer to their furry family members when they receive a commissioned piece.

Here's to chapter 2021 everyone - may you be healthy, safe and find some peace in these uncertain times.

Ruth x

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