2016: A year in creative business, part one. A look back over the first six months of 2016.

Last year I wrote a three part annual review here on the blog as a way to record and celebrate the year just past, and perhaps give an insight into what goes on behind the scenes here for those curious about these things! This year’s review will be in two parts, as I continue my ongoing quest to be more succinct.

I hope you enjoy looking back over this year with me, and perhaps find something to inspire you, or even to do your own review. {You can download a free copy of My Creative Year to help you do that right here.} I can attest to how amazing it feels to actually see it all there in black and white; we have always done so much more than we think!

This year was all about the upgrade for me, both personally and professionally. {And truthfully, I don’t see them as separate.}

My word for the year was ALIVE; I wanted more life in my life, and finally felt ready to welcome that in.

I’d created a good life for myself, a truer life, but still something was missing. It felt lacking in spark. I’d laid the fire but it hadn’t been lit yet.

For one thing, I wanted to own what I was doing, instead of calling it a  ‘side experiment’ because it earned so little, and commit to it being Something Real – to raise my own bar in terms of focus, quality, and what it really meant to me. It was taking up most of my time anyway, so it was really a mindset shift from tentative to decisive.

Another key part of it was travel – a lifelong love but something I hadn’t done for years in the way I longed to. The past few years have been very inward focused, and finally I felt ready to start stepping out into the world again. So the planning began!



Practical Intuition

Practical Intuition was an unplanned but very fun detour at the beginning of the year, borne from a fun little project I thought I was just doing for myself, making a personal and personalised oracle deck for my own intuitive use.

Sharing the process on Instagram as it unfolded generated a lot of interest, so I made a course to help others create their own deck, and it was very popular! Yay! It’s now available to take at your own pace and convenience. I still use my deck almost every day and find it both a magical and very practical through line to my intuition.


Sauerkraut and Collaboration

This was also the month I experimented with making sauerkraut {there’s several hours and days I’ll never get back}, and announced my participation in Spectrum, a workshop series set up by Hali Karla. I love to do collaborative projects like this, so this was a great way to begin the year.

Three oracle cards from the Practical Intuition course


Running a new course

Ran Practical Intuition live for 44 people! My largest group for a course yet. Was blown away by the diversity of the decks created, and the enthusiasm with which the course was received. Decks were made into commercial endeavours and as gifts, as well as for personal use.

For me, this was also a lovely piece of evidence that following my intuition {ha}, even when it diverges from the main path, is absolutely worth it.



A free public project

Express It Month! This was a project that came from a desire to experiment with making art as a pure expression of feelings; unplanned, straight from heart to page.

I didn’t know if it would work, but I did know that it’s more fun and motivating to do these experiments in company, so I made it a free public project and invited whomever wanted to join me. I wrote 31 emails, one for each day of the month, and we shared our explorations on Instagram.

I learned a huge amount this month, not least that my art is an expression of freedom, my highest value. This was pivotal in many ways, and continues to inform my work, art, and life.

You can still do Express It Month in your own time if the idea interests you. It’s completely free.

Express It Month 2016



I ran my most popular course again this month. I’m delighted and proud to say that people who take this one consistently experience ahas and insights around their art, newly found or rediscovered artistic confidence, and a better feel for themselves as artists with something unique to express.

I confess I’ve been a little back and forth on this course, and I apologise to anyone who took it last year because I said that was the last time I’d run it live between two dates. It is and will continue to be available as an instant access, self paced course, but the live experience seems to be popular too, and since I love to run it, you can expect to see it open for registration again soon!

For a glimpse at some of the beautifully diverse art made during Abstractify, click the image below!

An exhibition of paintings by past students of the Abstractify painting ecourse

Road trip!

More or less on a whim, I decided to rent a car and drive down to Cornwall for a couple of weeks, staying in a combination of Airbnbs, bed and breakfasts, and one hotel. The thinking behind it was that a} I love Cornwall, and b} it would be good practice for my planned road trip in New England, something I’d been thinking about for a while but that wasn’t quite coming together.

The trip turned out to be one of the best and most personally significant things I’ve ever done, although it didn’t actually resolve whatever was sticking on the New England trip front. {Not yet, anyway.} I walked windy clifftops and rugged coastline, soaked in art in various galleries, drove 901 miles, and thoroughly enjoyed my own company. I even surprised myself by becoming much more outgoing and chatty than I’ve known myself to be the past few years. Things were definitely shifting.

View from Fowey

The 100 Day Project

When I got home I started the 100 Day Project, having decided on 100 Days of Seaside Art. This was, I freely admit, partly down to FOMO because so many people on Instagram started while I was on the road. I don’t know if I made the full 100 in the end. And although I enjoyed what I did create, what I do know is I won’t be doing it again. 🙂

100 days of Seaside Art - collage of selected works

A selection of my ‘100’ days. You can see the heavy influence of Cornwall. 🙂



A busy month!


Another Collaboration

May saw me take part in another collaboration – Demystifying the Artist, organised by artist and illustrator Eli Trier. Over the course of the month, participants received a little essay in their inbox every day, each written by a different artist, that explored what it’s really like to be a working artist, and to try and dispel some of the myths around it. We had a private Facebook group and it was a lively and rich month of discussion; I loved it! Click here to read my essay.


Secret Sale

May is the month I run my Secret Sale – a sale of past work at pay what you wish prices, so that those who’d like to own a piece of my art can, and I can free up some space in my studio for new work. Artnote subscribers get first peek at the available paintings, so you might like to sign up now if you haven’t already for first dibs on future sales! I’ve run the Secret Sale twice now, and it’s been very successful, so you can expect another one in May 2017, if I’m in the country!


New Big Cartel Shop

I opened my new shop this month, with Big Cartel. I wanted something simple to run, without the competition of Etsy, and loved the clean templates Big Cartel offers. The shop is currently just for my works on paper {which is also my most affordable work}, and so far is ticking over nicely! I love the opportunity to sell my work at prices people can manage, and have received so much lovely feedback from buyers.

New shop open!

Touchstone announced

This was also the month that I officially introduced Touchstone, my newest and most personally meaningful ecourse, and the one that had been brewing for a couple of years. Although the idea had been swimming around, I think it was waiting for me to catch up and be ready to deliver it. I wrote this post to explain: From Chaos to Order: How to build a sustainable creative life that fits you perfectly



Business coaching

June was a quieter month ‘front of house’. Behind the scenes I started working with Kyla Roma, a business coach; I hired her to help me get things in order. I felt I’d done as much as I knew how to do when it came to my business and website.

I’d learned a huge amount through courses, blogs, and experimentation, but I knew what I needed now was one to one focus with someone who knew how to take it to the next level. Specifically, I wanted it all to be more focused and streamlined, in line with my stronger commitment established in January.

Kyla turned out to be an excellent investment. Bit by bit under her guidance, my website started to become cleaner and easier to use, my marketing more focused and effective, and my confidence in what might be possible for my work grew too.


So that’s it for part one! If you’re still awake, thanks for reading! And part two will be coming next week. 🙂