Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Not all QUIET in the library

Before the exhibition was EVEN set up, it was a success!

A success because of a phone call I received a couple of days beforehand......

My contact at the library had rung with a piece of good news for me - she was setting up the programme of events for next year and when she got to the "International day for Women in Arts" she thought of me and said I was top of her list! And asked if I'd be interested in talking to a group at the library about my erotic art and taking along some pieces to show them. I said I'd be delighted to! She said that there would be a woman photographer, sculptor and textile worker there as part of the session, so it all sounds very upbeat and positive and I shall be delighted to be part of it!
And that was before I'd even set the exhibition up!

I set it up on Monday, on my own. I've set up exhibitions before, but they've been part of a group so I've not had to do all of it on my own before. When I've exhibited at Olympia for Erotica I've had a smaller stand and some help, so this time was  more involved. But, other than the carrying in of the artwork (heavy even without the benefit of a hot summers day!), it was ok. And the caretaker was a great help in letting me stay after the library was shut for the night, which gave me the extra time to put up my title cards, and the bio about me and my work. I was weary though, when I got back home, mentally and physically.
I'm delighted with the way it looks, it's my first proper solo exhibition and its one I'm proud of. It's a lovely light exhibition space and right by the front door so people can see it when they go on.

The decision about putting erotic art in was always going to be a moot point. I'd got the exhibition in the first place because of the brightly coloured vibrant abstracts I'd done. But, it's still a public place that children can go to and its not appropriate for them to see erotic art. But the library knew that and left it to me to decide what I felt I was happy with. To that end, I decided that it would be better for me to show all that I do, and not just the erotic stuff, whilst making the most of my brightly coloured abstracts as I know they are popular, regardless of the subject matter. So I took landscapes, animals, still life and dancers as well as the more acceptable erotic stuff.
Whilst I was setting up on Monday afternoon, a little girl of nine and her father passed by me. The child darted past each picture saying "I like that one, I like that one, I like that one" as she pointed to each in turn. All good, if she finds the art appealing. She said "Who painted all of these?" and I said "I did!" her father hadn't heard me say that, and he replied to her "Lots of people, darling" and I turned to him and said "No, I did them ALL". He looked taken aback and replied "In that case, you're very talented" and I smiled at him in his understanding. 
And later on, whilst I was putting up the brightly coloured erotic abstracts an older woman came in search of her husband who was looking at the art, and said to him "I like THAT!" and I turned and said a heartfelt "Thankyou!" as we made eye contact and smiled at each other. The art has valedation.

Yesterday when I popped in to see how things were progressing there were two youngish women there smiling at the "naughty picture" the "Tree of Life" picture that I'd taken as a framed print. It seems to be the most popular thing there, and they were smiling in understanding of what it was and what it depicted. The chief librarian was there, a man in his forties, and they pointed it out to him, and I smiled and asked him "Are you ok with hanging that picture in the library? Innocent eyes only see innocence in it, but adults see it for what it really is" He looked blankly at the picture and said "What? I don't know what you mean" I smiled, and the two other women smiled and pointed at it. He still looked blankly at it and it was obvious that he couldn't see it - one of the women pointed it out to explain it, and I smiled to myself. Children are obviously not the only ones with "innocent eyes"!!!!!!!

Friday, 25 June 2010

All fired up

The Burton library exhibition isn't abandoned totally.  Infact I think I'll be able to put quite a few pictures in. It's just that I won't be able to do as much for it as I had hoped for, originally. But that's ok. And I'll also be able to hang some of the more acceptable erotic ones there. Infact it was the brightly coloured abstracts like this one that got me the exhibition in the first place!

I appreciate that some of my work though, is totally inappropriate for a public library, so to that end, I'll also be putting in some small framed prints of tigers, other animals, and landscapes. Far more acceptable for some, I'm sure!!! LOL

I'm looking forward to it and know that some friends will be attending at some point over the fortnight to see what I'm exhibiting there and I'll appreciate their feedback. Stuart and his wife are going he tells me, and I know he'll let me know what he thinks of it. He's recently tried to get an article printed in the Guardian newspaper about his amusing experience of being drawn by me the first daunting time, but the paper say that they've only recently printed a similar article so have turned it away. Undeterred, as he's aware of the fickle natures of newspapers, he's trying another publication he thinks may be interested and rings me regularly with any news (yes, pun intended!!).

