What is an art trail?
It is a great way to indulge your love of all things artistic, handmade and real. Whether you are exploring your own creative spirit, collecting art or starting your adventure into the creative and visual arts in Salisbury. There are venues all through the town centre, and further afield, which are open to the public from 2nd June-17th June.
Join our artists tribe!
I am a member of various different artistic organisations but without doubt my favourite is Plain Arts Salisbury.
Firstly it's my local organisation and it's always good to be able to network with like-minded folks around you.
Plain Arts runs two year membership scheme and we are currently at the start of our next two-years. And I thought I'd use this week's blog as an opportunity to tell you all about it.
I joined Plain arts back in 2009 when I moved to Salisbury. Despite being born in Salisbury I hadn't lived here for over 20 years. When I joined I was still a full-time teacher, and whilst I took my art seriously it wasn't my job and was not the way I paid my bills! Now however I'm a full-time artist and I'm still a member of the same organisation because it gives artists opportunities in the Salisbury area regardless of whether they are full-time or not.
Let me explain; probably the most famous part of Plain Arts is the Art Trail where usually around 100 venues and 150 artists participate in an amazing art trail for a couple of weeks. The trail will be running around this time next year... so what's the point in joining before then?
Well there are loads of opportunities that if you're even slightly artistically inclined you should join up.
Plain Arts offers loads of exhibition opportunities you can exhibit in a variety of public spaces like Wilton Road Medical Centre, Five rivers leisure centre, Boston tea party, and Waterstones. All of these are free exhibition spaces that don't take any commission. It's really good for any artist to have an opportunity to prepare for a solo exhibition no matter how small, to curate their own work and have experience of hanging their work. Sales might be slow at first but oddly enough my previous two exhibitions in these spaces have resulted in sales of prints, originals, and big commissions. Getting the word out there can sometimes be a slow burn but it's definitely worth it. If you're scared of mounting your first exhibition there are plenty of folks that will help you though. Its a really positive experience.
In addition there is Plain Arts Summer open exhibition, the deadline is fast approaching. The Summer exhibition is held in Salisbury library and has a really good following already.
This year Plain Arts have got some brand-new opportunities that we've never done before. There is an opportunity to exhibit in Saintes our twin town in France - thus making you an international artist! There will also be an opportunity to create work for an exhibition at Arrundels in the cathedral close. I was lucky enough to visit Arrundels a couple of months ago and was stunned by the exciting art collection there; enough to inspire any budding artist.
We have introduced talks and discussions about how to sell, present and develop your work too.
You can even get a discount in the beautiful independent art shop Noble art supplies when you're a member of Plain arts.
This September there is Plain Arts annual event "Paint off"! A great day where adults and children of all ages can come along and paint. It's always a really enjoyable day. It's in the Cathedral cloisters - what a joy and privilege to paint there. It's followed by Salisbury's Craft and Heritage festival, in which , Plain Arts artists are an active ingredient.
Over the past few years I have learned so much from this fantastic creative community. I've developed my work and my confidence and and now I am a happy, professional artist, running my own business.
So go on, join up today and let the artist within thrive.
Find out about Plain arts here.
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"
800 years ago today, the Magna Carta was signed at Runnymede.
In Salisbury (and in Lincoln) there is a Barons trail.
25 individually designed and painted Barons have been placed around the city, and what a magnificent sight it is.
Salisbury proudly boasts that is has the best preserved copy of the only four Magna Carta left in existence.
The Barons Charter trail is the brainchild of the Trussell trust. - "The discontented Barons of medieval England created a charter that attempted to impose laws on King John to limit his power, greed and authority. The Great Charter of 1215 is the most celebrated document in English history and forms the foundation of liberty and the heart of the process that led to the rule of constitutional law"
The 25 Barons around Salisbury not only celebrate the 25 Barons responsible for the Magna Carta, but also celebrate the city itself, it's a celebration of Art and it gives people an opportunity to walk around this beautiful little city, and reflect on what the Magna Carta means to us today. It's fantastic to celebrate our heritage and history in such a positive, accessible way. Every single Baron is in a public place and can be seen for free. How marvellous.
My journey began along with the other artists in November last year, when we submitted our designs.
In March I was delighted to discover that my design had been accepted and I met my Baron for the first time.
My design is based on the concept of a stained glass window. My dissertation was on the Prisoners of conscience window in the Cathedral, and the main piece of my degree show (over 20 years ago now) was a modern stained glass window. I'm now an oil painter, but there was something pleasing about going back to stained glass design when creating a piece of public art for Salisbury.
The most extraordinary thing about the Baron's is their size and shape, you can be told something is 160cm high all you like, but until you see them you don't realise how chunky these fellows are!
