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.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Mass Debates

I don't know whether it is the cold but it would seem that I am becoming preoccupied with various philosophical debates about art of late.
My newest food for thought is this....Does the title of painting influence the sale of a piece of art?
I have been thinking a lot about this. I don't think that it does. I think that more often than not the piece of art is the first thing that you see and the title is secondary. You react to the work in the first instance and then the title may or may not gel with you. Would what something is called sway you into a purchase?
Or do we just bring our own experiences to every piece of art? If a painting was called 'Field of Death' and was in fact a picture of a field full of daisies, would it put you off buying it?
If you like daisies probably not, or if you remember a field from your childhood that was full of daisies every summer, probably not. If you hated daisies? Who knows.
All of this thought has come about from having typed up numerous price lists. Sometimes the titles are literal 'Swanage Bay at Dusk' would imply that you will see some fairly representational image of the afore mentioned bay.
I must add at this point that it does tend to be abstract art that has the more lateral titling taking place.
Where as this title has a few clues but not necessarily ever going to result in a conclusion of what it actually is.
The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living
It is a very famous piece of art and no doubt the more well versed in modern art you are the more likely it is that you will know exactly what this particular piece of art is. For those of you who don't, here it is.

Yes it is Damien Hirst. Now if you Google this you will find it simply by typing Hirst Shark. Try it for yourself if you don't believe me. 
I do think it is an apt title and the more I think about it the more I understand the title and the work. But the title in this instance does explain the work to a certain extent.
The bigger question is do you appreciate it more now you know what it is called? Let me know.
As an artist myself I have to tell you that for me personally it is a chicken and egg scenario. Sometimes I have the title before the work and sometimes the work itself generates the title.
Okay, time to talk gallery stuff. It has been a little quiet today, the weather is too nice. I'm just glad that it is nothing like yesterday. I had to come down early and clean my windows. They were grim.
I have had a spring clean and cleared the decks, it is looking very white and spacious in the studio and the gallery.
Feeling creative? Come and do a workshop!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Art Is Like A Pair Of Shoes

Now That Is What I Call A Pair of Shoes

If you walk into a shoe shop and you spot a pair of shoes you instantly hear an internal voice that says to you 'Buy Me'. That is the voice that you should trust. It's the same voice that says to you when you don't buy them and you're sat at home 'I wish I'd bought those shoes'. Well, that's the same voice that speaks to you when you look at art. That feeling you have when you look at a painting that moves you and makes you want to own it because you feel like your life would be better if you could look at it every day.
I am going to champion the cause of that inner voice because I feel that it gets a raw deal.
Buying art is one of those things that people struggle with as it is not seen as a necessity and in this time of recession it is fairly low down the list of priorities.
If you look at it from a different perspective, to have something beautiful in your home that you can look at every day and get a positive feeling from having seen it surely that makes your life better.
The cynics may read this and think that I have an ulterior motive as a gallery owner. I don't, I just think that I know people who will think nothing of spending £100+ on a night out and all they have to show for it the next day is either a temporarily full stomach, a hangover or a combination of the two. Unless the money has been spent on a cultural experience of course.
Buy more art it will enrich your life exponentially. Trust me I'm an artist/gallery owner.
Here endeth the lecture.
To say that the gallery has been busy would be busy would be an understatement. Today was officially the busiest day since I opened. 42 people walked through the door and the day is not over yet.
I will be opening tomorrow from 12.00 - 4.00. So if you fancy soaking up a bit of culture on a Sunday afternoon then you know where to come.
That's it I am typed out.

Friday, 27 April 2012

To Err is Human.......To Forgive Divine!

