Monday 30 September 2013

Day Thirty......of Thirty!

I don't think that I ever planned that my last day of Thirty Days would be spent as it has been today. I have taken the last day of my project off! Maybe I should have exited 'Thirty Days hath September' in a flourish but it has been such an extraordinary event that it has required me to use the last day reflecting and planning what comes next.
The last month has really pushed me to consider what I want from my creative career and how I can progress it after graduating from my degree. I have worked with some truly amazing people over the period of the project, travelled far and wide and the result has been a list of opportunities that I'm looking forward to incorporating.
Which brings me to the result of today:

Those who know me, know of my love of the list. I run my life by them, am constantly ribbed by my fiancĂ© for making them (and for leaving them for him) but for me they allow me to pour out all the information that is constantly revolving around my head. After I have made one I feel calmer and more in control of what I need to achieve and what order it needs to be dealt with. They don't rule me, I'm not so tragic that every last minutiae of my life is recorded in them, but for someone with the portfolio career that I have, they are a necessity. 
So today I have been thinking about all the things I discovered during Thirty Days, all the projects that have been engineered for the next 12 months and planning what classes I can teach next. All I can say is keep watching this space, there is so much I am looking forward to achieving and thank you for continuing to indulge this artist in her creative ramblings.

Monday 23 September 2013

What a week!

When allocating your time for marketing, Facebook and blogging, you always have the very best of intentions. The reality, however, is that your artistic activities completely take over as it isn't exactly a nine to five job.
Last week saw me taking a trip over to Guernsey to visit the fantastic Sarnia Arts and Crafts club who are always a pleasure to teach and demonstrate for. We did two days of mixed media workshops together, plus an evening demonstration for the members. It was great fun and I want to thank Sara Serafin the President of the club for her support and the very gracious Ellen Gallienne for putting up with me for three days and being my sat nav around the island!

The end of the week was a whirlwind of an exhibition! Four years ago myself and four painting friends got together to form the female collective 'Artemis', a stress-free exhibition group who are brilliant to work with. This year we were showing in The Cedar Room at Haskins Garden Centre and, despite the power cut we had a magnificent time talking, demonstrating, seeing friends and eating a vast quantity of cake!

My thanks go to De Ashton, Tracey Collyer, Ruth Elrington-Browne and Theresa Nutting for their tireless good humour and for putting up with my absence during the past year. I will make up for it with our exciting plans for 2014!
So now it is the 23rd day of Thirty Days, who thought it would race by SO quickly? This week is just as thrilling though as I will be working with jeweller Emma Calvert, photographer and PA extraordinaire Jasmine O'Hare and the very talented band Under Fire. More later in the week...

Thursday 12 September 2013

Day Twelve of Thirty

I just had to write mid-week to share with you a couple of artistic activities that have already occurred since we last spoke. I have been testing out some new surfaces recently, the latest being a watercolour paper called 'Millford' which is being made as a replacement to a paper I used to use years ago. Although it has it's drawbacks, I have to say that the replacement is just as good as the original and from a traditional watercolour point of view, is a beautifully receptive surface to my brush and has been a treat to work on.

Here is the end result of my work:

This week I have also held the second of my free taster sessions, last night's was watercolours for those of an intermediate standard. Such a fun class made up of people who I have taught before but had different reasons for coming back to my classes again. We did a 'paint by numbers' lesson last night, which means that I helped them through their painting step by step but as you will see below, they all turned out very differently which meant that each person went home with something unique. I had a really great time, teaching is never a chore for me but it's even better when you can have a giggle over a cup of tea too! 

I have a busy weekend ahead, a day workshop on Saturday and then preparing for my trip to Guernsey next week and my exhibition with the Artemis girls starting on the 21st, Thirty Days is certainly full to bursting!

