Do you share your life with a creative?
Is a member of your family pursuing the arts?
Maybe your best friend has just jacked in her job to finally lead a truly creative life?
Can they be a right royal pain in the backside at times? Don't worry, you can make them happy very easily with my top tips - I guarantee they'll appreciate your efforts.
January is a great time to get some useful business reading done. Here's my pick of some of the books that have already inspired me and the ones I hope with give me even more insight.
I'm very lucky in that I very rarely suffer from artists' block.
But for some it can be paralysing.
Here are my tops tips to keep your creativity on point.
On Thursday evening hundreds of business people from across South Wiltshire and the Salisbury area gathered together in the city hall for the SW business of the year awards. I’m delighted to announce that I made it as a finalist in the Enterprising Women in Business category.
I'm a proud member of the Female entrepreneurs Association and it's helping me build my business, and I'd like to invite you to join in too.
Today I put new dates onto my site about art classes in Salisbury. Without sending an email, posting anything on Facebook or telling anyone about it, some places have sold already!
During my years as a teacher I was used to planning way in advance. I apply the same strategy to my business. This is probably more useful to my readers who are fellow artists and running their own business, but I'm sharing this with anyone on my blog.
I've been reading Lisa Jacobs' blog for years and its really helped me plan my business and get develop a strategy, I'm not just an artist, I'm running an art business.
Lisa is a PRO at helping online entrepreneurs excel to the next level. Her strategies are tested and proven to win! Watch “Become a Better Business Strategist” when you sign up here (it’s free): https://iw250.isrefer.com/go/vid1optin/Louiselutonart
I'm booking out my diary for 2018 already...if you can't face it just yet, watch this vid, it's a great start to get you thinking about your next step in business.
Last week I was writing about what I've been working on, and I've been working on some more art works this week too; it's been great.
But this week I'm going to tell you what I've been reading - The brilliant novel "The Muse" by Jessie Burton. When I go on holiday I nearly always try to find a novel set in the region that I have travelled to. It somehow helps create mood and atmosphere I enjoy reading books set in Italy when I'm in Italy! So what does an artist read when she's at home in Salisbury? It may come as no surprise to read a book about an artist, and about their Muse. This novel though is set in London and Spain. It nice reading about the sun while it's so cold here!
I don't think I've ever fully understood the concept of a muse; an artist only being able to create because one special person inspires them to paint; to create. Even with Valentine's Day coming, I still can't quite believe that creativity is dependent on one person!
But The Muse explores the concept of the muse much more fully, there is more of an element of thriller than romance about this novel.
There is a delightful passage in The Muse where one of the characters describes opening a package of art supplies that she has brought with her to Spain.
"She knelt before the travelling trunks like a pilgrim at an altar not one of her colours had burst in transit, all had powders intact, the sticks of pastel not cracked in half, that always been loyal to her when everything else was falling out of place"
Like many artists I get genuinely excited about new art supplies.
She goes on to describe how the paints were in more control that she was. Is if here hands were guided by the colours.
"I purchased this green, vivid grasshopper green and the shade of Scarlett, and oil called night indigo, a plum and silvery grey; all colours I've never used before. I just picked them up and put them on the counter and it was as if I'd known that only here would those paints come into their own and help me. That they would flesh out my fears and my dreams. But now it's done and out of me I can't help wondering that the paints didn't do it all on their own as if my involvement was nothing at all".
I remember buying some beautiful Charvin oil paints in a wonderful little art shop in Paris by the Pont Neuf. I adored that shop, an oil painters idea of heaven. I wanted to stay in there for an entire day. When I came home and started using my paints and new colours I couldn't believe the positive impact it had on my oil paintings. I still use some of those incredible Monet blues and pinks, even in my animal art. I've enjoyed using colour in surprising ways for many years
The novel the Muse is also in set into different time periods in 1937 and 1967 this was a particularly enjoyable aspect of the novel. Especially when it came to perceptions of women. Women in business and women as artists. Now that I am a female entrepreneur, and full-time artist I am able to understand just how fortunate I am to live in a time that accepts me in both of those roles, for it was not always so. It is very difficult to describe the power of the twists and turns in Jessie Burton's novel without ruining it for you so I will confine myself to a quote from a review and merely say it is well worth a read if you enjoy art and you enjoy history.
