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  • Writer's pictureHannah Kate

2022 in Review

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

Now, I’m aware it’s possibly a little late to share my review of 2022 as we’re now in February 2023, but this time around I’ve resisted writing my annual reflection.

I almost didn’t write it at all.

2022 was a terrible year for me.

Let me correct myself slightly there - the first half of 2022 was dreadful.

The year ended on a high for Hannah Kate Makes, but January through July was a real struggle. I’m extremely grateful that Phil is one of the kindest and most caring people I’ve ever known as I’d not still be here without him.

I will not be dwelling on that time, or sharing more details, but it was significant and impactful to my life and, therefore, Hannah Kate Makes as a business so needed including in this blog.

Other tumultuous events also feel too big for me to cover, but need a mention for context…

Russia invading Ukraine. Three useless Tory prime ministers continuing to destroy the country. Nazanin finally being released and allowed home. Monkeypox. The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The death of the longest reigning monarch England has ever known. The resulting queue. A climate crisis nosedive and That Heatwave. A questionable location for the football world cup tournament. Working people across almost all industries on strike. The cost-of-living crisis and the UK almost winning Eurovision…

With that in mind, I’ll be cherry picking the highlights from the Hannah Kate Makes story from last year to share with you.

My favourite work from early in the year was an almost-master-study of Hope by George Frederic Watts. A large, framed print of the original has hung in my childhood home for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always loved it. I painted my version digitally, with my own palette choices, and named it Hope in Hell.

Plight of the Bumblebee came into being just in time for Valentine’s Day and was a welcome return to watercolours for me. Our loyal and busy bee has been caught mid-flight as he carries the heart of the world with him. A slight homage to St Valentine, patron saint of beekeepers and lovers, with a touch of my own darker surrealism. I was influenced by the steps taken by the UK government to lift a ban on pesticides dangerous to bees, allowing them to be used once again in the English countryside.

After many more months that I care to admit to, I finally completed Ben Bear at some point in March. You can see snippets of him coming into being in several of my studio vlogs over on my YouTube channel.

April was “A Month in Flowers” as coined by the wonderful Lindsay of Black and Tortie. Her creative challenge encouraged people to take part by sharing an image based on a different flower prompt each day. I attempted eight visuals from a possible thirty and one of my favourites is still Forget Me Not.

A visit to Erotic Art London at OXO Tower Wharf was a welcome trip out of the village. The exhibition offered four levels of photography, paintings, drawings and sculpture along with a market, entertainment and (importantly) a bar and food. I’m looking forward to attending again this year.

Never one to let a chance to paint some favourite characters slip past, I returned to my watercolours ready for 4th May and Message from Artoo was born. Happily, this piece was snapped up and left me for a new home a week later.

Mer-May is a huge collective event for visual artist over on Instagram and I took part in a few different prompt lists, creating an ACEO for each. It’s a fun exercise in challenging myself to come up with interesting and (sometimes) clever plays on the prompts, but I don’t think I’ll participate in quite the same way again in 2023. Mermaids and their lore is fascinating so I’m more likely to produce work in that vein next May.

Glastonbury rolled around once more at the end of my birthday month and in my fortieth year I found myself watching many more of the acts performing on the Other Stage. One of my favourite bands of all time delivered a stonking set and inspired me to draw a little with my new birthday pens!

Covid finally caught up with me in July after two years of isolation. I was super pleased that my fever night coincided perfectly with the hottest ever day in England on record. If it hadn’t been for the brain fog (and two angry red lines on the LFT) I might not even have noticed…*

*I'm not making light of the severity of COVID here. I was fully vaccinated by this point and am extremely grateful for the protection that gave me.

The summer heatwave lingered into August and made painting The Dragon Queen quite tricky. My acrylics dried out almost as soon as I added them to my palette so my painting time was limited to an hour in the early morning before the house became a furnace!

Thankfully September saw the weather break and return to recognisable unpredictability.

Hannah Kate Makes also returned to the wild with my first in-person events since 2019. A gentle start with the Scarecrow Festival taking place in my own village, followed by a larger event just outside Cambridge with the Milton Country Park Autumn Festival. Both were a lot of fun and, although incredibly tiring, offered great feedback on my work and fed my soul with human interaction.

I also had a chance to draw Stevie for a dear friend’s birthday, because we all want to be more Stevie when we grow up.

October and the start of spooky season lifted my spirits and was a busy month, prepping for more events and taking part in several drawing challenges.

I have several pieces from this time that I’m proud of and it’s difficult to choose only one or two! Glampire was a test for my practice in faces and fur and I was pleased with my Marlene inspired vampire. My Screaming Skull illustration has now become an integral design for my merchandise, with stickers and T-shirts emblazoned with the startled bonehead.

Stalls From The Crypt hosted us at The Craufurd Arms, Wolverton for a spooky Halloween Market to round out the month.

Dark Christmas returned at the beginning of November, with new decorations and cards as well as T-shirts and mugs. I even fulfilled my first wholesale orders! Phil and I dressed up to get into the swing of things for Confetti Events Victorian Christmas Market in St Neots which was a lot of fun and an incredibly successful event. There were hundreds of visitors and we had a great time meeting new people.

Netflix released a fantastic new entry into The Addams Family world and my Patrons chose it as inspiration for our fan art in early December. I highly recommend it if your inner (or outer) goth is still going strong.

We took Hannah Kate Makes on the road again, first to the NightFair Before Christmas at Blackfriars Hall in Norwich. A stunning building and a great evening alongside some fabulously talented artists and well attended by the coolest crowd!

A week later we ventured up to Nottingham to trade at The Dark Arts Market: Creepy Christmas weekend event. The organisers are awesome and curated a brilliant event with some visitors traveling quite a long way to attend. Our final event of the year and we left buzzing with excitement and happy memories made.

Who knows what 2023 will bring…

I'm full of hope and ideas for the year ahead and many plans are already in place and underway as I type.

If you’d like to stay in the loop with my mischief, then pop your email in the box at the bottom of the page and join The Spooky List for weekly email updates. Or you can watch my shenanigans as they happen by following me on Instagram and Facebook.

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