I'm over the worst of it! That's just the cold. Today has been really busy already with 10 people through  the door within the first hour. That is a very good Friday.
I didn't call  this blog 'The Trials and Tribulations of owning a Gallery' for no reason. There lots of pros involved with running your own business and I'm the first person to tell you that it is great. The biggest con is that the buck stops with you. If there is a problem then it is all down to you to sort it out. No hiding behind other people.
I am hoping that I have sorted it out only time will tell. As you may have seen I will be opening for the next ten days without a day off. This is the resolution to the problem so if you feel like popping in and seeing the show then you will be able to do so on numerous occasions.
I will also be doing a late night opening on Saturday 5th May so there will be a chance to catch the current exhibition before it finishes.
I am looking forward to the INKA Printmakers exhibition. It will be the first solely printmaking exhibition I will have had at the gallery. As a printmaker that makes me happy.
I am excited about an exhibition that I am going to organize for next year. It will be a bit controversial (I have to let you into a secret, I could not spell that word for love nor money I had to look it up). I blame the cold. Isn't it funny that it's really difficult to look up the spelling of a word that you're not sure how to spell. I was using the internet as opposed to a dictionary so that's probably why.
Anyway, I digress I am hoping to exhibit the sculptor Robin Beuscher next year at the gallery. Some of you might have caught him at the Red Orb Sculpture exhibition last year. His work is brilliant and thought provoking and it will be the first time it will be seen in a gallery setting. Not for the faint hearted.
I best get on and do something more productive than writing my blog.
Over and out!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Gallery will Be Open On Sundays

I forgot to mention that in the run up to Purbeck Arts Weeks Festival the gallery will be open on Sundays from 12.00 - 4.00. So if you don't manage to make it in the week then do try and pop in on a Sunday.
For the duration of the Festival it will be open on a sunday from 12.00 - 4.00.
I hope to see you very soon.

Same Thing In A Different Colour

As I predicted I spent a fun packed day in bed with a toilet roll, a glass of squash, cough medicine and cold and flu tablets. It was brilliant....not! I tried to watch a film but I didn't have the concentration span to see it through.
It was either that or it wasn't a particularly good film. I think it could be the latter.
I have a question, it's about art. If you saw a painting and you liked it, everything about it appealed to you, would you want it it in a different colour? It is one of the new fads at the gallery. People like a painting but somehow want it to be different. Jan Dagley had an entire gallery full of abstract interpretations of local landscapes and a few from further a field. Someone came in and said how much they liked her work and could she paint a picture inspired by the local landscape? Seriously, that's what happened.
I think the ones with Purbeck in the title must have escaped their attention.
Oh well, you live and learn.
I had a workshop this morning and considering that I feel rough it went really well. I have dosed myself up to the eyeballs. I hope that  I came across as less vacant than I actually felt. It really is satisfying watching someone get all fired up about the creative opportunities that learning a new skill makes possible.
I am sat here looking at my grubby windows thinking that I must really clean them but then again I also really must sit here in the warm and continue to contemplate the reality of actually cleaning the windows.
Anyway, I should probably try and focus on something other than my blog today. Wish me luck.
I still have a few books left from World Book Night so do pop in and get one in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

It's Just Not Fair!!

I really miss my car!

That was not supposed to happen. It would seem that walking in the rain may have left me a parting gift in the form of a cough and cold. Oh how I miss my car. I'm really looking forward to spending my day off with a box of tissues and a bottle of cough gloop.
World Book Night was a success and we managed to get rid of nearly all of the books. I think that next year I might plan to have an exhibition that has images and text to coincide with World Book Night.
If that sounds good to you then get in touch.
I'm starting to think about Christmas! Not like one of those crazy people who have already bought the majority of their presents, cards and wrapping paper. I mean at the gallery, I think that an affordable art fair is what I am going to do.
I need to look into the details and I will let you know as soon as I have done that. I am going to sign off as I need to go home and feel sorry for myself.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Two Free Books Available From The Gallery Tonight

Saturday night was a huge success, really well attended and plenty of sales. Not a bad night at all. Tonight is World Book Night so if you fancy popping in and getting a couple of new books then you know where to come. If you are in Wimborne you should go to Gullivers Bookshop I have heard there will be freshly baked cakes and a literature quiz. So check them out.

After a miserable start to the day it has brightened up a treat so I hope that will encourage people to come along tonight and get their free books.
I am giving away 'The Time Travelers Wife' by Audrey Neffenegger and Carlotta Barrow who is also part of the current exhibition will be giving away 'The Remains of The Day' by Kazuo Ishiguro. So two books from one visit will really make it worthwhile. There will be tea, coffee and biscuits.
I am still recovering from the very long week that was last week and I hope that I get the chance to relax this weekend.
I have plenty of Purbeck Arts Weeks brochures at the gallery and Dorset Art Weeks dropped me off a box on Saturday. If you want to plan what you want to see during the two festivals come and pick up your  brochures from the gallery.

