In response to requests from lots of directions, in 2015 I launched the “Sheffield Collection” of year-round fine art greetings cards which, judging by the response, have definitely filled a gap in the market. They are blank for any occasion and are a great reminder of the city. They are selling as prints too at a number of outlets like Sheffield Scene, Famous Sheffield Shop and Totley Post Office
I’m pleased with the situation in all three of my painting courses, all of which are fully subscribed. Good, inquisitive and increasingly talented people all making progress and enjoying their painting, indoors and out, across a variety of topics, be it subject matter or techniques. Recent topics have included figures, landscape, textures and wet in wet.
I have been involved in a number of commissions recently; here are a couple of examples.
My sketch pad is a constant companion; keeping me entertained and my observation skills up to speed. I use it to record anything which catches my eye, to kill time when I’m at a loose end (over coffee, in a waiting situation, or whatever) and I often use it to make technical points quickly to students. Some of them make paintings or just help clear my head.
I showed at Art in the Gardens for the first time in a couple of years and it was a great success for me, measured not only in work sold and commissions gained, but also socially – I had a great time! I loved the atmosphere, meeting people and painting and drawing from life in several situations – great fun. Minor drawback was that my stand was sometimes so full that I couldn’t get in it! I’ve solved that for September 2016 with a marquee twice the size.
I’ve particularly enjoyed lecturing in drawing skills at Hallam University, a departure from previous years where the bias was more towards the technical – 3D drawing techniques – perspective / axonometric / isometric, in favour of a new programme I was asked to write, to get 1st year Interior Design students comfortable with freehand drawing practice, which I think is a real must before CAD, Photoshop, Revit and the like kick in; and ending in a look at a variety of media styles and techniques, using almost every medium you can think of. Some brilliant results too. Here’s a couple of my starters-for -10.
The Ten Artists exhibition has again been a terrific success; highest footfall ever, almost the highest ever sales to help our Sheffield Samaritans cause – that’s now around £30,000 raised by this exhibition, held in Baslow each October – and for me, probably the best atmosphere ever, chatting to the public, meeting up again with nine other artists and the terrific Jason Heppenstall (sculptor – www.jasonheppenstall.co.uk – brilliant – look him up), and above all I got to enjoy one of my greatest passions – demonstrating at the easel. One painting was the exhibition itself, viewed from the raised stage where I set up, and the other a fast-track Mediterranean scene from a reference photograph, both accompanied by my usual gripping and informative narrative.
The “Sheffield at Christmas time” card range goes from strength to strength; 13,000+ now sold since I first introduced them; a new design, “Sheffield Cathedral” for 2015, 20+stockists, and bespoke over-printing for various companies becoming a habit. I gather from feedback that they go to expats outside the city, the county and the country – and some collectors buy the new designs each year and frame them, which is great!
Throw in the occasional trouble-shooting surgery for Art Societies for good measure – My next will be with Heeley Art Club, in Sheffield where I’m looking forward to sharing tips, analysis, advice and plenty of marks at the easel – and it all makes for as stimulating a way of spending time as you can imagine.
Oh, and a major breakthrough; I’m actually starting to get to grips with social media, running a blog at Brian Smith Artist Sheffield on my Facebook site and tweeting regularly. My new year’s resolution will be to completely overhaul the website and make that equally responsive. Time will tell.