This weekend, the gallery started to look much better. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel now. Still got little bits to tidy up but I think it will be an ongoing process of change due to the nature of the project. The flooring arrives today so hold thumbs that all this will be correct and that I will be on schedule for Saturdays big open day, which will go ahead no matter what….floor or no floor. I am off to do a little bit of shopping today and might spoil myself with a lovely coffee somewhere quaint. Timmy the gallery dog was not impressed this weekend with our treasure that we found while tidying up this weekend. We laughed , he did not.
The building of the Frith Dimension Gallery is coming along nicely. The walls were built on Sunday by my husband and I. I was hoping to get another half wall made tonight but I am exhausted so best I have a good sleep and get stuck into it tomorrow. Last night I cut the skirting boards but I cant fit them until I have the new carpets tiles. From this point on it is about making the gallery look pretty…. this is the fun part. Just a week and a bit till my open day on the 3rd of November from 10am till 4pm. My exhibition called ‘One year of progress and beyond’ will be on show. Keeping it very simple , I am serving just tea and coffee and if I have time some homemade biscuits. Please pop down to the gallery if you have been following this post.
19 Oct 2018
About two weeks to go before the planned opening which I will confirm as soon as possible. Moving the mount cutter was a big success and a huge relief. The gallery area is now empty and waiting for new walls to be built. These walls will separate off my studio. Once all the walls are in, it will really start coming together. So, this week has still seen a lot of dismantling. Can’t wait to start the next phase of putting together.
I am having a little bit of fun today, I am painting a mural. My little guilty pleasure the gallery is going to have a mural albeit a small one. Timmy is starting to get bored now in the shop when he comes in as he has hidden all the puglets toys and they are not playing the game and finding them. He thought he had found the perfect box as a bed but unfortunately he is a lot bigger than a pug.
12 October 2018
About two weeks ago I decided to rent some space at The Picture Framing Shop in Chandlers Ford to start a gallery. The shop needs to remain open due to their ever-growing schedule of framing jobs. So, this gallery needs to develop and emerge around the customers. We are also on a very tight schedule as the shop gets very busy at Christmas time and so work really needs to be finished by November. Products have had to be moved around the shop to make room for this massive project. Downstairs moved to upstairs, Upstairs moved to downstairs and we thought our heads were going to explode . So for a couple of weeks we have been in chaos constantly questioning why we started.
But now that areas are being sorted and we see the results, the desire to push on gets stronger. Today painting began. Again, we can only do it one wall at a time, because it has to be tidied for the next day’s business. Tomorrow we move the mount cutter. This is a huge and very important job as it is one of the shops most important pieces of machinery.
Timmy, the gallery spaniel got paint on his nose and Moomin’s, (one of the shop’s pugs) little curly tail managed to get painted too.
So this is me having a rant. It has always been a little bit of a battle to juggle home life and art. But right now I have had enough. If it is not one thing it is another. Everything just seems to be more important than me getting to my studio.
My time is flexible yes but running your own business means that you have to work harder and longer hours. Being an artist is running a business. It is not some airy fairy career that means you can be stoned all night. Get up in the afternoon and waft into your studio. Here you throw some paint on your canvas call the ‘painting ‘ some, intellectual but verging on the bizarre, name. You then bumble into a hand-painted VW Beetle to meet some friends for coffee where you string together reams of adjectives to make incomprehensible sentences. All the while your friends nod intellectually.This is not art. Art is about the synthesis of philosophy , sociology, religion, politics, mathematics, science, anatomy, and every other subject depending on the artist’s research and culminating in an artistic expression. And all of this is completely depended on your marketing skills.
I don’t have a boss telling me what to do for that day. I have to be self motivate. I have to think up what I want to do next and then research that. This research can take days. I have to then get in the materials and then start the art piece. If I am interrupted in this process or have to take some time off, the ideas can sometimes pass me by. Some times you can loose the expression of what you are trying to say completely. So I start the process again, but doing this over and over can amount to nothing but ideas. And never get to an artistic expression of any kind. Frustration!
I am harbouring this frustration because I love my art but I also love my family and friends too. I have put 20 years into building my home. I am not about to throw all this away and suddenly not care about them all. That would be a form of rejection and that can lead to many problems not only for my kids and my husband but also for society in general. If you have a visit from a friend or a family member ‘ am I to say no I don’t want to see you’ . If I have a friend who is going through a hard time. Am I to tell that friend to make an appointment, perhaps i will deal with their problems the week after next. The boiler breaks should we freeze because my painting is nearing completion.
A child gets sick, no one is better than the mum no matter what age the child. A phone call from a friend you have not seen in ages. How about the naughty dog who keeps getting into trouble. Some would say train him. Training takes time! I also have to squeeze some exercise into this schedule not to mention the normal cooking, cleaning, dog walking, mums taxi, social media, and the part time job
I have made a sculpture called Suspend which deals with this issue. It is about when you have to hang up the things that you love while you are expected to do something else. It is as if you have interchangeable hearts. The bags represent the need to try to cover or hide the emotion but behind the facade you are still raw and bleeding.
‘There has got to be a line drawn somewhere.’
You see these issues are always going to be there. They are the circumstances. You cannot change the circumstances but you can change your attitude towards the circumstances. There is always going to be a person on the end of the phone- I love my friends and I need them. I would never dare not help one of my children with a problem-I love them and I am proud of every development and every achievement. I love spending time with my husband- he makes me laugh and he makes me feel special.
My art adds value to my life but my family and friends add meaning to my art.