I am hoping to run a papermaking workshop soon and I'm looking for a few more people to make up numbers. If you are interested let me know. I am also delivering a printmaking session on Thursday morning so you if you fancy that get in touch.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Spring Exhibition Has Sprung!

They did warn me that it was imminent but I didn't really take any notice of them. Who does? But now I see it I'm not sure that I like it. Only time will tell. What am I talking about? The new Blogger template thingy. Feels like I'm writing a word document now.
Anyway, as you can probably tell from my absence I have been super busy. It has been a very busy week. A workshop and taught another class, took a show down then put another one straight up. When I go quiet on the blog front it is generally because I am not sat in front of my computer all day, I'm doing all the practical chores that come with being a gallery owner.
The new show is the Spring Exhibition that I told you about. It is a real mixed bag of styles and I guarantee you there really is something for everyone in this one.
I made my first two sales within an hour of being open this morning. I literally had to print the price lists off to give to the customers who came in. Then they bought something. Fantastic, I can eat next month.
Have I ever told you how patient I am? Well I taught 16 year olds for 15 years that should give you some indication of how patient I can be. Well yesterday to say my patience wore thin would be an understatement.
I would definitely say that I much prefer to work on my own so I crank up the ipod and get on with it. I don't like being interrupted or watched. Suffice to say I had both happen yesterday and I actually growled twice. I know that I am generally considered a laid back person but when you are hanging an exhibition it is a serious business. The key thing to remember is that 'I do know what's best' in terms of how much work should go up. Less is more is my mantra.
But it was all up and labelled before I left last night. I think I may have been a little tired which didn't help my general grumpiness level.
Private View tonight so please pop in if you are in town. Starts at 5.00 and finishes at 8.00

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Now You See Me, Now You Don't!

Apparently I do not exist and I don't live at my address. It is a little daunting to hear a complete stranger say  that to you. But the good news is that after I spoke to someone at the same company ten minutes later they confirmed that I did in fact exist and I lived at my home address. Scary to think that someone can wipe you off the face of the earth and you can be found again within minutes by someone else.
I want to share another of life's ironies. My chair arrived, but in order to put it together it caused my back to ache. But now I am sat on it I feel very comfortable indeed.
If you wanted to buy a painting and you had the cash and the perfect place too hang it.......would you buy it? I know I would but apparently I am fairly unique. It is a shame because the work is so fantastic I would have hoped to have sold some more.
I have decided to open on Wednesday for a couple of hours to give Jan every opportunity to make a sale. I look forward to having some actual time off because at the moment I really am working all the hours. But I totally understand that running your own business means that your life is no longer your own.
I have been told that I should not refer to Wednesdays as my day off any more. I think that seems like a good idea but I also mourn the idea of a day of rest in the week.
Oh well, nothing ventured and all that.
Well, it's time to go and see about doing some actual work. In honour of my new chair I tidied my office and had a general desk decluttering. Feels a bit posh in here now.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Spring Exhibition Starts Saturday!

The start of another week at the gallery and it has been a quiet one. Considering the sun is out! But having had a conversation with several other coastal gallery owners, it would seem that we are agreed that the best weather for us is overcast. As there is less possibility of  sitting on the beach therefore people mooch around the shops etc.
It's a tough one because I really would prefer it to be sunny from a personal point of view but as far as my business is concerned I'd like it warm but overcast.
I have to tell you that my fancy dress on Saturday was so impressive that many people failed to recognize me. More than one person said I should consider growing my hair. What perturbs me is that I was wearing a ginger wig. Before you start I have no problems with ginger in fact I would say I am quite a fan. But I'm black and a full head of fake ginger hair apparently looked great. I am more than a little concerned.
There are three days left of the Jan Dagley exhibition and I've told you many, many times that it is well worth a look.

