A day in the life of an artist: Weeks 12 & 13

Dec 30, 2022

Welcome to my weekly blog posts documenting my first 100 days of being a full time artist. I am running a daily diary on my instagram stories and this weekly blog post of what I've been up to, what have been the challenges, the surprises, what I've learned / discovered etc.

I've missed week 12 so have combined it into my week 13 as boy what an interesting couple of weeks I've had... on the couch!


So what's happened?

I've been struggling since the beginning of December with a rotten cold which seemed to clear up but then, just when I was getting into the swing of finalising my collection, it floored me and I was relegated to the couch for a couple of days. I then felt well enough to do some admin type work in the studio but daren't pick up a brush just in case I ruined my brand new collection.

It's funny how when you are not feeling 100% that you can convince yourself that you have painted a masterpiece to only return to it wondering what the heck they put into Beechams powders these days. So I made a sensible decision for once and stuck to varnishing and painting frames for the rest of the week.


Painting frames with Paula Dunn Artist


I took Christmas Eve off and walked around delivering Christmas cards and presents to friends in Saltaire. It was a lovely walk with the mister but I was struggling still and one of my eyes was bugging me and felt like I'd got something in it. Boy did I have something in it!

By the afternoon my eye was sticky and oozing and on Christmas Day I woke up to a swollen eye almost glued shut... wow that was a little scary as I've never had an infection in my eye before and this seemed quite bad, plus it was Christmas Day... how the heck was I going to get some treatment?

Thankfully there was a pharmacists open on Christmas morning and he took one look and went boy oh boy...! So my Christmas Day was home alone on the couch as Nick took his parents up to his sisters in Newcastle for the Christmas meal. I was sorry to miss the annual feast with the family but I was feeling so sorry for myself and was struggling to see that I was happy to just sit quietly at home with a fire and the cats.

By Boxing Day the other eye was infected but at least I had the drugs to sort it out. I haven't left the house in over a week and have spent most of it on the couch which is quite unusual for me as I am a terrible patient, always wanting to be doing stuff. On the plus side Bin-juice the cat came and gave me a very rare cuddle! 


Bin juice the cat and Paula Dunn Artist


As I write this (obvs feeling loads better!) one eye has finished its treatment and on the mend and the other has a day to go. The skin around my eyes is so dry and itchy and I have bags and lines round my eyes like a 52 year old... oh wait I am 52! But at least I can see properly again.... Over the past week I have gone from looking like I've stepped out of a zombie film to looking like a vampire with blood red eyes. All in all quite an interesting look!


red eyes


So where does this leave me with my collection? I am way behind but hoping to get back into the studio straight after New Year. I am giving myself time to recover properly plus I do still have the wretched cough which keeps on giving.

It is a bit touch and go to be honest and if I am not able to finish the paintings to the standard I am happy with then I'll need to have that difficult conversation with the gallery to see about either a late delivery or pushing back of the exhibition dates. Fingers crossed it will be okay and I can box this collection off next week.


Paula Dunn Artist and Northern Light gallery    

The year ahead

I have been able to stay positive over the last few weeks as I have a super exciting year ahead of me which is jammed packed full of new adventures. Starting with my solo exhibition in February at Northern Lights gallery in Keswick, shortly followed by a group exhibition with Blue Tree gallery in York and my first trip across the borders to exhibit at the Borders Art Fair in March.

April I will be in Cornwall running two of my workshops, with the 3 day workshop already full and running a waiting list, and only a couple of places left on the 2 day workshop. Can't wait to be back amongst friends in Cornwall and meeting and painting with new people. Feels like a treat (retreat?) for me.

May and it's back up North to Scotland where I will be exhibiting with a new gallery in Edinburgh. I have a solo exhibition planned with them and further information will be available as soon as things firm up.

May is also the return of the Saltaire Arts Trail and I will be re-opening the house as an open studio with my good friend Ian Burdall and special guest Sam Yates of Lil' Rabbitfoot. We always put on a good show and so does the rest of the village where you can get to look inside Grade 2 listed houses in this UNESCO world heritage site.

In September I will be back up across the borders again to a group show at the Aberfeldy watermill art gallery.

Throughout the year I will also be working on a year long project with the North York Moor national park exploring this beautiful part of the world and creating work for an exhibition in 2024. More about that next year when I start to visually document this project in January. 

I will also have workshops running every month at my base at the Crafthouse in Bingley, as well as workshops throughout the year at the Biscuit Factory. I will also be returning to ArtisOn near Masham and Studio Vault in Settle. New to the year is a one off workshop at Rheged to celebrate my exhibition with Northern Lights gallery and a workshop with the North York Moors National Park in May to promote my project with them.

And not forgetting my regular galleries, Biscuit Factory, Hope Gallery, Saltbox Gallery, Dockside Gallery, Artworks and Giddy Arts who I will be providing new work for them throughout the year.

So quite a busy year involving a fair bit of travelling up and down the country. It will also be my first full year as a full time artist so I have no idea whether what is planned is too much or too little to keep me busy and ensuring I have an income coming in. Who knows but at this point in my business I'm not in a position to turn down opportunities.


What next?

Next week is a big push to complete my collection for Northern lights and fingers crossed everything goes to plan!

Check out for the return of my daily posts on my instagram stories for some sneak peeks.

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