Quarterly recap: It's been busy!

It's been some time since I've scribbled in my sketchbook. April's arrival marks a quarter of the year gone by, prompting a moment to reflect on the studio's journey thus far.

January began at a leisurely pace, following a bustling December filled with completed commissions. Midway through the month, I wrapped up a new pop art piece titled "Jumping on the Steamboat." Crafting works that blend painting with street art demands time and patience, unlike the swift turnaround of ink commissions. With other mediums, I find myself picking up and setting aside projects multiple times before completion.
Indeed, the completion of the piece on a substantial 60 by 60 aluminum canvas left me with a profound sense of satisfaction; it embodied my original basesketch. Despite my eagerness to embark on the next pop art project, progress has been sluggish, stretching across several months without reaching fruition. Alas, it remains a work in progress, lacking that elusive quality that transforms an almost into a finished.
In February, a visit to the Quentin Blake exhibition in my hometown reignited my passion for ink pens, a medium I had momentarily set aside while exploring other materials. Inspired by the whimsical world of Blake's illustrations, I delved back into the realm of ink. Additionally, February marked the unveiling of the first installment of an ongoing series of "quirky" inks, each drawing inspiration from the timeless tales of Jules Verne.
The release of the illustration for "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" garnered positive feedback and kind words. Amidst attending to commissions and personal projects, I also shared several ink sketches on social media.
March granted me the fortunate escape to the sunny shores of Spain, offering a much-needed respite following a bustling period of activity. Basking in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun, I seized the opportunity to replenish my energy reserves. Reflecting on my getaway, I count myself exceedingly fortunate, especially considering the lackluster weather that still persists in the UK.
During my time away, I ventured to the modern art gallery in Alicante, a departure from my usual preferences, yet it proved to be a wellspring of inspiration and novel concepts. Exploring the diverse array of artistic expressions ignited a spark of creativity, broadening my horizons on what is possible in the realm of art. Moreover, the excursion afforded me the chance to delve into reading and research, leading me to uncover the captivating world of gelli printing—an exciting new avenue for artistic exploration.
Upon my return from holiday, I eagerly acquired Gelli plates and embarked on an intensive two-week journey of experimentation, exploring the intricacies of printing, pulling, and transferring. This medium proved immensely satisfying, yielding intriguing effects that captivates. However, it did not come without perseverance; it demanded countless hours of practice, copious amounts of paint, reams of paper, and numerous failed attempts before achieving results that satisfied me.
Looking ahead, I envision this printing method opening doors to new possibilities, allowing me to replicate my original pieces and offer them as prints, each still retaining its unique charm through hand printing and embellishment.
As March drew to a close, marking the completion of several endeavors. Simultaneously, the dawn of a new opportunity emerged on the horizon, presenting fresh avenues for exploration and growth.
I've been crafting a series of ink sketches that weave together a narrative of life—from birth to the final breath, encompassing all the moments in between. This sequential tale, borne from a blend of personal experiences and observations of everyday life, resonated deeply with audiences when brought to life on social media. The response was heartening, with many offering kind words and positive feedback. Soon, these sketches will find their place on the website, forming part of a collection available for purchase. Some sketches bear traces of my own journey, while others draw inspiration from the tapestry of existence. Engaging in this creative process proved to be remarkably cathartic.
A long-term project recently reached its culmination—a task to envision something transformative for my hometown's future. In response, I crafted a painting depicting an artist's rendition of how our town could evolve if we reclaimed space currently occupied by parking lots and repurposed it for communal use. The vision included social elements, envisioning spaces where people could gather, share meals, and engage in conversation, fostering a sense of community and well-being. Introducing more greenery added a touch of vitality and harmony to the urban landscape, offering a glimpse of a brighter, more connected future.
As the project transitions into the consultation phase, I'm encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive feedback received from the general public. This venture marks my debut in undertaking such a commission, making its apparent success all the more gratifying. Witnessing the enthusiastic response from the community reaffirms the significance of creative endeavors in shaping a brighter future for our hometown.
The past few weeks have been relatively tranquil on the art front, with the exception of the engaging throwback Thursday ink sketches. These nostalgic journeys have resonated well, allowing me to unearth stories from the past and celebrate notable days in history. However, the main focus of my attention has been devoted to conceptualizing ideas for my latest project —a large-scale artwork, the largest I've ever undertaken. Amidst this creative exploration, a significant milestone was achieved as I secured a coveted space to work in at Upfest Presents in Bristol, amidst stiff competition with 900 applicants vying for the opportunity.
Upfest Presents stands as the premier street art festival across Europe, spanning an impressive three-week duration. I've been granted a Saturday in May to live draw—a striking 1.2 by 1.2-meter piece in the vibrant street art style. The journey to this point has been marked by a myriad of ideas, some fruitful, others not, and a few proving too complex to execute. After much deliberation, I've settled on a concept that resonates with me, and for the next two weeks, I'll be diligently preparing materials and stencils for my live demonstration. Nervous anticipation intertwines with excitement as I approach this opportunity, recognizing its potential significance. With thorough preparation, I'm hopeful that everything will fall into place seamlessly. Here's to embracing the moment with fingers crossed for success!
Indeed, these past four months have been a whirlwind of activity, with momentum building at a remarkable pace. Amidst the hustle, several ideas are percolating for future endeavors, including a charming illustration for this Throwback Thursday. Post-festival, a much-needed studio cleanup is in order, as the chaos within has reached its zenith!
Looking ahead, I eagerly anticipate chronicling my Upfest experience in the next installment of notes from the sketchbook. Until then, take care, and let's catch up soon.
P.S. Don't forget to follow me on social media to stay updated on all the latest developments and creations. See you there!

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