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 February 2013

I Counted At Least 100 Naked Birds!

I love the fact that this is my editorial in the best local newspaper!
Loving the headline!

I was about to apologise about my complete lack of blogging but then I realised I wrote one on Monday. It feels like ages ago I have to say. I have been just a wee bit busy getting my show up, it is now up. I have already thanked them  but they are definitely worth another mention. Chris at Sansom has been fantastic. I cannot recommend him highly enough, what he can't do with bespoke framing is not worth doing.
Then today I had Shirley as my gallery assistant, she was faultless. What she does brilliantly is that she is honest with me. No sugar coated pill, just as it is. I really respect that.
So normal service can be resumed, I have just got my treasure map to do. Ok so what I mean by that is my price list. If you want to find the treasure you'll have to come and find the map and see what you can find.

I am supporting Marie Curie again this year and will be raffling off a giant Easter egg to raise some cash on their behalf. So if you are coming on Saturday then you need to make sure that you have a spare pound rattling around your pocket.
I am working from so many lists of things to do that I am having to cross reference the lists.

I wonder how much sleep I am going to actually get between now and Saturday? I am like a kid before Christmas. I just hope I get enough so that I do not look like a haggard wreck for my Private View.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Getting My Feathers Ruffled About Naked Birds!

It would seem that my cats do not want me to write my blog. They are taking it in turns to lie on me and prevent me topping my lap with my laptop. Barney, is now nestling into my left elbow so I can get something written.

There are just a few days left until my exhibition. I think I will be ready, got a bit of work to do still but on the whole it's all done.
Chris at Sansom can finally have a well deserved break. It will soon be time to cough up and trust me I will be coughing when I get that particular bill. I can only hope that some bird obsessed nutters (other than me) will be driven to buy something.

There will also be a good selection of non-avian work available too. If you like bright colours and pretty pictures then you should check out my retro work.

We ended Josh's show on a high with two sales. It was really well attended but it would seem that as soon as people saw the huge originals they could not satisfy themselves with small prints. I don't blame them, the power is in the scale and the detail.

If you are around at the weekend there will be plenty of wine at my Private View, I should know as I have bought it all.

Two pieces are already in the windows at the gallery so do please take a look when you pass by.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Exciting Times! Read It To Find Out Why

Suzdal Detail - Josh Hollingshead

It's fine to get excited when you get an email saying Sir Anthony Caro is getting his work framed ready to feature in your little old drawing exhibition isn't it? How lucky I am to have his support amongst the support of some other homegrown talented artists.
I am excited about the drawing show as I am championing drawing this year.

I have had a strangely productive day, I say strangely as I still have things on my list of things to do but I have managed to do several things that were nowhere near my list. It makes me feel in control and we all know that I am a huge control freak. It's when I am at my happiest.

Well I could be persuaded to triple my thermal layers if todays current temperature continues. Brrrrrr!!!! Does not even come close. I am huddled in the glow of my two halogen heaters, one at either side. But closing time is approaching and I will have to leave my orangey comfort zone and face the chilly make your nose run weather outside. The kind that gives you snail trail sleeves.

I am going to treat you to some poetry tomorrow. It is a little known fact, but I do write poems, purely for pleasure not generally publication.

Ok, so there are now just two days left to come and see Josh's work so I will encourage you to do so again. Do it! You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Being Weird Is Part of My Art! Ok?

Do you think that there might be a problem? When I am driving along the motorway and I see roadkill and firstly, I think how horrible but secondly I think that I could make something beautiful from them. It's ok the question was rhetorical, I know I am weird but that's ok because I am an artist.
I might be late but at least I am here. My work is coming back from the framers thick and fast. I am starting to get an idea of what the whole think is going to look out.
If you don't like looking at dead birds then don't worry there is plenty of other pretty things to look at.

I have been researching all kinds of things in preparation for my exhibition. This is so that I can correctly title my work. Whilst doing so I now realise I suffer from a great deal of 'manias'.
Clinomania - excessive desire to stay in bed, is the one I have to battle most with on a daily basis. If I am alone with that particular one I will eat my pillow. There are several more that I will drip feed you. It is crazy what people become obsessed by.

