Art Roundup 2019

How have art and the outdoors overlapped this year ?

2018 was all about my debut solo show in a London gallery, and I was painting furiously for that. This year, though, I’ve slowed down a bit, but not been short of ideas and have a huge queue of possible paintings. The prime targets this year were two art fairs – one locally in Essex in March, and one in Windsor in November.

This was also the year that I returned to past subjects, starting off with a revisit of my Svalbard project, yielding two much larger works than the original 20″x16″ pieces. Part of the motivation was the sale of one of those original pieces, and the feeling that I’d never taken that project to much bigger work. So first up was two bigger pieces based on the Longyear Glacier:

Extremities, 40″x32″, acrylic and texture on canvas
Schism, 24″x40″, acrylic and texture on canvas

With the Colchester show approaching, I turned my attention to some more local subjects and produced a work inspired by my March 2018 walk around Hamford Water, itself the inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s Secret Water book:

Secret Water, 28″x24″ acrylic and texture on canvas

All of the above got a lot of attention at the show in Colchester, and Secret Water is now on a wall in Australia.

With the TGO Challenge in May, my attention was diverted for a while to the actual outdoors, and it wasn’t until I returned from doing a section of the South West Coast Path, that I got back on the easel:

Foreshore, 40″x28″, acrylic and texture on canvas
Sea Change, 28″x24″,acrylic and texture on canvas
On the Rocks I, 16″x20″, acrylic and texture on canvas
Go With the Flow, 20″x24″, acrylic and texture on canvas

…all of which were inspired by tidal rock formations from the SWCP.

A final flurry as I got close to Windsor, and this made it to the show:

Fervid, 20″x24″ acrylic and texture on canvas

The Windsor show was interesting. There were big sales made by some of the artists, and big work in particular seemed to be popular. Having deliberately restrained myself from taking too much big work, the irony of this didn’t escape me. I had a couple of enquiries about the possibility of scaling up some of the smaller work to be much bigger, and this has just confirmed that the best strategy is to focus on what works rather than to try to appeal to a wider spread of people. My work suits a larger format so that is the way to go.

Ironically, although the above (apart from Secret Water which was sold before then) got the most attention, what I actually sold was a couple of older-style works:

Eskdale II, 32″x20″, acrylic and texture on canvas
The Mountain, 20″x20″, acrylic and texture on canvas

These were bought by the same chap, and were very much against the run of play though.

This year’s walks may not have yielded much in the way of paintings, apart from the SWCP, but I have built up quite a store of photos to paint such that the problem is narrowing down what to paint. I’ve also picked up a few photos that were the basis for previous works and looked at them again, knowing that I’d paint them quite differently now, such is the nature of how your practice evolves. So there may be a few updates of past subjects coming. I’ve also decided to have the courage of my convictions and not hold back from painting work the size it deserves to be, and I think I’ll see 2020 work moving forwards a bit.

As usual, I have produced a 2020 calendar, primarily as Christmas presents for family and close friends, and (also as usual) have a few spare. So give me a shout if you’d like one. They’re £12.50 each, including UK postage. Also, for those interested in my art, I have a dedicated site and am @matthewkingarts on all the usual social media places.

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