It's not the end of the world, just the start of a new one.

Our Autumn Newsletter or 'How I made 2020 the most creative year I've ever had.'

I'm not going to put a gloss on this, 2020 has been the worst year most of us have ever had, tragic beyond words.

It has amazed me however, just how quickly we adapt to unexpected circumstances, I'm not talking about loss of course - we never really get over that - but rather how we adapt to new ways of doing the things we want or need to do.

At the start of 2020, not a single one of our students for instance had ever worked with us online, and now, it's not just routine, but the default way to teach and to learn.

With the pandemic inexorably closing in yet again I wanted to write to you about our student's experiences of the positive benefits of staying creative and sharing that creativity with others through this most challenging time.

For us professional painters, everything and nothing has changed, Covid or not, I'm starting the first of two big shows I had planned for Autumn today, I'd also like to share a bit of my new painting with you; for me at least working through lockdown has been a great comfort: Art flourishes in uncertain times.

Time is your friend

But getting back to the business of improving your painting, I have a central truth to share with you. Like most truths it seems simple and obvious (my favourite: 'to lose weight, eat less and do more!'), but like most simple advice it's easy to take in, but hard to stick to.

The real secret to progress in painting is time on the brush, so now is the ideal time to take any unexpected time you have away from your normal commitments to practice.

Simply put, practice makes perfect, but with one important caveat. One absolutely must practice sound skills and not reinforce bad habits by repetition.

With all of that in mind I have a plan I'd like to share with you:

  1. Get some painting practice in - creativity is great for your wellbeing

  2. Ensure those skills are good habits - not bad ones, and

  3. Get inspired by seeing some art - you can start with mine, but other artists are available!

StudioTalk weekly inspiration and encouragement

We don't always get everything right in this life, however I'm proud of the way our team at The Norfolk Painting School put together StudioTalk - our weekly interactive art demo. Its been going each and every week since the first lockdown now and has been a 'lifesaver' and a 'favourite day of the week' for thousands of viewers looking for company, encouragement, inspiration and instruction.

For less than the price of a cup of coffee (who said exceptional art tuition had to be expensive?), Studiotalk provides a brilliant painting demo each week which you can watch on demand for 7 days until the next demo comes along. I'm really proud to be part of a business helping artists through the lockdown, and its been a huge thrill to see people develop over the months because we've all had a little more time for a little more practice.

Practice Well

Of course all of the painting demos in the world are no good if you really are starting from scratch, so for all of our StudioTalk community who have never been taught oils, we put Simply Oils, our classic foundation course online too.

It's the first course I wrote back in 2007, and has been revised and updated dozens of times since, not least because students like to come back to the basics from the to time.

One of the unexpectedly positive things about the pandemic, is we've all learned to take time with ourselves and to live with each other online. In this case that means we can offer Simply Oils without the hassle for students of driving all of the way to our Norfolk studios, and because its online we can expand the course into four stand alone sessions, and deliver it for less than half the price of attending a live course.

It's been brilliant - a real no brainer as they say. So if you want to get painting, and are all enthused by Studiotalk but don't know where to start, it's for you.

Part 2 of 4,. Simply Oils is four interactive online sessions

Get Inspired

Now all of this requires the magic ingredient - inspiration. And the best way to get inspired in my opinion is to see art and feel motivated in turn, to paint something of your own.

I've always found visiting a gallery to be the best way to get inspired, but since March I've benefitted more and more from visiting shows and galleries virtually. In fact visiting the National Gallery online is in many ways better than taking a train up to London. I can see more, more closely, avoid the crowds and do so at any time I choose.

Because of this I'm actually rather happy to have put a show on this week in the knowledge that there's every chance it might be closed to visits unperson, but will be open 24/7 to anyone willing to go online.

The first - and by far smallest - of this year's shows 'Lefty's North' is a show of preparatory works for a three year painting project which is culminating at my first public gallery show 'Regeneration' at The Bowes in November,

Along the way these studies have taken me to The Paris Salon twice (in 2018 to return with the Medaille d' Argent for Painting), and earlier this year (almost) to Downing St to have a painting accepted into the Govt. Art Collection. I say almost because the painting got in but I didn't because of a Covid Lockdown. Nevertheless there I am told it hangs a visual reminder to the cabinet of their obligations to the North of England.

At The Paris Salon 2019 for a second year with pictures from Lefty's North , with my manager Bryony

Lefty's North is now on and running for a couple of weeks - and is also an opportunity to see paintings from a Norman Cornish residence I did earlier this year; I took it upon myself to create new works fro the sketches Norman never got around to working up into paintings. So they are the Cornish works he never painted if you will, and a respectful way to really explore my deep admiration for this most northern of artists.

Creating a New Oil from Cornish's fragmentary flo master sketches. The Bar in `Spennymoor.

The Artist's mother with a newborn from a sketch by Cornish (sold)

You can see the venue here

and more usefully view a video walk around by the amazing events manager Harriet, here on You Tube.

And finally thanks to the power of the internet you can see a free flip book of every painting I sent to the exhibition along with text and prices here

If you'd like to express an interest in any of the works please contact Harriet, the Events manager at Tennants

Regeneration, New work about the pandemic by Martin Kinnear at The Bowes

Detail from a 3M study for Regeneration (work in progress)

Finally, I'd like to cordially invite you to my Winter Show ' Regeneration', at The Bowes. It's a much bigger show than Lefty's North, for a much bigger venue, and being a public gallery show there's nothing you can buy - but I still hope that you'll come along and enjoy the work.

You can see the venue details here , and I'll be sending out more information and images a little nearer to the time, if only to record the interesting experience of repainting a major gallery show during the pandemic!

I hope you enjoy Lefty's North, and take the opportunity to join one of our creative programs if you are unlucky enough to get caught up in another lockdown this year.

Keep safe and we all look forward to seeing you in the studio.

Martin and the Norfolk Painting School team

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