Pure Painting

PurepaintingI have just learned that I have had the latest painting from my Relationship Series accepted for inclusion in the Pure Painting exhibition – a show organised by Brent Artist Resource.

Brent Artist’s Resource is an artist led voluntary organization founded in 1984. We aim to: serve the cultural needs of the people of Brent and North West London, and provide a supportive environment for artists in their professional development.

Relationships Series - beth and Nina No.3
Relationships Series – beth and Nina No.3

Sold paintings

I sold four paintings in January via New Blood Art, which took me by surprise, as I always considered January a quiet month for sales. I had informed Sarah Ryan, the site’s owner and founder, that I wanted to withdraw my paintings for sale from her site. I don’t have a problem with her site – I just didn’t think it was the right place to promote my work at the moment, as I have been finding more opportunities to show my work in traditional galleries (edit: like The South Galleries, who have just told me that they sold one of my Relationships Series last week). She was very understanding, and just suggested that she inform her client base via a newsletter of my intentions. The result was that I very quickly received confirmation of these four sales. Ordinarily, I’d be absolutely delighted, but my only regret is that three of these paintings have never been exhibited anywhere. The painting below, “Woman Bathing”, had only just been finished.

woman bathing, oil on linenI had been planning on showing all three of these pieces in the next few months, so now I’ll be denied that particular sense of satisfaction; when my work is on the wall in some gallery, and the occasional visitor might actually spend a minute or two to have a look at it. Oh well. I can only hope that they are on the wall in someone’s home, and not being kept in storage.

 

Multimedia installation at WOA, call for artists

becky walker multimedia art installation
during installation

Last week I paid a visit to my local art gallery, WOA, to see local Southend artist Becky Walker putting up her multimedia art installation. It seemed to involve the use of a couple of projectors, what seemed to be miles and miles of clingfilm,  and possibly beer cans.

I thought it brave of the gallery to give free rein to the artist to put on this event, which included rearranging the displayed artwork to suit her installation. The gallery was open all the time, and it was interesting viewing the reaction of a couple of visitors while I was there. This particular gallery puts a great importance on the active involvement of their participating artists; it positively encourages it. As such it is a great opportunity for emerging and local artists. Especially those who work in the multimedia field, who might otherwise have difficulty finding suitable venues for their offerings. And to be able to put on a show in an open gallery along quite a busy road.., well, that’s priceless.

The WOA gallery currently has openings for artists. The fee they charge, £20/month, really only covers costs, and as I said, they are always looking to host events. Any enquiries should be directed to Jon or Carra at the address below. More details can be found on their website.

You can visit the WOA gallery @
28 Hamlet Court Rd, Westcliff-on-Sea,
Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK, SS0 7LX,
info@westcliffonart.com

becky walker art installation
becky walker art installation, and those beer cans again
bw3
One of the projectors broke down on the evening, but I don’t think it spoiled anyone’s enjoyment. Quite a few people attended, and despite the technical problem, I would say the evening was a success.

 

WOA December Exhibition

I have just finished hanging my work at WOA (WestcliffOnArt) gallery for their December show. I did enjoy the fact that it’s only five minutes walk from my house, so I didn’t have to struggle on trains and underground to get my work to it’s destination. I’m pleased with how the arrangement has worked out. I don’t often get a chance to exhibit my portraits, and I thought it quite apt that the portraits I have on show are of the three models who have worked with me on most of my recent paintings.

Jon adding labels to my work at WOA gallery
Jon adding labels to my work at WOA gallery

I’m looking forward to the “Opening” for the show, which will be on Saturday the 6th December. Their Facebook event page says:
Cordially requesting your esteemed attendance for a night of artistic appreciation – more than seven new artists to the gallery showing work – violin, guitar of varying qualities, and some wine.”
Not sure if I should be more alarmed by the “guitar of varying qualities” or the mention of “some wine”. The gallery owners/curators, Jon and Carra, seem nice people to do business with. Their business model seems very fair and reasonable to the artist; quite unlike so many of the “opportunities for artists” out there, which are no more than schemes to exploit and fleece artists.

