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.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Have A Very Merry One!

This will probably be my last blog of 2013. That said I am going to take a minute to talk about the best  and memorable bits of 2013.

This year has had its ups and down as people struggle with the recession but the good thing to come out of it is that people are still visiting the gallery and enjoying the exhibitions that they see. That is still a bonus.

I think I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best artists the South West has to offer and that in turn has meant that I have met even more great artists. This has helped to fill the gallery in 2014. I would like to thank all the people who have exhibited with me this year. It means a lot to me that you chose my gallery to show your work at.

There have been some sad losses this year from our local art scene, Stan Smith sadly passed away. I am hoping that in 2015 I will be able to put on a show of his work. I have mentioned before that he was a real fan of the gallery and supported me by coming to most exhibitions. He will be sadly missed.

We also lost Sir Anthony Caro, he was and should continue to be an inspiration to all of us. He was still a very active artist and never stopped and let his age deter him any way. He and Sheila were other kind supporters of the gallery. I was lucky enough to show both of them this year.

There are others who battling health issues and I hope that they make full recoveries and can back on producing art.

I have been quite moved by the genuine goodwill that has been extended to me this festive season. I apologise now for not sending cards to everyone but as you can imagine I now know so many people because of the gallery I would not know where to start.
I have instead pledged to give money to charity in lieu of cards. I also have given a donation of pet food to Margaret Green Animal Sanctuary. I was asking Shirley about Food Banks locally and apparently you can drop food off at the Salvation Army which be given to people locally in Swanage and Wareham. Take a minute to think about if you can help out in any way.

It's a good time of year to do something selfless.

I hope that whatever you do, you have a great Festive Season! See you at the gallery in the New Year!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Wishing You All A Really Fantastic Christmas and 2014!

I am sorry to have neglected my blog so completely but the truth it has been so quite on the gallery front that I don't want to have seasonal themed rants about my inability to get properly excited about Christmas.

There is still plenty of time to pop in an see the Purbeck Journal Exhibition. There really are some great things to see.

My Christmas card this year is a visual calendar of what is going to be on exhibit next year. It does follow a chronological order.

A last reminder that it isn't too late to buy a gift voucher for workshops in the New Year. You can get them online from the studio website as well.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Ups and Downs!

Josh Hollingshead - Orthodox

I set myself a challenge today that I very nearly failed. I know that it is possible to work well under pressure and then there are the obstacles put in your way by other people/cars who are unaware that you are trying to break your own personal best. I made it! I am not going to do that again in a hurry.

It has been an emotional day of definite highs and lows. I have agreed to things that I maybe shouldn't have. I've written difficult emails that I was uncertain about sending. I've needed the moral support of Shirley sat next to me prompting me to be forceful.

Literally straight after that I made a sale, of one of my own pieces. Which was a great result and unexpected. I have to say it was just the thing I needed to happen, you need these encouraging events to help you see the wood for the trees.

I am so Sharon Two Hats that sometimes I lose sight of my own personal creative goals. I have to make sure my business is functioning well but I also must take time to keep producing my own work. My own show was the best selling show of the year. I must be doing something right in that department.

Really good feedback about the current exhibition, I think that the impact of Josh Hollingsheads' pieces are quite the talking piece. The 3D equivalent are Andrew Thomas' sculptures. Polar opposites in terms of just about everything but they both get people talking.

If you haven't seen it then please do try and see it before Christmas I promise that you won't be disappointed.

I have written three blogs that are still in draft format, that should give you some idea of how busy I have been.

Just a reminder that I do have gift vouchers for sale should you want to get someone the gift of learning something new in 2014. You know where to find me.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Busy Gallery = Happy Sharon

Thursday is a teaching day so as ever I am going to have to keep it brief. I am pleased to say that the gallery has been nicely busy today. Of course it isn't without irony. The one day I have to teach is the day that everybody comes in to see the exhibition.
Oh well, I really am not complaining.

I remember when my blog used to spell check me. Apparently it is not quite so keen these days.
Yesterday, I spoke about the importance of good framing well I haven't got time for a missive today.

What I will say is that there are some really good artists books available for sale at the gallery. They are all signed and they would make someone a fantastic present.
I also want to remind you that next year I will be selling a selection of books published by various artist/authors.

