10 Facts About Me

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I was tagged on Instagram to share '20 Facts About Me', and I really enjoyed reading about the person who'd tagged me and finding out more about her! I decided to take her up on the offer and join in, as it seemed like fun. Due to time constraints I'm sticking to just 10 random facts this time, but if you all enjoy this post there may be a Part Two where I add another 10 in the future!

These were first posted on Instagram this morning, and since then I've received an amazing response from people, many of whom left incredibly kind, touching, and heartfelt comments that I deeply appreciate.

Ok, here goes...

1. I've been a full time, professional artist and illustrator for 10 years this year. Before that I always had a second job to help bring in a regular income. 

2. One of those jobs was as a chambermaid at a really nice hotel. I met a handful of famous people while doing this job and it opened my eyes to a lot of things!

3. I've always had an interest in the paranormal, fuelled by many strange and unexplained experiences throughout my life.

4. I love the smell and taste of coffee but cannot drink it. I'm super sensitive to it and can't tolerate even half of one weak, milky cup! But I'm generally ok with tea, and so that's my hot drink of choice.

5. I sadly lost my long term partner to cancer in 2014. It was the most horrific thing I've ever been through, and I'm still dealing with the anxiety and sadness within me, and finding ways to cope with the difficult feelings I have. 

6. But then in 2016 I met my current partner (now my fiancé - pictured with me above) who has brought light, happiness, and a huge amount of laughter into my life. We had actually known each other and had been friends for 10 years online before we met in person! 

7. In late 2015 I was asked to take part in something so huge and so exciting that I was bursting to tell everyone, but couldn't and still can't because I signed a NDA / contract and I'm bound to silence! 

8. Art is the thing that kept me going through my grief - I threw myself into my work and it was the valuable focus and purpose I needed.

9. I listen to probably hundreds of documentaries and podcasts each year - I have them playing in the background while I work. I love learning about new subjects and have a very curious nature!

10. I am an INFJ. Apparently this personality type is the rarest, making up around 1% of the population. When I discovered this and read all about it, a lot of things in my life began to make sense for the first time.

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2017: What A Year So Far! (And Not In A Good Way)

Clockwise from top left: Snowy Landscape with Sheep and Birds; Midnight Walk 4; Snow Storm Coming; In The Dark Forest. Acrylic on canvas, various sizes. All of these were created during early January 2017.

Clockwise from top left: Snowy Landscape with Sheep and Birds; Midnight Walk 4; Snow Storm Coming; In The Dark Forest. Acrylic on canvas, various sizes. All of these were created during early January 2017.

Well, hello there! How are you all? I really hope you're all feeling better than I am at the moment. You may have noticed that I've been silent on the blog, and I've also been pretty quiet on social media too. The reason for this is that 2017 has been a difficult year so far and I've been struggling with several different things.

Just before Christmas, my partner and I both came down with a very strange virus. It wasn't a cold or flu, but it caused painful, swollen glands and a general feeling of weakness and fatigue that lasted throughout Christmas and well into the New Year. We finally managed to shake that off in January, and then it was time for me to complete my annual Tax Return by the end of the month. It quickly became apparent that I need to implement a different system this year for my accounting, because as my business has grown I'm finding that what worked before - and took far less time - really isn't very efficient now. I had to put painting on hold while I worked on that for a week or so, but consoled myself with the fact that I would soon be able to concentrate on my long overdue personal projects when the paperwork was out of the way. It was also the first time in maybe a year that I had reached the end of my commissions list, and I was excited to think that I'd finally have the time to put all of the new ideas I have into action. So I paid the larger-than-expected tax bill, and got back to work. We're in the middle of house and studio renovations at the moment and I'm also living in two different places as well, so I'm basically working wherever I can set up a temporary work space, which is disruptive to say the least. I'm actually very happy about all of this so I don't want to come across as an old moaner - I'm worried it sounds that way! It will all be worth it in the long run, it's just a little difficult right now.

Anyway, as soon as I started getting back into my art, I became ill again. Firstly with a bad migraine for a couple of days, then with what we'll politely term as "hormonal issues", immediately followed by the flu. I've spent most of February ill, and it has been truly awful. We both came down with this flu virus at around the same time and it knocked us off our feet. I'm somebody who usually gets ill maybe once, sometimes twice, during the winter season. If I'm ill twice I consider myself unlucky. This is the THIRD virus I've had this winter (I also had a cold a few weeks before the weird glandular thing over Christmas). I've mentioned this online recently, and whenever I have, I've been inundated with people saying the same thing - that the viruses this year are very intense and hard to shake off, and that there are more of them. I haven't had something that has made me feel this ill for YEARS, and it appears I'm not alone. Sadly, as I haven't been able to do anything, my work has fallen by the wayside again, we also haven't been able to get on at all with the house and new studio as planned, and I've been struggling to get well, regain my energy, and just get back to normal. I'd love to be able to replenish the money I spent on the tax bill, but as I'm working so little at the moment, my income has dropped severely over the past month or so.

Also, at the beginning of January I started a new project, where I will be painting one mountain per week throughout 2017. I've been intending to create more mountain paintings for about a year now - ever since I went to Scotland! - and yet I never seemed to have the time during 2016. I thought that this would be the perfect way to encourage myself to make a little time for it each week. All was going well at first, but due to ill health I am now four weeks behind! I am going to try to catch up - it shouldn't be too difficult as I can choose how complex or quick each mountain painting can be. But as you can imagine, all of this has been very frustrating, and it's hard to feel positive about things when each day all of your energy and effort goes into just trying to feel "normal".