,,,"Burtons multi layered story is never less than engaging she has an undoubted gift for seizing the readers attention and holding it moving back and forth between the two periods, the story reaches a powerful conclusion. It has much to say about the search for authenticity in love and in art"
So now I've finished this luscious novel exploring art, artists and inspiration, I've got to chase something else and hopefully find something that will inspire me just as much.
But in the meantime, for the rest of the day I will be painting!
It's all too tempting, to click your way to re-stocking your studio.
But few pleasures compare to walking into a bonafide independent art shop. Seeing all those gorgeous materials laid out before you and getting excited about what you’re going to take home.
I’ve been chatting to Sharon Noble of Noble Art supplies in Salisbury and I’ve got 10 reasons why you should go shopping there.
1. You get to speak to a real expert!
Online there's no help or advice.
Sharon is experienced and can help her customers. "After the closure of Compleat Artist Salisbury was left with a gap and as there was still an obvious customer base still present I thought I didn't want to waste nearly 18 years in art retail and everything I had learnt about materials". And thus, Noble Art supplies was born.
2. You can do a custom order.
With accounts with the main suppliers and also 2 good wholesale companies, Noble arts are happy to order in special items for you. From canvas to paint, from pencils to brushes.
3. Get up close and personal with texture.
Sharon and I are agreed, there's nothing better than finding a good brush. Nothing compares to selecting that brush in real life!
4. You can browse while making up your mind!
Browsing online is nothing like as much fun! There's been a lot of fuss in the news about an independent book seller in Yorkshire charging people to browse. But Sharon tells me "I am happy for customers to browse. Also someone browsing is a potential future customer". So relax and enjoy yourself!
5. It's a chance to see just how many colours there are in the world! Walking into an art shop is walking into an Aladdin's cave of colour. Take your time and choose well!
6. It's a joy. a social event!
You'll find like minded people. You'll be able to discuss techniques. Art materials are tactile it's great to see the products you are buying
7. Keep your Highstreet vibrant and full of luscious shops!
There's a campaign called just a card which was started based on a gallery "If everyone who walked into our gallery and said it was beautiful had bought just a card- we'd still be open" So, what can we do to make sure Salisbury keeps it only specialist art shop open? The answer to this is simple; shop local!
8. It's a great place to dream! You can imagine your next masterpiece, you can picture the colour palette you'll use. You can plan. You can buy exactly what you need, nothing more.
9. You'll have access to local knowledge.
Sharon knows many of the Salisbury artists and the classes they teach. If you want to find out more about the art scene, she'll more than likely know what's going on. In addition, Plain Arts Salisbury members get a 10% discount!
10. Get some inspiration.
From the shop window displays, the array of paints, brushes and materials and the inspiring people who work and shop there, you're bound to see something that will get your creative juices flowing!
See you there!
At this time of year lots of people start planning new routines to get themselves organised. Organisation is key to being successful in any business.
From years and years of being a teacher, where every second of our lesson time and indeed our free time was precious beyond belief, I have 20 years of time management and organisation skills honed to a tee.
There is a myth that creative thinkers are chaotic and disorganised… though I’ll admit that part of my need for planning and organisation has definitely stemmed from my years of being a teacher and now they are serving me well in my years of being an artist.
So here are my top three - I'm not altogether sure I’d be able to live without any of them!
I have a wall next to my desk with blackboard paper stuck on it.
This is much more practical than having a real blackboard of this size, which would be very heavy and could damage the wall or even damage me if it fell off the wall!
Blackboard paper is really easy to apply and you can get it in plenty of DIY shops or indeed a favourite online retailer! I love it!
It helps me map out my plans month by month. On my blackboard wall this month are the key areas for development for January 2017 they are:
a) my website
b) research and development which includes goal setting, marketing strategies and artistic experimentation,
c)painting- which includes planning my new collection, and
d) workshops- these can include workshops that I'm doing elsewhere for instance in Salisbury museum and indeed my own workshops that I'm doing in my studio.