Gallery information:

28 Hamlet Court Rd
Westcliff-on-Sea
Southend-on-Sea
Essex, UK
SS0 7LX
info@westcliffonart.com

Opening Hours:
Mon: By Appointment
Tue: 10am – 7.30pm
Wed: 10am – 7.30pm
Thu: 10am – 7.30pm
Fri: 10am – 7.30pm
Sat: 10am – 7.30pm
Sun: 10am – 7.30pm

Westcliff on Art, December Exhibition

I have just arranged to have one of the walls in my local gallery, WestcliffOnArt, for their December show. The gallery hasn’t been open for long. It looks like a nice, inviting space, and I’m happy with the wall I have been allocated. They also use the gallery for workshops, which I always think is a nice idea. Art galleries have a terrible  reputation for being elitist, uninviting places, so It’s nice when you come across galleries that are opening their doors to the public.

WestcliffOnArt, Hamlet Court Road
WestcliffOnArt, Hamlet Court Road

The gallery website can be found here, and their Facebook page is here.

Sweet’Art Guilty Pleasures

I have just received notification that my piece “Relationships Series – Kirsty and Beth” has been accepted for the Sweet’Art show “Guilty Pleasures”, to be held at Juno, in Shoreditch, from the 6th November.

Relationships Series - Kirsty and Beth, selected for the Sweet'Art show Guilty Pleasures, held at popular bar and gallery venue Juno, in Shoeditch
Relationships Series – Kirsty and Beth

It poses an interesting dilemma, as the private view happens to be on the 6th November – the same night as the official opening of Street Corner Gallery (edit: re-named Project Space). Well, it’s a nice problem to have.

SweetArt_Scroll_BGWH_email

Founded in 2012, Sweet ’Art’s mission is dedicated to the promotion of artists at all levels of their career through the delivery of thought provoking, engaging and fun site specific exhibitions and live art events with a difference.

Alongside the planned program of events, artists are invited to join Sweet ’Art and be part of a growing network of artists enabling them to showcase work online and be in touch with other members of Sweet ‘Art.

Sweet ‘Art is dedicated to the promotion of art that is thought provoking, intelligent and challenging in its consideration of both aesthetic and concept.

Sweet ‘Art embraces all disciplines of work and encourages artists in a process of exploration, challenge and debate when considering their own practice and that of others.

Sold a painting on New Blood Art

I recently sold this piece on New Blood Art. It was painted in 2007, but I have only shown it once briefly, in a recent group show (Stomach#2, at Hoxton Arches). It’s a favourite of mine, and it’s nice to know that it will finally be on display somewhere.

Relationships Series No. 1
Relationships Series No. 1

Newbloodart.com was founded in in 2004, and is an online contemporary art gallery that sells original work by selected emerging artists. I have only had my work on there for a short while, and any difficulties I have had with this site are, funnily enough, a direct result of it’s main strength. Although new artists are advised to “take ownership” of their portfolio page, and keep their bios and statements up to date; actually trying to do this can turn into a frustrating process. Every aspect of the site is curated by the owner, Sarah Ryan. She has to approve every addition or amendment to your portfolio details, and selects which of the work submitted is shown.
A quick look at the website will demonstrate why this is a good thing. The artwork on offer is generally of a good standard, and artist’s details are presented clearly, and in a consistent manner, making it easier to browse through the portfolios. I might have found it difficult adapting to no longer having full control over how my work is presented, but that will be the case with any artist/gallery relationship, and the same applies to my relationship with The South Galleries, a bricks-and-mortar gallery. New Blood Art has a proven track record, and clearly has more experience and expertise than myself at finding buyers for Art……. Still, it is hard not being in control.

 

Sick and Evil

relationships series - beth and nina. oil on linen, 80cmx80cm, study of two female nudes
Just completed in time for Cultivate Evolved

Well, that’s how one of my paintings has been described. Sean Worrall, gallerist and artist at Cultivate Evolved, had to endure an early morning tirade by an angry visitor as he opened up shop on Thursday. This is what Sean posted on his Facebook page:

Well it would appear that Peter’s fine painting up there is “sick” and “evil” painting I (for it was me, Sean, who had to listen to the rather forceful abuse when I opened the gallery this morning) am an “evil sick satanic bringer of bad things” and I should be ashamed to bringing such unchristian lesbian sickness to the eyes of good people etc etc…. Do like a reaction, but he’s not really been paying attention if that one offends him so much….