Crista Cloutier in her course ‘The Working Artist’ said ‘ Don’t make excuses for who you are. Be who you are’
And so I am the friend at the end of the phone, I am the mum who makes sure her kids are ok, I am the wife who loves her husband, the child who adores her parents, the daughter in law who loves her in-laws, and the owner of the naughtiest dog in world in spite of all the training.
And my art, well it shows it. It shows the frustration. It shows the hard work. It shows the perpetual start and stop. It shows real life. Instead of blaming, I am going to accept it. Ranting and raving is not working. I am going to change my attitude and try accepting. Personal success comes from within. And I am judging my success on external success. In other words what others think success is. Money, time sheets, quantity of product, this is not what drives me. Communication is what drives me. Communication through art. I at long last understand, that is why I make art!
Isn’t it true once a mother always a mother. However you get to a point where your motherly duties start to become less essential and you start to feel a bit redundant. Children start to put more importance on friends and careers. You become a taxi driver and then they get their licenses or move out and you even lose that privilege.
Everyday you are bombarded with visual images of skinny young creatures wearing next to nothing. You know you want to be stylish and wear clothes straight from the runway but this abused body is never going to pull that off. The disappointing feeling of wearing ‘mumsy’ clothes is overwhelming. I never thought I would be caught wearing the stuff I have found in my wardrobe. Either the budget did not extend to buy beautiful clothes or you did not have the time to go shopping in places which suits your style. Shopping?… when you have a football match and a hockey match on same day in two different directions. God what is shopping? So slowly we descend into frump and where does this leave you. It leaves you looking in mirror at a person you do not recognise. A person with no personal meaning. A person who does not think about herself. A person who has decorated her house according to budgets and family restrictions . A person who does not know what she likes to do with her time. Bloody hell what is time? I don’t even know what holidays I like. So coming back from this hole it is time for me to shine my little light or sparkle like I used to but in a mature meaningful way. or should i shine a great big spot light saying,”Here I am”
Going back to my younger years for inspiration was no help because I cant play hockey anymore. I cant wear those skimpy little clothes anymore. I don’t want to go to local festivals and sit in a field filled with mud and drunken hippies. I don’t want to go to raves and dance all night on crocky knees which means I wont walk the rest of the week.
So I start to make some moves on getting a career back. I can paint surely that is not too difficult to get up and running. So much has changed and I haven’t a clue who I am except that i am a mother. So this is a blog to document the emergence of a woman into an artists life that has moved on into technology, social media marketing, networking, curating, production, fulfilment, public engagement… and that is besides creating the work itself. Artists work really hard and never switch off because we live our jobs. We are expected to run our practice like a business and if you don’t have the money to pay someone to do it you learn how to do it yourself. And why do i work these long relentless hours.. because it ignites a fire in my life.
I don’t resent being a mother. In actual fact I loved being a mother so much that I disappeared into it. I don’t resent having a house that shows their finger prints. I don’t resent painting pictures with my kids and using washable paint instead of oils. I loved going to football, tennis, cricket, hockey, swimming, ballet… I loved listening to my daughter sing. I loved watching my son build lego. I would never change these years but now I feel out of touch. Life has changed, art has changed and most of all I have changed. I hope to discover me through my art and document this discovery of this exciting and crucial moment. This is to me…coming back.
To see this painting and other paintings use the link
Today I start to write a journal on the life of an artist. I want to document it so that my life feels real. As an artist nothing really feels real in terms of what value society puts on life.It is difficult to separate yourself from these opinions which are reinforced by media in so many ways. Life seems to be driven by the accumulation of money. As much as I would like to have money, it is not my driving force to work. I don’t work for anyone so I have no one cracking the whip so to speak either.
I work so that my art is recognised for the intention of which it was made. When you are working within the realms of social media this intention gets lost in the cut-throat world of marketing and business and in the shear masses of artwork out there. Every artist is trying to find a small space in which to shine and here it is so easy to get lost.
Yesterday I asked a student dancer to describe her day to me. It was mapped out so easily from lectures to practises that incorporated her passion for dancing for a good 8 hours of the day. I realised my day can so easily be lost in the many responsibilities I have. I try to give it a routine so that I don’t spend a disproportionate amount of time on things that are not important to my art.
At the moment I have so many family and work related commitments that I am battling to get into my studio. Everything seems so important …which it is. But as an artist if I don’t work, I don’t achieve my goal and then I don’t have the self worth that keeps me alive. My life becomes less than real. Days turn into weeks and I become more and more frustrated and eventually depression sets in. The antidote is to work. To find that space in my head where passion lives. If I am not in this space my life becomes nothing. For me this is the scariest place to be. This is my greatest fear.
I held my exhibition at the Courthouse in Eastleigh on the 18 September 2015. It was a huge success. It was great to see all my friends and family. Big thanks to Joe North who filmed it for me.
1200 mm x 2480 mm
The triptych is completed in acrylic, oil and charcoal. This work is about the difficulties of trying to move forward in life while others look over your shoulder ready to pounce and destroy anything that is good or does not fit the perfect box. It seems that the more you wriggle or the more passion you have the closer and the more vicious they become. They never seem to come alone but always in a pack gaining momentum from each other. Some are malicious but some are just onlookers but never the less part of the pack.
150 cm x 100 cm
This painting is once again about the rebirth of art I have chosen a powerful icon which is the horse and whimsically patched it together with different piece of fabric which all portrays different aspects of my life. I have painted the background with my hands which makes me feel part of the painting but does not enable any precious feelings which is then reiterated in the immediacy of the palette knife. I tightened it up with some brush work and glazes as a final layer. Have a look in Painting 2015 for other works from this period.