2. A decent diary…
actually a decent diary and a planner, well a decent diary, a planner and then another diary; this is getting complicated.
I use a moleskin diary, a week to page with a notes on the side this really helps me coordinate arrangements, visits and meetings with other people. It's light enough to carry around with me and bung in my handbag and it's big enough for me to still put in a few plans and urgent reminders.
In addition to this I have another planner which doesn't leave my studio. It's big enough for me to write anything I need to. I use Janet Murray's media dairy, where I plan my blog posts for the year, my social media strategy and PR planning. This is quite a lot of work but it's not something that needs to travel so it's good to have a big fat chunky diary that can contain all the info.
I also have the brilliant “Your best year 2017” by Lisa Jacobs. I started using her strategies and YBY planners back in 2014 and I haven't stopped! I'm also a member of her online Luminaries club which has really helped me become accountable for my own business. Creating artwork, for me at least, is the easy part of my business. The difficult part is working out how to sell it ,when to sell, where to sell it, and who to sell it to!
To do all of those things you got to have a plan.
Any of my former students or colleagues will possibly be laughing out loud at this point or maybe even rolling their eyes. They will know that I am obsessed with mind mapping. I used to recommend mindmapping to my students particularly for revision and notetaking.
In my life as an artist I use mindmapping all the time to plan and to strategise my art business. It really helps me get all my ideas down on paper (or screen) really really quickly whilst leaving me with a great visual reminder of what I'm up to. I can plan almost anything with a mind map. From my holiday packing to a detailed written press release. I even mind map my blog posts!
So those are my big three take aways for how to get yourself organised. There is no doubt that the real secret to organisation is finding the strategy that happens to work for you.
For me visuals stimulus is key to my planning strategies…who knew!
Do you share your life with a creative?
Or have a son/daughter pursuing the arts?
Maybe your best friend has just jacked in her job to finally lead a truly creative life?
Can they be a right royal pain in the backside at times? Don't worry, you can make them happy very easily with my top tips - I guarantee they'll appreciate your efforts.
1. Creatives can be sensitive!
That doesn't mean shower them with false praise! But try to be gentle if criticising their work; it can be tough. However, in my experience creatives are very able to take criticism about other aspects of their business, so if you know a better printer, courier service or accountant, tell them - they'll want to know!
2. They're doing lots of things you can't see.
Creatives are often "one man bands" and do everything. I'd love it if every day was pure painting! But whatever it takes to keep business going, that's what they're doing. So if you feel you can't really talk about their art/photography/papiermache hats then talk about their business. They'll love it and again you might have some useful insight that they'd really appreciate.
3. Online is good, bad and everything in between. And it takes up time.
Creatives need to be online, and sell online, and know what their competitors are up to too. We need to have a presence online - and here's where you can really help the creative in your life:
Like, share, heart, retweet whenever you can!
Facebook business pages don't have the same reach personal profiles. So
everytime you click 'like' on my business page, it tells Facebook that my post is good and groovy and it extends the post reach to others.
Everytime you share or comment, it pushes it even further. All for free. And boy do I appreciate it. I really do. It's the same for retweeting on twitter, putting a heart by an instagram photo and re-pinning a picture on pinterest. And yes, most creatives are trying to manage all of these platforms because they're good for business.
4. Give them a testimonial.
Pop them an email with a nice quotable sentence.
I really appreciate the friends who have, over the years, bought work from me, attended my workshops, seen my exhibitions and visited my studio. And indeed, the new friends I've made by selling work or doing workshops. When they've written a little email with how much they enjoyed it, or how much they learnt, or how much they love my painting - it's worth its weight in gold. It not only helps me through the tough days ( and that alone is great) but it helps fill a folder of testimonials, that help other customers develop trust in me, my work and my business..
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting me!
Picasso said "The muse may strike at any time, but she must find you working"
Since turning pro and being a full time artist this has been my mantra. The art world is littered with other beautiful art quotes which still amount to the same thing. Stop faffing about and get on with it!
The thing is that work, consistent work, constant effort, making mistakes, and making discoveries can lead to great inspiration, and great work. Picasso is right.