I have got a busy time ahead as I get ready for the big refurb whilst I'm closed. The sad thing is that most of what I will do will go unnoticed as it is largely behind the scenes and the walls are always white. But after January they will never be as smooth again until next January.

I have to obviously plug this current exhibition again. It is full of local artists producing works that are of a really high standard. Do pop in and see it.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Putting You In The Picture (Frame)

Andrew Thomas - 'Rehanna' featured in the Purbeck Journal Exhibition

Whilst I wait for my latest experiment to dry I might as well put my time to good use. Over the last year I have tried to give artists helpful hints about a whole manner of things. I think I have been mostly coming at it from a gallery owners point of view to help artists avoid the pitfalls.

I covered Artists Statements, Portfolio Structure, Presentation, Framing, How to Approach a Gallery. I am pleased to report that they all received great feedback and were in fact useful.

I have a few more to bring up today just to get them off my chest really.

Presentation, just because you are an artist/photographer this doesn't automatically mean that you know the best way to display/exhibit your work. There is a ton of free advice out there. Use it! Get second opinions maybe even third opinions. Don't be fooled into thinking that you should adopt one style and stick to it forever.

A uniform approach can be achieved purely by selecting the same colour frames. But mounting seems to be an issue that throws a curve ball. Window mounts with several colours? No, do not do it! A colour that is anything other than neutral. Don't do it! It's all about the work not the mount. There are a plethora of neutral tones in most imaages. If you are mounting a body of work look for the one that ties all the images together.

People want work that will sit comfortably in their lounge or hall. A white window mount can very effectively draw the viewer in.

A really important tip is ensure your framer strings your work correctly. I have had several works at the gallery so loosely strung that the string is visible at the top of the frame when the image is hung. Or strung upside down. This really won't do. Get them to wrap your work when you have checked it out not before. Once you have paid and left the shop there is very little you can do about any mistakes.

If money is an issue and you can't afford to have work framed, do your homework look for the best that you can afford. This won't necessarily be found in the first shop that you visit.

Ok that's all I have to say, but if anyone wanted some advice about framing I am more than happy to provide it. Especially if you are planning to show with me.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Purbeck Journal Exhibition Is Now On! Come and Take A Look!

Forgive me readers it has been a few days since my last blogfession. It has been a whirl of activity and I am just catching up with myself. I am not going to into details but suffice to say that it has all worked out ok in the end.
Josh Hollingshead - Forest Fire
I can sit back now and breathe a sigh of relief as this is officially my last show of the year. No more hanging, fretting at PVs. I can just chill out and enjoy the run up to Christmas.
I have got plenty of work that I can be getting on with behind the scenes. There always is there is no such thing as a ay where I have nothing to do.

So let me tell you about this exhibition. I am showing Josh Hollingshead's new painting 'Forest Fire'. It is the first time that it has been seen in public. You should definitely come and take a look.
I have included a picture but the actual image is taller than me so you need to see it in the flesh. I have 6 stunning sculptures by Andrew Thomas, and some beautiful ceramics by Ian Harris and Eliza Simpson.

I have signed books by local authors, and even jam. There really is a great mix of stuff on show. Some perfect ideas for affordable Christmas presents, as well as some really good art on show, some of it is slightly less affordable. Depends how full your pockets are really. If lint was legal tender then I am very wealthy.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

I Ask Myself The Same Thing Daily!

This is a screen shot from my phone of an email that I actually received. I wish I knew the answer but the truth is we are in a recession and as much as people love the work exhibited they need to keep hold of their cash.

Another truth, is that Joe Wheatley whoever the hell he is doesn't have an answer either. Why pose the question Joe.? His solution to my struggle is that I should purchase computer equipment from his company.
How wrong can a person be? As I do not in fact need any computer equipment surely that means that I would be spending money I don't have on something I don't need. I might be wrong but I think that this might in fact have the reverse effect and make my struggle worse. 

He could ease my struggle by coming to the gallery and purchasing a job lot of art from me, thus making his life more colourful and my bank account less colourful and get back to the monochromatic tones that I have only the dimmest of memories of.

Ho Hum!

On a much more positive note, the Purbeck Journal Exhibition is up and I have to say I am really pleased with it. There were a few hairy moments. I think if you get work framed for an exhibition you should pay the framer until it is hung in the gallery/exhibition. If I didn't have Chris at Sansom over the road, goodness only knows how I would survive hanging exhibitions.