Saturday 7 September 2013

Day Seven of Thirty

Wow! What a busy week!
I thought that Thirty Days might start with a bang but never thought it would begin with such a pace. So since we last spoke, day four saw my first class in the studio which was a very successful taster session for complete beginners who wanted to have a try at watercolours. It was a lovely evening and I met some very interesting people, who I introduced to watercolour paints and pencils and they were very successful with their new found skills.
Days five and six saw me hanging my latest exhibition with the amazingly talented Krishula Auckland at Walford Mill and taking part in some fascinating experiments with Caroline Parrott which, although they didn't go according to plan, will probably turn out to be great collaborative pieces next year.
Today has been a complete joy as it was the first all day workshop in the new studio and it was great to have all the equipment I needed right at my fingertips. We were doing some experimental printmaking, using a variety of relief techniques but ended up talking about making cards, gift tags and even a discussion on stitching back into our work. I had a great time...
This week I have been thinking about posting a few videos on to this blog, describing some of the techniques I use and here is my very first. It's no Cohen brothers production but hopefully you will see a little more of how I paint and the tolls I like to use. This video short shows me using a tool to remove masking fluid and if you would like to see anything specific in future, just let me know and I will do my best.

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Day Three of Thirty...

...even if it is a bit late!
I have just arrived back from an amazing day at the headquarters for The Society for all Artists (SAA) and just wanted to tell you all about it as soon as I got home. I was fortunate enough to be invited to film a web clip for their website to help to promote both myself and their organisation.
When I demonstrated for them in London at the end of July, I was struck by what a friendly and helpful team they were, and today just reinforced that opinion. Myself and the two other artists I was with - Paul Acraman and Peter Millward - were met by the SAA's Managing Director Richard Hope-Hawkins and immediately given a very friendly reception, followed by an incredibly informative day of learning how to present to camera, filming our web clips and given a complete tour of the SAA's facilities in Newark. Paul and Peter both demonstrated their skills of acrylic painting and chinese brush painting respectively, and as we were incouraged to watch each person film their 'bit', we were able to swap ideas and support each other. You can see more of Paul's work here.
I had so much fun doing mine, although I can't tell you what I said as it passed in a bit of a blur! I will have to wait and see the finished result when it has been edited together and published on their website later in the month.
So tomorrow is Day Four and jam packed! In the morning I will be recovering from the four hour journey back from the SAA and preparing for my latest exhibition at The Bistro at Walford Mill Crafts with the amazingly talented photographer Krishula Auckland (Krishula's website), then in the afternoon I begin the first of many collaborative projects with contemporary aluminium maker Caroline Parrott (Caroline's website) and then the evening will see my first official class at the new studio - a beginners taster session in watercolours - which is fully booked. So just how I like it, busy, busy, busy...oh and the studio is open to the public too!

Sunday 1 September 2013

Day One of Thirty

Today is the first day of September. An obvious statement but never the less, one which sees a new chapter in my creative career, as today is also Day One of 'Thirty Days hath September', a project which will see me take part in a different artistic activity every day for the whole month of September. I actually started a little early as yesterday was the grand opening of my new working studio at my home in North Dorset. I had such a fantastic day and was given so much support from my family, friends and clients that it really made me feel very humble. As an artist, you tend to get used to working on your own as it can be a very solitary career, however when you organise an event and people take time out of their own busy schedules to participate, it makes you very grateful for their support.

So Downend Farm Studio is now open to the public (for opening time please see Alison Board's website) and my classes officially start on Wednesday with a FREE taster session for Beginners who would like to have a go at Watercolours. It will be wonderful to be teaching again, as well as being able to do it from the comfort of my own studio.
Today has been a much quieter one, I have been at Walford Mill Crafts where I am lucky enough to hold the post of Gallery Shop Manager and myself and my assistant (the talented Jasmine O'Hare) have been plotting what our Christmas displays might look like. I realise that the 'C' word shall not be mentioned before November, but sadly my team at the Mill have been putting together our exhibition 'Inspire' since May! I have always found being part of a retail establishment very useful as an artist, as it gives an insight into how early galleries and shops expect work from you for their busy season.
Today I have also been planning for a great adventure! Tomorrow myself and my father are making a trip up to Nottingham for me to be able to take up the Society for All Artists (SAA) on their offer to film me for a webclip. I am very excited about the prospect and very nervous all at the same time. Dad has kindly offered to drive me so that my fiance Richard can keep the Thirty Days programme of events in check at home and I think he was taking pity on me driving for four hours and turning up disheveled and stressed - not a look you really want to adopt in front of a TV camera! So watch this space for more news on how it went and I will write again next weekend.