Home Is Where The Art Is

If you are an artist, a lover of art then I hope that I can inspire you to do what you love.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

2012 - Let's Hope It's Our Time To Shine!!!

I thought that getting back to work would get me started on all the new projects I have got to get underway. But unfortunately I am just stuck in begrudging the fact that I'm working when everyone else isn't. I think I'll get started next week when all the New Year celebrations are well and truly finished.
It's quite a big deal in Swanage as everyone assumes an alter ego and fancy dress is the name of the day. I can't really get my head into it as I have trouble getting myself dressed in the morning let alone going out dressed as someone other than my normal self is far too taxing.
The text messages are starting to come through with the question....What are you going as? I'm just ignoring them for the moment as I can't really think about it.
I have mixed feelings about New Years Eve, the pressure of expectation of a good time.
But we'll see.
I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year! Thanks for reading for the last year. I hope that 2012 is a fantastic year for everybody.
If you have not made it to see me yet then make sure you do in 2012.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Where's The Sun Then? Oh Yeah In Egypt!

Hello! I am back from my holiday and it was amazing. Swimming in the sea and sunbathing on Christmas Day may well have set a precedent for all of my future Christmases. I am already thinking about ensuring that I have a holiday booked for next year.
I hope that you have had a great festive season, I also hope that you got everything you wanted. I did. In the new year I am going to learn how to stone carve. It is something that I have wanted to try for some time and now I have the opportunity. I am going to be taught by the very talented stone carver Johnathan Sells. He is really good so let's just hope that I am a good student.
Feels weird to be back at work. I could definitely have had another week off as I am tired. It's all that doing nothing it wears you out.
Shirley did a sterling job in my absence and I came back to find everything much as I left it. Nice and tidy so a big thank you to Shirley for that. I really hope that in the new year I can get Shirley in on a more regular basis.
I did not think that it would be busy today and it would seem that I am being proved right. But I felt that I should open because that's what it said on the door.
I thought I should get straight out there and get my windows cleaned as they were really grubby but I only managed to get half done as some artist friends of mine came to visit. By the time they left it was raining. I'll have to finish them tomorrow.
A little reminder about the 1st Anniversary Show that starts on Saturday 28th January. It would be great if you could make it.
Going to get on and do some actual work.
I will be doing a round up of all the funniest trials and tribulations of being a gallery owner so keep an eye out for it!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Last Christmas I Gave You My Blog!

I have no particular reason for not writing a blog yesterday other than I was feeling particularly uninspired. So I saved you from that. Your welcome, I say that to your silent 'Thank You'.
It has been quiet at the gallery which is surprising because it's nearly Christmas. But if they don't come, they don't come.
I have survived the first of my group Christmas events. I did all the food, well nearly all and there's nothing like being in the kitchen to keep you sober. I'm very glad of it as I am surprisingly clear headed today and looking forward to my second Christmas event this evening. It is the Comedy Club event Ho! Ho! Ho! There's a big group of us going so it should be a good laugh. Then on Sunday I am officially on my holidays. So if you come to the gallery you will see my brilliant stand in Shirley, she's a legend. It's so nice being able to work with her again as she used to work with me in former profession. I think we are both agreed that working at the gallery is a far nicer way to spend the day.
I have written a not to myself to remember to mention that the gallery is now on TripAdvisor and if you have visited and have enjoyed it I would really appreciate it if you could start to rate me please. It's just another way of getting people through the door. I'm a member and I have to say that I use it fairly regularly to check up on places to stay etc. It's really good and fairly well balanced.
This will be my last blog now until after Christmas so I hope that you have a really good one and that you get to spend quality time with your family and friends. Don't get too stressed out with all the preparations, presents etc. Just remember it's really about having time off at the same time as everyone else and really enjoying that fact.
I'm going to be spending it on the beach and I cannot wait. I have never swum with the fishes on Christmas day so I am particularly looking forward to that. I also get to try out my new camera and give a turkey dinner a swerve. I don't like turkey.
I am also quite positive that my Egyptian Christmas Gala meal will be fairly dreadful so I have packed a suitcase full of munchies. They can do weather, sea and even hospitality but when it comes to food it's hit and miss and generally more miss than hit.
Merry Christmas everybody!!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Brrrrrrrrr!! It's A Bit Chilly