Strung too loose, not strung at all, strung too high, strung upside down, cheap string that stays as taught as a rubber band. I am not joking, I wish I was. It all adds to my already greying hair.

If you fancy a look at this show and a nice warming glass of mulled wine and a mince pie then join us on Saturday evening at 6.00. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Out With The Old And In With The New!

One ends and now without a pause in between I have to get prepared for the next one. I have got rather a lot of work to do as there are over 100 holes to fill, sand and paint before I can get started on the hang. I do like to make things easy for myself.

I have to say that I will pleased to be closed for a while over the festive season that is. It does get a bit hectic when you are doing everything.

I hope that you have been taking full advantage of all the arts and crafts events that have been happening locally. There have been at least two every weekend. 

I will have lots of interesting stuff for you to see at the weekend, also there will be mince pies and mulled wine. 

I have just realised that there was supposed to be some deliveries today but they don't seem to have materialised yet.

I hope that they turn up soon as I don't want to hang around for too long this evening. 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Works In Progress

Here are 6 of the 9 drawings/paintings I have been working on for the last two days. They are all from observation of the same object, a cat skull. I am mainly exploring shape. The pictures aren't great they're courtesy of my phone. But as I had talked about what I was up to I thought I would share the results with you. They are a huge departure for me but I really enjoyed doing them.

You've got three more days to catch the current exhibition before it ends on Wednesday. Do come along and see it.

This exhibition starts next Saturday and I will have the decs up too!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

I CANNOT Stand Mess!

Piers Rawson
My new studio is totally working out for me! I still have to clear up though, I have discovered, no that isn't right, I have remembered that I don't like mess. I like to live with the idea that I can be at peace when there is creative chaos around me. It is NOT true. I can for, mmm let me see, about an hour apparently. Then I have to clear it up.

I produced 9 new drawing/paintings today. I used a technique new to me, which is that you just try to capture shapes within an object and arrange them however you see fit. You have to work very quickly. What is amazing is that somehow you do capture the essence of the object you are drawing. I'll post some pictures on here tomorrow as they are all works in progress I think.

It does not however hinder the creative process but what I must do is remember to put on my overalls. I have got paint all over my nice jumper. Ooops.

You may or may not know by now that I can't count. Yesterday I was super excited about the amount of page views that I have had but the truth is that I reached 75,000 yesterday not 80,000. Yes, the answer is yes. What is the question? Do you scare yourself with your inability to count? Yes, yes I do.
I bet you wish I owed you money right now.

There are just a few more days left to catch Piers Rawson - Photographies at the gallery. You should definitely try and see it before it goes early next week.

I am teaching in 15 minutes so I best dash!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Please Click On Blog and Read, I Am 33 Page Views Away From 80,000! I Wrote Some Interesting Stuff Too!

I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.
Le Corbusier 

I love it when I have an idea that in it's conception is easy peasey but in it's production has reduced me to abandoning the computer playing loud music and staring at the door. Daring someone to come in when my music is up really loud. Why am I surprised that when they do and I jump out of my skin when they break my post computer reverie? Who knows?

I have been exploring some drawing ideas over the past few days. If I suffer from any kind of creative block, for me it is quite literally back to the drawing board. I know it has been said that the more you do the more you feel like doing. It is quite something when you experience it first hand so to speak. My muse can get up and go. Usually as a result of far too much admin on the computer.

Drawing the same thing repeatedly has a strange effect on me. I start off all tight, I then loosen up a bit, then I loosen up a lot. Then I get experimental, that's generally my process. I spent an hour writing about a cat skull as a drawing then I painted over it and it will never be read. I then intend to draw on it. I have always liked the idea of something hidden within my work there generally is something. Now I am thinking about how to exploit this in my work. This has all arisen from drawing solidly for about 3 hours.

I have another even more conceptual idea but I am saving that for another day until I have trialled it.

I had another marked assignment back from Facebook today. The Studio page had the politically correct green (positive) comments on it but the Gallery page did not fare as well. It was red on all counts. Should I worry about it? Only an idiot doesn't engage with feedback be it positive or negative.
So I have decided to close the gallery so I can give my Facebook Gallery page 100% attention so that I can see the gratifying green from now on.
You can catch all the exhibitions on line from now on and I can work from the comfort of my bed. Do I have to state the obvious? Just kidding!