Still time to come and see the current exhibition, don't mind the moodswinging weather. This morning I woke up to the most glorious sunshine and blue skies by the time I got to the gallery it was freezing and a miserable chewing gum grey. Josh's work will definitely brighten up your day, that I can guarantee.
Bring on the double thermal layer, all this talk of Spring is a tad premature I think.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Last Four Days of Josh Hollingshead at The Gallery

Nascent Storm - Josh Hollingshead

You may well ask where I have been but I have just been here. Very, very busy but just here. It is amazing how much is involved in organising your own exhibition. I know I moan about artists arriving at the gallery without having strung their work. Or added anything like a hanging device, some even have yet to mount the work in frames.

I like to think of myself as fairly organised but it is a whole different matter when you are trying to run a business, have a life and sort your entire creative past and present out.  Apparently that takes quite a lot of doing. I am not sure how much longer I can be a one woman show. There is just so much to remember and no matter how many lists I write you can pretty much guarantee that there will be an omission somewhere along the line. Not to mention a typo or two.

I do try and do all gallery admin before I come to the gallery as I know how much I struggle with constant interruptions. I advertise shows that are going to be on for an entire year, or that end before they have started.
To this end I have called on Shirley to proof read all of my paper/web work before I send it out into the world. I am am very lucky because she has kindly agreed to do this for me.
It is a positive sign that things are getting busier at the gallery now I just need that to be reflected in my bank balance thank you very much.

You have just FOUR more days to catch the current exhibition 'Josh Hollingshead - Revisited'. You really should see it as it will not be long before he is whisked away from the local art scene and the big cities will be exhibiting left, right and centre.

I have some fantastic new books at the gallery I found an amazing book shop that really had a good selection of art books and they all cost £2 each. I bought around £200 worth for £22.  I cannot resist a bargain.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Everybody Likes looking At Naked Birds! Don't They?

Speed blog today as it is now the last ten minutes of my day. I was nearly saved outside the bank just now. It clearly is never going to happen inside a bank! Thank you Jehovahs Witnesses for facing the weather to deliver me from my sins or whatever it is I am going to be saved from.

I have nearly finished framing my retro work. Roughly a third of the gallery will feature my work from yesteryear. It is hard making the decisions as it's all my own stuff that meant something to me at the time. Oh well, edit I must.

Chris at Sansom who is doing my framing, over the road from me has been giving me sneaky peeks of some of my newly framed work. It is starting to get exciting. Nerve wracking but exciting too. You should come and see what a crazy person I am at my exhibition. The work speaks volumes.

On a completely different note, you have just over a week to get yourself along to see Josh Hollingshead's exhibition. You really should make the effort as it is getting rave reviews from everyone who has seen it so far.

I am off to shop for edible goodies.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together!

Brian Rice - Kuroi

If the rest of the week is anything like today then I am not sure that I can cope. That's not strictly true, I know that I can just need to keep an eye on my blood pressure.

When you are waiting for the reply to an important email, checking your inbox every five minutes will not encourage it to miraculously appear. I can attest to this.
Checking that your original email has actually sent will not encourage a response to miraculously appear.
Telling everybody that you know that you are waiting for this particular email, will not encourage a reply to miraculously appear.

Here endeth the lesson of waiting for an important email. The truth is that one can only reply to an email, providing that you received the initial email.

Why all this talk of email? Well I have been trying to secure Brian Rice as my guest artist for PAW, I sent the dutiful grovelling emails. He replied in a timely fashion. That was until my last email got lost in the ether. The sleepless nights that followed, the borderline hysteria as a publishing deadline loomed.

The good news is, he has kindly agreed and I will be forever eternally grateful to Bonnie Brown and Brian Bishop (as well as Brian Rice of course) because they metaphorically mopped my fevered brow. Helped me to think outside the box and offered me useful advice and generally listened to me whinge.
When you work on your own there is no such thing as delegation, group chats, etc. I am lucky to have some great people to support me behind the scenes.

