Saturday, 28 April 2012


It's been a tough week. My husband went away to Cyprus for a fortnight, to visit his sick mother. I told myself that I could fill the loss of his presence by painting more hours than I already do. Then my arm injury flared up, causing intense, relentless pain. I couldn't paint, I couldn't even wash the dishes. Most depressingly, I was unable to stretch up 2 new, large canvases that I was longing to start. Drawings on scraps of paper and envelope backs are scattered around my flat, waiting to unfold onto canvas in glorious technicolour! But the positive aspect (and I always try to see the positive), was that a troublesome painting I was forced to put aside suddenly shouted out at me a few days later that it was finished!
So with copious quantities of painkillers in my system, I trawled the internet for potential galleries. I found a number of new galleries in the UK to approach, and (most exciting) several New York galleries that will look at your work and hold it on file, for future group shows. It's so much easier to communicate with galleries nowadays, and to send images, and this week I will be applying to all the galleries on my list. Sometimes I believe that my colours will fit the States better than they do here, as there seems to be a tendency towards a dry, grey realism. I have given up applying to local galleries, as inevitably my cards go in the bin, no matter how polite the owner is towards me. Generally, colour is not seen as a 'serious' subject, but merely as adornment.
Now I'm waiting to hear if my work has been accepted for the Kings Hill Project, another corporate show. I'm really praying for this one, as it would be great exposure, and their website would have links to mine. My agent asked me recently if I have done any new work, since the Gainsborough House show in December. I have around 18 new paintings you can select from, I told her. I'm checking my Blackberry every hour, hoping to find a confimation email from her.
('Permission,'  Oil and acrylic on canvas, 45cm by 45cm.  The painting I had to put aside.)

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Art of Showing.

As more shops and companies close daily, galleries too are affected by the economic uncertainty and it becomes harder in the UK to show your work, if you are still an 'emerging' artist. But I have begun applying again to London galleries, ever optimistic that I will find gallery representation. It has to happen very soon! I need homes for the endless stacks of canvases that we manoeuvre around daily. Our space resembles a labyrinth. I'm always saying to someone, 'Be careful, that picture's wet,' as trousers or skirts hover in front of lines of new paintings.

My work was viewed by an art agent a year ago, and in December she chose 11 paintings for a show in Crawley, at Gainsborough House, for DMH Stallard (Solicitors). I've begun painting predominantly on canvas (which I stretch myself) as they can be hung without framing, which is so terribly expensive and has prevented me from taking part in many shows. My agent had suggested I stop painting on boards, as she could collect canvases at short notice. She took the paintings that day, and hung them. The great advantage about this kind of show is that people in such a busy environment will pass your work every day.

My husband Thanos had never seen my work on show before in the UK, and we made the journey to Crawley with some excitement. One of my large paintings greeted us in the main foyer of the very plush, large office complex. As we wandered around, my paintings lined the corridors, decorated the large conference room, and were dotted around several offices. It was a perfect environment, and the lighting was great. Two other artists shared the space, but my work alone adorned that conference room.

The show was on for a month, and I agreed with my agent that next time she takes work, she will get a larger vehicle to carry my 2 metre canvases. Three huge, colourful canvases in the conference room would have had maximum impact.

(Photos: My paintings on show - Thanos with some paintings, the conference room, me in the foyer.)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Not The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

This year, for the first time in 10 years, I didn't enter work for the prestigious Royal Academy Summer Show. I have been adapting to the early days of marriage, and finding a rhythm to life here in the UK with my husband, and I missed the deadline for applications. But I remembered to send photos of some paintings to the Llewellyn Alexander gallery, for their annual Not the Royal Academy Exhibition. My photos arrived one day before the deadline. I waited anxiously for The Call - would I be turned down this year? We like to think our work improves year by year, but there is no certainty.

The gallery called me last week. I could hardly contain my delight as I heard that they had chosen a watercolour for this summer exhibition. It will be my 10th year of taking part. The exhibition generally shows paintings rejected from the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, but you can also apply by sending photos of your work to the gallery, providing you have entered the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition at some point. It is a Salon des Refuses, and a boost to artists whose confidence has been knocked by rejection from the famous Summer Exhibition. Though I have filled in the RA forms and submitted work 9 times, I have never been accepted. (I have written about this rejection - Blog entry, 13th June 2009)

The painting I will be showing is one I made in situ. Some artists believe that your work should stick consistently to one theme or style, and show a definite evolution within chosen parameters, but I believe that you should follow your instincts, and never try to define yourself. I combine painting in the land with painting from my imagination or memory, back in the studio. I believe that my response to, and love of, landscape feeds into the colour compositions I feel such passion about creating indoors. My watercolour brings back memories of the way that the hedgerows suddenly overflow with blossom in April, and a day when I sat by some fields last Spring and attempted to catch this explosion of white. I realised it was my last Spring as an unmarried woman.
('Blossom.' 16ins by 12ins, watercolour and gouache.)