Home Is Where The Art Is

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

Saturday, 28 September 2013

I Am Looking Forward to 2014!

Stephen Bishop

I am hoping to make the whole experience of my blog richer and a little more interactive in 2014. I hope that I can keep my audience for long enough to make it that far.

It has been a fairly quiet week at the gallery which is quite surprising as it has been really busy. I have no idea what to blame so I'm going to play it safe with the weather.

I think I mentioned the other day that I am entering my analysis stage of the year. This is looking at what I can do better and how I can provide more value for money in terms of bookings. I am hoping that people will like the changes.

I am going have virtual gallery online that you will be able to 'walk' round and hopefully make purchases. This will parallel the exhibition that will be on at the gallery at the time. I know how to give myself a lot more work.

 Now I have a gallery assistant I am hoping that she will be helping me out with some of the behind the scenes activities. I am not sure whether I have mentioned this in my blog, but I am pleased to announce that I now have a member of staff Shirley Walker. Her official title is 'Gallery Assistant', she has already proved to be an invaluable member of the team. Her ability to brainstorm ideas with me is just what I need. I new set of eyes to cast over my increasingly ambitious ideas.

In the future, if you come to the gallery and I am not there please don't be afraid to ask Shirley any questions. She is fully briefed on what is going at the gallery and she should be able to answer your enquiry.

I have set a date for my Open Studio Printmaking Day I am planning to it on Tuesday 5th November. I will be opening the Studio for people to come and print an old etching plate that they have kicking around. Please do contact me if you are interested as the places will be limited.

Also just to mention that 2014 is now fully booked, I am taking bookings for 2015.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

I Know What I Am Doing In January, Do You?

Well, I now know what it feels like to start a list of things to do for January 2014. No, I am not joking I am deadly serious.
You may well wonder why I am doing that? As you know I am closed in January for some much needed refurmbishments. My acne pocked walls, my coffee stained carpet, new blinds that need fitting, studio floor that needs repainting, need I go on?

Every time I look around I am logging jobs that can only really be done when the gallery is closed hence the list writing in my 2014 diary. Yes I already have one of those and a year planner that is already full for next year.

It has been really quiet for the last few days which is so strange as it is generally a nice steady flow. That being said though I have had confirmation that my sign on the ferry is working. People who are regular visitors to Swanage (true) are seeing the sign and go on a mission to find the new gallery in Swanage. Ah Bless them, when they ask how many months I've been open? The look on their faces when I tell them three years.

I hope that you can get to see this exhibition because it is the perfect antidote for the current damp patch that we are experiencing. It is truly miserable. I could happily live with sunshine that you see in the picture above. It is a stunning image.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

About Stephen Bishop - Reposting In Case You Decide To Catch His Exhibition Before It Ends Saturday!

Between Two Waves 
L'Artishe Gallery Exhibition Statement 
by Stephen Bishop

Whilst staying in an artist’s studio in Andalucia in 1988 I made the life changing decision to live and work in Dorset.  Taking my cue from the Impressionists I have sought my inspiration directly from nature.  Dorset with its rich coastline, heath and woods has sustained my art since 1989.

In my work I am always searching, yearning for a connection which I can’t quite grasp.  I really hope that my paintings are “the song of the hearts desire” to quote from a favourite Van Morrison track.  My satisfaction in painting comes from exploration, working hard and intense intuitive moments that I can only describe as an “otherness”.  Music and poetry have strong influences on my work.  I am actively involved in Flamenco, dancing with the group Luna Flamenca.

Many of the paintings in this exhibition were created on location.  The collage works with sand, shells and other found objects were assembled during 2013 on South Beach at Studland.  These works are made of the beach itself.  The colour of the buoys and rhythm of the tides influence paintings in a musical way.  Time, memory and place are central to my paintings.  The assemblages with ceramic pieces were collected along Poole harbour in the 1990’s and are imbued with memories.  I like the fact that these ceramic shards had other lives and have been discarded and lost to the sea.  Broken and shaped by it’s action and conjured up on the shore.  To begin a new life in an art work reflective of the sea.

I have been drawn for many years to explore abstract qualities inspired by observation.  I feel that I am between two waves, one a figurative and the other an abstract world.  The push and pull of these two forces continues.  The results can be seen in this exhibition.  It may well be that I am moving towards a new kind of abstraction.  I have always strived to make my paintings stronger and communicate emotions in a powerful way.  I feel that a loosening of the ties to the figurative motif and transition into deeper abstraction may provide the key to achieving this.

The following lines taken from Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot have particular resonance for me.