I have two more days of work and then I'm off. I cannot wait. There is a wind blowing outside that is so cold that it chills you to the bone in seconds. I've got all my heaters on full blast and I'm not boiling.
In theory I could actually clean the windows again today but I think I'm going to leave it until Saturday so they will be nice and clean for Shirley.
I am closing up early today as I have a list of things to do as long as my arm. It doesn't help that not one gallery visitor has darkened the door. Well, that's not entirely true. There have been a few but not enough to keep me away from the list of must do today jobs.
The gallery will be open as usual in my absence so please do come and visit, it's not too late to grab yourself a great piece of art and get it wrapped up for that special someone, that could be you!
I have a pile of Christmas cards to get delivered but I've already told you that I don't want to hand them over in person. So I'm going to be a late night post woman.
I hope that you have got all your festive arrangements arranged, it's still quite a baffling experience for me. I think I've finished and then I remember that I've forgotten someone or something.
I read an interesting article about this woman whose parents could not afford to buy them Christmas presents so they just didn't bother. They still don't many years later and she says that they enjoy quality time as a family without the stress of buying presents.
As a late comer to Christmas I kind of see where she is coming from.
I read an article about a 13 year old whose letter to Santa threatened to kill him and feed his reindeers to the homeless if she didn't get a Blackberry phone. How disappointed she would be if it was up to me, she would probably just get a blackberry.
Who says the true meaning of Christmas is not alive and well?

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

So Quiet You Could Hear A PPI Cold Call!

I have been staring at that 'I' for at least 20 minutes. That's just how it is some days. I think think that I should write my blog and then I sit and stare at the big blank white screen. Wow, at least another 10 minutes have passed since the last sentence.
I just remembered something that happened to me this morning. I get so many recorded 'If you've been missold PPI' phone calls I tend to hang up straight way. Today a lady called who had an identical voice to one of those messages and I promptly hung up. She rang back within 30 seconds and apologized for the fact that we seemed to have been cut off.  I did feel bad, but in my defense she should really work on her telephone voice because it sounds too much like a telephone voice. 
The crazy weather we had down south yesterday meant that I had the pleasure of cleaning my windows again today. It is a pleasure, but it is slightly less pleasurable when people decide to enter into a conversation with you when you are in the middle of it. I know they are just being sociable but really!
I have done the draw for the raffle and the lucky winners will be informed later on today.
I have a date for you to pencil in for next year, it's not set in stone but we are planning another Bizarre Bazaar in February on the Saturday 12th. Why don't think about having a stall if you make anything cool and funky. Let me know as there will definitely lots of people after them as I am finding out that I have the most creative friends who are saying that they are interested in having a stall.
I am not sure the fact that the road the gallery is on is closed at the top is helping the amount of traffic to the gallery. It has been deader than than the morgue here today. What a difference road works make in just 24 little hours!
This time next week I will be on the beach so I will just grin and bear it for the next couple of days.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Create Yourselves A Very Merry Christmas!

Do I get to mention it just once more? I think I'm allowed. The Bizarre Bazaar was a success and I hope that we will be organizing more in the new year. If you are interested in getting involved let me know as it really is a case of the more the merrier.
The count down is on to my holiday. I cannot wait, I was not meant to live in this cold climate. The bad news is it looks like where I am going to be staying in England for the foreseeable future.
It has been a funny old day at the gallery. It would seem that I am open for visitors, there have been plenty but it has meant that I am now rushing to get my blog written before I close.
I have been doing all my gallery housekeeping today, I like to leave it nice and tidy for Shirley so that she doesn't have to do any of the boring choredom of cleaning.
I seriously am a little in love with window cleaning. It is very satisfying to do, I like it whether I would enjoy it when it's freezing and I'm on my 20th window I seriously doubt it. A lot of 'serious' in those last sentences. I have obviously been watching far too much american television. But I do love it, it's like totally awesome!
I have to finish sending my gallery christmas cards, I hate the whole handing them over bit. I like to do it under the cover of darkness when no-one is around. I have received plenty of thank yous and everyone comments on how neat my writing is. It's true I do have impossibly neat writing but it has taken years of practice. It also helps that I was a teacher for 15 years. Nothing hones your skills like writing on a whiteboard for groups of people to be able to read.
I've also been perfecting my signature for ever! When you have to sign 1,000,000 + EMAS every year that'll also do it. All you teachers know exactly what I mean. I may have exaggerated ever so slightly.
I just remembered a comment that one of my teachers said to me many moons ago. I am very good at making things look nice and was often guilty of 'style over content'. Probably still am on some levels.
I am putting my festive greeting in todays blog as I wanted to remember to do it.
Finally, I want you all to think about donating to a charity this Christmas. If you are reading this you are already many many times more privileged than many many people. Seriously* I am not preaching but that loose change in your pocket pop it in a collection pot. If you can do more then please do more. You know it makes sense.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Me, A Parrot? Bizarre Bazaar, Bizarre Bazaar, Bizarre Bazaar!

