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  • Writer's pictureCarmel Reid

A Review of 2018

Another year has come and gone with 2018 becoming one of the most significant years for my art work. The beginning of the year saw me pick a standard size for my art work. Previously, I had used a multitude of sizes which varied the compositions of my work changing how I approached each painting. I enjoyed this, but on reflection picking a standard size for my works really helped my mind focus on the May exhibition.

My first painting of 2018, Ystwyth Forest, was the beginning of two turning points in the year. It was the first painting I had created in a long time that I felt was resolved and not just left to gather dust in my studio. The composition was better than previous paintings and I felt it really captured the layers, barriers and atmosphere within the woodland. My paintings from then on began to advance and I was able to paint at a faster rate than before. Painting more improved my confidence to try out newer things to a greater extent. I played with painting the woodland in the dark with varying degrees of success as well as capturing the cold and mist that enveloped the forests in the winter months.

From January to May the weather changed vastly and at points it was hard to keep up. As winter turned to spring, I had to keep walking into the woodland as the colours and plants changed every week. As the May exhibition approached my art work was starting to adapt to the seasons with greater brush marks and layers being used. I ended the May exhibition on a high but was also apprehensive to the

September exhibition as I had a far less amount of time to produce paintings and develop them.

This brings me to my first post May painting, Penglais Wood III. I had given myself a couple of weeks off to relax and gather myself for the last and final push of the MA course. Within these couple of weeks however, green had engulfed the woodland as summer was beginning to take hold. This brought with it several difficulties which I had not tackled before; how to handle and use the colour green appropriately and equally how to convey my feelings and the atmosphere of the woodland that had all changed

with the seasons. However, with Penglais Wood III, I captured the woodland with various glazes of colour and tentatively began to build my confidence in being able to make a mark and leave it. As with Ystwyth Forest, Penglais Wood III set the ball rolling for September exhibition. My paintings developed as I learned how to use green which I had often found a difficult colour to work with. I played with the sunlight within paintings and how that affected the look of the woodland. I embraced that with the warmth and sunlight I no longer felt apprehensive in the woodland alone, the scariest thing was avoiding the wasps and bees which always seemed particularly interested in me.

The September exhibition came and went. It was a successful one and marked the end of my five years in Aberystwyth and with it the news that I would be taking part in the FBA Futures 2019 exhibition! I had learned and grown so much in the School of Art it was sad to leave and will always be an important part of my life. Leaving Aberystwyth meant a move down to Plymouth bringing with it a whole new terrain and scenery to enjoy and acquaint myself with. But suddenly finding myself outside of the educational ‘bubble’, I found painting a daunting prospect. For a short while, I was almost afraid to paint in case I had forgotten everything I had been taught and developed throughout the years. Of course, when I began painting once again I realised this was not the case and it felt different to paint knowing this was not going to be critiqued by my tutor the following week.

All things considered, 2018 was a year of considerable and advancement within my works developing technically and creatively. I end and 2018 and begin 2019 looking ahead to build my career further and the anticipation of the exhibition with less than a week to go.

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