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.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Where's It All Going To Go?

Entering the final few hours of my exhibition and it has been eerily quiet today. There was a brief technological break down that meant my iPod dock, printer and computer all had a funny turn at the same time.

In reflection, having this exhibition has been a fantastic experience. I am more than a little concerned about where it is all going to live now. As I have never had so much of my work framed before. Good job I sold quite a bit otherwise I would be covering my entire house with my own work.

What has this exhibition taught me?

  • That people can access my work on many levels.
  • Pretty art sells.
  • Science and Nature are irrevocably linked with art.
  • People definitely prefer the original.
  • No matter how interesting the windows are, people will still stay outside looking in.
  • People can fall in love with a piece of art and feel moved enough to tell you about it.
  • Dead things are beautiful (sometimes)
  • There are the 'Get Its' and the 'Not Get Its' and both are equally valid but one is definitely more annoying than the other.
  • Not looking at my work and proclaiming it to be fantastic does not make me feel good.
  • People in general are generous of spirit.
  • It is hugely inspirational and humbling to sell works that you have made.
  • Lastly, keep your framer sweet because the combination of their work and yours is when the magic happens. (Thanks Chris @ Sansom)
That's all really got to get ready and take it down now. Wish me luck don't forget that the Drawing Open starts on Saturday.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Last Day Is Looming!

iPad Painting

If you haven't been watching 'What do artists do all day?' can I suggest that you check it out on iPlayer. They are really interesting, the one this week was about Polly Morgan, she is an artist that uses taxidermy it isn't for the faint hearted. But it is very interesting and her work is compelling.


The Norman Ackroyd one is also fantastic. They are only half an hour long, but it does give you a great insight into what makes artists tick.

It is the penultimate day of my exhibition, I can't believe it has gone so quickly but I am already planning the next one.
It has been quiet today but it has allowed me to get ready the next exhibition which is the Drawing Open. I have some great artists involved, Sir Anthony Caro, Sheila Girling, Stephen Bishop, Martyn Brewster, Bonnie Brown, Katy Shepherd, Mark Lloyd and Brian Bishop to name but a few. It is an honour to have these people show at the gallery.
The exhibition starts on Saturday and the PV is at 6.00 so please feel free to pop in if you have a spare moment, I promise that you won't be disappointed.

Haven't really got much more to say as my brain is frazzled after having spent several hours typing out the labels for each individual artist.

If you are in Swanage tomorrow and you haven't seen my exhibition then please do pop in.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Naked Birds Will Flying Away In Two Days!

Teaching this morning and it was fun, a bit of drypoint and collagraph. Always a good way to start the week.
I have had a few late entries to the drawing exhibition I think that you will approve when you see them. It has been another busy day at the gallery and I think that I was paid the best compliment of my entire show today.
A guy said 'if I had the money I would by the entire exhibition, because your work is fantastic!'. How nice is that?
It is funny that some people just get it and some don't. I suppose that I should quantify that statement. I am sure that I have before, so sorry for being repetitive.
Some people find the new work a bit gruesome, if you think about the subject matter then I suppose it is but I am not all about death. I look at the skulls in the same way that I have looked at shells. A nice drawing/painting of a shell does not make you think about the creature that is now dead, does it? If you think like that then shells are as macabre as skulls. I marvel at their creation, their structure, shape, form and the minute detail. I defy anyone to walk along a beach and see an interesting shell and not want to pick it up and have a closer look. Or am I alone in finding the treasures from the sea?
What about fossils? I could go on but I won't.
My exhibition has attracted some fans in the world of science as they realise that I have researched a subject visually that they have researched scientifically.
I am naturally curious, and know that there is still such a long way to go before I stop with the birds. I also have many more installation type pieces that I want to explore.
I may well book myself in for my next exhibition in 2015. That will give me time to do the work.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Three Days Until My Exhibition Ends!


SNOW? I cannot believe that there is snow, not here I hasten to add but everywhere else apparently. I no longer feel that Spring is round the corner. I am still firmly in thermals, and have got my two heaters chucking out their orangey goodness. I am contemplating getting another one to get a bit more heat into the gallery.

I think I mentioned yesterday that I did my first iPad class yesterday, I am now the proud owner of my students first two Ipad drawings. He printed them out and bought them in to me this morning, as a thank you. How nice of him.

I an help you unleash your inner artist, all you need to do is take the first step and that is getting in touch. I can tailor make a learning experience to fit your exact requirements.

There are just three more days left of my exhibition and I have to say that the time has flown. It has been very successful made me some cash which is nice. I get to keep all the commission, a small perk of the job. It has spurred me on to think about the new works that I can create as I think that there are still a few more skull drawings that can be produced.

