The last time I was this excited about the year to come was back on New Year's Day, 2005, the day after I got engaged.
So, what has got me so excited?
Well, I have chosen a direction, an area, themes, which my paintings are going to explore in future. How long this future will last, who knows, but I suspect it may well be a lifetime.
At the moment I am working on the first few paintings after clarifying matters to myself so have nothing yet to show - and as I have decided to start slowly, not stray too far from my previous work while I gain experience and confidence, when they are done they may not seem like the beginning of something. But I have faith.
Which makes me sound terribly delusional. This is appropriate, as make-believe, the cross over between reality and fantasy, is the ground I wish to investigate. There are many threads to this, but one impetus was being in Rome. There are few really good paintings of women with character and often instead they are portrayed as the artist's fantasy (all those half naked Magdelenes clutching their hair to their bosums.) This got me thinking about how people (especially women) routinely role play and whether I could paint this.
Since then, I have been doing more delving and exploration (from reading old favourites like Alice In Wonderland, Sandman and Shakespeare and watching Disney movies, to infesting the University library and reading books with no pictures covering subjects including feminist theory, film history, comparative theology and the psychology of fashion.) There are more paths than I can follow but boy, the research is fun!
Ambitious, me? Well, what why not try something bigger? There are have been few times in my life I have been more certain something was a good idea (and yes, getting engaged was one of them) and, like marriage, at the moment I have no real idea how things are going to work out and realise there are likely to be bad bits.. But the plan is exciting and everyone I have got involved so far have been fascinated with plenty to contribute and basically it just feels right - there are so many artworks I love, things I own and people I adore that are related in one way or the other that it feels as if I am pulling all the different strands into one place.
So, this year the aim is to put together a body of work of which I am proud, dealing with how people present themselves.