People still have grand romantic schemes that artists sit around in cafes, drinking wine, and discussing philosophy, politics and art all day. Then suddenly the Muse will strike them and they will head back to the leaky garret and create the next masterpiece ready for the salon to judge next season! Perhaps the modern English reality isn't that artists are sitting about in cafes all day instead life consists of getting up late, taking the dog for a walk, seeing a beautiful tree leaning over a river and heading back to the studio and magically painting it.
The reality is different.
I'm not complaining one bit.
My artistic life is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoy it, but it's definitely hard work. There is a big difference between sauntering along a country lane considering the beauty of the sky while the dog sniffs around in the hedge, compared to lugging your easel and painting equipment, setting up for a day of en plein air painting. Serious concentration is required to really analyse the landscape around you. Sketch after sketch, considering light, colour, composition. The sketches produced on those en plein air days will help you in the studio the next day, the next week or even next year you can work from those sketches.
Here comes the muse, and there you were, working. That's why she came!
Part of the problem with artists' block is thinking that we must find something completely new and original. Modest subject matter won't be enough to sate our artist need. Not true.
While I'm writing this I am listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing "It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it" and she's right too.
There isn't a monopoly on painting landscape, or a beautiful flower, or a still life of fruit. We can choose to paint anything, we can find inspiration anywhere, it's what we bring to the party ourselves that makes our treatment of the subject matter interesting.
That constant work while waiting for the muse is how we find our voice.
It's about our style, it's about how we create that landscape or how we capture that moment.
The artists I know don't magic a masterpiece out of the air.
It comes from graft, and craft.
We have to think about it, study it, experiment with it; we have to let it brew inside our minds and then find the techniques and skills put onto the page what our mind has already seen.
Creative clutter or tidy art haven?
Last week I was talking about letting go while creating art and letting go so that you can sell it. This week I'm focusing on letting go of the creative clutter that inevitably accumulates in any artist studio!
Broadly speaking since having a professional studio in Salisbury, all to myself, I have designated spaces for office and admin, storage, painting at easels and even delivering workshops; my studio has remained relatively tidy.
I have a good fortnightly routine where I give my surfaces a deep clean to prevent the accumulation of gesso, paint, dried up oil, and other detritus that can build up in particular areas.
However I have another area that has turned into one of those dumping grounds. Everyone has a dumping ground at some point in their life. In our homes it tends to be the cupboard under the stairs where mountains of shoes that we will never wear again, hot water bottles and random bits of carpet seem to congregate without anyone claiming responsibility for putting it all there!
In my studio my dumping area isn't the cupboard under the stairs but instead of peculiar space above the stairs! It's ideal for storing canvases, upright portfolios full of drawings and any unused frames yet to find pride of place as the rim of a beautiful painting.
I've let it go.
I know I've been naughty and when my studio receives it's fortnightly clean the dumping ground remains the same with piles of things, I even found some garden lights, and an old guitar.
So this morning, bright and early, before I even did my small daily painting, before I even checked my emails I started clearing out the dreaded dumping ground. It was just one of those things I had to do. I need to clear my mind and in order to do so I have to clear out the messiest bit of my studio. It wasn't even high on my list of priorities for today, even this week but I just had to do it. So armed with a strong cup of coffee I set to.
Here's how it worked.
1.If a canvas is dented, warped, rotting, or damaged in any way throw it out! It's simply doesn't matter what's on it or how good it looks. If the canvas is damaged it's no use, its not even of any use to hang up in your own house because the dent will drive you nuts.
Chuck it out don't even think about it, don't pause for thought!
2. Papers can be precious and you have to be careful what you throw out.
I discovered a big watch of heavyweight cartridge paper that had been slightly folded, there wasn't a crisp fold fold in them but it wasn't perfect.
Some of the papers I kept.
But they are now stored in a portfolio to keep them safe from damp and further folding.
