I have had the most amazing response to the book and now I'm in the middle of hanging the paintings from the book for the Open Studios. There are acrylics, watercolours and drawings - some framed, some mounted - and every single image from the book is available.
I'll be opening up my home from 11am to 5pm on both weekends of the Open Studios (23rd/24th and 30th/31st May.)
If you can't make it in person and there is a picture you want then you can drop me an email (email@example.com). In some ways you can use the book as a catalogue.
The first ten people to come in person to the Open Studios and buy a copy of my book will get a free sketch from the book (randomly chosen by me!). I look forward to seeing everyone that can make it.
I'm very excited to say that the book is printed and ready to sell! At the moment it's only available through my online shop, but I'll keep posting updates as and when it reaches other stockists!
So, a few weeks later than I had hoped, the printers are finally printing my book! The last few weeks have been the most difficult of the whole self-publishing process but things are now moving. Yesterday I popped into the printers to see how it all works - it was odd to see my images everywhere and fascinating to see all the different stages.
After Easter I'm going to send out an email with all the book details and how to pre-order a copy... not long now!
So, only a few more weeks to go before the big event!! Everyone who has signed up for my mailing list will get an email as soon as my book is available to buy, so keep an eye on your inbox! It's going to sell for £40 plus p&p and for that you get a whopper of a book and hundreds of pictures plus a good read and I will sign every one!! There will be a book launch at Waterstones in Truro in April and I will keep you all informed about the dates nearer the time.
As I've mentioned, all the images from the book will be available to buy at my Open Studio event in May (again, details will follow).
In the meantime, here are a few more images to whet your appetite...
I'm dipping a toe into the world of social media and as a start I'm going to put an image from my book onto Instagram every day for a few weeks... follow me if you'd like to keep up to date (my username is sashamayharding)!
Well ladies and gentlemen, I've just completed the final illustration for my book! I can't quite believe I've finished it; it may take a day or two to sink in. Out of interest I counted up all the images and there are over 300... now that is a lavishly illustrated book! Here's a sneak peek of the front cover:
I've loved nearly every minute of working on it and have learnt so much. And now the fun bit starts - it's time to crack on with a bit of PR, ready for the launch at the beginning of May.
I'm going to take part in the Open Studios this May and will use it as a way of selling the book but also all 300 of the images from the book will be for sale - some framed, some mounted. The first ten people to buy a book at the Open Studios will get a free drawing, and I'll let everyone know about the dates nearer the time.
So, back to real life! I have a few commissions and then I need to crack on with work for various galleries (but first I am going to have a day or two off)!!
Here is another chapter from the book (click on the image to open up the pdf). This month has flown by; I have got into a real routine that's based on walking the dogs and working on the book. It is one of those projects that you have to take a day at a time, a chapter at a time in order not to be overwhelmed by the amount of work involved! Having said that I am still loving working on it. It is a fluid process and I am adding and taking out images as I go along.
I met up with Amy last week and we went through the first 20 chapters. We're going to get them printed so I can properly see how it is going to look. A computer screen is a far cry from holding something physical and quite often you can see things that don't work that you missed when looking on a screen.
I've had a brilliant month working on the book. The sheer range of subject matter in each chapter is really firing my imagination and I cannot wait to get up every morning and get cracking! In fact, this whole project has revitalised how I feel about painting and being an artist. I think it's easy to get stuck in a rut, and stepping out of your comfort zone can be a very good thing.
So far I'm up to chapter 27 of 52. Amy - the designer helping me put it all together - brought round the first ten chapters all printed out last week and it was fantastic to be able to hold it in my hands and turn the pages!
If you'd like a sneak preview of the first chapter, click on the image to open up a pdf version. I'll share one or two more chapters as I go on, so watch this space!
Finally I'm working on my book, and it's the most wonderful feeling to be doing something so creative – from working out what to paint, what medium to use and how it is all going to fit together. I love the freedom of doing a project of my own – no deadlines, just total immersion – and the enjoyment of creating something to be proud of.
Here are a few images of Jess (my dog). As my sidekick on the walk, she's a central part of the book and I wanted to do her justice. To start with I couldn't get her face – it was too masculine – but lots and lots of sketches later I got it! The finished watercolour is Jess to a tee and I'm thrilled with it (I bought a lobster to draw from and then ate it for supper - one of the perks of the job)!!
Looking at the images, they're all a bit animal-mad, but then that is what I am interested in so I guess that is what I'm drawn to (excuse the pun)!
I have painted some larger canvases using acrylic, which are more complex, and alongside the simpler watercolours and the odd sketch I hope it will make for an interesting book. I'll post more images and perhaps some text as I progress!
I'm very excited to announce that a preview of my upcoming exhibition at Fowey River Gallery has just gone online! If you would like to buy a painting before the exhibition officially opens at the end of June, you can do so by calling the gallery on 01726 833 828.
And, if you'd like to come along to the private view on Saturday 28th June, I'll be at the gallery from 6-8pm. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.