Over the weekend, our studio was open to visitors as part of a complex-wide event. It was very successful in terms of footfall, with 175 people on Friday, over 300 on Saturday and around 170 on Sunday. With 40 studios open, and a great cafe, the event pulls in a good crowd.
The event itself attracts mainly those seeking to buy Christmas presents and to take part in a sense of community (carols, Christmas food, and other relevant events). As such, and given how many of us are competing for attention, it’s not surprising that painting sales can be a bit skinny while cards and smaller value items do well. It’s also a great time to meet other artists and see their work.
I spent a little time quietly just appraising what was on show in terms of my own work and the context. First off it was the first time in a while I’d seen the body of work I’ve been working on displayed together and with three days to look at it, it gave me time to think about how I can move on from this. In terms of exhibiting the work: – I put too much up, given the context there was limited attention span from audiences with much to see. There was not enough big work, too much small work for this context. I felt that framing needed to be uniform to help a sense of the work being of a unit. Too much green! While I had good reasons to be working with early summer greens in all their hallucinatory glory, together it all felt a bit uniform even though the tonal range was wide. I tole myself too that I like pictures to be portals to other spaces….so picture plane rules the shop (something to bear in mind in future). So in terms of exhibition, more planned and stringent curation is needed; in terms of the work…break out of small picture mode.
Some questions: is it too confusing with images from 3 of us in one space? Is this a problem therefore for mixed shows? I think that variety is good in mixed shows, but for shared Open studios and Krowji contexts, less is more. So maybe needs a different approach to a) Open Studios next summer, and b) the gallery shows. What’s the reason for doing it? Community principally, followed by time looking at the work in a context different from the usual. There was also quite a bit of interest in the chair theme, that some people picked up on without prompting. Seeing your work altogether this way is pretty scary and it is hard not to be hard on oneself to look beyond your insecurities; however seeing continuities across style, colour choices, and themes is really helpful to deciding ways forward. Colour is an area I want to work more fully on – my next piece of research in fact, looking at vibrancy, alongside modulation. Overall, I was surprised that the ‘Bootsy’ tree painting (which was based on a 360 image that I took at Wistman’s Wood) became a favourite of mine in terms of composition, the characterisation and the way the tones are laid over each other.
Overall, My intention is to approach the next body of work in a more creative and exploratory manner, building that into my process. So colour, creativity and a freer approach will inform Sprint 2.