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

The voice of the hidden waterfall

And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

Between two waves of the sea.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Getting Ready For My Open Studio.

You all know how I love a good tidy well today was no exception. Since my exhibition in March I have been hoarding my work in the studio. When it was all neatly packaged in portfolios it took up so little room. Now it is all framed in bespoke frames. It has to live in them, where do I find their new homes? Good question, one that I still don't quite know the answer to.
Suffice to say that you can actually use both of the etching presses now. That's a start!

I am an ideas person, I have several a day not all of them good I hasten to add. But I have a vision that with a little solidarity and some cross promotion the local art scene could step up to the next level. Oh the dizzying heights. I have said it before and I'll say it again that I want to be the destination that you see in the Guardian. As we have beautiful coastal walks, fantastic beaches, a plethora of galleries and some great pubs. What's not to like?

I have had a video of the Life Drawing Class playing on a loop during this exhibition. I am starting to understand the pain that shop assistants feel in the run up to Christmas when the Christmas CD goes on at the end of October and is on steadily until Christmas Eve.

Gallery news....Stephen Bishop is coming to the gallery this weekend. His show starts on Saturday at 6.00. I am excited about this as I understand that he has been working on some new paintings. It is nice to think that there will be some pieces that will be having their first outing at the gallery. You can say that you saw it here first.

In other news there are just three weeks that are available next year between February and March. Then it is fully booked and I am now taking bookings for 2015. Yes, you heard me right.
There will be a few necessary changes to the way in which the gallery is run next year as I need to increase the income. But I will reveal more about that at a later date.

Tomorrow is your last chance to see the Life Drawing exhibition, if you haven't seen it yet then please do pop in and have a look.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Gallery Now Open 6 Days A Week

Michael Griffiths
Never a dull moment for me. I am currently sat with two computers one of which just keeps switching itself off. My internet has been intent on me not having access to the worldwide web. The rain has ensured that I won't have many visitors. I have had a very busy couple of days I have set all kinds of things in motion so I hope that I will be able to report back to you very soon.

Nothing ever seems to go to plan no matter how organised I set out being. I have 10 envelopes which should all have been posted last week. But I came to work without a coat and the rain had other ideas.
If you are waiting for any post from me I will endeavour to do it today.

I think that regardless of what the weather is doing when I leave for work I must get in the habit of taking a coat with me. Much like today as it is now raining.

It's true that the gallery will now be open on a Monday this is thanks to the office space being perfect for someone who is in need of office space. I am really happy about that as I have been thinking about swapping my days off back to Wednesday as I felt in general I was busier on Mondays than I am on a Wednesday.
So if you are planning to visit the gallery you can now on a Monday. Shirley will be here to welcome you.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

I Have Never Seen So Many Naked People!

Stephen Bishop
Wow a bumper crop of visitors yesterday to the new exhibition. It would seem that the post school holidays brigade are visiting Swanage in their droves. Who can blame them, it's the nicest time of year in many ways as the temperature is still nice and warm and there's room to breathe.

I am trying to think of ways to boost our local art visitors, my map is done but I have to get the info to the other galleries. That is my mission after work today to drop my envelopes off. I would have done it yesterday but the solar power man was due to come round and give us a quote but apparently he went off sick. I hope that within the next month there will be maps available everywhere. Keep your eyes open.

I am going to have another exhibition next year. But it will not be of my art work but my underwater photography. I am thinking that I will have a big 4th Anniversary Party, reopen after my annual refurb and my own show. That should be a great reason to celebrate. I am already in negotiations with Chris about how I go about printing them out.

Peter Symons
If you want to come along then the date will be Saturday 1st February 2014, There will be some big changes that will be worth coming for. I will also be auctioning off one of my pictures for a good cause that I am yet to decide upon. So put that date in your diaries and I hope to see you there. The obligatory drinks and nibbles will be served. How better to cheer up what I am guessing will be quite a miserable time of year.

I am still looking for 3D artists to fill a gap in the gallery calendar. If you are interested get in touch I am offering very favourable terms.

As I promised there will be pictures from the next two exhibitions, Peter Symons is a member of Group 7 and they will be exhibiting after Stephen Bishop in October.

One more day until the weekend, if you are planning to visit the gallery on Saturday I should tell you that I will be leaving it in Shirleys very capable hands. I am going on some training, never too old to learn new things.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Very Nice, Shiny and Black

Martyn Brewster

I am sat with 4 half empty wine bottles. I didn't drink the first halves, although I am tempted as they are just sat there taunting me. Had a really nice Opening Night of the Life Drawing exhibition. Lots of great comments about the work and my hanging skills.

