Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sardines & Beer

The last two weeks have been unbelievably hectic and I'm only now finding the space to sit down and actually relax. Hence being a bit slow to blog about it.

On Wednesday, I decided I'd been big and brave enough by myself and met up with Nicola, my art mentor for some gentle hand holding and reassurance. I'm glad I did. She reminded me of how far I've come, complimented me on the quality of the work, its presentation and my preparation. Perhaps more importantly, we talked about my scheme of work next week and for the next month. It was crucial for me not to get to this weekend and fall flat after the event. It seems I worry and stress unnecessarily. The self-inflicted pressure is counter-productive. May's objective is to lighten up a bit. To take more breaks. To breathe more deeply. 

That probably tells you my state of mind Thursday morning. Poor Dave, I volunteered him to babysit me as I waited for the gallery to open. Happily, I was not first in the queue, I was third. What I am particularly proud of, was the fact I did not gush, I did not do my wet spaniel impression all over everyone involved. I calmly handed over my two pieces of work (the framer had ignored Dave's instructions and I wasn't happy showing the sunflowers in the end) and then Dave and I went on our way so I could complete my preparation for the evening. I needed good nails and two eyebrows stat!

I think I probably over-thought the whole thing as I planned everything down to my outfit. Inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe's iconic style, I made an executive decision and bought a man's suit. I don't have the income to be a fashion plate and I'm not interested enough to do it on a budget. Neither am I retro, vintage or hipster in any form. Classic fashion is beyond me, though I can do it if pressed. I'm too old and cranky to be sexy-chic and I didn't want to present myself as an artist as a sexual being. Don't get me wrong, I am a sexual being, but I don't want it to be part and parcel of my marketing. I'm not interested in flirting for the camera or anyone else for my art. Hence, the suit. I'd read this article about a woman wearing men's suits for a month and it appealed. A suit would be stylish, classic and comfortable. I talked to Dave about it and boy did we have fun, we went to Moss Bros and got the suit. I did have to get the trousers and the vest adjusted though; with the best will in the world, I'm still a curvy woman trying to fit into clothes that were meant for frames more straight than mine. I found women's double-cuffed shirts online. My neck size is 11.5 inches, men's shirts tend to start at 14 inches and any smaller are for boy's clothes which I'd have never buttoned up. Dave was my valet and did my tie for me.

Once dressed, I felt amazing. Power dressing at it's best. I sat and walked differently. And darlings, pockets. Men's tailoring has pockets in so many convenient places, it was just a question of where I put things.

Letting social media know I was on my way

Thirteen A is a small gallery. It's more the size of someone's front room than an exhibition space. We were definitely sardines. There were bottles of beer and ice in a large plastic tub in the middle of the room. I had an absolute blast. 

The Private View was mainly attended by artists and their friends all crammed into this small space. We spilled outside onto the pavement as well, when it got too packed inside. I got to talk to so many incredibly interesting people. The show was an open submission and yet it worked. The diversity of styles and media meant it should have clashed, it shouldn't have made sense. And yet, it did. The synergy was astonishing. There were oil paintings, lino prints, acrylic paintings, drawings, 3-D pen sculptures and of course my work.

The whole point of the experience for me was to put my intention out into the world. I did what I set out to do. Earlier in the week, I watched an amazing talk by Paul Klein on YouTube, on How to be A Successful Artist. Amongst other things he talked about not the Art World, but Art Villages. He said the challenge artists face is to find their art village, the place where they can call home i.e. the internet, the gallery space, etsy, it's not so much about geography per se, or the base market, but an amalgamation of the two. There's also an expectation that an artist will move around for a while before they find their art village. Thursday night for me was my first exploration into the art village in Norwich. 

I very much doubt I will sell my work this weekend, and that's fine. I was pleased to be there. I was after the experience, and I feel I presented myself well. I intend to create an art career that will continue into my dotage. This was the first step. 