Starting on Saturday there will be a new exhibition it will be the Spring Exhibition featuring eight local artists. It will be a diverse show with something for everyone.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Get The Thermals Out......Again

The sun has disappeared again. I wonder why the winter clothing seems to have come back out again. I keep trying to persuade my body that it is warmer than it actually is.
I also think it is to blame for the fact that Swanage is very quiet today. It is usually my busiest day of the week. But the visitors aren't even a steady trickle which is a shame as this such a fantastic exhibition
I have also relented and spent some money on a decent chair for the office. I cannot wait to be comfortable at work. I am now considering a new desk. Need to earn some more cash. Can't do that when no one comes through the door.
I can only keep telling people that it is on and that it is good and please visit.
As usual just as I write that six people came through the door. If only that could result in sales that would be fantastic.
I will end with something that I hope will make you laugh. Since I have lived in Swanage I have attended many birthday parties and bizarrely they all seem to involve fancy dress. I should tell you that I am not a fan as I find it challenging enough finding normal clothes that I like to wear. So when faced with the challenge of dressing up I generally pull something very tame out of the bag.
Not tonight, I am going as part of a group. Tonight Matthew I am being Daphne from Scooby Doo. Hence the picture. For those of you who know me you know exactly how hilarious that is because you know what I look like. So wish me luck.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Kimmeridge Open Exhibition Saturday 16th July 2012

Why are Royal Mail so rubbish? Seriously, why? You could send me your answers on a postcard but there's only a 50% chance that I would get it.
I have been filing! Not my nails just half a ton of paperwork. My back is still being annoying and my friend Tom from www.onethousandwords.co.uk/blog/index.php/tag/tom-wishart/ has taken pity on me and went out and got me a cushion. What I need is a new office chair. I need to make it my mission to get a new one, if I am to spend days in front of the computer.
The gallery has been busy again which is very encouraging and one visitor today saw my advert in Galleries magazine and is based in London. The word is spreading about this cool gallery in Swanage that shows really good art.
I could do with some more reviews on Trip Advisor so please feel free to leave me a nice one if you have a moment to spare.
Jan will be gallery sitting again tomorrow so if you would like to talk to her about her work then pop in and see her.

The date for the Kimmeridge Open Exhibition is going to be Saturday 16th July so if you would like to be involved please download an application form from my website.
I'll be back at the gallery on Saturday so if you are heading to Swanage then come and see me and Jans work. It will be worth the visit, I promise.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My Back Has Kept Me Off My Feet!

If you have been wondering where I have been, I can tell you now. I have been laid up in bed with a bad back. Before you ask, I have no idea how idea how I did it. I woke up with severe back pain and it lasted for three days. I have to let you in on my secret cure. I am terrible at going to the doctors, well I can get there etc ok but I hate going. They might tell me I'm ill. So after three days of back ache I made a doctors appointment and as if by magic my back feels much better so I cancelled the appointment.
Maybe next time you're ill you should try it.
Luckily, Jan was at the gallery yesterday and I opened for 4 hours today on my day off. To make up for any lost time. I am very glad that I did as it was quite busy. I had the pleasure of meeting Sheila Girlings son and his family. We had a nice chat about art and the gallery, it's by far the best way to spend the day.
I will be open tomorrow as usual and then I will do the things that need to be done. They also told me that they have seen my advert in the Royal Academy magazine which was nice.
Jans private view went well, good attendance and plenty of wine drunk. Everyone agrees that she is on the verge of making it nationally. It is time for her to spread her wings and start exhibiting at some London galleries.
Jan will be at the gallery on Friday, if you haven't seen this show then you should try and get to see it on Friday whilst she is there as she will be able to explain what drives her and the various influences  and inspirations behind her work.
There are a few days left so make sure that you come and see it.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Where Have All The People Gone? Long Time Passing Part 2