Everybody has already decked the halls etc. You know how much I love Christmas? Not! I am going to have to retrieve the tree from the loft and assemble it and then decorate it so as not to be too 'Bah Humbug!' about it. But it's for kids right? I am however going to hold with tradition and put it up on the 1st of December.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Last Exhibition Of The Year - PURBECK!

I was very reflective last time so this time I am going to give you some cold hard facts about what's happening at the gallery at the moment.

I will regale you of tales of what's coming to the gallery next week. Better still I'll give you some pictures.

It will have a very eclectic mix of works in it and there should in theory be something for everybody. I will say that if you are a nature lover/bird watcher then there will be a great selection of photographs of our local bird life by the super talented Michael Deane.

Just a reminder that you now have week left to see the current exhibition, it is getting some good feedback.

I will also be running classes throughout January so if you would like to kick start your creative year then please feel free to get in touch and get yourself book in.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Some Questions/Answers From My Interview Yesterday.

I spent the best part of yesterday being interviewed about art, the arts, my art, teaching art etc. I am sure you get the picture. It was a real eye opener, it really got me thinking about so many different things.

So I thought that it might be interesting to you to read about a few of them.

Why is it important for you to curate exhibitions?

I think that when artists give me their work to hang I am essentially taking on the same role as a visitor to the gallery. I'll explain, I have no connection to the work, I am 100% objective and I have one goal in mind and that is that I want to make the work look as good as it possibly can. The last bit obviously does not apply to visitors. Editing is also key, as an artist myself I know how hard it can be to select your 'best pieces'. This is largely due to your attachment to the work, you feel that the whole story cannot be told without every single piece of work produced. What is important to remember that unless you escort every visitor to your exhibition around explaining about the connections they will just have to make up there own minds and make their own connections or not.
I also know the space and have twenty plus years of experience.
By curating an exhibition I may be rejoicing in difference as opposed to looking for similarities. In my head the other word that I think when hanging is 'flow'. It is a delicate balance and one I have been honing since owning the gallery. My rule of thumb is the old adage 'Less is more'.

What drives you to produce art?

This is always a challenging question, but throughout the interview it actually started to clarify in my mind. I make art because it makes me feel better to do so, I have things that I want to say that I don't went say verbally but visually. I do see it as a form of therapy for myself, I like to set myself challenges and push myself out my self imposed comfort zones. I want to engage in a dialogue with the viewer using art. Ultimately, I have had art in my life for longer than reading, writing and maybe even speech. (I'd have to ask my parents about that.) I cannot imagine life without it.

What is your own work about?

DEATH is the thing that most people seem to think my work is about. Because I use skulls, bones, wings etc. It is not about that at all, in fact it is the opposite. I feel like I am repurposing, things that would otherwise just be the evidence of life at some point buried in the ground can be transformed into something beautiful once more and therefore have a second life.  Not in the same way Damien Hirst did with his diamond skull. In a more subtle way. I am fascinated by the structures that lie beneath the skin and muscle. It's an age old fascination for many artists but I hope that I am doing it in a way that is unique to me.
Fire and Ice - Sharon James

When was the last time someone asked you 'What was the last book you read or what are you reading at the moment?'

I have to say that this question really was quite thought provoking. Why? Because I cannot remember the last time someone asked me that. Bear in mind that I have told you before I am an avid reader, depending on my workload I can read two books a week. This then got me to thinking about how I used to enter someones house that I didn't know. I would always scan their bookshelves looking for titles that assure me that they read similar books to me, I would also look at the CD collection and video/dvds. All of these visual indicators would give me a good idea about common ground that I shared with whoever. Also give me ideas about new books, films or music that I might like.
Now with the iPod, Kindle and Netflix all of those visual clues are not necessarily going to be on display. It is going to be even more important to start asking more questions.
When did people stop asking? I have to say that I do know a lot of people who don't read. Do I need to join a book group? Why isn't reading cool?

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Who Turned The Heating Off???

Piers Rawson

I have 23 minutes before I teach my next lesson. It is iPad so it's not a huge set up in terms of preparation. Who turned the heating off? I ask this because the weather went from Autumn to Winter almost overnight.

