Sunday 11 January 2009

"Another Year Over and...."

Well, there goes another one, and, looking back, 2008 was artistically quite successful.
Apart from the usual activities, I sold six or seven paintings, landed a big commission, and spent a month tutoring Painting Holidays in France
And I found three new galleries to show my work.
The friendly and un-po-faced Seegallery in Crawshawbooth- Rossendale, Lancashire- took several paintings off my hands. These included scenes of Manchester, and a view of the 'iconic' Salford Lads Club, as featured on a Smith's album cover.
Seegallery has a bit of a rock-n-roll edge to it- we originally called in to see their Ray Lowry (cartoonist, Private Eye, NME) exhibition. Sadly, Ray had died only a few days previous to our visit, and we felt touched to be invited to leaf through huge binders full of his unframed work- hundreds of images.. our silence broken by the occasional snort of laughter and "Here, look at this one!" Prices were incredibly reasonable and we treated ourselves to a cartoon about Elvis and The Jordanaires.
PAD Gallery in Preston has also asked for work and I'm pleased with my picture of a discount carpet warehouse. This building's in a part of town which has been allowed to run down, a deliberate ploy so that the public will be relieved when it's knocked down and 'improved'! Preston has a fine record for this kind of insensitive Urban Renewal- ' the only town with a ring-road running through its centre' ( historian AJP Taylor).
The county of Devon has a more immediate beauty and visiting the 'in-laws' can now be combined with a bit of business at The Hind Street Gallery in Ottery St. Mary. Ottery's main claim is that Coleridge lived here, and I've done his portrait in my alter-ego as window painter .
For this gallery I doggedly tackled a painting of nearby Exeter Cathedral. It's a complex structure- how many saints in niches did they actually need? I drew at least 63, each one of 'em different, some with skirts, and cross-legged!
These small successes of last year are, of course, meagre pickings from the vast table that has Damien Hirst as King Henry VIII at its head, and myself as a mouse in the wainscotting- but I'm cheered, heartened and motivated and I will venture forward to see if anyone's dropping any crumbs my way!