Last night I attended a meeting for one of the art groups I'm a member of to discuss feedback regarding recent exhibitions and the possibility of other venues in the area for new ones. The usual stuff. Afterwards in the bar a few of them stayed on for drinks and a social chat and the boyfriend of one of them joined his artist girlfriend and was happy to join the group. He's a nice easy going fella and I've known him many years. He sat back and listened as the chat went back and forth across the table. Talks of places to paint, and dates arranged for painting days, where you just set up your easel and paint a particular scene, but with the knowledge that others will be around if you don't want to be a lone woman out painting on your own. And then someone excitedly talked about using acrylics and how much she liked them after years of being a pastel painter, and then someone else excitedly talked of the new acrylic paints that don't dry instantly, but allow you to have a couple of days to still move the paint around if you need to, and at that I really perked up and eagerly asked to know more about them.  Only for the flat phrase to fall on the converstion from the boyfriend overhearing it all "ART GEEKS!" he said. And we stopped and looked at him inquisitively. "You're all ART GEEKS!" he said again, and I grinned. I suppose we are. But it's because we're excited about it, and love to hear of new techniques or paints or where to buy the cheapest watercolour paper or best types of pastels. We're art geeks!  I agree!!!!!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Somethings got to give

Well somethings gotta give and unfortunately its got to be the art.
Short term, anyway.
I rang the librarian I've been dealing with at Burton Library to say that I was REALLY looking forward to this exhibition next week and was doing the best I could for getting ready for it. BUT, and it is a BIG but........ I am without a car at the moment until I get a courtesy car sorted out after my car accident last week. That's not a huge problem, just a minor annoyance and I can work around that.

But on top of that, I am sorting out my life and that is as ok as it can be, in the circumstances.

And just to add to the problems, I've found a house I really like, and have made an offer on it. Which has been accepted. So that means that what should have been quality time for sorting out the things I need for the exhibition have been taken up with endless phone calls and questions.

She kindly listened to all I said and helpfully suggested "Why don't you cancel it, and leave it until next year when you're more settled?"

"No" I replied, "I don't want to do that, although I may well exhibit there again next year when things have quietened down and I've got my life on track again. But I don't want to cancel, I want to do it, even though it won't be as good as I was hoping, it will be the best I can do, in the time I have".

Because, this is for the art.

All of it.

Friday, 18 June 2010

As if there wasn't enough happening

I've got my first solo exhibition coming up in ten days time. So there's a lot to do to prepare and get things ready. It's only at the library at Burton on Trent in Staffordshire but it's an excellent venue, the exhibition space is great, the light is great,the staff are enthusiastic and they have a lot of people through the door there. So all in all, its a good thing and I want to do my best for the show. I think I can hang a good amount of artwork, and I can hang prints as well so there will be something for everybody, and if I want to do some demonstrations I can, and just get involved with the patrons of the fair brewing town of Burton on Trent.

Except, this is the week that I'm house hunting.

And this is the week that I've viewed not one but two houses that I REALLY REALLY like. Fortunately they happen to be three doors away from each other so it's easy to view them together. The problem is, and its a nice problem in a way, is that there are aspects of BOTH houses that I really like. If I could take the kitchen, bathroom and the room that I would use to paint in, and mix them into the other house I'd have a perfect mix. But I can't. So I have to make a decision. Which one do I want MOST????

Mmm...... I'm been thinking long and hard about THAT question. And I THINK I've come up with the answer. But it DOES mean another viewing of both of them to fully answer that question. So I've arranged to do that in the next few days.

And JUST to add to the lovely mix of the week, the week when I've got enough on my plate as it is. This  week is the VERY week that my car was involved in a car accident. AGAIN. And I've only had my car back ONLY three weeks from the last dent put into it whilst I was down in Essex and an old man reversed his car out of a parking space in a pub car park, to richocet into a Mercedes parked next to  mine, and shunt it at force sideways into my parked car and embed the cars into each other. Thank goodness no one was in either car so no one was hurt and the old man admitted liability so I was able to have my car repaired quickly and it came back looking pristine and new again all of THREE weeks ago. So, you can imagine how delighted I was to be driven into by a tow truck  yesterday and find that he had dented it in more or less the same place as the last dent! When I spoke to the repair garage, who had only sent it back all done three weeks ago, the receptionist said she THOUGHT the name and car reg was familiar! I said the lads in the body shop will say they only fixed this car last month, and its back again. Like deja vu!!!!!