I am wearing my double thermal layer and the cold is still managing to penetrate. I foresee some pretty spectacular electricity bills in the coming months. The door is now firmly closed which also means that I will get lots of people looking in the windows and that will be as far as they venture.
What I need is to somehow encapsulate myself in my office whilst still being able to see out into the gallery. I am not sure how that could work.

I am starting to get excited about the next exhibition as work is already starting to trickle in. It will definitely be the most eclectic exhibition of the year.

Well, I am keeping it short as I have to get in the zone. I hope that my student finds it warm enough. I have found out from many a visitor that my office is somewhat reminiscent of a sauna. I beg to differ, at no point do I sweat or sit around naked. Far too cold even in the summer for that.

I have some good news I have booked in another exhibitor for 2015. I know it seems crazy. I do not even know what I am doing next weekend.

Wrap up warm and don't let the horror of the freezing cold keep you indoors too much!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

About Piers Rawsons Current Exhibit by Piers Rawson. All Pictures Featured Are @ The Gallery


Four sets of prints look at ways photography relies on perception, realism, cultural reference and time. Surreal?, Voiture, and Oradour all include photographs from France (with brief excursions to Italy and Brussels); ART montages images from disparate sources in a play on our notions of the meaning of art.

Surreal? explores different ideas of surrealism in photography: from direct reference to the Surrealist movement in France, to a sense of the dreamlike, poetic, ambiguous and irrational – conveyed in a nuance of light or enigmatic absence – implying an unfulfilled narrative that only we can complete.The Miro sculpture is at the Fondation Maeght (St-Paul de Vence); five images were made in the village of Seillans, beloved of the Surrealists and home to Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst 1957-76.

Voiture makes a transition between Surreal? and Oradour, a brief take on entropy and the automobile as cultural fetish.

Oradour: Day for Night presents a personal response to the tragedy of Oradour-sur-Gl├óne: on 10 June, 1944 this village in the Limousin, France, was attacked without warning, and on grounds still far from clear, by a regiment of the 2nd Waffen-SS Panzer division. Buildings were gutted by fire and 642 citizens (women, men and children) were massacred. In the ruins, only the solid traces of a society survived – iron bedsteads, sewing machines, tramlines and cars.The “martyred village” is a national monument committed to preserving the site as a lasting memorial (a battle against rust and the forgetfulness of time passing); paradoxically, it manages to offer both a visitor attraction and an intensely moving encounter with small-town life frozen in time. I came to see the vehicles, crushed by falling masonry, as an equivalent to Paul Nash’s Totes Meer (1940- 1): a lunar displacement from the everyday, like the cinema practice of shooting “day for night”.

ART is a new series deriving from a public art billboard commission of 2004: fully intended to seduce the eye – but who says “frivolous” can’t also be “serious”? Imagine an intimate rendezvous between Grayson Perry and Andy Warhol, then spend some time trying to get the image out of your head.... Note the irony, the veiled references to Romanticism! To access this aspect, the titles are significant: Landscape; Skyscape; Art in a Painted Sky (#1 and #2, n.b. a glorious sunset is sometimes referred to as a “painted sky”; the actual painted sky comes from Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza); The Art of Camouflage.

All prints (unless stated): archival pigment inks on archival paper, signed, edition of 10.
© Piers Rawson            www.scenae.co.uk

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

I Know What Will Make Me Rich!

Selling a kidney!

I have finally worked out how I can afford those luxury holidays abroad and a fast car. I already have a fast car. If British Telecom were to pay me my hourly rate for every time that I have to contact them or access my so called 'easy access' accounts online. I know you are sitting there thinking I doubt it would make you that rich. So if I told you that in the past few weeks I have spent in excess of three hours trying to get someone to understand what the problem is, that is just on the phone add another two on the internet. That's £125 by my reckoning. No that won't make me rich but on average I spend 2 hours a month trying to rectify some broadband glitch at home and at work. That could be £50 a month additional income times that by 12 that's £600. I rest my case.

Whilst I am moaning about that, I think the Indian call centre workers should rejoice in their parent given names. I may not be able to pronounce it 100% correctly but I'll try and it just seems absurd that they are all called Michael, John or David. The other truth is that you virtually never call them by it anyway. They like to call me Mrs James and I have chosen not to mind.

