Backward and forward

Mike,me and the tandem - fun days in Speyer

Mike,me and the tandem - fun days in Speyer

I’m sat here, typing this on New Years’ Eve and looking back, it has been a pretty good year. I have certainly got a lot of work done and sales of paintings, if rather slow, have been quite steady, despite all the economic woes.

I’ve had work displayed in a good number of group exhibitions this year, but I guess the biggest thing to happen, of course, was my four month long visit to Speyer. This time last year, I still didn’t know whether my application had been successful. Apparently, a young New York artist and I were both being considered for the scholarship……but at a final meeting of the Kunstlerbund, towards the end of January, I got the vote. It seems likely that my age (at 51 I’m knocking on a bit) gave me the edge! The young chap from New York is doing some great work by all accounts and will hopefully be successful either this year or in the future.

As anyone who followed my blogs through the summer will know, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time, met some wonderful people and superb artists. It certainly gave me a great opportunity to paint completely different subject matter and the response to it by the people of Speyer was hugely encouraging.

Art aside, one of the most memorable days in Speyer took place in the final week, when Michael Lauter (one of the Kunstlerbund artists) turned up with a tandem. He had also brought along an electrical bicycle for Anita. The ensuing few hours cycling along the Rhine were wonderful. I hadn’t been on a bicycle for over twenty years and it really was so funny being on a tandem…..I split my trousers on the saddle, we ended up cycling in circles, opposite a nuclear power station and cycled rather precariously through a flooded section of the path….with Michael shouting, ‘’Power, power!’’ I obviously wasn’t peddling hard enough.

Late evening, Achmelvich, Assynt

Late evening, Achmelvich, Assynt

Despite being away all summer, we have still managed to fit in a reasonable number of days on the hills this year. We’re still not very fit though and although I’m not really a New Years’ Resolution kind of person, we have decided we need to make special efforts to get fit now that January has all but arrived.

Ben More Assynt from Conival

Ben More Assynt from Conival

As I may have already said in past blogs, we are heading back to Achmelvich for two weeks in May. Maysie and Durrant Macleod, owners of Hillhead Caravans sent us through the booking form just last week and we have become all excited…the long, light days of May really don’t seem too far away. We’ve already been talking about having a third attempt at reaching Ben More Assynt. But for me, it’ll require a very long day of fine weather to do this…hence the need to get fit! I have also realised (not that I’m a bagger of hills of course) that I am only seven Corbetts short of fifty and so this should give me something to aim for in 2011.

Right, well, there’s lots to be done this year, not least getting the final few pieces finished for my exhibition at The Strathearn Gallery in February. So, it will be a few beers tonight but then back to the studio tomorrow afternoon. Best wishes for 2011.

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