Friday, 10 August 2012

You're my butterfly...

Well it has been over a month since I last posted on my blog, and there is no excuse for my shoddy behaviour, but I will attempt to justify it anyhow...

As well as attending several art fairs and having work in several exhibitions I also had to fit in some painting for the Sudbury Summer Art Show, which I was helping to organise. Here is the Poppy painting I managed to do last minute, whereupon one of my students promptly bought it. Great, but of course, PANIC, not enough new work for the show!
 So I started an even-more-last-minute painting of the railway walk (a popular local stroll):

The exhibition itself was stress personified, 5 of us trying to organise 41 artists. I was in charge (with another lady artist) of sorting out the screens. When we ran out of the specialist hooks that hold the work on the screens two hours before the private view I could have cried. I literally ran to my framers and begged some wire, and we frantically wired the rest of the work to the screens.

The exhibition itself was a triumph in the end, and standards were definately higher than last time (we selected the artists this year). As I strolled round the private view after a quick dash home to change, I felt proud of all we had achieved.

My screen didn't look too bad either:

 In between all this exhibition stuff I have been working with my printers on having some of my paintings made into cards. In addition to this I have also been planning my first self-published illustration work. In the past I have illustrated for other people, but being an illustrator is not the dream job people imagine. It is more about unrealistic deadlines, low pay, loss of copyright and lack of artistic freedom.  So being a control freak, I figured: illustrate my own stuff, keep hold of copyright, and have total control over how it is marketed.

 And after a long wait, where I probably drove my printers to distraction with my requests for samples, changes, new ideas and general pickiness... the stuff was ready! Above are bookmarks and sticker sheets.

Then we have limited edition prints and at a lower price point, A4 posters.

I must admit I was daunted by the box of 1000 tags, all needing to be strung. Where is the teen when you need her? Answer: last heard of in London, feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square with her grandparents and on her way to Buckingham Palace.

Now that most of the contents of my bank account are winging their way to my printers I have a nervous wait, to see how well they sell. The quality is fantastic, and they look good, so I am quietly confident. But then it is probably my stupidly optimistic outlook that keeps me working as a self-employed artist in a recession.

And that lazy cat is no help. Although I love cats, I also love hygene, and in my house there is a 'no beds, no worktops' rule for cats. Everyone knows Gimlet is not allowed on the bed, and Gimlet knows this too. Usually he abides by the rules, but every now and again (just like the teen) he decides to push the boundaries to see what he can get away with.

His favorite trick is to curl up under the bed, with the appearance of being in deep, deep sleep. You prod him, no reaction, you leave the room, and WHAM, two minutes later he is on the bed feet in the air, utterly unrepentant:

 Sadly he has no shame, none at all.


  1. Hi Michele. I know exactly how you feel. I always wanted to be an illustrator, but drawing for others just isn't the creative splurge I thought it was going to be. Good luck with making and selling your own. You make some fantastic stuff and I'm sure you'll be a success. That poppy picture is WONDERFUL.

  2. Hi Michele - I love the railway walk painting. It looks very inviting! Also wish to borrow your 'stress personified' phrase as it perfectly sums up my current attempt to set up a brand new computer, that didn't even have an operating system when it arrived! (And I have a deadline as my course starts on Aug 27th!)

    I hope you'll have loads of success with your illustrating and good for you, cutting out the middle-men!

  3. Thanks Judy, don't talk to me about computers! I installed windows 7 only to find out that none of my current programs were compatable with it (thanks microsoft), so I took it off again. The illustrating is difficult, because people want more designs, but I need to shift some of the stuff first to pay for more printing :-)
    Good luck with the course, are you attending or teaching? I must catch up with your blog soon... Michele x