Curating and managing group art exhibitions is a rewarding experience. The positives are really valuable to working artists. Seeing what other artists submit is a pleasure and inspiring in equal measure to artists and our visitors
So much frenetic work goes into these temporary exhibitions and yet there are also moments of great calm, often when there are no visitors. Time to really concentrate on one or two pieces of art created by someone else is a real treat.
Listening to visitors comments within their visiting groups is also real guilty pleasure of mine. So much to be learned in a creative space. Spring and summer are the time these fleeting amateur art exhibitions pop up in neighbourhoods all over the world. Don’t just drive or walk past, if you have the time, pop in, for just a few minutes you can step into multiple other worlds. It won’t make the world a better place but it might make you smile.
Not exactly sunrise to sunset, but not far off. The curating and hanging teams for the Spring Exhibition, including me, worked hard all day to hang all the 2d and 3d work submitted for the Spring Exhibition. 12,000 steps on a hard concrete floor are enough to make your feet shout for a break, but that was not an option. All the works were hung and the space beautifully tidied up by the time the doors opened for the Private View. Then the owners of the same exhausted feet made sure that our guests had drinks in their hands and delicious canapes in their mouths. Lovely conversations were had and sales negotiated. Gilly our treasurer had her hands full with Pimms and payments all happening at once. All in all a good day was had.
Setting up a group art exhibition is exhausting but the thrill of unpacking other peoples creativity is an enormous treat. The other great pleasure is meeting and talking with the artists as they arrive, weighed down by their precious creations.
After the last two days of setting up and installing we have a week now of being open to the public and plenty of time to chat. Anyone local to Gunnislake or the Tamar Valley, we would love to see you, there will always be a warm welcome.
The mackerel are gathering, this can only mean one thing.
An art exhibition is about to be constructed over the next couple of days. As usual I am not quite ready.
Another artist had delivered her work to my house last Saturday all beautifully wrapped and bagged up. My work, in comparison, was all over the place. I also need other essentials like cable ties and S hooks to enable the construction of the boards,that hold all the artwork, and give the Artists plenty of space to show off their work.
It is always a surprise scrabbling around in my studio. Things that are put away unfinished come to the surface like this abstract of Silver Birches that needed just a dusting of silver to be finished.
This next one needed framing and he looks magnificent finished off with a frame. It is a cheeky picture of the return of Nightlife to The Barbican. He is also finished with High Gloss Resin which makes the image almost impossible to photograph.
Just one last picture to share from my contribution to the group show.
I had lost this original for several years before finding it a couple of weeks ago in the final tidy up and reorganisation of the studio. Reproductions of it always sell well but the original had hidden itself away. As things turned out I am so glad I spent some time with it yesterday mounting and wrapping it ready for sale. The Nearly There Trees are a landmark close to the A30 on the Devon and Cornwall Border. Their proper title is Cookworthy Knapp. They are symbolic and significant to all who love Cornwall. Below is a link that explains more about the Trees.
Yesterday evening I learned that an artist friend, who lived in Spain, had died earlier in the week. She was born just across the water from where I live now on the Mount Edgecombe Estate. The Nearly There Trees are hugely significant because she chose to return to Cornwall for her last months. Artists are funny folk who mostly work in isolation, but when we flock together we shed and share ideas . My lovely friend and I met at the Arts University Plymouth. She introduced me to Elvis, I’m not sure what I gave her. She and I often pondered the subjects of these blogs, I am so glad she made it home.
What to do on a damp Bank Holiday Monday when the dogs are at the groomers? Take ourselves off to Delamore Arts, a, not dog friendly Art Exhibition set in beautiful surroundings. This year is the 20th Anniversary of the event and I am ashamed to say that we were newbies, never having been before. In our defence we were not living in the South West for much of those twenty years but that seems a poor excuse to miss something so gorgeous and quintessentialy British in the very early summer. Regular visitors probably have a better chance of concentrating on the art,we were all over the place. Wowed by the parkland and the formal gardens before we even thought of looking at 3d or 2d artwork. Open for the whole of May this is an experience not to be missed. Full disclosure, there are lots of Drawn to the Valley Artists and Makers involved. I will only mention one DttV artist in this blog. Tessa Jane, who has been heavily involved in the organisation of this years exhibition as a local ambassador for Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, the charity that is the beneficiary of Delamore Arts 22.
The image below is the view looking out of the OMS Carriage Shed Gallery. Curated by Tessa Jane. So much to learn about OMS, the organisation, and Tessa Jane’s perspective as well as the valuable work being done by the University of Plymouth, all contained in a welcoming small space.
OMS seems to me, as an outsider, an organisation that supports people with MS to look outside and beyond their diagnosis. Hence my outside and beyond image.
I suppose in writing this blog without too much actual art I am encouraging local people to go and see this event for themselves. I am also supporting my own decision to go again and be able to write another blog that does talk just about art. Some hope!
Looking at plants like this was both diverting and the perfect preparation for looking at 2d art like this.
Wet Apples by John Hurford catches the eye at the Stables Gallery further away from the main house. Still authentically a stables, horses were being exercised as we exercised our minds. The Stables Gallery was the first one we visited after following the pencil trail.
A trail that took us, two cold water swimmers, past a swimming pond.
You can understand the pull and the fascination we felt towards just a quick sneaky dip in this tranquil water. But like the dedicated art lovers that we are we pulled our attention back to the job in hand and found life imitating art.
Then nature beguiled us into observing the search for pollen, by a very busy bumble bee. Who was up to his many armpits in the flowers of an Ichium.