So whilst I'm dealing with all of that, and sorting out the hire car, its not getting things done for the exhibition at the library. At this rate, I'll have to book in again next year for a repeat performance, and hope that I haven't got so much on my plate THEN!!! :)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Enough room to swing a paintbrush

Its been a long time since I've looked at properties to buy, and over the years the basic requirements change. Having said that I'm a long way off looking for a retirement bungalow! Artists never retire, they just slow down a little. And I'm far from doing THAT!

So, having searched through the windows of estate agents in the area, and on the internet, I was able to decide on the first of two places that looked like they might hold some promise for me.

The first one was a pretty sounding cottage in a pleasant village a few miles north from where I live. I arrived with fresh anticipation and a feeling of excitement. But on viewing the outside of the property wasn't quite sure where the estate agents description of courtyard, outbuildings and garden started and ended. It turned out that the "outbuildings" were an outside lavy and the tinest garage I've ever seen - enough for a mini, maybe. Hardly the stone built artists studio that I had envisaged!!!!! It turned out the cottage was tiny too, and there was a weird set up with the garden that meant that the neighbours downstairs windows totally overlooked the cottage garden, so if I'd been sitting out there sunbathing, we'd have had nothing between us but a sheet of glass and a knowing look!

So, that was a no no.

On to the next one............

Also in a pleasant village a little south-west from where I live. I had high expectations of this one. It was a 1960s detached house in its own garden and it had a study which was bound to be useful for me. I arrived, and could see straight away that the owners weren't gardeners. No matter, I don't mind designing and creating my own artists garden, I've done it before and can do it again. So, into the house, Ooooooouuuww what's THAT SMELL....????  Try and overcome the smell that greeted me as I was shown the "study" which had an overpowering stench of something that seemed to have crapped in there a long time a go. Nevermind, on to the lounge, and it was there that I met the dogs. Ah, the reason for the smell maybe? The lounge was ok, the dining area was ok, the downstairs toilet was ok, the utility room was a mess, soap powder everywhere. The kitchen, usually the pride  and joy of any house was .......well..................foul. The outside door didn't open because of the junk piled up against it, the cupboards might just be ok if they were thoroughly scrubbed, twice, before I'd want to put anything in them. But the floor tiles would definitely need to be taken up and replaced as they were black with grime and undeterminable dirt (the dogs again?). Ok, on to the garden, overgrown with grass and a desolate elderberry tree in the corner, the main features being the enormous shed dropped randomly into the middle of it and the dog shit decorating it. MMm...... ok, what's upstairs? Three small bedrooms, one containing guinea pigs (more smells to add to the rest!)  and a bathroom that I wouldn't have been happy using until a whole bottle of bleach and every cleaning product I could find had been used on it over a three day period.

But none of this mattered. Not the fact that every carpet would have had to have been ripped up and replaced. Not the fact that every surface needed a damn good clean and paint. Not the fact that the kitchen AND bathroom would have had to have been ripped out and replaced. Not the fact that the garden was overgrown and neglected. No, it was the fact that there was no where to paint. No where except a tiny back bedroom. With a funny smell.

THAT was the reason I didn't want to buy it.

Now, WHAT WAS thaaaaaat smell.....................................??????

Friday, 11 June 2010

Dirty little secrets

Its always nice when a friend asks if you're free to meet him in town for a meal. Its even nicer when you know that he doesn't live in this area but over two hours away by road but just happens to be coming up from the London area for the day. So, I was delighed to accept with alacrity. The fact that he was bringing a friend was a bonus. Especially when I knew who it was, as she was someone important in my life although we'd only met briefly once before.....

The day shone bright (and so it should for flaming June, EVEN in England.............!) and I met them at the appointed time, in the market place where there were busy bars and restaurants. I found them straight away and greeted them both with a hug and kiss. We sat chatting over drinks aboout the weather (how English!), the people in our lives and the lastest gossip. And then I was able to ask her the question, the one I KNEW I was going to ask her..............