The thing that people want to own the most out of the whole show is a piece called Birdbox, It is one of my favourites too that's why I have put a whopping great price tag on it. It is deliberately high. Do you like it?

Friday, 22 March 2013

I Keep Disappearing!

Ipad Drawing using just two lines, produced today.

Why? It's because I allocate the last bit of my day at the gallery to blog writing. That being said the last couple of days people have come at the 4.00 and wanted a nice long chat about me and my work. Which is all very encouraging and the last two ladies who came in totally got what I was trying to do and had nothing but lovely things to say about my work. Nice!

I taught my first ever iPad class today, a baptism of fire. No, not really it was great, a thoroughly enjoyable two hours. It is really one of the best things in the world, teaching that is. To see the spark of understanding in peoples eyes and then the dawning of the infinite possibilities now well within reach is just awesome.

If you have never taught, I'm guessing that it is similar to when your children do that first thing independently that makes you very proud and that you tell everyone who will listen about.

I have got many workshops lined up so if you want to put a spring in your creative step then you should come and see me.

I hope that regardless of the miserable weather that you have some great plans for the weekend. Guess what? I am just going to be here working, so feel free to pop in and see me.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

569 Blogs Written So Far!

If you had told me that I would have written 569 blogs I would tell you to get a grip. No way! I have and some of you have read quite a lot of them.
I have spent the day procrastinating whilst actually working. I know how do you achieve that I hear you ask? Well what you do is you write yourself a list of things that you absolutely must do today. Then you put the kettle on, send some emails, make a coffee, doodle on said list page then tidy the studio, drink some coffee. At regular intervals look at the list, enlarge some of the letters with your pen, add more to the list, this includes direct copying of items from a previously written list that you didn't complete the day before. Check Facebook, update gallery status and the studio.
Complete one thing from the list that then generates several more things to add to the list.
I am sure by now that you get the picture.
In my defence, I have been trying to post pictures of my iPad paintings and drawings on the Studio Facebook page and computer says no. I thought it was the internet at work but it's the same story here at home. That is an hour of my life that I won't get back in a hurry.

I am pleased to report that the first part of my day was quite productive. I went to to see the emergent artist Kim De Beer. I say emergent but that's just to the local art scene. I find her work fascinating and I think you will too. The good news is that you will be able get some tempting tasters at several locations in the very near future. Most importantly at her solo exhibition at the gallery in August. It will be good and a breath of fresh air.

April is shaping up to be workshop month so come and see me and book yourself into a creative spring clean with me. You know it makes sense.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Open Is Now Closed

Being your own boss is BRILLIANT! Not being able to delegate, not so good. The admin behind the scenes is monumental. The confusions inevitable and mistakes do happen. All the sweating and swearing will never stop the heart racing and the dry mouth that follows.
But honesty is the best policy, so just remember 'to err is human, to forgive divine'. Thanks to all the divine people out there you know who you are.

The Drawing Open is now closed. I have all the entries that I could probably wish for, my goodness it is going to be a good show. You must make a date to come and see it. If you are looking for something a little bit unusual then why not a drawing by one of the many fantastic artists who are exhibiting in this show.

It does not seem that I am getting enough time to write my blog during my working day so that gives you an idea of just how busy I am. I started a drawing last week with the idea that I would be entering it into the Open but that is just pie in the sky.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Met Brian Rice Today

Brian Rice

Today I went off roading in my new mini! If you think that I meant to do it you would be wrong. I went to visit the artist Brian Rice in his very rural home. It is a beautiful spot but narrow winding lanes mean that it is quite an interesting journey. My car is suitably mud splattered and I tested my brakes quite thoroughly.

Enough of that boring stuff, the real reason I am writing a blog on my day off is because I met Brian Rice today.
It is so strange to meet the artist behind works that you have admired for years. I am pleased to say that he is as lovely as his work. The question is how do you select an exhibition from a body of work that on the whole you like the majority of? I think you are just going to have to wait and see. Suffice to say it will be a fantastic cross section from the last 20 or so years, including paintings, prints and some mixed media images.
I know I have said it before, but you can't imagine the buzz you get from having access to an artists entire body of work. Seeing the very first image they ever produced and the very last and all that went on in between. It is awe inspiring.
I didn't even get to see Jacy Walls textiles, so I decided to invite myself back to look at that at a later date.

A gentle reminder that the last day of entry for the drawing open exhibition was today. I hope that you have paid and displayed? You know I am flexible so it's not too late but you must let me know as soon as possible.

I sold three more pieces at the weekend so that means that I have sold over quarter of the exhibition so far. Still time to sell some more though, please come and see it if you haven't already. If you travel some distance I will reward you with tea and biscuits.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Easter Egg Draw Next Saturday!

