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.)