Friday, 30 July 2010

Do what you do best

It's been another frustating week. The house sale has been pushed back another couple of weeks. I stand the chance of losing the house I'm after and am having to placate vendors, purchasers, solicitors, estate agents and concerned friends and aquaintances. Whilst trying to carry on with my life whilst half of my posessions are packed away in boxes, and half are where they usually live, but collecting dust whilst the legal wrangling continues, and the (currently FIVE!) solicitors are knocking up their bills.

So, when a concerned friend, trying to be helpful, practical and positive, suggests by email:

"Perhaps you should use your art to take your mind off things?? Organise a couple of tutoring sessions, somewhere? It would give you an idea of the popularity any future regular courses would be and also what kind of revenue it would generate. More importantly, it would take your mind off everything else for a few hours and give you something positive to work on."

I knew he was being helpful, and supportive. But my immediate response was - How on EARTH can I do THAT, when everything is so mixed up in my life, I'm stressed with legal wrangling, half my stuff is poised ready to be sent to the new house, I've not painted for weeks, I've not prepared anything for tutoring, I haven't got a venue to work from, I don't even know where I'd find pupils from, and I'm certainly not calm and relaxed, which would make for a far better teaching atmosphere for all concerned!!!!

So, I took a deep breath, and told him my thoughts. About why I couldn't do what he suggested. And then went off to have another lenghtly phone call with the pushy estate agent, and the concerned vendor, and spent the night feeling despondent about my lack of action and ability to do anything much at the moment. Very very fustrating!!!!

But something must have sunk in. Something started off the seed of an idea......

And by the following morning, I'd made a decision.
Ok, I'm stuck with the situation I'm in. I am working on the best way to get out of it. And it will take time. Professionals are working on their part - the estate agents, solicitors (all of em!), Land Registry, the vendors and purchases all down the chain of properties are all doing their BEST to keep the sale. And until it gets to my turn, there is nothing else I can do. Except stay positive. And do whatever I can do, in the meantime. So, what makes me FEEL positive? What makes me FEEL good? What can I DO to help my self?

I can create. I can listen to upbeat music. I can talk in positive ways to the people I need to speak to. I can paint. I can make a piece of art.

And then today I got this email today from my concerned friend, he said

"Sounds like you need to take your mind off things a little though.....

It's surprising how you can feel better about eveything if just one small thing goes your way. Everyday something good will have happened - you may have to look hard for it but it will be there. Just know that it is there if you search for it. Your whole day will be brighter when you find it.

So, the tutoring may be a bad idea - but you forgot everything else whilst you were thinking about it - even for just a few moments. Now you know that you are not ready to make that step so thats a positive decision - something good has come out of the day. See? It's quite easy to build yourself up again if you look for it !!!!"

And he's right. But he told me that AFTER I'd made my decision. What he said just added to the importance of it, and of acting on it.

So, this weekend, I shall be painting. A picture. One I actually started 10 months ago. It's been sitting in my studio, leaning up against the wall, in all that time. I look at it daily. And it's been at the back of my mind to finish it for a long time. So this weekend, I'll continue work on it. Its a landscape, of a woodland scene, a place near to where I live. The late summer sunlight falls through the overhead canopy of leaves, falling golden on the dry soil below. There is a small stream, with eddies and brown depths, the sky reflected in its glassy surface as it goes along its way. But, just to make the picture "mine" I've hidden a couple within the picture. An erotic couple, embracing. They are within the bark of the trunk of a tree. The picture is in acrylics on canvas. It seemed the right medium at the time to paint it in. But, I've been thinking. I think the painting will be better in oils on the canvas. Oils are by far a better medium, they create a far softer atmosphere, and I love their buttery feel, their soft pungent smell, and the feel of the brush in my hands. I don't need to start a picture, I don't need to look for inspiration. It is before me. I just need to add to it. To build on it. To create. And the acrylics below will show me the way to use the oils on the surface.

That's what I need, at the moment. To get lost in a painting......................

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

In someone else's hands

It's out of my hands.

And I'm having to accept that. Accept the fact that there's nothing I can do. At the moment.