Today I was asked when did I take over the gallery? That's different if nothing else. Everyday there is something new. That's exactly why I love it!

I love it when I start the day with a sale. Taught a class, made a sale and had my exhibition photographed all before midday. So I am not sure how you follow that up. Probably with the a quiet hour of reflection and blog writing.

I have to let you know that I have not had so many entries for an Open Exhibition ever, it is just nuts. Usually, I am biting my nails and panicking about filling the walls but not this time. How exciting!
I am looking forward to hanging this exhibition as it is really an eclectic mix of styles.

I haven't been keeping score as diligently as I usually do. I think it is because I usually end up talking to the people who are visiting and by the time they have gone I forget to write down the numbers. I keep a tally of how many people come through door, if you are wondering what the Hell I am talking about.

Since I opened the gallery I have received letters and invoices for my business rates and I was all prepared to pay this years as I had a request in the post a few months ago. Today I get to work and there is another letter saying that I exempt for another year. This is a huge result, that means that I will have had three years rates free. Thank you very much Purbeck District Council.

I am doing the draw for the giant Easter Egg that I have at the gallery next weekend so if you were kind enough to buy a ticket to support the fantastic Marie Curie charity keep your eyes peeled on the gallery Facebook page.

I hope that you have a great weekend lined up I know that I have.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

I Was Just Right Here!

Hi there! Have you missed me? I have been right here and I have not been ignoring you. Apparently this is what happens when you have your own exhibition up. There is less time for the blogging as you are giving people visual demonstrations of how you made the work on the wall. Well it does make the time fly by.

It was also my birthday and that meant that I had to celebrate all weekend. My actual birthday was on Monday and I did not do much, kept myself to myself. But a takeaway chinese meal was my downfall. The first day of my 43rd year was spent suffering, I probably should have had a drink.

The work is continuing to get good feedback so I can relax about that now. It is a nerve wracking process putting your wares out on show. But now enough people have seen it and reassured me that it is good I can now relax into the rest of the exhibition.

But this also means that one the driving forces behind my blog writing has diminished as I cannot keep saying  my work is brilliant and that you should definitely come and see it. Well, that's not entirely true but my ego is not that big that I want to go on and on about it.
You just should, end of story!

Entries to the Drawing Open are continuing to come in thick and fast so that is really going to be a great exhibition and I hope that you can get along and see it. Not too late to enter!

I have started to create new work to fill the gaps of the sold work, don't worry it is all still up but when the show comes down and the work that has sold is winging its way to new homes, I will need to have replacements. The plan is to get Naked Birds seen at other galleries and more importantly museums. That is my next mission to get writing to them and seeing what they think, hence the gap filling.

Friday, 8 March 2013


What an intensely busy day this turned into. I thought that I would just have a few chores to do before settling down to doing some more of my own work. Well apparently, the world and his wife wanted to come and see me today. Thanks you lovely visitors. I am yet to do any real work because the best part of the afternoon is trying to find out why my Internet is so dire. I have upgraded my download speed but that can take up to five days to be done then five more for me to notice any difference. The operative word being download when upload is actually the problem.

So if any of my clients are wondering why they have sent me pictures that I haven't uploaded it is because I currently can't. My upload speed is 0.3meg which is similar to what it used to be when we all used modems, back in the day. Apologies but I am on the case.

As I usually go on and on and on about how good the current exhibition is, I am choosing not to but I have had some great written reviews. I am hoping they will tempt you to come and see my show.
Here's an excerpt from one, I am here all day tomorrow and will be able to answer ANY questions that you might have about the work.

' Congratulations....lovely work, I do admire your attentiveness to the subject which somehow goes beyond the mere surface, the recording of shape, form, texture, line whatever.......you've captured the whole of human life in your studies of dead birds skulls and skeletons..... its fragility.. its beauty.. its pain. And I love the small bright collagraphs (are they?) on the opposite wall... they just vibrate with colour and contained energy... '

Wendy Lalla Wharam - Artist 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Read This Review of My Exhibition.....Please!


Welcome to this obsessive artist’s world of birds, words and books.

The current exhibition of Sharon James’s museum like pieces evoke memories of childhood and the exploration of a subject matter which is deep at the heart of how she views the world with curiosity and an attention to detail through observation and a real knowledge and love of her investigations.

The work ranges from drawings, prints, paintings and installations from the earlier colour etchings, with their emblematic imagery, to the way primary colour is used again in the painted bird skeletons, their dripping lines grounding them and stopping their flight away.

There is a real understanding of the subject matter through the installations, especially Bird Box with its loving attention to detail and replication of the beautifully crafted birds’ eggs to the prints, photographs alongside feathers and limbs, both moving and poignant with its timeless quality, engaging with Sharon’s sense of humour.

