Split three ways

Wimbledon bound.

Four of these were painted specifically to display for an exhibition at Cannizaro House in Wimbledon. The fifth painting, Metamorphosis Forest, is one I painted a few years back as the start of a series which I haven’t yet completed.

Jim and I travelled up to Wimbledon by train on Monday evening for the Private viewing – an easy journey, just one change at Clapham Junction – the only problem being that NatWest was ‘up the creek’ again so we had trouble paying for the tickets. £44 was probably about the same cost as driving up but we could look down on the traffic jams as we hurtled over bridges. The walk to the hotel from Wimbledon station was very pleasant, we stopped and asked a lady outside a pub for directions and had a chat which seemed very un-London. Wimbledon High street was prettily decorated with not a yucky blue fairy light in sight and I felt some of my loathing of Christmas commercialism subsiding. Something about the smell of the pavements or the autumn leaves reminded me of when I lived in Dulwich and I started feeling all nostalgic.

Cannizaro House is posh – it has red painted walls and an impressive staircase which does it for me. The place was buzzing, a ‘hat-check’ girl took our coats, our names were ticked off  the list and two waiters by the entrance handed us drinks as we entered. I am so glad Jim came with me, not just because I am hopeless at travelling on my own on trains (it’s the same as when I’m in a supermarket, I lose the ability to read signs and can’t remember what on earth I’m doing there) but because I felt like a little lost kid once we stepped in the door. Possibly the nostalgic walk had reverted me to my childhood but I also always feel like that when surrounded by people of obvious wealth, talent or confidence. We wandered round together looking at the other art on the walls – mostly excellent- and chatted to some of the other artists that we knew then I was made to feel like a grown up again as I had my photograph taken with the exhibition curator. I immediately had doubts about the work I had submitted, wondering if I should have gone with some safer subject options of fish or trees that have sold in the past, but Jim reassured me that it was good to be different and reminded me that I wasn’t just interested in selling work.  I’m very pleased to be part of this exhibition, alongside many artists from the Eastbourne area and am now planning more ‘happy’ paintings.

Crafty

In the run up to Christmas I fancied doing some craft shows, having had a successful market stall in Hailsham for all of 3 hours (when I say successful, I mean I had a lot of interest from the 12 people that passed by and sold 3 cards before the wind blew everything down) and booked myself into an Art, Craft & Produce Market in Seaford and a Christmas event in Eastbourne. Planning the stall was great fun – I set it all up on the kitchen table, played around with which examples to show and with ways to display cards – and I painted some small canvasses of whatever I fancied.

The Seaford market was very quiet as the Christmas buzz hadn’t yet started and it takes a while for the word to get out about a new market, but I sold enough cards to cover costs and again, had a lot of interest and discussed a few commissions. I work on a demonstration picture while ‘manning’ the stall so it’s productive time too. The ‘I Made This’ Christmas Fair at the Cavendish was great. Very well attended, opened by the local MP who shook my hand and took some of my brochures, and I met some lovely people. The thing about pet portraits is you get interest from people with pets – who love to talk about their animals – and from people interested in art. I discussed commissions, classes, art groups and demonstrations so it was all very good promotion. Only a few cards sold an no vouchers but it really is very cheap advertising and enjoyable.

Journeys

Our youngest, Bill, crashed his motorbike on the way back from work. He was unhurt, amazingly, but the bike had some serious damage so he needed a lift to and from work for a few weeks. The route back from Cross-in Hand via Waldron and Chiddingly may be longer than the main road but it is quieter and absolutely beautiful. Most mornings I got a little thrill-chill as I reached one of several ‘awesome points’ where trees surround you. I’m still working on my series of ‘The Tree’, multiple versions of the same single fabulous tree in the heart of Abbots Wood, but I am so inspired by these beautiful scenes that I have taken a few photos (the roads are so quiet I can just stop mid-tarmac and snap) and started this painting at Arlington Art Group this week. It’s not half way there yet but I’m very pleased with the light already.

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