Time to head off into the woods…
Time to finish this particular Delamore Blog with my favourite sort of pictures. Its complicated…
Full circle, two days of exhibiting with friends and colleagues from Drawn to the Valley at Butchers Hall in Tavistock is over. More than 3,000 people attended and the event was judged to be a huge success.
Thank goodness the weather turned down a few notches from the deluges of Thursday, the set up day. The watercolour filter on my phone makes the turgid River Tavy look a little more vibrant than it actually was as I carried my paintings to the hall.
Wind and rain did their worst to one of my paintings and it has been sold with the promise that when the canvas properly dries out I will make good any watermarks that appear. The wind had whipped off the wrappings and rain soaked the back of the painting. To my horror the super matt blackness of the background started to develop little white tide marks as the canvas dried out over the two days of the exhibition. The background will be the blackest of blacks very soon.
Eight hour days in an exhibition hall made me very grateful that Black Sheep Brew on Pepper Street makes fabulous Coffee to keep hands warm and conversations flowing.
The 2021 Exhibiting Season for Drawn to the Valley has come to a close. It has been a year of huge uncertainties, there was always doubt if any of our planned events would go ahead. Thankfully they all have and the public have supported us by turning up and buying the work of local independent Artists and Makers. Significantly our membership has grown which means next year there will be many new artists exhibiting with us. Many New Stars to find.
Better late than never. The posh Dahlias have not taken to the move well. This is the only bloom of the season. I”m pretty certain there are no pollinators out there to enjoy this late crop of pollen. Should another bloom appear I will be busy with my paintbrush dusting pollen about while making the summer noises of gentle buzzing.
No such sound effects needed with my recent paintbrush action. The mind numbing job of painting the edges of finished paintings. Not even extemporised buzzing could make that job interesting. Eight canvasses needed tidying up on Tuesday, the job required more tea than paint but it took forever.
All ready to go with just over a day to go before they are needed. That might seem like an idle boast but it is not unheard of for artists to hand in paintings at the beginning of an exhibition with paintbrush in hand as they finish off their mistress/masterpieces.
Mistresspiece- an example of outstanding accomplishment by a woman. First recorded use in the 17th century and not really used often enough in my opinion.
I’ve gone a bit ‘ off-piste’ with one of the paintings. 4 square canvasses complete the full image, but how it is ultimately arranged will be left to the buyer.
I’m not too sure how well that will go down with the buying public.
Our trip to the theatre earlier this week was a double treat. Plymouths Theatre Royal holds art exhibitions in the the bar areas in the building. Freshly installed was Journey, a transatlantic collaboration celebrating 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower. Featuring Printmakers from the Tamar Valley and Cape Cod. Originally planned to be part of the Covid disrupted Mayflower 400 celebrations, this exhibition is a rare survivor of the planned events.
Tamar Valley Printmakers are the British group participating in this exhibition. Several members of this group are also members of Drawn to the Valley, one of the art groups I belong to. I tried to get good photographs of the prints of people I knew, even if only a name recognised from a membership list. It wasn’t always possible as the lighting in the theatre can reflect quite distractingly on the exhibited works. Sometimes I could only capture part of the image without getting unwanted reflections. My apologies if I missed anyone.
The Theatre Royal in Plymouth is currently not serving refreshments during intervals. The printmakers will have everyone’s undivided attention as they sip on their complimentary cup of water.
The all too familiar face of Donald Trump beamed from one of the prints.
If only enlightenment was that easy. If it were, printmakers would be the most popular and sought after artists in the world.
Just to clean your mind of Mr Trump I’ve included one print not created by a Drawn to the Valley artist. Boricua by U.S Printmaker, Adrian Tió. Not representing the European migration story, his work brings Puerto Rican flamboyance to the exhibition and reminds us that Mayflower is just a tiny part of the story of the modern United States.
The sun was out yesterday. I was out yesterday. All was well with the world. Have a wonderful Sunday.
I’m not actually planning to stop there. Yesterday was full of lovely people and great art which I will share as the acceptable face of Saturday. Because nobody needs to see pictures of, or read about, my ranting on the subject of traffic blockages and crazy redirections. Or framers who haven’t framed. The pursuit of Art is not always comfy but it always repays with gorgeousness. Thanks to the artists of Drawn to the Valley for soothing a grumpy driver. The amazing print below exactly represents my head after more than two hours of road congestion. Except my busy head was not filled with such beauty.
Looking and talking about art is very soothing, by the end of the day the traffic and complexities of the day were all forgotten, my life view was much calmer!
After 4 days of a glorious Summer Exhibition at Tavistock the sun has set on one part of the Drawn to the Valley #greatsummerofart. The next event will be Open Studios, a very different experience. Group exhibitions are a chance for artists to come together and show what a diverse group we are. Open Studios are the chance to visit individual artists or small groups in a variety of spaces. For this last blog of the summer exhibition I chose blue as the theme. Once again featuring details rather than the whole picture. There is actually a practical reason for this, many pictures are framed with glass which causes reflection problems for photographs. By choosing details I can crop reflections off and widen my choice. So off we go on a blue journey. From a blue sky at sunset ( above) the next picture has a blue sky reflected in water. Just to prove not all reflections are bad!
Exhibitions are also a chance to meet other members, artists mostly work in their own little hobbit holes and just like the whole world we havent got out much recently.
Geoff was an artist I had never met before and we had a little natter. Another coastal blue came from Gilly Spottiswoode someone I meet often, she gives fabulous nattering.
Gilly’s print leads me to another print, something a little more abstract from Stefania D’Amico.
Abstraction returns me briefly to water with Janet Brady’s Drypoint.
And finally a blue bird with a knowing look brings this blog to a close.