I was part of a local art exhibition at Ticknall Village Hall in South Derbyshire over the weekend. It was the usual concentrated job to get the artwork ready, set it up, sort out the admin for it all (title cards filled out, hanging fees paid) and then go and hang them all, and catch up with the chat of all the other artists there. We are a mix of amateur and professional artists from all walks of life who have a passion for art and are supportive and helpful to each other whilst trying to promote art in the area. Some of the artists teach, some paint just in their spare time. We all paint differently, of different subjects so its certainly a good selection of artwork for any of the general public to come along and view.
I was there on the Saturday afternoon doing my stewarding stint for three hours. There were a few people through the door, but the majority come along on the Sunday and Monday traditionally, so it was as busy as I had expected it to be. I was delighted to see Stuart Haywood there with his wife who had come to see my artwork in particular since they are such big fans. I've drawn Stuart six times now, and he is most proud of the pencil drawings I have done of him and proudly shows them to most people in his life. He's a great walking advert for me. He was most interested in a pencil drawing I had there of an old man's face, and stood studying it for a long time. I tried my best to sell it to him, but he wouldn't be drawn (ha ha, artist's joke!!!!). But there was another idea that I may have talked him into, when we got talking about old potting sheds, because that was something he was excited about since he is quite the horticulturist with his huge knowledge of roses. So, that looked far more favourable for me doing a commission for him in the near future.
I also had a most interesting conversation with a youngish woman there who only got in as we were about to shut. She had been last year and wanted to come again as she knows we have a high standard of artwork there. She paid for two on the door, although she was alone "Its just you and the invisible man then is it..?" I asked cheekily and she explained that her husband was on his way, and he did duly arrive a few moments later limping heavily and leaning on a ski stick. They looked at the art, and my art in particular and asked me if there were any pictures of naked men there, which amused me, as I do erotic art, although they wouldn't have been aware of that. I went over to chat to them, as they stood by my paintings on display and she and I had an in-depth conversation about art. She liked the pictures I'd taken, of a cat, cheetah, fairy, old man, castle, flowers, an abstract of sun on water, a fantasy woman with wings painted in watercolours, acrylics, pencil, pen and ink. And I made the comment that I say alot, that I do so many subjects in different styles, with different mediums that its easier for me to put the title "Erotic Artist" to myself because by the time I've explained things otherwise everyone has lost interest in listening! I also went on to explain that galleries don't like my work either for the same reason - its too diverse, I really need a gallery for the cats, one for the fantasy subjects, one for the landscapes, one for the erotic, etc etc. She nodded, and looked back at my work and said "It's giving me a headache!" and I asked why, since she seemed to be serious,"Because there's so much to look at, and all so different, look at this one, its great, but next to that one which is so different, its not standing out as much as it would being on its own". And I could see what she meant. I know I am diverse in my subject matter and mediums, and that shows how good I am, but it also confuses my audience. I can't win!!!!!
She left at the end with a big smile, and said she'd look at my website, in which case she'll fine more to confuse her. But maybe, she'll find something to excite her. And maybe she'll find something that might set a germ of an idea off for something important in her life that I can draw for her.........maybe.....