the yo-yo

October 11, 2008

Is there such a thing as constancy or stability or even-flow in the day-to-day of a painter?  (Even-flow perhaps… but only when listening to Pearl Jam.  Which I do, regularly, to the point of distraction for Ian and Hannah Fox… who do insist on playing the warblings of such moaners as Mr Wainwright, I had better be careful… it could be Coldplay that they ‘share’ next!)

I digress.

The past week or so has been very up and down in my studio.  Back in March I had made a successful submission to a fabulous Edinburgh Gallery – The Open Eye – and was very excited when they offered me the opportunity of putting a couple of pieces in their Christmas Show.  They contacted me last week to let me know the theme…..

…..the theme is to be On A Small Scale and they require pieces A5 in size.

I felt extremely disappointed, I had hoped to have a couple of my regular sized pieces on show in a really lovely Scottish Gallery.  They did want two, but at this scale?  I went through the process of experimenting with the scale over the course of a couple of days, but the results compromised the integrity of my work.  If I had already had a history with the gallery it would be different, but to try and impress and/or gain critical aclaim with tiny pieces was not to be an option.

In the end I informed them of my decision, hoping to leave the door to the Open Eye slightly ajar.  Who knows?  They may come back to me in the future.  I know I have made the right decision, but it feels very difficult saying “No thank you” especially in these times of great financial insecurity.

But then the yo-yo bounces up again and I have secured a private commission which will be a joy to complete.

And then, two days ago, an exciting opportunity was discussed with Jane Hardstaff of Derby City Gallery and Museum.  All being well I should be having a solo show there in Spring to co-incide with their mixed Landscape Show in the main galleries on the top floor.  I am hoping that funding will be available to run some Art workshops for different community groups, these would be practical workshops looking into the very personal nature of my depiction of landscape, which is an experience and memory driven process.  I remember the workshops I attended at Preston City Art Gallery as an A’level student, and how they opened up new and exciting possibilities in my creative development…. I still enjoy practical and theoretical workshops, so much to learn and experience.  I am also hoping that this exhibition and workshop can be linked with Living Derby.

Yesterday, Leo and I had a trip up to Bakewell to the Ridgeway Gallery to see the new exhibition of work by Mark Preston.  Marks work is all painted outdoors, he takes his canvas’s and paints accross moorlands and up mountains, painting in all weather conditions…. it is a fabulous show and it was great to see a healthy number of red dots – after just the opening night and the following afternoon.  It was also a beautiful drive through the Peaks on a warm autumnal day.

Mark is part of an informal group of painters that get together monthly to share ideas, news and sometimes gossip!  Often the world of a painter or artist can be quite isolating, and groups like this one with Jen, Gareth, Colin, Mark and myself are great fun, and incredibly supportive too.


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