A good start to the current exhibition, it was a little quiet at the PV but the people that did venture out on a cold December night definitely showed a real interest on what was on show. That is really all that matters. Loads of folk can come and glug the free wine and not look at the work at all. Admittedly many will return for a 'proper look' during the exhibition run.

How do you make people read? No seriously how do you do it? If you have any good idea then please do not hesitate to let me know.

Tune in tomorrow for a statement by the photographer Piers Rawson about the work on display at the gallery.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Buy Local, By Locals

Piers Rawson

A hive of activity at the gallery and studio. It is at this time of year that I take stock of what has worked and what has not. I also like to start the initial de-cluttering, this will take place over a period weeks as I have squirrelled things away very successfully.

I am taking apart my studio at home and now it is having to find a new home at my studio here. It's getting there slowly but surely.

There are lots of arts and crafts fairs on at the moment so scan your local newspapers and also if I hear of any I will share the info about them on the gallery Facebook page. It's a shame because i am constantly being invited to things that I can't attend. I would love nothing better than to have a good mooch around stalls that have all manner of unique products on sale.

The opening night for Piers Rawson - Photographies is this evening at 6.00 I hope that if you are in Swanage that you can pop in and join us for a glass of wine.

Got plenty of classes lined up next week and not all of them are full so if you fancy making a unique creative gift for someone then get in touch.

I have been on the scrounge for testimonials for my website as I will be updating that in the new year. I am pleased to report that I have had some really lovely feedback. It is also always nice to know that you are doing something right.

I hope that you have a great weekend lined up, mine is work heavy as usual but that's just how it is.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Piers Rawson ~ Photographies Starts on Saturday @ 6.00.

Piers Rawson

Well Hello Strangers! I am sorry for my absence but you have no idea how busy my week has been. The usual show down, show up scenario followed by teaching and some general much needed maintenance in my office.

It is all I can do, to do my actual gallery admin. If you have been waiting for a response to an email I apologise as I just opened my inbox to the horror of 144 emails.

Let's talk about the new exhibition, it is called 'Photographies' as it utilises several different subject matters and also printing techniques. The photographer Piers Rawson takes inspiration from everywhere and when you see the images you will understand the strong sense of composition and also a sense of humour.

Like I always say the only way to form your own opinion the only thing to do is to see it for yourself. It starts on Saturday so feel free to join us for a glass of wine at 6.00 at the gallery.

To end the year Purbeck Journal will be having an exhibition of the contributors to the magazine in the published editions. This is going to be a really eclectic mix of content. I am hoping that it will provide an excellent opportunity to buy the unique Christmas present that you have been looking for. A combination of art, craft, sculpture, books and jam.

Make sure you put the Saturday 7th December in your diary that's when it starts.

Just wanted to point out that if you wanted to get someone the gift of learning for Christmas then I have gift vouchers available at the gallery. To cover the cost of a workshop of your choice. It could be the gift that keeps on giving.

Friday, 8 November 2013

What Can You Do To Help Yourself?

Sharon James

I am therefore I think! It is easy to become despondent about the lack of money flowing through your hands. We are living in tough times and the luxury item that is art is very low on peoples list of purchasing priorities. The truth is I totally understand that. Disposable income is becoming a thing of the past for some obviously not all. 

If art can be urinal (thanks Duchamp) then can a new washing machine also be considered art? I am afraid that in these times we might find ourselves marvelling at the load capacity and the relative silence of the spin cycle. As opposed to discussing the values of composition and the way in which the artist has used brush strokes to convey a plethora of emotions.

A visitor to the gallery yesterday told me that our national involvement in cultural activities has risen by 11%. I think this is a good thing. I am hoping it means that people are visiting galleries and museums and are broadening their cultural awareness and when we finally drag ourselves out of this recession that people will reinvigorate the art market by purchasing works. Fingers crossed.

What can you do to help yourself? Why have I asked that question? It is because I have to think about it everyday. I am relying in teaching to put cash in my pocket. The more important thing that I have been bought to realise largely by my gallery assistant Shirley. Is that my most financially successful show this year was my own. Yes, I know that people who knew me would have maybe bought work to show support etc and that I get to keep 100%. But still there was enough interest from people I didn't know too. The gallery is fully booked next year and so when I'm not busy promoting exhibitions etc I am going to be getting my creative arts in gear. My work will be for sale all year round at the gallery.