Papers are incredibly useful I run workshops and I really like using lots and lots of paper to get people going. Having paper that isn't precious encourages a great habit of experimentation when sketching (see my blog from last week for more on that). However some papers simply won't going to be good enough even for practice sketches. Some pastel papers had become so warped when they have got slightly damp that they simply had to be thrown away. This is another good reason to buy paper in good firm pads as they tend to stay in better shape even when they stored badly. Loose paper nearly always ends up crumpled and useless if you haven't got a good storage habit. In the process of clearing out my dumping ground I now have a better place to store my paper.
3. Old frames mounts and other things that you think really might be useful and you ought to keep. This is a real problem territory and you need to go carefully and I did. So I have kept three frames out of the myriad of ones that I found in my dumping ground area. The three frames I kept where clean, not warped in any way and still had true 90° corners and they're worth keeping.
However I did throw away a further four frames that were simply no good, they were either damaged or simply won't work with the kind of work that I produce now.
Now that can be quite a brave decision to make throwing out something that might be useful one day, but if I hadn't have thrown out those things I wouldn't have had the space to store the things I really need.
4. Throwing out canvases that aren't that damaged.
This is really tricky. I threw out some work that were on canvases that weren't dented so why why did I make this decision?
I'm not as arrogant as Michelangelo to get rid of every sketch or anything I've ever done! If you are a student at the start of your career I urge you with all my heart to try and keep as many things from your early days as possible. I have three portfolios rammed full of sketches, pastel drawings and watercolours that record the way my style has changed and developed over the years. I value them and occasionally look at them to see how far I've come.
But in the process of my clear out of my dumping ground area I also threw out a good for five maybe six canvases varying sizes of work. So why? How could I possibly throw away paintings that actually were pretty good!
The answer is simple- neither the canvas nor the paint was of a high enough quality that I could put them with my current work. Again this might sound arrogant but it's really not meant to be. I pride myself on only painting on the high quality canvas only using the very best paints, Michael Harding, Old Holland all of those great names find their way into my work.
The work that I threw out simply doesn't fit with my brand. Okay you might be thinking but you could've given them away that might have been a lovely gift? Well maybe but it also might devalue what I'm currently doing. This isn't about throwing out anything and everything that I can't sell, I've kept a great number of pieces that I won't ever sell that are either sentimental to me or show a real turning point in the development of my art. And I'm very happy to keep those items.
I'm confident now that all of the work on display my studio, and all of the work that I will take to future fairs or exhibitions is of a standard worthy of a professional artist.
5. Donating. There is a nice little joke tootling around on social media at the moment that goes along the lines of "I will take these clothes to the charity shop but first I'm going to put them in the boot of my car and drive around with them for six months!"
This could be true of artists donating unwanted materials.
I urge you, particularly if you have changed medium, that you donate any materials that you no longer need to your local school. There isn't a school in the land nor an art teacher in that school that doesn't want your stuff! Note, they do not want your rubbish- but they do want your brushes, they want paper, canvas, they want paint, they want pastels, they want charcoal! So get it in the car and take it to the nearest school!
So now my dumping ground has had his little clear out, how have I used the spare space?
Well for a start, newly delivered canvases can now rest there safe in the knowledge they won't get dented with a load of rubbish.
Secondly my papers won't get damp and crumpled.
And lastly it means that I've been able to move some of the things around in my studio creating more space for some workshops that I'll be doing next week!
All in all it's been a pretty successful morning and I've now stopped for a cuppa.
Love it and let go! How all artists learn to let go when they create the work and when it's finished.
Love it and let go. How all artists learn to let go when they create their work and when it's finished.
I love teaching and always have done. Now as a full-time artist I still teach workshops to adults, to pupils on school visits to galleries or exhibitions and and to art students in a variety of different media and subject matter.
Most recently I have found myself saying it to my latest workshop recruits "Stop worrying".
Whether you are 8 or 80 you will find yourself worrying about the artwork you create.
I usually begin my workshops with quick warm up drawings. Being an artist can be similar to being an athlete; you have to warm-up before the real business begins!
The great thing about drawing quickly is that you don't worry about the quality of the work you are producing. The process is far more important than the product. Sometimes you might even throw your warm-up sketches away. You can do a warm-up sketch with a pencil and any old piece of paper, you could even do it with a marker pen on a piece of newspaper, it really doesn't matter. Once you have fully warmed up the great business of creating begins.
