I've just delivered some brand new pieces to the Doll's house in Fordingbridge and I couldn't believe my eyes when I got there.
Back when Trivial Pursuit was fashionable and just about everyone was playing it I always plumped for the brown piece of cheese first!
Art and literature was my specialism, so it seems only appropriate to refer to Art and literature when thinking about my forthcoming exhibition at Waterstones in Salisbury.
My planning and preparation for this kind of exhibition is very similar to that of an art fair (more on that story later). In addition to preparing and packing your paintings I always create a hanging plan. It saves a lot of mucking about when you get to the venue. Sometimes I stray a little from the hanging plan and smaller pictures might find their way into gaps, or a centrepiece might find its way onto a different part of the stairwell, but broadly speaking I stick to the original plan, carefully choosing pieces that sit well together. You want to give each piece enough room to breathe, whilst still using wall space effectively so that you get to show off as much of your work as you can.
In addition I have fully stocked tool box, hooks, a stepladder, a drill, a screwdriver all ready to hang my work in precisely the right place. I have prepared laminated artist's statements, free postcard sized flyers and business cards all available for future customers to collect my details.
Is it all worth the bother?
Well of course it is, I go back to my first paragraph Art and literature always sat rather nicely together and I love the idea of people shopping and browsing in a bookstore, selecting a novel to take home and in the process being able to see beautiful, original oil paintings produced by an artist in their locality.
It's really lovely.
So I urge you over the next month to make your way to Waterstones on the High Street in Salisbury it's really lovely to buy books, real books, and I think it's rather nice to look at some art whilst you're there.
Next week I'll be telling you about future opportunities to see my artwork as there are plenty of art fairs coming your way in April and May.
For sometime now I've been adding a touch of gold leaf to the foreground of my paintings. Not all of them. Not very much. But every now and again I like this little extra bit of business for the eye. The images below are little details of foreground using gold leaf.
The thing is with gold leaf, is that I have the devil's own work to get the damn stuff where you want it. Also, gold is one of the few metals that can "cold solder" - i.e. it will stick to itself given half a chance, and you can't unravel it like cling film. It's also rather expensive to make those kind of mistakes all the time.
Guilders cushions, that keep your equipment and gold leaf all in the same place and keep all the annoying little wafts and drafts out, are all the thing for guilders.
But I'm not a guilder, I'm a painter that wants just a touch of guilding.
So I've been experimenting with other forms of gold.
It's jolly hard to find the right shade. I want it as close to gold leaf as I can get, nothing too brassy.
After much searching I've found some gold style powder and you can mix it with oil mediums, gold size, and glaze mediums so that you can paint oil colour along side or even on top of it.
The medium I mix with the powder has an impact on it luminescence and it's colour.
After a lot of playing about...I mean serious experimentation and chemistry, I've discovered that my gold mixture makes a rather splendid background for some flowers for my daily painting project.
I posted one of Magnolia on Facebook and twitter the morning and it's already sold. Its the perfect gift for Mother's day. (I happen to have a lovely Mum who has her birthday the same week as Mother's day, so I always need an alternative to flowers planned!)
Despair not, there are four more gold pictures on my website, that went live today. Just as beautiful as the Magnolia, on gold and gorgeous. And I have a sneaking suspicion that there might be more. I absolutely love the effect.
So you've hunted the shops, you've bought some good things, but there are always a couple of people who are really hard to buy for!
If you're very unlucky those difficult people to buy for, are actually really deserving of something nice! Maybe they've always been really generous to you with their time or their gifts. And maybe they've already got everything they need! They don't collect anything, and they don't want chocolates or alcohol! Making it even more difficult to get anything worth having!
I've been doing my Christmas shopping, and being an artist I've tried to support local businesses and artisans wherever I can. It's a jolly good feeling.
I've also discovered, in the big stores, a lot of naff, pointless-Christmas-for-christmas-sake stuff out there too. There was a time when you could buy something nice and silly for pound and have a good laugh about it! Now, even the tat is expensive! So successfully getting something nice, sweet, unique, affordable and something you haven't bought for Auntie Maureen a hundred time already, can be really hard.
With this in mind, I have my miniature collection. They're really sweet, one of a kind, miniature Oil on canvas paintings. (Not prints! These are 100% hand painted) They're hung with ribbons which make them even more cute for a present.
They are also the bargain price of £35 which includes postage to any mainland UK address! Brilliant! Problem solved. Order this week to ensure you get them in time for Christmas day!
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