For those who hire the gallery don't panic it won't be on the walls. There is going to be complete overhaul of the studio and office space. If you think I am going to be sat around in January think again I'll probably be working harder than usual.

And finally....... the Group 7 Exhibition is in its final few days and I am pleased to report that it has been busier than ever in the last few days. It is till not too late to come and see it.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Group 7 Review In One Word Per Artist.

Martyn Brewster - Vivid
Fran Donovan - Evocative
Bonnie Brown - Sensitive
Michael Griffiths - Brave
Peter Symons - Visceral
Ursula Leach - Effulgent
Brian Bishop - Homogeneous

You can take it or leave it, I just enjoyed doing it. I could go into more depth but the truth is that it has already been done. I do love words and those sprung to mind when I stood in front of each artists work.

It is an unusual experience seeing the work everyday over a period of weeks. There is something that happens and you don't even necessarily consciously pick up on it. Every morning a different image stands out. The one that you spend a little longer looking at. I think that I might start to make a note of which ones they are each day.
I think it is to do with the light and my mood, seldom are two days exactly the same in terms of light and definitely not in terms of my moods either.

If you need to know more then can I suggest that you come along and see it for yourself before it finishes at end of business on Saturday. Plenty of info in previous blog posts too.

In other news, the gallery has been nice and busy for the past couple of days. That is why I have at least three half written blog posts so in an attempt to actually post one I am writing this one as the others require a little more thought.
I have got plenty of classes lined up so if you wanted to make someone a unique creative Christmas gift there is still plenty of time.

I have decided that in this time of austerity that all my gifts will be handmade, by me. That is a warning to any of my friends/family who might be expecting something nice from the shops. You won't be getting anything from there.

I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage you all to support your local artists and craftspeople at this time of year. They will be busy making beautiful unique objects/gifts that will undoubtedly bring a smile to someones face if given as a gift.

I will share any craft events etc on here and my Facebook page wherever I see them

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A Bit More About Fran Donovan - A Member of Group 7

Fran Donovan
The more carefully I consider how to define my idea of the landscape the more I am aware of the conflicts at work.  The enormity of what I see and the idea that the landscape stretches on forever has strong influences.  I keep returning to maintain the structure in my work which underlies the abstract surface.

The colours are drawn from my relationship with the outside world and my response begins once the colours have been decided.  With the experience of all that looks familiar yet not knowing what the “familiar” is, the shapes and colours are not the exact or perfect form but represent a oneness with the landscape.  I set to capture a mood evoking in the viewer a memory and response to past landscapes seen.

The following quotation from Thomas Traherne reflects my interest in the land and energy of the sea which is the subject of my works:

“You never enjoy the world aright, til the sea itself floweth in your veins, til you are clothed with the Heavens and crowned with the stars and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world.  Til your spirit filleth the whole world and the stars are your jewels; til you are intimately acquainted with that shady nothing out of which the whole world was made.”

Saturday, 2 November 2013

About Michael Griffiths - A Member of Group 7

Michael Griffiths

The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu used the term ‘Habitus’ to describe a system of dispositions; schemes of perception, thought and actions, tastes and preferences which define the individual. It is the observation of such characteristics and the way in which we as individuals relate to each other and to the world around us that informs my work. The content of these drawings is generated as abstract imagery but the forms and language of mark-making that develop are intended to be analogies for human dispositions and interaction. In short, people-watching can be illuminating and fun, or even shocking or nasty, depending on what they are doing; but whatever they are doing tends to reveal something of the human condition and it is that that interests me and informs my work. I use drawing to pose questions, to explore possibilities and to make thinking visible. 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Review by Dominic Shepherd of Group 7 Exhibition

Dominic is a lecturer in Fine Art at AUB and a practising artist who shows with Charlie Smith Gallery in London.

GROUP 7 Exhibition at L’Artishe Gallery Swanage

‘Pure drawing is an abstraction. Drawing and colour are not distinct, everything in nature is coloured.’ 

Paul Cezanne

Cezanne rolled out the path of modernism, releasing colour and form from depiction and heralding a truth to material. This simplicity is found in work of Group 7, here is proof, as is evident in the renewed interest in abstraction within contemporary painting, that new forms are to be found in the fundamentals of the language of paint. There is a ‘material’ suspension in these works, where trees, grids or squares become loaded with an intrinsic being, a near existential joy, think Cezanne’s apples.