I have to admit that I love it when my students produce work that they are proud of, work that they want to keep, better yet work that they would proudly put on display.
It's strange thing about art, sometimes you have to let go of your inhibitions, your worry, your "tightness" to create a work. But once you've done that you have another problem. That kind of work, the work of which you are justly proud, is the kind of work that you don't want to see go!
But as a professional artist let go you must.
I have just got back from the framers collecting three new oil paintings that will shortly appear in an exhibition. (I use a local, family business- Frith's, they are based in Netherhampton, just outside Salisbury).
One of the pieces has been rather grandly framed, it is of a highland cow chewing grass and he looks content. It's titled "Chewing it over"
The framer said to me "If I could paint like that I'd never be able to sell the work, its too good to let go".
Ooh, artists love to hear compliments like that. Lovely.
That's where the "love it and let go" comes in. Now that my Highland cow, "Chewing it Over" is beautifully framed he might sit in my lounge for a while rather than being wrapped up and stored carefully in the studio waiting for the next Art fair.
I will live with him.
I'll see him every day.
But when his new owner comes along, as he surely will, I will let him go.
The thing about being a full-time artist isn't simply learning to let go of your beloved artwork. The process in your mind is so different. I have so many ideas, so many more plans with future paintings running through my mind, that the loss is not so great.
We artists don't want to keep our work to ourselves, we are so full of ideas that we want to create more. Selling work isn't a wrench anymore because it means more space and more money to buy more canvas and more paint! It not only gives me the studio space to create more but also the headspace to start creating new works. (with the added bonus of paying a few bills too!). Besides, it lovely to think of my paintings making their way into someone else's home. I like to think that they will smile every time they walk past one of my paintings. All of my work celebrates nature; the seas, the skies, the fields, the animals... my paintings, like my highland cow, have a an air of contentment.
So if you are in the process of creating artwork that you love and want to keep, that is absolutely fine. In fact it's great! It's a wonderful feeling to have created something that you want to hang up in your own home for all to see.
But if you are about to make the jump from being a part time artist to a full-time artist don't worry about the work that you love, because once you have that time and space to create more, it becomes so much easier to love it and let go!
Louise's new collection "Countryside companions' celebrating animals of the Britsh countryside will be revealed later this month.
For the majority of my adult life I was a full time teacher, now as a full time artist I'm learning how to organise, my time, life and business, in away I've never had to do before.
As a teacher, there were a myriad of things to organise and remember, the school calendar was a bible, my teaching planner a tome of great import and before conditionally formatted spreadsheets were fashionable, my mark book too, was a work of art. To be honest, I rather liked it. For me one of the perks of teaching was the endless stationery. I love stationery. The childhood ritual of buying a new pencil case for the start of the academic year, never really left me as an adult!
Now free from all this, with only myself to organise, I had grand romantic schemes of linking my digital calendar, across devices, and thus a new age of efficiency would be be born. My scheduled blog posts, commissioned paintings deadlines, art fairs, meetings, appointments, exhibitions would sync seamlessly and this 21st century artist would embrace it.
After not very long at all, I realised I was resisting the digital calendar. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully Appled up and have devices of varying sizes and power, but I just prefer a nice paper diary.
But then, my nice dairy wasn't coming up with the goods either. Too many post-its bulging out all over. Not happy.
So I went retro. In my university days I had a filofax, the bastion of the London yuppy. I wasn't a yuppy, I was a London Art student, but I still used my filofax all the time, everything was in there, and it worked. I still have my original 1980s filofax, but it's a small one and I fancied investing in new one.
So here's my ultimate list for the best organiser I've ever created.
A purple Malden filofax A5 size. It's gorgeous.
This filofax isn't serving just as a diary. The normal diary pages simply weren't enough for me. I wanted a full on planner (just like I used to have in my teaching days) but my planner needed to be colourful, beautiful even. It had to be flexible, inspire and motivate me and be aimed at fresh entrepreneurs trying to juggle a shed load of things.