What more can can I do to get you to come to Swanage? I could let you know that there's free parking in Swanage every Saturday until Christmas. Main Beach off Victoria Avenue that should save you a couple of quid, that you can spend at the Bizarre Bazaar. I will be giving away a free mince pie with every purchase. I will do everything in my power to make you come and see what extra special goodies I have for sale. I know there will also be some ceramics, art, jewellery, and some cool retro stuff. Collectables if you are into pop memorabilia and musical instruments.
I haven't got anymore to say other than please come and see me.
The gallery has been quiet for the last couple of days but I have to admit that I'm glad as I have been fighting this stupid cold and my head has not been totally on the job.
Wow, it's amazing that a nasty cold can addle your brain so effectively that you can't string a sentence together. But I did manage to teach for two hours yesterday. Admittedly, I did have to go and lie down in a darkened room for the rest of the day. They're great kids and I'm going to be working with them a lot more next year.
I'll be working a split shift at the gallery tomorrow. I'll be at the market in the morning and I'll be back at the gallery in the afternoon. So if you're over for the day you can come and see me at both places.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bizarre Bazaar This Saturday!

This Saturday in Swanage

Unfortunately, I have succumb to the dreaded lurghy and spent my day off in bed with only tissues and Lemsip for company. I had the occasional cat but they were not huge fans of the bed shaking sneezes that I kept doing. They eyed me with disdain before jumping off and settling down on a pile of clean washing. Brilliant!
I am feeling sort of better today, I don't feel well but I have been able to get myself to the gallery where I am waiting for my two new students. I was seriously thinking about canceling but I hate doing that as I am a professional. If I keep telling myself that then one day it will be the truth.
I am worried that it is a case of you feel not too bad when you get up and the more you do the worse you feel. I'm feeling considerably worse than I did earlier.
A few things I want to mention, firstly The Coop which is an artist co-op working out Bournemouth. They are based above The Winchester, are looking for an artist to fill a studio space. The rent is a very reasonable £52.00 ish all in. From what I hear the spaces are great and the people are very nice. So if you are interested let me know and I'll ass along the details.
Secondly, The Bizarre Bazaar is this weekend on Saturday. I willing myself well for them as I have goodies to sell. There is going to be some great stalls there, if you are looking for that unique under a £20 gift that is pure quality then you know where to go.
I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Feeling Blah But Still Selling Art!

I am afraid the lurghy that has infected everyone else may well be upon me. I am not happy about it. I can't afford to be ill, fact! So I am dosing myself up with 'make it go away' drugs so let's hope they work.
Yesterday was a great day for sales and it would seem that today is too. Sold another piece this morning. If this keeps up I may well be able to retire when I'm 70!
I have to keep getting the people through the door and keeping them here long enough to get them to part with some cash.
I am ready to offer mince pies as bribes if necessary. You have been warned.
There's some new pieces in to replace the ones that have sold so please come and check them out as they might be just what you have been looking for in terms of that unique Christmas present.
I have as usual been working down my list of things to do and I growing steadily more perturbed at the fact that it does not seem to be getting any shorter. For every job I finish I manage to add another one. It wasn't meant to be like this.
I am struggling to string any more sentences together so I am going to admit defeat and keep this blog mercifully short for your sake as much as mine.

Monday, 5 December 2011

3 Sales On A Monday! Lovely!

Cooler Than Cool, Ice Cold!