Incidently they are made from a mixture of Class II fire-retardant laminating resin and chopped roving fibreglass over an initial brushed-on layer of polyester gel coat.
Some artists started with underpainting and gradually became more detailed. I began at the top, with various shade of blue.
Each panel of blue needed more layers than I originally thought. I had the extra issue of working in acrylic paint. Acrylic is a wonderfully versatile medium, hard wearing and fast drying, but I'm used to working in oil paint and it took some getting used to.
As I started adding more colour and creating my "glass" I then began painting the black lines representing the lead in a stained glass window. Again, I had enormously underestimated the task. The mouldings of the Baron, which meant is was very difficult to get a "clean line". After a time I got used to it and the Baron started to take on the stand glass form I wanted.
I was working in a public space in the Cross keys, with fellow artists Tom Ridout and James Kent. It was great having company to work with, and we all helped each other along, whenever one of us doubted ourselves. we also had the privilege of seeing the other Barons arrive from artists studios elsewhere as they were completed.
Once the Baron was complete and dry there was the serious job of varnishing. Each baron required at least three coats of outdoor, weatherproof, UV protective varnish. I loved watching my baron become a glossy as glass.
My completed Baron has:
461 flowers, blooms and blossoms,
and 1 bumble bee
So go and do the trail.
Go and see all 25 Barons. They are all so different that there is bound to be something that you like. Take the whole family, debate your favourite, and learn about the Magna Carta along the way!
As you make your way round you can tweet pictures with #BaronSelfie
You can download a map - http://www.thebaronscharter.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/barons-charter-trail-map-web.pdf
Or you can get an app for your iPhone http://www.thebaronscharter.org.uk/trail/
Or you can get a paper copy from Tourist Information Centre, Salisbury Cathedral, Arts Centre, Fisherton Mill, Waitrose, Guildhall and many others.
The trail runs from 12th June - September 6th so it's great day out during the Summer holidays and there are plenty of places for a picnic along the way, or you could stop off at one of Salisbury's many pubs, cafes or restaurants. Your trail could begin (or end) with a visit to the Magna Carta itself in Salisbury Cathedral.
The Barons will be in Salisbury Cathedral all together for just one week at end of September.
On October 1st they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Trussell trust. Find your favourite and save up to bid for it in October.
Creative people have creative blocks from time to time. And I believe that all people, even the "non-creative" ones can still have creativity in their life in some form or other.
I think it's a genuine need to be creative, to be inspired during our working (and playing) lives. There are a loads of ways we can get inspired.
I found today, my own creative juices weren't flowing very much. I needed to find my own inspiration in order to be more productive in my day.
I found myself being reminded of Rodin's quotation " The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble and to live"
What would make me feel alive today?
The first thing for me was to get outside. Even on a wet September day there is so much to get excited about out there. The berries are coming out, the leaves are changing colour and I found a lovely rosebud...perhaps the last for this season.
The light has changed too. It's dusk at 7.15pm today, and will be dark by about 8pm. That might be a bit depressing, as we all love our long summer days. But the change itself is so very interesting. And interesting is inspiring!
In any event being outside, if only for a short time is good for us, it just is! And even without strong sunshine it helps us embed our circadian rhythms, and thus enable us to have better, restful sleep.
If it's really tipping down outside, and there are days when even the most outdoorsy, might resist venturing out, there's inspiration to be found elsewhere.
As a rule I try to avoid women's magazines and they tend not be inspirational, and make me feel rubbish! But I've found a lovely one recently. Its called Daphne's Diary and it's a little gem (I'm not affiliated with this magazine, this is genuinely my opinion). It has lots of little things in there about art, craft, interiors, gardens and workshops. It is so beautifully designed that each page can give you inspiration. I found myself reading an interesting article on fans. Fans. I didn't think I'd do that today!
You can also turn to other people for creative inspiration and support. I love delivering my classes teaching people how to Oil paint, http://www.louiselutonart.com/classes and there are so many opportunities to learn something new or develop your skills. In my locality Salisbury arts centre is the go-to place for creative classes, everything from feltmaking to filmmaking! http://www.salisburyartscentre.co.uk/whats-on/workshop-courses.aspx
When I came back into the studio from my little sojourn outside I played about with some ink and then did a line drawing over the top of it. It's really the painters equivalent of a doodle, but the point is it got me going. Made me feel alive. Helped me get on with my creative day.
Sometimes the very best way to get creative is to just get on with it! Whatever your creative release might be: drawing, painting, writing, sewing, making, baking....sometimes you just need to make a start without worrying about the finish.
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