I'm delighted that I have discovered the brilliant Life is crafted planners by Arienne Gorlesh. They are beautiful, can help you focus on the big picture whilst also crafting your daily life and help you create actionable and inspiring goals.
I write everything there. All those arty appointments, the workshops I run, my social media strategy, a list of photos to upload each day, ongoing painting projects, commissions...you name it, it's in the filofax, just like it was in the 80s!
In addition I've printed out pages from Jennifer Lee's brilliant Right brain business plan. I have a huge RBBP on my wall, but I have some key pages included in my planner so that I can keep developing and growing my business organically.
Just to make things super pretty I also bought myself some pretty dividers from Atelier Days on Etsy. They are gorgeous, properly laminated and will stay beautiful for a long time.
So what have I learned from all this.
I love technology, but only in its place. I can't shake my stationary habit, I love having paper to write on, flick through and muse over.
Is it really surprising for an artist to be this way?
And if it's working? Then surely it's right.
Wherever you live, artists will compare the lack of arts in their area to a much more an arty place, and secretly wish they lived in the much more arty place. And if you're an artist in an arty place you'll wish you were somewhere where there was no competition whatsoever and you were the only artist in the village!
Actually us artists are often quite a positive bunch, but sometimes it's just nice to blame where you are for a lack of sales or a lack of action.
The thing is, I rather like living in Salisbury and the arts scene is rather good, and will get better and better the more people join in with it as artists, crafters, makers and visitors.
Here is my run down of where to see some art and where to create it.
Once every two years Plain Arts Salisbury hosts Salisbury art trail. That event alone has over 100 artists taking part all across the city and it's rather marvellous. The trail was in October last year, so it's not an art trail year this year, but there are still plenty of reasons to join Plain arts if you're an artist or want to find out more about the Salisbury arts scene. And there's a bargain to be had right now...
Many of the Plain artists exhibit in places that aren't galleries, and that's brilliant! The Medical centre on Wilton road host seasonal exhibitions, usually with about six artists each time. How marvellous it is, when you visit the doctor or the dentist, and you're greeted with works of art in the waiting room and down the corridors. Boston tea party, and Waterstones both host monthly exhibitions for local artists to showcase their work. The work in all of these places is for sale, but actually it's about getting art into public places and getting people to see it and love it.
There are some lovely galleries too, small ones like The Yard and Graham Oliver gallery which are well worth a visit. There is also New Red Studios; another gem of a gallery where boundaries are being pushed, questions and ideas being challenged in the context of art practice. Along with the much larger Fisherton Mill gallery, which is so welcoming and you'll find incredible diversity in the types of visual arts produced there. It's one of those places you return to again and again as there's always something wonderful to see.
Salisbury arts centre has regular professional exhibitions and some wonderful workshops to get involved in. Currently in the main exhibition space is Walking...Landscape...Memory. And there's the ever popular Dr sktechys, life drawing with a twist, on the last Wednesday of every month.
Studio 53 is a cracking studio gallery, it's tucked away in George street, but a treat awaits you when you find it. Their next exhibition is Suspended form and it opens on Friday 5th Feb. They have life drawing classes on Thursdays.
Salisbury Museum is a hidden gem. Set in the picturesque Cathedral close, it's easily missed, but my goodness there are some incredible exhibitions there. Last Autumn they had a wonderful Turner exhibition and some fascinating talks and workshops alongside it. The museum has just had a Hinchcliffe exhibition and on Jan 30th the John Craxton exhibition begins. It's worth checking out their website too, as in addition to their exhibitions there are usually accompanying workshops and talks from local artists and curators. I've done many painting workshops at the museum and I love doing them, in addition printmaker Sally Firino and sculptor Charlotte Morton, also feature on the museum's list of artists. The museum also does a young curators club one Saturday in every month, it's free and great fun.
Salisbury craft and heritage fair is in September and hosts beautiful work from local and national artists on the Cathedral lawns. The quality of work is extraordinary and good value as you are buying directly form the artist or crafts person; start saving and treat yourself to something beautiful.
So, I'm rather happy about being an artist living and working in Salisbury. At the risk of paraphrasing Richard Curtis, "Art is all around us"
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