Well, this blog post has just turned into a massive whinge-a-thon, hasn't it?! I apologise for that, but I wanted to let you know what's been happening this year so far, and explain why I seem to have just disappeared. I also wanted to write about how I feel about my work in general at the moment and some plans going forward, but this has turned into a very long post already so I will leave that topic for another day. There are lots of positive things happening in my life right now as well so it's certainly not all bad, but I think we all go through times of struggle and maybe it's not such a bad thing to share those sometimes. Honesty is a good thing.

Here's to good health and getting back to work...and looking forward to Spring, which is just around the corner!

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The First Painting of 2017!

Happy New Year to you all! I hope 2017 will be a healthy, creative, and prosperous one. I've been thinking a lot about my work/business/career and the way I'd like it to develop this coming year, so I'll be writing about that soon. Also, my website finally has its own shop for 2017! I'm adding new items whenever I have the time, and eventually there will be a selection of prints, original paintings, and painted stones that you'll be able to buy directly from me. You can find the shop here, and I'll also be keeping my Etsy shop open too - I've just had a very busy Christmas on there, which was wonderful! A big thank you to everyone who placed an order during 2016 - your support is deeply appreciated.

So, on to the new painting!

Midnight Walk 3. Acrylic on canvas. 20x20" / 50x50cm © Natasha Newton 2017

Midnight Walk 3. Acrylic on canvas. 20x20" / 50x50cm © Natasha Newton 2017

Midnight Walk 3 was a pleasure to paint - apart from those tiny branches that actually started to drive me a little batty towards the end! ;) But I've really enjoyed painting trees like this again, and I'm now working on the companion piece to this one, so I'll be sharing that soon. I have a lot of plans for tree paintings in 2017 - my new surroundings are definitely inspiring me and it feels as if I'm being drawn back to this subject matter and new ways of depicting them.

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My New Studio & Two Bird Paintings

Let's address the first thing - I have a new studio! Well, strictly speaking I'm in the long process of renovating my new space and setting up a studio with a separate room for a little office too. At the moment I work from a lovely but small studio in Suffolk, doing everything in the same room. I love that little room, but to be able to have a larger space with great light...well, let's just say that I feel very fortunate. It's going to be a lot of hard work (not to mention expense!) to get it up and running, but I'm not someone who's afraid of hard work in any respect, as those who follow me probably already know! I love to work, and all the effort I'll be putting into this new space will eventually mean I'll be able to create art in a more organised and much more efficient way. And I'll be able to work on larger paintings - something I've always wanted to do! I'll be sharing the process of gradually decorating and setting up the new studio in future blog posts.

This is a photo of my current studio, taken in June 2016.

And this is a photo of a small section of the new studio, empty and undecorated at the moment, apart from a large table with a tabletop easel for me to work at! I'll be using most of the furniture from my current studio, but I've also purchased other pieces to add to the new space. I look forward to sharing those in due course!

And here are the two new paintings on canvas - I worked on these in both studios! The one on the left is Two Swallows, acrylic on canvas, 16x16" / 40x40cm, and the one on the right is Eternal Conversation, acrylic on canvas, 20x20" / 50x50cm. Both of these were very special commissioned paintings and each has a very personal story behind it. Sadly, I'm not at liberty to share the stories of these pieces, but it was an honour to work on both of them. I'll be posting all new work (certainly any new collections and major pieces) here on the blog from now onwards, so please check in regularly to see what I've been up to!

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New Paintings & New Prints!

Life has been busy. I'm currently back and forth between two places, I'm setting up a new studio, I've been working my way through a huge list of commissions for months now, and I've just returned from a week long walking holiday in the Peak District. I'm exhausted just thinking about it! The Peak District was, as usual, incredibly beautiful and inspiring. It actually snowed on the day we left, so we drove home through a magical winter wonderland. I took a lot of photos and I'm going to be using them as reference for some new paintings very soon, which I'll be posting here on the blog. I've been busy creating a lot of work over the past few months which I've shared on social media and added to the relevant sections of the website or shop, but I haven't necessarily posted these pieces on the blog. I'm going to start doing that from December, so that this becomes a good record of recent and/or available work that you can easily scroll through to check what's new.

Today, I wanted to share these two new night landscape paintings with you:

Night-time in Fen Meadow. Acrylic on canvas. 20x20" / 50x50cm © Natasha Newton 2016

Night-time in Fen Meadow. Acrylic on canvas. 20x20" / 50x50cm © Natasha Newton 2016

Moon Rise. Acrylic on canvas. 16x16" / 40x40cm © Natasha Newton 2016

Moon Rise. Acrylic on canvas. 16x16" / 40x40cm © Natasha Newton 2016

The first painting, Night-time in Fen Meadow, was created especially for someone as a commission so the original has already sold, but you can find signed art prints of this piece in my shop. The second painting, Moon Rise, is currently available through Junction Art Gallery in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, UK - you can find more details on my stockists page. This is also available as a signed art print through the shop, and both prints are fast becoming my most popular recent designs! I never tire of painting night landscapes, and I'm looking forward to creating some pieces over the next few months incorporating some new ideas I've had - it will be fun to try a new twist on some old favourites!