The drawings are challenging the viewer to look again at the subject as seen in C.AVES 1 where Sharon is playing with the negative spaces to explore composition and meaning. The use of embossing re-enforces this feeling for history and archaeology, at once old but now newly found, images of the negative and positive perfectly balanced and considered, as in nos 8,9,10 & 21, 22, 23, this bas relief sculptural quality evident in these pieces.

The Books & Contained Works of nos 43, 44, 45, 46 47 demonstrate the quirky and personal through text and image based ideas reflecting the maker’s personality, all pieces crafted, stitched and beautifully considered with their tactile, 3D awareness from conception to fruition. Even the titles of the works in the exhibition reflect a play on words, another aspect of her games playing!

The body of work is varied in its resolutions and realizations but the maker’s voice is consistent throughout. The intention is triggered by a curiosity and a love of drawing, its power to communicate and how it may be experienced. This is most powerfully encountered by looking at the sketchbooks, which are a visual and intellectual joy! The way that a drawn line maybe used and explored is found in these books, a time and a place for the viewer to learn and experience the breadth of understanding of how to examine a subject, delving into all aspects with a reverential curiosity and playfulness, bringing back to life the skeletal fragments to a soulful reality.

This exhibition embodies two years of Sharon’s creativity and reflects well on her professional engagement with her ideas and commitment to making interesting, well-crafted and stunning works of art.

Bonnie Brown -  6 March 2013

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Who Would Have Thought It?

For a day that started with a twisted ankle as soon as I left the house, to be greeted by bills on the doormat at the gallery I seriously thought it was going to be a rubbish day. Where was my eternal optimist angel when I needed her?
If you wonder how I generally deal with the negatives that occur, my answer will be no surprise. I clean! A good clean always makes me feel a lot better.
I bet you can already guess that this must be going somewhere, don't worry it is. Eking (that just looks weird, but that's how you spell it) out the story just makes it sweeter at the end.

I decided that as it is always me singing the praises of the various artists that I have at the gallery, if it's my exhibition I probably should get someone else to do it for me. You will get the chance to read it for yourself tomorrow.
I would like to thank Bonnie Brown for turning the whole thing round in a matter of hours. It's so well written and positive that it is hard to believe it has been written about me. Tune in tomorrow for a hot off the press review.

As you can tell my day improved steadily, but I have to say at 4.00 it outdid itself. Anthony Caro and his son came to my exhibition. I am humbled that someone as big as him made the effort to see my work. He was very complimentary about my prints, drawings etc. Both him and his son loved my sketchbooks, they seem to be a hot favourite amongst visitors to the show. That and Birdbox.

I can hear you thinking that really was a good ending to the day, but I may have saved the best until last. Tony hand delivered a drawing by himself and one of Sheila's (Girling), I am so happy and grateful. I did not realise that Sheila would also be putting in a drawing. So that was a fantastic result.

Now I am off but all I can do is suggest that you come and see my show it's quite good really!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Saturday Night Bird Fever!

Private View

It was a fantastic night on Saturday, so many thanks to those who came. It was so busy that I cannot really tell you who was there and who wasn't. All I know is that I was talking all night and that lots of people had really nice things to say about the work on show.
All in all a great success with plenty of sales which is good because I can pay the framer. It only took me a couple of hours this morning to get the place tidy and back to its normal organised state. It is amazing how much dust people create.

There was a very strange incident, that we shall just call 'The Curious Incident of The Police in The Gallery'. I hope that it is the last time that particular thing happens.
It is gloriously sunny today and I hope that you have had the chance to get out there and enjoy it. I have sun envy but I also know that this is where I need to be. Keeping a beady eye on all of my work.

Now it is up I am now ready for bookings in the studio as I need something else to occupy my mind. Come and see me and check out what I have on offer.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Time To Get Naked With Some Birds!

What you need to know is that whilst I am writing this I am wearing my new specs. Still trying to get accustomed to the slightly motion sickness vibe every time I move my head but everything is crystal clear.
Yes! That is the answer to the question that you are now asking yourself. I have time to write my blog on the day of my exhibition. That should give you some insight into how much of a control freak I am. I have organised to the nth degree, the show was up on Thursday the truth is that the price list nearly took as long to do as hanging the show itself. I have still got some last minute tweaks to do here and there but on the whole it is a done deal.
I really do hope that you can get along to see it because I think that the more people who see my work the further the word will spread about the gallery and the studio then I may well manage to outrun the recession.
I am relying on you to help me spread the word. I mean it I am. Just because I am here doesn't mean I am staying. I don't know if you know this, but it is the first day of my exhibition today I am kinda busy!
Have a great weekend, if I don't see you later I hope that I see you soon.