2020: New Year, New Endeavours

Trying Something New: Oil and Cold Wax Painting

Happy New Year! I hope 2020 is a happy and healthy year for you and one that contains many creative adventures.

As with most years that have gone before, I sat myself down on the 1st of January to think about a set of intentions to get myself rolling with all the potential the new year brings. I began by asking myself what I wanted to achieve this year. That got me thinking about what workshops I want to offer and what training I will undertake to keep my skills fresh and flexible (more on this later). Then I asked myself what I wanted to experience this year. That got me thinking about where I want to go, who I want to collaborate with and what creative challenges I want to set myself.

This year however, the creative question has been easy to answer because I began working on two creative projects in 2019 that are still on-going. The first is a collaboration with artist, Fenneke Wolters-Sinke and the second is a solo art exhibition I have been invited to present at the Phoenix Hall in Milltimber, Aberdeen in June. I will write a separate blog post for the collaboration with Fenneke soon but for now I want to concentrate this post on my up-coming art exhibition.

I was invited back in 2018 whilst taking part in NEOS (North East Open Studios) at the same venue. Exhilarated and nervous, I have been turning over ideas and themes ever since. This has coincided with the continued ‘sorrowing time’ I have experienced since my mum died in 2018. In many ways it’s a fortunate synchronicity that I was offered a project to focus my energy on at a time when I needed an alternative to working therapeutically with others.

Autumnal Labyrinth I laid in my back garden.

As in many other emotionally difficult times, I turned to the labyrinth as a source of support and comfort and decided to lay a labyrinth in my back garden. Walking it regularly has helped me find the balance between grieving and celebrating the life I shared with my mum and I found myself wanting to focus more and more on the labyrinth – it’s known history, it’s imagined past, other people’s interpretations and ruminations about it and my own personal exploration of its meaning for me. As a result, this has become the focus for my art exhibition.

I have been experimenting with my art practice ever since, trying out new techniques and formats, looking for something that fits the nuance and the layers of meaning contained within my experience of working with the labyrinth. This experimentation has led me to painting with oils and cold wax medium – something entirely new to me. But this also feels fitting for a time of new horizons and a re-framed future. I’ve never found stepping out of my comfort zone easy but so far this has been rewarding and uplifting and fun.

I will be writing about my progress over the coming months on a regular basis – both the exhibition itself and writing for wellbeing workshops connected to it mid-year. If you would like to be kept up-to-date about the exhibition and/or workshops please contact me to be added to my mailing list at: elainereidwriting@btinternet.com

Another early experiment with Oil and Cold Wax Painting

In the meantime, I hope your own year has started well and that the returning light brings you increased energy and inspiration.