Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Saying No

'My Return to China,' acrylic on board, 30 x 25 cm
Somehow this year things have really taken off with my artwork, both in the work itself and also with the opportunities that have kept coming my way! I have tried to work out why this has happened. I think that my work has grown in confidence in the last 5 years. You never KNOW how to paint, you just get better at recognising the shifts in your work and learning to evaluate what works and what doesn't. The rest is fluid and you have to develop an awareness of where it is leading and to learn to see what possibilities are being suggested by the work itself. For me, it is a case of following the paint journey, and following the excitement of brush strokes and colour. When something works, it resonates as having meaning for me, even if I can't say why!

I have come to learn to listen to my inner voice and value it above all else. I know that what has meaning for me may also have meaning for others, but if it doesn't, then that doesn't matter because if I have resolved the painting according to my own rules, and in the best way I can, then that is enough. The inner, unadulterated voice is the key - it's your inner world and the reason you should paint - and you should never be swayed away from that core by some outside idea of how you should be painting, or changing market demands. 
'Autumnal Seascape,' acrylic on board, 30 x 25 cm
Being accepted for the 6th Beijing International Art Biennale, and being invited out there by the China Artists Association, really was very encouraging and helpful, and also consolidated a lot of ideas that were emerging in my artwork concerning brush strokes and colour. I felt a surer sense of my path, though within that path are always huge creative possibilities. I felt able to apply to exhibitions further afield, and I am currently preparing an application for a group show in New York. Of course, there is a huge amount of competition and I used to really get depressed when the rejection notices came back, but the cure for that is to send out 10 more applications. You don't then get time to mull over the whys of not being accepted.
'Fiona's-World,' (2) acrylic on board, 30 x 25 cm (accepted for Singapore)
As time becomes more limited, I am having to learn to say no. May and June are already full of commitments and in order to get work ready, and make sure I also have new work to submit for further exhibitions, I have had to opt out of the lovely gallery I am co-running with a group of local artists. I feel so sorry about this but it is now a time problem, and at a later date perhaps I can hang work there again (and do my one day a week shift). But right now with four events in June and some big paintings to finish, I need time to focus on a new series of painting.

There are always so many other things you have to do, and also things as mundane as varnishing work, signing it all, updating websites and various linked websites, and applying for more shows. The more one does, the more there is to do! But I do hate to say no!

Friday, 15 April 2016


'Fiona's World,' acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40 cm
There have been years when exhibition opportunities were less or I was rejected but this year I have found myself inunadated with opportunities and - as often happens to artists - it is now a case of making sure there is enough work to fill them all!
'Colour-World,' acrylic on canvas, 25 x 30 cm
Maybe it is luck from my Chinese astrological sign (I am the Year of the Monkey, and it is this year!) or perhaps my work just became better or fits the market better, but I now find myself with 4 exhibitions in June, a painting residency in China for the month of August, and another exhibition in Singapore in November. In June, I will have work at the Awe-Some Fenix gallery in Singapore, three paintings at the Llewellyn Alexander gallery (London) for the 'Not The Royal Academy' exhibition, and I am taking part in the South East Open Studios across Kent, and also will have work in the Tunbridge Wells International Art Fair. 
'Paint-Poem,' oil and acrylic on panel, 25 x 30 cm
In between organising work for these events, I am doing new work. Being an artist is much harder work than most people think because you have to juggle so much AND evolve your painting ideas, aiming always to improve your work. It takes a lot of focus and discipline.
'Fiona's World, 2,' acrylic on panel, 25 x 30 cm
Today I received an email that 'Fiona's World, 2,' has been chosen for the November exhibition at the Awe-some Fenix gallery in Singapore. It was only painted a week ago!