Because someone who I've never met, and never likely to meet, has made a decision not to buy the house they originally wanted in Watford, it means their vendors aren't selling their house, and that affects all the houses down the line - including mine. So the chain is broken. Unless someone can do something, somewhere, to mend it. And it looks like it's the vendor four more down the chain who is the one who may, just, be able to do something about it.

He's offered to buy the house in Watford.
He doesn't WANT the house in Watford, but if he buys it, then everyone down the line can move on to their new homes. Including me. But if he is unable to buy it, then we're all back to square one and starting again.

And just to add to the fun of it all, I'm stuck in a nightmare scenario, not of my making, that means that some farmer somewhere, who I'd never heard of until last week, may hold the crux of my sale, if we can prove whether he does, or does not, own a particular piece of land.

Someone, somewhere, is making a lot of money out of this mess.
And its not me.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

But Where will you be?

I know they say moving house is stressful.

I'm aware of it.
And I've tried to deal with the daily problems in a sensible and realistic way, keeping communications open.

But, I'm doubly aware of the stress, no quadrupably, aware of it THIS week!

Without going into the boring legal stuff of describing the minute details of solictors phone calls, helpful solicitors secretaries, panicky estate agents, laid back vendors, confident purchasers, over officious mortgage lenders, cock-ups with Land Registry, late night searches for old deeds going back to the 1800s, boundary queries regarding red lines, and removal van logistical problems..............!

So, when I know I have to fill out  a couple of forms this week for exhibitions in the near future, and they ask difficult questions like "address" and  "phone number" - I'm not sure what to put! Hopefully, I won't be at my current address. But, if the sale is delayed, I might not be at my new address. I can hardly put "Care of whoever will put me up that night" can I !!!!!?!

As well as that I've had to decide which pictures will be in the exhibitions a month before I need to take them to be hung. And they want to know "size" of each one. Bearing in mind that I've had to clambour over packing boxes to find them in various places around the house, measure them, and fill out the details. It's a big enough job without the extra aggro of house upheaval! Aand I've also got to bear in mind that at the other end, they need to be found easily rather than labelled under a generic "art" tag! Perhaps I need to make a label that says "Don't put this in a far corner, keep it near to the door, as you're going to need it soon after you move in" label.

Life's not boring, at the moment.

(Understatement of the week!!!)

Friday, 16 July 2010

Slowing down to speed up again

Talking to a good friend from foreign shores yesterday, he mentioned in passing that when he first started reading my blog a couple of years ago,  that it seemed that everytime I wrote there was a new drawing or painting of mine to view and comment on.

And he was right, there was.

But there hasn't been for a while now, and that's because of the circumstances of my private life. This last year has been very very challenging on many levels, and I've had to make some very difficult decisions, a lot of them full of high emotion. But, that has in turn, over the months, gently flowed into something more settled, leading on to me being able to move on, physically and mentally. Hence, my finding a new house after a remarkably short time of searching! A place to paint, and create. A place full of light for an artist. Full of inspiration and hope.

So, when Stuart rang yesterday for a chat, he said, with some surprise in his voice, that I sounded more lively than I have of recent times. And I laughed and said "More perky you mean!" and he smiled and agreed at my choice of word. I smiled too, and explained to him that it was because I have purpose again after a year of inactivity and frustration. I have the thought of a wonderful new house to go to, one that will encourage me to paint new pictures and market the existing ones, perhaps find new galleries, new collectors of my work, new friends, and new beginnings. And I'm excited at the thought.......................

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Vicarious pleasures

I've just finished reading a book. A very long and thorouglhy enjoyable and very popular book - "The pillars of the earth" by Ken Follet- about the building of a cathedral in the twelfth century in England, and the people involved with creating it, their lives and loves, passions and hatreds.

And it struck me as I reached the end of it, and was so involved with the tale and where it was heading, that although a book is a physically small thing - a collection of words on paper in a particular order, in effect, that it's like diving into a new world, a dimension beyond normal life. The words on the paper bring the previously unknown world to life, so we can feel the pain, the ecstacy, the passions and emotions of the story and make it part of ourselves and feel fulfilled within ourselves, and better people for the reading of it, the digestion of it, that makes us more rounded within our characters for the knowledge of it.....

And that in turn made me think of movies - that they are a step into another new world, particularly if it's a science-fiction film, of course- a different dimension when we empathise with the characters and their various  predicaments and the mesage within the tale....

