February was a busy month, with a group show in London and the Oxford International Art Fair. Welcome to all I met at both these events, and thank you for your interest in my work. Although the Oxford Fair was again this year a really enjoyable event, the highlight was the Gallery show.
Thoughts on my first group Gallery show
I’ve been reflecting on how this show went, and why it was such a thrill. I think it was to do with showing with other serious artists, who were all making fantastic work! Seeing it on the hanging day, I was really worried how mine would be seen against theirs. In fact, the response of the public was fantastic – the best times were when I was invigilating, and watched people come into the gallery and pay serious attention to my work, sometimes even then passing by other artists work! Very gratifying. I find once you’ve identified yourself people will always be kind and generous, so this anonymous survey was very rewarding. And also I do have to say I thought my work did look great in the white gallery space. We had plenty of space, which encouraged me to give my pictures air, from which they undoubtedly benefited. And I also felt the efforts (and costs) I invest in presentation, especially framing, really showed their worth. Several of the other artists asked me about this, which shows they were impressed. So all in all a really encouraging week, and let’s bring on more!
I normally work with a photo-collage to create my compositions, to mix several slightly different views of the same scene together which creates the distorted perspectives you see in my work. This will usually lead to an irregular shape, as parts of photos stick up and out. I usually then square this off using white paper, or sometimes just pencil lines, to create a regular shape to paint. However with some of my images, I was finding I liked the original collage more than the finished picture. It took me sometime to realise that it was actually the irregularity I liked, because it often enhanced the space and perspectives in the painting. It also makes it clearer how the image is put together, which is a feature I like in my work too (I like people to understand how it is made). And so I made an irregular picture, which I showed at Espacio, in pride of place by the window, and it was very well received – so I’ve entered it for the RA Summer Exhibition! We will see …
As part of my series about reflections on my childhood, I wanted to do a picture of the Railway station in Chichester, which is a wonderful 1950’s creation.
I was really happy with this collage, and completed a picture based on the rectangle marked in pencil.
This though, although good, didn’t sing to me in the way the collage had, and I saw that in fact I’d chopped off a lot of the foreground, which was helping to create space and perspective in the collage. So I got a large piece of MDF, and carefully cut it to exactly the same proportions as the collage, and worked from that. The result is below.
So much more pleasing, but let’s see if the Academy agree! I’m so excited about this way of making though, that there will certainly be some more irregular work.
Shows to See
As I met so many of you at Art Fairs, this format is something you clearly enjoy. So I must recommend the Affordable Art Fair, which is taking place in Battersea Park next weekend. Unlike the Art Fairs I do, which are artist-led, the Affordable is Gallery-led, so each stand is a Gallery, and several of their artists will be on show. It is however on a completely different scale to my Art Fairs, and I can easily spend 3-4 hours there. But if you are interested in British Contemporary Affordable (all works are less than £5,000, but many are less than £1,000) Art, then it is a fantastic show to see. The format has proved so successful there are now other Affordables, in Hampstead, Bristol and overseas, but the Battersea one was the first and still biggest.