I am no longer contemplating! I am moving onwards and upwards, that being said I made two sales this morning in the first 20 minutes of being open. I told you that there is some great art to be had and people are already taking advantage of that, so why aren't you?
Excellent news, I wish every Monday morning started off like that. I would be a very happy gallery owner.
I know I mentioned before that I will be teaming up with Jan Dagley to deliver some printmaking and painting Master classes. We are trying to come up with a name to call it so we can maximize our internet presence.
We had a good brainstorm this morning and I now have a new list of things to do. How I love my lists.
Saturday was good, I'm not sure the amount of mulled wine I got through was indicative of how many people actually came through the door. I heard the word 'moreish' mentioned once or twice. I thought it was a bit blow your head off myself but then again I am not in the habit of drinking red wine mulled or not in the afternoon.
We have also raised £42 so far for the Langton Matravers Pre School rebuild fund. this was achieved by selling raffle tickets to win a limited edition Nativity Booklet that was beautifully made made by the very talented local printmaker Debbie Lee. Since I started to write this blog I have sold one of the booklets so lets call it £57 raised so far. I would like to raise a nice even amount so I guess we should aim for £100
I am starting to feel the cold at the gallery. I think the thermals may have to come out soon. Not bad considering this time last year they had already been on for a month by now.
I have got so much to think about right now I should keep my blog brief otherwise I am in danger of not getting everything finished that I need to by 5.00.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

More Questions Than Answers!

Today finds me in a contemplative mood. Sometimes I think that it is a good thing but on the whole I'm not really a very good navel gazer. I have heard things today that I cannot quite believe but it has clarified everything for me. Can you tell the difference between good art and bad art? Is there such a thing? Or are there just different levels of expression? All art is good art, is that the case? If you follow this chain of thought through to fruition ALL art education is pointless. If you can create a piece of art then that is sufficient to qualify as valid, why learn how to improve your skills?
Every year the general public at large are left bewildered and confused by the Turner Prize. Relegated to Channel 4. It's not real art is it? Or is it? A bed, an empty room? What is real art? Something that is created to look like the original subject? Is that art or is it copying? Is the art better than the real thing? I don't know about you but I have some answers to these questions as I have spent the last 25 years learning and teaching art. Does that make me qualified to tell the difference between good art and bad art? I hope so, otherwise there are loads of my ex students who have been wrongly given excellent grades. I would hope that is not the case as I will have done art education a huge disservice. If I don't like a piece of art can I still judge whether it is good or bad? That is a resounding yes. Whilst I would not want it in my home I can appreciate the level of skill, the thought process behind the piece. To dislike a piece of work is a valid response to that piece of work. Therefore it has worked. Should all art be aesthetically pleasing? Should it look 'nice'? Do Francis Bacons pictures look nice? Is he a good artist?
Opening an art gallery would also have been a big mistake. I would love this to be an open debate as I would like to hear how people perceive it.

Francis Bacon

I have reflected, now I can move on to gallery related news. I am all ready to host the private view later on today and I hope that it is big success. I have been reading the mulled wine recipe several times just to make sure that I get it right. Never made it before. I am really looking forward to my day off tomorrow as I have worked 6 days this week and I am a little tired.
I have just counted how many questions I have asked and not answered. Impressive. I have been telling you all week about all the things that are happening in Swanage this weekend so I hope that you will make the effort to visit.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Swanage, Be Here This Weekend Or Else!

Starts on Saturday @ 3pm
It has been rather busier than I thought at the gallery thanks to the quick work of those involved in the last exhibition and those involved in selecting the new exhibition. Thank you all, this allowed me to get the show up yesterday I thought I would spend the next two days doing it. I don't know about anyone else but when I start something I have to finish it. That's how it was yesterday. It looks really good, some nice pieces and if you wanted to get something original and affordable there are definitely some great things at the gallery.
I know that I have been going on and on about the fact that Swanage is the place to be this weekend but I have found out that there is even more happening than I thought. The Photographers Lounge is having it's Christmas Drinks/Sale Event. I would seriously consider leaving the car at home and get the bus as there will be so many free drinks available on Saturday it might be the best plan.
Culture, market, exhibitions, mince pies and mulled wine what more could you ask for on a weekend in the run up to Christmas.
Today I am going to get my exhibition labeled and priced and then I'm going to try and find a place to put up my Christmas tree up at the gallery.
Tree is up but it needs lights to make it shine. I am going to get hold of them tonight so that will be a job for tomorrow.
I have labeled, typed up price list and cleaned and now it is time to go home.