After an unusually busy morning things have gone quiet at the gallery. I had barely flipped the sign and there was someone through the door engaging me in conversation. I have to tell you that my first conversation of the day is always the hardest I improve steadily with coffee and time. I get all tongue tied and struggle to remember anything.
It usually gets busy later on in the day but today seems to be the reverse. As I write four people have walked through the door.
It's the Private View for Jans show tonight but I have been plugging it all week so I thought I would get a plug in for an event that I am putting on later on in the month. I am going to be a World Book giver and if you would like a free copy of one of the best books I've ever read then now you know where to come. I think that I have fifty copies so do try and come and see me.
There are lots events taking place and if you walk past the gallery door look at the one with all the posters on and then you will know exactly what is going on locally in terms of art and music.
I am always a busy person but i intend to enjoy my day off tomorrow as I will be back at the gallery on Monday.
it is my builder Matts birthday weekend and he has some serious celebrating to do.
Since the last sentence I sold a painting which is all good. Let's hope that it is the first of many today. The other thing is that it has actually picked up in terms of people through the door.
You know you are invited so here's a reminder Jans' Private View is tonight at 5.00 and finishing at 8.00

Friday, 6 April 2012

Not So Good Friday!

If this weekend is all about Hot Cross Buns I am all about Cold Quite Angry Puns!
Well I am open and the sun is out and I have had one person through the door. It is definitely one of the most difficult things to get a handle on as business owner. You think so long and hard about when you should be open and when you should be closed. The reality is it is like a lucky dip. Just when you think that you have got it all figured out and you open nobody comes through door. I have told you before how often people tell me that every time they come to see the gallery I am not open.
When is this bewitching gallery visiting hour of which they speak? I am open five days a week until 5pm. Only shut on Wednesdays and Sundays. Wendy found to her peril that opening on a Sunday is a fools errand. It makes no difference how busy the town is no one is walking up the High Street when nothing else is open up here.
I am also not a fan of my friends who are all enjoying the day off coming into the gallery regaling me with tales of sunny afternoons spent at the very picturesque Square and Compass pub. I don't feel the need to go the pub but I would quite like not be at work.
Jan Dagley is having her private view tomorrow afternoon. It should be good. She's had plenty of visitors to this show already and one sale. Let's hope that carries on.
I hope that you have great plans for this long weekend. I will be working for the majority of it so if you are in Swanage please do drop in and say hi!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

QR As Code

Trip Advisor QR Code
If you want to know what I have been doing, I have been generating QR codes. For those of you who don't know what they are, don't worry I was in your club up until about a month ago. I have been known to call them the Space Invader pixely thingy. Now I know slightly better. if you have a smart phone you can scan these codes (if you download a QR scanner app) and they will take you to wherever the person/company who generated them wants you to go. In this case it is straight to my website. Don't ask me how it works but I know that it does. I am writing this midway through my weekly clean as I don't seem to have my usual cleaning gusto. I am tired. I had curry for dinner last night and I had a night of unparalleled indigestion. It must be my age. I am going to repeat my request for any of you who have actually been to the gallery to write me a review for Trip Advisor. I would really appreciate it. to make it even easier. Try using this QR code that will take you to right where you need to be. Go on try this new technology out. It is great.
Really good attendance to Jans show so that's good. I am sad that the weather has pulled the oh so familiar trick of turning to poo when school is out. It really is a shame. All last week everyone was anticipating how they were going soak up the rays this week. Soak up the rain more like. Boo!! Hiss!!
The Gallery QR Code

Monday, 2 April 2012

You Wanna Be Starting Something!

This is one of Jans' Paintings

Isn't it typical that there is no such thing as popping into the gallery for five minutes. I am still here and many more minutes have passed. I am being tracked down by a journalist who wants to interview me. I am not sure that I really want to be interviewed. It's about PAW and that remains a sore point with me. On a more positive note I have just sold another 3 pictures. Well I have to say that makes it worth it. Wendy has done both of us proud.
What you may or may not realize but the first bit was written on Saturday and now it is Monday. Remarkably, I sold one more piece that day so all in all a very profitable 'pop'.
Yesterday I hung the new exhibition, Jan Dagleys fantastic new work. Wow, is all I can say. The scale of some of it is quite breathtaking. It will never cease to amaze me how each artists work transforms the gallery in a totally different way.
The air is full of the smell of fresh oil paint that is how new some of Jans paintings are. They are really new. It's already getting some really positive feedback.
I have high hopes for this exhibition as I know how good it is.
I am hoping that this week I will get time to do some of my own work as has been a while since I picked up a pencil or anything else. Wish me luck!