And then I thought that music has the same effect - the words of the song reminds us of our experiences in life, particularly love and its endless joys and sorrows....

And then I considered that music is poetry but with a harmony added, and that made me consider that poems are beautiful beyond belief sometimes with their lyrical understanding of the use of langage and the heartaches and passions that poetry evokes....

Which of course, led me on to visual pleasures after the written ones. And that made me think of my art. And that's what I'm trying to capture within my pictures - that happy feeling of being part of what is portrayed within the medium, that makes you feel happy and sad, gives you the empathy and ecstacy of being part of the subject matter. That you too feel the pain and loss, the love and joy, the passions and understandings of what is being portrayed within...................... that the medium of creativity evokes such joys within us................ music for the soul..................

Friday, 9 July 2010

Opening doors and slamming others

On deciding one warm and sunny night this week that a fresh pizza and glass of chilled wine at the local pub was a good idea, I was surprised as I placed my order when the pizza chef greeted me with a smile and enquired "How's your exhibition going?" I was taken aback, since I've not seen him for a few weeks. "How do you know about THAT?" I asked, intrigued.... "You emailed my wife and she told me!" he said with a grin, and I smiled back in rememberance. Of course I did! Along with everyone else I could think of in the area who might be interested....

So I wasn't so surprised later on that evening, still in the pub, when I saw another guy I'd not seen for a year, and he asked me the same thing! It's nice to know that the message is getting across and people remember.

And even nicer when my cousin from North Yorkshire rang me yesterday to ask the same question. This exhibition is giving people the opportunity to get in touch with me, which is lovely! It makse me feel all warm and smiley!

Infact, now I come to think about it, two women friends have mentioned it too when I bumped into each of them on different days this week. One of them was just coming back from a late lunch in town, and had a male colleague with her. She and I hugged in greeting and she introduced me to him, we shook hands and she mentioned to him that I'd got an exhibition on at the library and that she'd been but I'd not been on duty at that point (its sods law that I can hang around the library for three hours and not see anyone I know, but when I'm not there, they go!!!!). He looked at me with interest and said "So you've got your own crayons have you?" I smiled and said "I've got my own paint brushes as well". He said "But you could use your hands to smear the paint on" and I agreed and said "And I'd probably earn more money that way instead of painting properly with a brush!". He asked me a couple more probing questions about my work and when I said that I'd sold artwork to America, he commented "Well, its easy to sell oil paintings to the Americans!" followed by an aggressive "Gettttttttt a JOB!!!!!!!!!" I replied that I HAD one!!!! My friend decided it was time to get back to work and I said goodbye to her and to him and walked on. She's a really good friend of mine, but I wasn't sure about her colleague - whether he was being deadly serious and sarcastically critical and rude, or whether he thought he was being funny! I'm still not sure. But I'll ask her next time I see her. I found him to be aggresively rude for no apparant reason. Perhaps he speaks to everyone in that way!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Radio days

I was early. I had made a point of being early.
Because I wasn't sure what to expect, this was ALL new territory for me!

I walked in to the reception at Radio Derby and was greeted by a smiling black girl - hardly surprising since this was the "African Caribbean Experience" show that I was going to appear on.  She showed me through to a glass fronted office and a black guy looked up "Are you G-Man?" I asked and he replied "How did you guess?" as we shook hands. He montioned me to a seat as he carried on checking his emails and chatting with another guy there, discussing recent sports events and asking for opinions and offering his own. I watched him with interest and asked how long he'd been doing the show? "Not long, twenty five years" he said, and I grinned at his joke. He made his preparations, then kindly took me around the empty building to show me where the offices, news desk, sports desk and the other, empty, studio were, explaining that it was similar to the one he used and showing me the various controls so that I had a basic understanding of his working environment. All very interesting and novel, to me! But then, people are invariably fascinated in my work as an artist, since it's so different to theirs, and other people's work places are always a place of wonder and intrigue and mystery.

We went back to the reception area, and more people were gathered there, I hadn't got a clue why, or who they were or what their purpose was. Was it normal to have that many people there? Were they part of the show? The clock on the wall showed it was two minutes before the show was due to start, the other black presenter signed off, and G-Man replaced him in the presenters seat, as we all filed in. There were a few more than the four he said he was allowed - infact, I counted EIGHTEEN!

