2018- A year in review

Dear friends and fellow colour enthusiasts!

Well here we are at the end of another year and beginning a fresh new one!! Oh how time does flies- especially when one is busy!

2018 was the biggest year of my creative career by far! I fulfilled some childhood dreams, traveled to some new and wonderful places, and of course there were lots of other unexpected gems along the way.

Let me take you on a little journey of my 2018 art year in review! I have selected my favourite arty moments of this year to share with you.

In January I achieved of a career goal- having a puzzle of my art created! I was so honoured when Ravensburger contacted me asking for permission to collaborate and create a 1500 piece puzzle! It features my favourite photo I have created of my mandala stones “Rainbow Mandala Stones”. It has been an honour and a joy seeing fans all over the world enjoying this puzzle with family and friends. I love seeing my art enjoyed in a way that it can bring people together! It is a challenging puzzle- but a very rewarding one!

The puzzle “One dot at a time” can be found either directly on the  Ravensburger’s  website (choose your country and search the puzzle’s name) or on  Amazon .

The puzzle “One dot at a time” can be found either directly on the Ravensburger’s website (choose your country and search the puzzle’s name) or on Amazon.

Over the last few years, as my art business has grown more and more online, I try to make an effort to get involved with the local art scene. This year I decided to gather a couple of artists friends and hold an art show at a local winery one weekend. I wanted our show to be colourful, funky, and a little bit different so my Joanne Green, multimedia artist, and Debbie Katz, felt and fibre artist were the perfect fit!

We were blessed with a perfect, warm, blue sky weekend. At opening night Adam played his guitar for us as we feasted on the delicious treats and nibbles Joanne and her Mom so generously made. We filled the space with flowers from a local garden and got dressed up! It was a grand success- we packed the place AND there were plenty red dots next to artwork!

Top left- Joanne, me and Debbie, bottom left Debbie and Joanne’s art, right- my colourful corner

Top left- Joanne, me and Debbie, bottom left Debbie and Joanne’s art, right- my colourful corner

Every year I like to enter an art show of some kind. When I saw Lisa Congdon (an artist I greatly admire and who was to be one of the judges) announce the call for submissions to Bedford Gallery’s “World of Frida” exhibition, I was inspired and determined to be part of it!

Mexico and the art of Frida Kahlo are very dear to my heart, so I wanted to create something special. After a trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in March I painted “Hummingbird Spirit Mandala”- a colourful piece paying homage to the darling birds that I first got to know in Mexico and that also delighted Frida. I was over the moon when my piece was accepted into the show. It was an honour to be part of the exhibition alongside many artists that I admire.

 
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On the topic of favourite artists, I fulfilled another dream of mine to see an original Georgia O’Keeffe painting. This summer Adam and I traveled to New Mexico. It was my first time there and I immediately fell in love with! The colours! The desert! The architecture! The history! Oh my I could live there! We visited the Georgia O’Keeffe museum where we ooo’ed and ahhhh’ed over her brilliant and magnificent creations. It is a spiritual experience for me to be able to study works of my favourite artists up close. To be able to see their brushstrokes and all the tiny detail is inspiring.

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While travelling, we take each day at a time- without too much planning ahead- which works a lot of the time, but unfortunately this time it didn’t. Because the to tours of O’Keeffe’s Albiquiu home fill up days in advance, we were unable to visit. (Oh well- we’ll just have to come back another time!) We did however visit Ghost Ranch, where she had once lived. We took a magnificent hike with breath taking views. In the distance we could see the Cerro Pedernal- a favorite subject for O'Keeffe, who once said, "It's my private mountain. It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it"

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And now, I’ve saved the best for last- my greatest accomplishment of my career- self-publishing my book “Jewels of Nature. A Mandala Stone Treasury”

 
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It was a childhood dream to create a book. I’ve always loved books- they have been such a big part of my life. As my career blossomed so did the idea for this book. “Jewels of Nature” is a 200 page coffee-table art book, full of images of mandala stones photographed with the nature scene, or must, that inspired them. For years I created the content and each stone I painted and photo I took was an adventure in itself.

I was even approached by some publishers but their offers and direction was not in alignment with my heart. So I decided to self-publish which has been the greatest challenge and learning curve in my career. While I self-funded all the finances to cover putting the book together (advisor, editor, photo retoucher, proof reader, fact checker) in order to get the book printed I needed help. So I launched and successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign and with the support of over 500 backers I reached my goal and was able to print the book!

In December I got to meet my book in all its hard bound beauty was momentous. I still can’t quite believe it! I truly love it and am so grateful for all the support and love I have received.

Official worldwide release January 2019

Photos by Kenta Kikuchi

Photos by Kenta Kikuchi

To end this Journal entry, and the year, let's look at my "top 9" images on Instagram! I love how colourful they are!. Thank you so so much for engaging and encouraging me, I truly appreciate it!

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Well folks, that's a wrap! Once again, I send a whole hearted thanks out to you all. I truly wish you and yours a wonderful 2019,

Warmly,

Elspeth

Important note

It is common online on social media to share all our successes- this can create an unbalanced and often untrue impression that all these things come easy. While I achieved SO much this year- it definitely was not easy. In fact in many ways I struggled more than I ever have. But through the struggles I learnt a lot- both about business and myself and my relationships. One day soon I hope to write a journal entry a bit more about the challenges I faced, how I overcame them, and what I learnt. I know I am incredibly blessed and privileged to live my life and create art for income, so I don’t want to be a negative Nelly. At the same time, I do want to open honest dialogue and insight into the reality of being an artist. Anything worthwhile takes a lot of time, energy and sacrifice and I am so very grateful to be where I am today.