I am the proud new owner of a brand new printer. It does come to something when you think that you feel like you need some formal qualification just to set these new printers up. This is coming from someone who is quite clued up on that kind of thing. It is very nice, shiny and black. (A bit like me, I'm not quite as shiny though).

I was given a bag full of magazines called 'Art & Craft Education' they date back to the late 60's and early 70's. I have to tell you that it gave me real food for thought. In a time when Art is battling to stay in the curriculum it is hard to believe that there was a time that it warranted it's own magazine. I have to say having speed read a few of them. They were spot on about the importance of art .

'We must develop in each child an awareness and an appreciation for the visual world, texture and form so that they may grow up gaining confidence in their own ability though their own achievements.'

Having taught in many schools over the last 20 years there is a decline in dedicated art rooms and art teachers. The equipment that is on offer is woefully inadequate. The irony is that art is possibly the only subject in the whole curriculum that does not have to be driven by being 'good at it'. The freedom of expression is available to all. It surprises me that there are Special Ed schools that don't have an Art Department. Surely, that would be one of the groups that art would greatly benefit.
Anyway, I am trying to get into schools to teach teachers who teach art who aren't trained to do that. Wish me luck.

Friday, 6 September 2013

I Only Wanted To Get To Work Early!

Bonnie Brown
Oh the frustration! That is not the way I wanted my day to start. But apparently my day had other ideas. I thought I'd get a head start and get to work early. My first mistake, there was absolutely nowhere to park. So then I had to drive home and park the car and then walk into work. I cleverly dropped off my heavy rucksack beforehand. I should also add here that I was then in fact late to work.

I went out yesterday to try and get people to sign up to my map and it was fairly successful. But there people that I missed so I thought I'd print out the info with a copy of the map and drop it into them so they can see it. But apparently my printer had other ideas. So nearly £150 later a new printer with inks.
(Just incase anyone is reading this and thinking that I'd made a hasty decision to replace it, well in order to get someone to look at it was £50 and then the whole printhead thingy needed taking out and replacing. It's out of warranty and the parts also come to £25, that's if it could actually be fixed)

During the printer debacle of September 6th whilst swearing, slapping and poking a piece of electrical equipment more than you probably should. I had some customers come in. I am very good at replacing bad words with good ones. Phew!

Two couples one after the other, very keen on the artists' work and wanting to know more etc. I worked that shizzle with both lots of people. They are going away to 'think about it'. I could weep. So frustrating, I would like to make a sale today. But apparently my potential buyers had other ideas.

There is just a few hours left today and all of tomorrow to see Kims exhibition and you should definitely try and do exactly that.

It's the Folk Festival in Swanage and I think that it should be nice and busy so jump on the ferry, (look out for my sign) and come to Swanage.

I am going to be featuring the work of the seven members of Group 7 in my blog over the next couple of weeks so that you can get a feel for it and also Stephen Bishop who is up next after the Life Drawing exhibition.

Stephen Bishop

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Putting All Swanage Galleries On The Map!

I  have been painting a brighter and more accurate gallery map it has only taken me two days. The shaky hand of doom was hovering yesterday. I have no idea why that happens but it does from time to time. I have to just get on with it usually but as my handiwork is up for public consumption then I'm guessing that I should be a little more careful as I will be judged.

I have now just got to get everyone on board and hope that together we can get more people coming to Swanage the arts capital of the South West. Well that's what I am working on it being called.
There is so much art to see here all year round. The wealth of talent has extended to the cafes, bars and pubs. So if you haven't checked Swanage out in a while then you know what to do. The sun is out and the sky is blue and the beaches are now empty and are waiting for you.

The gallery has been getting some nice feedback, it does seem that people who have not visited Swanage in the last couple of years are coming in and letting me know that I am doing a good job. It is always nice to hear that. I would love to pay return visits on some of the galleries that I keep hearing about.

Owning and working in a gallery during a recession is a real test of faith. You can believe in what you are doing until the cows come home but if you cant't pay the bills and the rent, it really is 'Game Over'. Who would of thought that the teaching qualification that I took on a whim nearly 20 years ago would end up paying my way long after I left lecturing. Certainly not me.

I have been opening earlier in order to try and catch the people heading to the beach before they actually get there. It is kind of working.

I have a filler exhibition that starts next week hence the poster in this blog. I hope that you can pop in and see it. It takes artists a lot of courage to put themselves out there and exhibit their work and this local Life Drawing group are no exception. It starts next week so please do come and take a look.