This years line up at the gallery is looking so fantastic that for 1000th time I am going to tell you to come along to the gallery and see them all for yourself.

Friday, 8 February 2013

All The Questions You Wanted To Ask Josh Hollingshead, Answered!


1. Where do you look for inspiration?
I travel occasionally, keeping my eyes open and with a few potential themes in mind. Sometimes this is productive, though equally often memories or imagination trigger a painting. I like to experience countries where life is less regimented, where private dramas or social tensions fuelled by surprising motives spill into public. Before I begin painting my idea I try to find other similar artworks in books and online- if I feel my idea has been expressed already in paint, I paint the next idea instead. I always have a long list of ideas waiting to be painted, my ‘backlog’, the problem is trying to realise them faster and with more clarity.   

2. How do you record your visual research?
Drawings, photos and memory, but most of all long lists, and annotated diagrams for the most complex sections of a painting. When a detail is difficult to realise I first sketch from imagination or memory, or combine multiple photos then resort to sketching from life.

3. Do you work on more than one painting at a time?
Only on smaller paintings, as I found this approach can lead to frequent repetition and lack of intensity on larger canvases. A painting with dozens of figures and swarming details has plenty of variation within a contrived cross section of an institution or place. I would like each painting to be as different as possible even within a themed series. 

4. Is it important that people understand the narrative behind the images?
Certainly, I like to think of painting as a very considered form of communication, where each detail has a meaning or function. I like my paintings to demystify a subject, if the viewer looks closely. In my ‘religious’ paintings I fix an atheists eye on the real, worldly motivations of the hierarchies and their followers, too often even sceptical artists have served these vested interests for money or through coercion.

5. How much value do you put on the overall aesthetic of your images?
I always know exactly the colours, mediums and brushes I will use before I start a painting, I get ideas as fully formed mental images, so the aesthetic, subject, meaning and intent behind an image are inseparable. Achieving clarity in an image is extremely important, I always paint a subject from an angle that has a clear compositional structure. Otherwise any meaning and visual intensity is lost and swarming details become an unintelligible morass. Each technique is always at the service of my subject matter, requiring knowledge and near absolute control of my materials.

6. What is the longest time it has taken you to mix a specific colour?
I use a glass palette for oils which triples the drying time, and a plastic ‘stay wet’ one for phosphorescent acrylic. In oils it can take four days to mix my average palette of  1000- 1400 colours, each in tiny quantities. I once spent 6 hours trying to remix a specific luminous dark red (not an oxymoron in this case) in phosphorescent acrylic after the stay wet palette became covered in furry green mould. I recently found through trial and error that modern translucent oil paint pigments (diarylide yellow, quinacridone red, stil de grain brown, certain synthetic alternatives to cobalt violet) can be mixed into single colours that can be red, yellow brown, purple, and green depending how thickly the paint is used. I was experimenting with these variations for 2 days, and it dramatically improved the subtlety of midtones in my last painting ‘A Prodigal Son? Madagascar’.

7. What drives the work other than obsession?
A liking for solitude, the concentration required means I am never bored and it is very satisfying when a painting meets my expectations. This is rare, but then I feel my efforts and the time invested (usually 800- 3000 hours) were not wasted. Perhaps a slight megalomania! I love the physical properties of oil paint, garish colours in unexpectedly subtle gradations. 

8. Are you trying to raise awareness with your work?
I think awareness of futility and the human inability to meet any imposed set of standards is important. Hypocrisy and corruption result when these standards are adopted or imposed. Misunderstandings fascinate me. Raising awareness for a ‘cause’ is for charities and activists, I would like to portray the complexities of human nature which are unchanging, though often coloured by time and place.

9. Do you see your work hanging in people’s homes?
If people want hellfire preachers above their mantelpiece and familial disputes above their dining table then that would be wonderful! Whether people buy my paintings and what they do with them is their decision. But I don’t think the context of a painting is important, making paintings to ‘match’ current fashions in soft furnishings doesn’t interest any artist. Smaller prints of my paintings require less space and are more practical, but I like a painting to dominate a room, especially one with small windows.  