He indicated that I should sit opposite him, as he knew I was new to this and wasn't quite sure what to expect, since nothing had been explained, it was all so very laid back and relaxed. Probably, a good thing for my debut show!

He played some music, the guy next to me was texting, someone else was reading a paper, the blonde girl on the other side of me was from the local visual arts place with loads of information of forthcoming events, the  guy next to me made the odd comment throughout the show to G-Man. When the red light came on, it was live, and it was obvious to anyone listening that there were a lot of people in the room, but their voices were silent. Weird. G-Man had said that his show was unlike any other, and I could see why!

He passed around the sweets I'd taken, as he rang a musician in America and chatted to him about his music and his latest album and played a couple of tracks from it. Then it was the turn of the blonde girl next to me to tell of the forthcoming art events in Derby. G-Man played another track then whilst he played it, he said it was my turn next. Ok.............

We chatted, and he asked me about the exhibition I'd got on at the Burton library, the times, what sort of art I did, I'd taken some artwork with me to show him, and there were gasps of "That's good!" from the collective group, as they looked at them and he made comments and asked a bit about me and my art.  Then my four minutes was up, and as he played more music. I had to move to stand at the side of the room whilst someone else replaced me to talk.  Eight mintues later and the show had finished.

But my art had created a buzz - the texting guy was intrigued with the bright colours of the "living flame" picture, and asked me if it was the chakras I had depicted within the picture, I explained about the life-force being shown, and he really related to it. And the smiling girl who'd greeted me in the first place came over to say hello and say how much she'd liked my art, she was G-Man's daughter I realised as I started to sort out who was who in that room.

I went over to say thanks to G-Man and we hugged as I kissed him on the cheek and he said "You know where I am now, and you've got my number if you want to come again!" I thanked him, he said he was going to look at my exhibition tomorrow, and we exchanged business cards as I picked up my stuff and headed out onto the street. And it was only a few seconds later that I wondered who ALL those people in that studio WERE - since only six of us had spoken!!!!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Good vibrations rippling out

Well the Burton Library exhibition is going well and I've had some really good feedback from it already!

But sometimes its not the selling of the art that brings in the results. It's a bit like fishing, you throw the bait out and are never quite sure what you're going to land from it....

For instance, one guy turned up at the exhibtion purely because of my surname! His mother was also an "Adshead" and he was intrigued by me. It turned out he'd heard from another source about me - I'd emailed another Adshead in Manchester - who is interested in all things Adshead and he'd sent the link on to the others on his mailing list. So, it was like the rippling effect of Adsheads across the country!

Stuart and is wife appeared yesterday whilst I was at the exhibition, he full of beans as usual. He's written to a national magazine about his expeience of being drawn in the nude, by me, in his usual cheekily humorous way, and is waiting to hear from them.

And the best reaction I've had is from the librarians themselves! They're all upbeat and positive and very apprecaitive of all I've done. Even the Chief Librarian is acting like he discovered me himself!!!! But it's my first contact that has proved the most helpful. She has given me the names and numbers of various people who I can network with who will help me promote myself. I know I have to do it myself, and nothing happens without some pro-activity from me but I'm happy with doing that. She tells me that people like me and respond to me, which I was really happy to hear.

One of her contacts is a guy who has a late night programme on the local radio show. She suggested I ring him. So I did, and left a message with his secretary, he rang back later and left a message on my voicemail, and I rang back and left one on his, twice! We seemed to be good at missing each other! When he eventually rang, we had a great upbeat and perky chat and his banter made me laugh! He asked how he could help me, and I said I'd got an art exhibition on at Burton Library. "So you want to come on the radio then do you?" "Er, do I?" I wasn't surre. This is new territory for me! "Sure", he said, "You'll be fine!" "Ok", I said, resolved to the idea. "How long do I need to talk for?" "I'll tell you five minutes" he said, "Because it's better than the reality!" "And what's that?" I said, realising there was a catch to this. "An hour!" he said. I gulped.  "And because its your first time, bring some sweetieswith you!"  he said, laughing!!!!