There is no room for irony here, these are seekers after a truth, indeed Brian Bishop’s perfectly rendered ‘squares’ declaim their reality, scumbled marks break out from beneath, paint drips off the cut cloth edge. This search maybe begins with the inchoate drawings of Mike Griffiths, where the potential of what’s not there, absence, lends them formal power, to end with Pete Symons’s film, quite simply light on nature, an end that is really a beginning.

Bonnie Brown’s work ripples with this very light, nature as the intangible floats to the surface, while in Martyn Brewster’s prints colour dips and quivers, a seismic reflection sinking into dark depths. Although there are nods to landscape in the paintings of Ursula Leach, it is not until we come to Fran Donovan and Symons’s work that nature becomes explicit, but it is a nature subsumed to a material formalism of the painters’ language.

Indeed in Leach’s work the colourfields rise up, literally floating off the surface of the canvas.
Colour and form, these are intrinsic to the painter, printmaker and draughtsman. These artists grapple with the intrinsic, what is evident here is the more you seek the truth, the bigger the questions become.

Dominic Shepherd

Thursday, 31 October 2013

About Martin Brewster - A Member of Group 7

Martyn Brewster

My paintings, drawings and prints are concerned with either landscape or abstract
themes, or in many cases a combination of these two elements.
The silkscreen prints in this exhibition are all abstract images where colour and composition
are developed to reach a point where I feel the image has a beauty and emotional
resonance that I am happy with.
Nearly all the prints are monoprints, where there is only one of each image, developed
individually as one would a painting.This I find a much more interesting way of working,
with the excitment of constantly discovering new images.

Martyn Brewster   October 2013

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

About Fran Donovan - A Member of Group 7

Fran Donovan

After starting her working life as a draughtswoman in the civil service, IBM and other large organisations, Fran Donovan studied at Southampton College in Fashion and Design for four years and later for the Fine Art Diploma covering painting, printmaking and sculpture.  Subsequently at Winchester School of Art Fran obtained a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and went on to complete a Masters degree in International Fine Art in Barcelona.

Now primarily a painter in oils, Fran has produced work in a variety of media and has exhibited widely in solo and group shows including:
Universitat de Barcelona;                                                      Tallers Obert, Barcelona;
Delfina Studio Gallery, London;                              Fresh Art, London;
WCA Gallery, Winchester;                                          The White Gallery, Brighton;
Lewes Contemporary Art, Lewes;                              Gallery One, Barnes;
Charleston House Gallery, Firle, Lewes;         Town Mill Gallery, Lyme Regis;
Maltby Contemporary Art, Winchester;                  Russell-Coates Gallery, Bournemouth;
Link Gallery, University of Winchester;                   Young Gallery, Salisbury;
Salisbury Arts Centre;                                                      Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton;
Pond Gallery, Clapham;                                                      Hilton Gallery, Bath
Salisbury Cathedral;                                                                 Kilnhanger Arts, Guildford;
Affordable Art Fairs, London & Cannes;
Open Exhibitions at Sherborne, Chichester and Arts Sway.

Her work is in private collections in Britain, Spain, Italy, America and Australia and the Public collections of Hampshire County Council and Salisbury Hospital as well as a recent completed commission of three large paintings for Mosborough Hall near Sheffield.

Whilst primarily a full time painter, Fran has undertaken art therapy at Southampton and Ashurst hospitals, teaching in Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset and most recently been an artist mentor working with servicemen in the “Other Worlds” project with Salisbury John Creasey Museum.

Awards include Bibliotec Award, Winchester School of Art and European Studies Award, Coopers and Lybrand

Whilst living and working in Brighton she was interviewed and filmed for video by BBC South Resources which was followed by a Radio Arts interview and also Sky TV in conjunction with The White Gallery, Brighton

Published material includes Brighton & Hove Life, University of Winchester Art Loan Collection, Fifty Wessex Artists - [Evolver] Books and Sherborne Open “Margins”.

Artist’s Statement
The more carefully I consider how to define my idea of the landscape the more clearly I am aware of the conflicts at work.  The enormity of what I see and the idea that the landscape stretches on forever has strong influences.  I keep returning to maintain the structure in my work which underlies the abstract surface.