10. Is scale integral to the image?

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Josh Hollingshead and I Quote 'A Breath of Fresh Air'.

Someone once told me that my blog was far too honest and that I should only magnify my successes and minimise my failures.
There may be some truth in that, but by the same token this blog is called the 'trials and tribulations of....'
It has been one of the most seesaw days at the gallery since I opened. I have the run the absolute gamut of emotions and now I am once again level headed.
Let me highlight the great things that have happened today, some really great artists have agreed to get involved in my Drawing Open. I have confirmed a fantastic exhibition.
I am several steps closer to completing my work for my show, which has now been extended by one week due to popular demand. Not exactly true, one of my exhibitors has had to pull out of his planned exhibition that followed mine. Due to circumstances beyond his control, on the positive side we have already rescheduled it for next year.
The Drawing Open will also have an additional week. The negative is all the correcting of published dates for everything.
My internet will not let me update my website as it is running too slowly. A night in front of the laptop for me.

I have fallen foul of a serious communication breakdown which has left me in an awkward position which has led to me typing this with fingers crossed. They will remain crossed until I get the news that I am hoping for. Feel free to send me your positive vibes.

I have renewed faith in my abstinence of 'joining in'. This is a huge positive, as every so often the seductive thought of being involved in something big tempts me. I am better as a lone wolf who can carefully select my allies.
Ambiguous much? It is a necessary evil now that I know people actually read my blog.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Come and See Josh Hollingshead!

I have to say a big thank you to all the people that came to support Josh Hollingshead on Saturday night. It was a great PV, really well attended and the food was fantastic. So thanks to 'Tasty' for supplying yummy canap├ęs. I would like to recommend that particular business as not only is it great, but it caters for vegetarians, vegans and makes gluten free food as well.
I will be using them for my own exhibition in March, so if you are coming to that you can taste for yourselves.

At the very beginning of the PV a few of us had a rare treat, Josh talked us through many of his paintings, pointing out the hidden meanings and also explaining the narrative. I feel like I understand his work a lot better now. That is why it pays to attend Private Views as you get a little bit more than on the average day at the gallery. Doesn't mean that you shouldn't come and see the exhibition anyway because of course you should.

I want you to keep your eyes open as I will be videoing this exhibition and posting it on line.
(I say that but whether it actually happens or not will be largely down to my technical abilities).
They are fairly poor to say the least.

I am trying to get used to having Monday off as opposed to Wednesday, I have to say I think that I preferred Wednesday but if I want to have any kind of life outside of work then I had change accordingly.

My friend Tara, introduced me to Pinterest, I might be newly addicted. I have created a virtual gallery on there and I love looking at the staggering amount of good quality art on there. There are some truly gifted people out there and I would love to exhibit their work.
I am going to make it my mission.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Josh Hollingshead Starts Today! Come and See It!

What a day I had yesterday, I made and edited a movie then threw it away. I shouted at the spinning rainbow circle several times. I climbed a ladder and given my windows a thorough scrubbing inside and out. I probably drank too much coffee, but I have to give Kaffee and Kuchen a plug, they are my neighbours. If you need (as I often do) a really good coffee, pop in there, they know their beans. It is the business.

All that said it took up my entire day and the last thing that I felt like doing at the end of it all was writing my blog. So I didn't.
Today the gallery has been nice and busy with plenty of people through the door. I can't say that I am surprised as Josh's work is so eye catching you can't help but be intrigued about what is going on the canvases.

If you have seen his work and thought that you really liked it but it is far too big for your house, there are some limited edition giclee prints at the gallery and they are affordable and great quality. Pop in and see them for yourself.

It is nice to have got to the door open again and people through it. I can now focus on the 101 things that still need to be done behind the scenes. I have got to make sure that I have finished everything for my own exhibition. I have got so much to do and if I get my head down I may well actually get it all done.