I have just finalised my entry to The London Group Open 2017 art exhibition. This is only the second time I’ve submitted work for an exhibition, and I’m excited to see how things go. I will be submitting more work into exhibitions in future, at times I want to push myself and I think repeating this challenge will help.
I’ve chosen two works from my Elemental Art Series. Door To The River, and Autumn Fire (On Blue). The first is acrylic on canvas, and the second, acrylic and gold leaf on paper. If my work is selected I can only display one piece at the exhibition, and I will find out if I am succesful at the end of September. I’ll keep you posted. Exciting times!
Update. My work wasn’t selected. I let a local artists group know, and got some useful feedback from friends.
Neal said: ‘…it’s not a vote on the quality of your work more a vote of if your work fits in with the exhibition gallery selector selection committee gallery owner and sponsors. So it is a lottery. Well done for taking part.’
Jackie said: ‘It’s also the process of applying that makes you look at your work more objectively before submitting to their criteria. That’s a great lesson right there.’
Saturday 19th August, Midday. I’m unloading (what feels like) a ton of art materials at The Wallington Arms, to get ready for our first We Are All Artists community art workshop and exhibition. Jon, Rachel and the rest of the staff are on hand, the doors are opened and the set up begins. Carole and Keira come down early to help – that’s much appreciated. Will anyone show up? I’m quietly confident that there are enough curious people in and around town to make this a worthwhile afternoon. We’ll see…
We are due to start at 2pm, and just before then, our first guests arrive. They are quickly followed by more, and more, and more. In a short time – the huge room is full and we are busy playing a drawing game called Finding Lines. The game loosens people up for a brief conversation about community and what that means to our guests. We ponder a while – share a few ideas, then get down to work. Our intention is to create art for our own evening exhibition.
The pub very kindly provided some snacks as people worked, and boy did they work. The room became an outpouring of colour. Acrylics, water colours, Sharpies, pastels, crayons, pencils and more came to life across the room as the art works began to emerge. Jason Goldrick kindly demonstrated a technique involving water colours, salt, clingfilm and a hair dryer (you had to be there). There seemed to be no end to our creative experiments – credit cards were used as brushes, so were fingers and hands. 4pm arrived in the blink of an eye – and our guests departed. We now had just two hours to turn the room from a fully functioning workshop, into an exhibition space. No pressure!
With more help from Carole, Keira, Helen and Aissa, the transformation began. We worked hard, and once the clear up was finished we then had the job of curating the work. I think we did a pretty good job – I hope you will agree.
The exhibition opened at 6pm and our guests had a great evening viewing all the art and having conversations about community. I met Lindsay who recently guessed the location of a Spanish art drop which I was able to hand over, and Stacie came to the exhibition with a piece of free art which I placed in Spain a year ago. She correctly guessed its location at the time – and it was a lovely coincidence to spend time with two people who had both found Spanish free art. The project is full of lovely coincidences like this.
We closed up just after 8pm and I’m heading back to The Wallington Arms in a while to finish taking everything down. I expect the two large murals will stay on the wall for a while, why not pop down soon and take a look at them?
Thank you to everyone who came and made art, and attended the exhibition. Thanks to Carole, Keira, Helen and Aissa for helping with preparations. Thanks to Rachel, Jon and all the staff at The Wallington Arms for being such great hosts, and thanks to Arts Network Sutton for supporting the free art project and providing a grant so this event could take place.
I visited the Matisse Cutouts with a friend again recently, I think I’ve been to see the exhibition seven times so far. I love the scale of the later works, and the simplicity and adaptability of the whole cutout approach fascinates me. When I think about how some of my work projects evolve – I wonder how you could apply some cutout principles to them? Keep it simple, the option to position and reposition stuff as the ideas form, building and developing, iterating and improvising.
My friend is in the process of changing jobs, and as we walked around the exhibition and talked of work and the art we were seeing, part of our conversation was about knowing when to start something new, and knowing when something is finished.
I often carry a small supply of card and markers around with me, and once we’d seen the exhibition and gone our separate ways, these ideas of starting and finishing continued to bounce around in my head. Over the coming days, in snatched moments between meetings, two small pictures began to form – first in my head, and then on paper.
These two cutouts are an attempt to represent the cycle of beginnings and endings. I have mixed feelings about working with cutouts. It takes me a long time to make something that looks incredibly simple and basic. This is quite a childish method I suppose, and acknowledging that somehow makes pressing the publish button on these recent cutout pieces, feel awkward. Picasso said it took him ‘four years to learn to paint like Raphael – and forever to learn to paint like a child’, and whilst I’m not even aiming at Raphael like standards, maybe I just need to get over myself and be more comfortable with this kind of work.