Thursday, 30 August 2012

Day Tripping

 Last week I did something I rarely do, and took a week off. At amazingly short notice, boyfriend also managed to get the week off. I spent most of the week clearing out cupboards, sorting out the piles of junk in my studio, whilst boyfriend tackled the messy and tricky job of lime plastering the fireplace ready for our wood burning stove. 

But we set a little time aside to head for the coast. Boyfriend loves photography, and photos are important to me for inspiration, painting subjects and of course to give my art students new things to tackle. We started with a little trip to Mistley (above), more river than sea, and more time was spent stuffing icecream than taking pictures if I am honest.

The sailing club was pretty though, and decked out for the olympics.

Then we had a whole day at the coast, starting with Walberswick, which I have not explored much previously:

 I loved the places along the estuary where you can buy fresh fish, although as a vegetarian I don't indulge, they were very picturesque.

My favorite snap was of this boat, just waiting to feature in a childrens illustration I think:

Then we realised we could actually walk across to Southwold, and never being shy of a few miles walk, we set off.

 I have it in my head to paint Southwold beach huts again soon, I did a fabulous painting years ago, and it gets top hits on every website I put it on, problem is, I didn't get it professionally scanned, and my photos are too low in resolution for giclee prints. Of course the original is sold, so this potential money spinner haunts me and has lead to my 'get everything scanned before framing' rule.

We finished off our trip with an evening walk along the front at Aldeburgh, musing on the fact that the same boats are always on the beach, and wondering if anyone ever takes them out?

We were lucky with the weather on our week off, and I am pleased I took the time out. I have become an appalling workaholic in recent months, this recession is no joke when you deal in what is essentially a luxury product, and like most people in this country I am having to run faster and faster just to stand still.

Taking stock after my week out I have a clearer, cleaner house, a tidy studio, we are well on the way to completing the fireplace, and found some lovely tiles in a reclaimation yard for the hearth and some for the kitchen, I visited a bead shop I had wanted to check out for a long time, and picked up some charity shop bargains, and made two new camisole tops on my sewing machine. Best of all though I had time to think, and boyfriend and I finally spent some time together and found time to talk about plans for the house.

There really is more to life than working!

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.