"So, how do you like it then?"
And she replied with a big grin and said "I love it, I love it so much I've bought a mirror so that I can see it from both angles"
I smiled with delight and asked her if others had noticed her secret?
She shook her head "No, they haven't"
I was even more delighted to hear that. That was EXACTLY what I wanted to hear!
Infact a guy she knows had been standing really close to study it and he hadn't seen it. Not until my male friend had said "Are you looking for the filth?"
I guffawed with laughter when he said that, as I knew he was being provocative and amusing with that  pointed comment.
Because he was talking about this. This painting I did a couple of years ago which was a gift for the woman, something commissioned for her, and given to her by two close friends who know her tastes well and wanted to give her something special and unique. So they'd contacted me and asked me to do this painting for her. Its called "Towering passions" and is the skyline of New York at night. But hidden within the painting is a naked couple, making love. But most people don't see them, because they're expecting to look at the verticals and horizontals of the skyline and don't expect that there's a secret in there. A secret only a few know about. And that's why she bought a mirror, so that she can see it from all angles when she's sitting in her lounge. How good is that!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Big day

Today I can start looking for a house.

An Artists house.

Friday, 4 June 2010

How COULD it be boring?

Artists always say that painting a Summer landscape is boring, compared to the other times of the year. The winter bare branches of the trees are far more interesting (and difficult!) to paint, from the heavy trunks right up to the fine lace effect of the tiny twigs. Snow and frost add another dimension all together and make the image far more dramatic. Spring is good to paint, because of the bright verdant new greens of the first foliage of the season. And of course Autumn is the best because of the beautiful depth of jewel like colours of the dying leaves, the yellows, golds, oranges and reds of their last effort before they fall to the ground and become the browns and russets of fallen leaves rotting into the soil below. Summer is considered the most boring. Because there is too MUCH green. Its ALL green, everywhere you look in the countryside. No particularly interesting contrasting colours to see.

But I disagree.

Because at this time of the year there is the light.

Beautiful golden light bathing everything in its glow.

And because there is light, there is shadow too.

Lovely deep purple shadows.

And when you put those two together, you see some fabulous effects. Tiny dots of light filtering through the canopy of leaves above, shaping the trunk of a tree, casting shadows across paths and roadways. And dark purple shadows contrasting with them to accentuate the light and accentuate the pretty scene. It's so atmoshperic, I love it! All the greens take on another life, a new dimension, an explosion of colours, lights and darks, its like the contrast and brightness light has been turned up. and I find it SOOOO inspirational. I want to draw everything I see!!!!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Having my cake with the nude boys

Eating cake with friends is a nice occupation. But it adds a frisson of amusement to all concerned when you know that you've seen them in the nude before. It amuses them too, to know that that is the case. And I suppose it's twice the fun when you introduce them to each other, clothed, and in public, and they know they share a common factor. The nudity. And the fact they've posed for me and I've drawn them. A common bond.

(And its for you to decide whether the fact that it was lemon drizzle cake was of importance to the proceedings. Either for the lemon. OR the drizzle! LOL )

But, it's all quite normal for me!

And nice that they both turned up for the exhibition I was part of over the weekend.

It was good to be part of such a diverse art group and interesting to see what  the others had painted - wild animals, pretty flowers, and verdant landscapes.

And then there was MY stuff.

A selection of nakedness, bright colours, surreal landscapes and spiritual forces!!!

Including this one - the Stonehenge picture was finished in the week, and I'm happy with parts of it, but am undecided about some of it. I think it may be improved by being re-painted in oils. That way the colours of the unseen energies could be depicted in slightly more subtle tones. Having said that, I love the way the clouds have created their own mystery within their formation. But that was because I started with the poured on paint on wet paper that I love so much. It creates its own magical shapes within the paint and I use that as the basis for the rest of the painting. I like the way the light is shining around the stones, and I've painted them in dark forbidding tones to give the feeling of strength and solidity within them. They are firmly anchored to the ground, and make a nice contrast to the lighter clouds above. The watercolour painting is called "Awakening the unified energies" and shows the power that still lies within Stonehenge. Power to conjour the unseen energies, felt deep within them, lying dormant, awaiting their summons.................

Stuart wrote to me after the exhibiton to say how much he enjoyed it, and enjoyed seeing me again which I thought was very sweet of him. He says posing for me has given him more confidence than he's ever had. And I'm delighted that he feels that freedom from the art. It's freed his spirit.

Or perhaps it was the cake that did it................. :)