Yesterday, I went on a day's course on pastels. I had an absolute blast; it turns out I love soft pastels and it's mutual. Please bear in mind I was basically colouring in the tutor's tracing of the reference photograph next to me. But this is what I did. Yeah, I'm beginning to think I've got a good shot at this.
No biting

Friday, April 21, 2017

Waiting for Paint to Dry

It's true, I am. I've got a canvas on the go and a board I finished prepping about forty-five minutes ago and I can't go any further with either of them until they dry off a bit. It's okay, I decided to have a break and blog. My blogging habit still hasn't returned and I confess it's making me sad. I miss being here. I'm hoping that the fact I sat down this afternoon is a shift in the words.

This week I've been pretty much flat out. I was so busy I didn't even have time to write a To Do List! Unfortunately while I was busy, it wasn't with art per se. I was trying to get some marketing done. I write that and I feel myself groan and want to slide off the chair. As you know, marketing was how I paid bills until recently. I've always considered myself to be reasonably competent, able to negotiate website creation and updates, e-newsletters, business cards and social media without any issues. 

Yeah right. 

Let me tell you, doing this stuff for myself, drove me to drink! 

I created my website with the help of dearest from scratch. At the same time, I updated all my social media accounts and created a Facebook page for my art. I then did my business cards and made and wrote an e-newsletter. All from the comfort of my laptop. What's the problem? I hear you ask. Bearing in mind I am not a details person; instructions go from "turn right at the Post Office, second..." into "blah, blah, blah" within nano-seconds. Having to create the website was a nightmare. Now it's done, I can tell you that Wix do it in as straight-forward and easy manner as possible. I was a little puddle of stressed out goo at the end of the whole process. 

Anyway, it's done. I'll pop the links to all that malarky on the bottom of the page. The whole point of all of that stress and work was there's an open submission exhibition next Thursday at a gallery in Norwich that I'll be submitting three pieces of work to! *squeaaaaal* And breathe, breathe damn it. I've got two pieces of work already framed, the third is actually Dave's picture that he wants me to include. If this canvas goes well, I may swap one of the pictures over. We'll have to see. It's half-way done and I'm not a good judge of my work at this stage. 

I'm ridiculously excited by this. Hopefully by next Thursday, I'll have worked through the nervous energy and either be totally exhausted or chilled out so that I'm not bouncing around like a wet spaniel. Bad things tend to happen when I do that.

In the meantime, I continue to work on the Space project. Chris' work is amazing. He's got such an instinct for a good shot, he's going to totally shine next year. It's me that's the worry. Yesterday, I had a down moment. Everything rests on my ability to bridge the gap between science and art and I stared at an experiment I'd been conducting based on visible light.

Have some science. What we see as light is only a small fraction on the scale of electromagnetic radiation. For photographers and scientists, light is split into seven colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Using filters to block frequencies, it's then possible to do all sorts of weird and wonderful things with light - like figure out the composition of astronomical bodies. Artists on the other hand, start with the three primary colours: red, yellow and blue, they then mix the primaries to create secondary and tertiary colours. Eyes see colour because light bounces off the pigment of the object they are looking at, there's also the whole structure of the human eye and receptors, but I'm not going there now. 

Why does anyone care? Well, Chris gets the data for his images in black and white. He adds the colours afterwards and the reason he knows what colours to use? Chemistry! He uses filters linked to the building block elements to build up the image! How freaking cool is that?! Science man. Science.

I'm playing with the concept of filters and visible light. I've prepped a board with gesso and a ground to act as a foundation for the work. The board is 3ft x 2ft and is currently the same colour as the Pink Panther. I decided to add a dollop of cadmium red to the gesso to help support the first layer. Putting colours straight on white can limit the effect I'm after. 

So yeah, this is what I've been doing. Oh, as well as doing various art studenty activities to build my skills. One of the things I've been very aware of recently, is that I haven't factored in enough proper breaks in my week to do fun stuff, to recharge my batteries. I've been turning into a boring stress monkey and have been of no fun to anyone. Well, I learn from my mistakes if nothing else. Hopefully, I'll be able to get this layer done before Dave comes over. Then there's raspberry gin to drink with whatever he chooses to feed me with; when he asked about the content of my fridge, I could hear him roll his eyes when I listed the half a sandwich, out of date chicken and milk. He's bringing dinner people! How lucky am I? 

Right, love you loads, the board *must* be dry by now! shiny new website...and Facebook page. Click the links if you're bored!

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