As an artist who specialises in painting the human figure, I have occasionally encountered some conservatism towards the subject of the nude, and it has limited my opportunities to show my work at some venues. I have also encountered the odd wry smile or grin when I’ve observed people viewing my work, but I have never encountered an angry reaction to my work. In an age when the mass media is filled with sexualised imagery, I find it genuinely surprising that this painting could provoke such a response. Just glad I wasn’t there.

Exhibition Opportunities

cultivate evolved first thursday
cultivate evolved first thursday

I’ve had a nice run lately where I’ve had paintings hanging on a wall somewhere or other, all through the year. Although it’s nice – in fact, it is the main reason I paint – every exhibition opportunity costs money, even if it’s just transporting the paintings to and from the gallery. With maxed out credit cards, I’ve started to think more about which opportunities offer value for money. I don’t see much point in going to a lot of trouble and expense to get your work shown, unless it’s actually going to be seen by people interested in Art.

 

artgemini prize
ArtGemini Prize, the cocktail bar!

Competitions and Open exhibitions. I’d grown a bit tired of these, with their inconsistent judging, over-crowded opening nights and awful cheap wine. I used to go to the openings in the vain hope that I’d have a chance to meet collectors and curators, but the only people I would find were either other artists, or friends of artists, or friends of friends of artists. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the ArtGemini Prize early this year. Apart from having a nice selection of work, it was in a very nice gallery (Rebecca Hossack Gallery, Conway St., London), and the opening was a bit classier than the usual affair. Great selection of cocktails, no cheap wine, and some interesting introductory speeches before the prize giving. I’ll probably enter this one again, if I have any paintings available.

Art Society open exhibitions. I’m decidedly wary of these. If you’ve ever submitted work to one of the many such exhibitions hosted by the Mall Galleries, and queued up outside with all the other hopeful artists, you will realise just how many entries these exhibitions attract. What they don’t make so clear, before they take your entry fee, is that most of the selected work will in fact be by society members, not leaving many spaces available for all those fee paying hopefuls. Just seems like a way for them to fund their little exhibitions.
Having said all that, I was quite impressed by what I saw of the Chelsea Art Society Open. I submitted a painting to their show earlier this year, and had it turned down. If I’d done my research, I would have realised it just wasn’t suitable for that show. I’d originally wanted to enter the show as I remember working in the venue, the Old Town Hall, in my previous life as a painter/decorator. It’s a lovely building, nicely situated along the Kings Road. The entry fee is reasonable, and I like the way judging is completed the same day as the paintings are delivered, and so you don’t have to wait an age before you can collect unselected work. When I collected my unwanted piece, it was the Society President, Luke Martineau, who took me to my painting. He offered some really good advice, and was very helpful. I’ll definitely try to enter this one again. They seem genuinely interested in inviting other artists to exhibit with them, rather than just make a profit out of them, which sadly is the norm.

Group exhibitions. I’ve been involved in a number of these. There was the After Adam show a few years back, which was a nicely curated selection of paintings by three artists whose main focus was the human form. Unfortunately it was in a wholly inappropriate venue, and it’s only real value was as another line on my cv, which is a shame. I’ve been involved in a couple of more lively events this year. Stomach#2, Hoxton Arches, which was a one night show, and Open Wall at Façade, London Wall. Both were great opportunities to meet other artists – not that I’m any good at the networking thing. Sometimes it’s just nice to meet other artists, and learn they’re having the same problems you are!facade
More recently I’ve had the opportunity to show my work at Cultivate Evolved, an artist run space on Vyner Street, London. It was quite a revelation going up there on a First Thursday, and seeing a steady procession of people walking through the small gallery all evening. Having worked hard to get my work shown in a number of venues this year, only for my handiwork to hang on the wall of an empty gallery for two or more weeks, unnoticed by anyone, it was a real joy to see so many people casting their eyes over my efforts. No matter that most of them walk straight past. What does matter, and is what makes it all worthwhile – the struggling without money, as it’s all spent on paints, canvases and models fees – the sleeping on a sofa for months, as I’ve had to rent my bedroom out to a lodger in order to pay the bills – the constant struggle with my Art – what makes it all worth while is when someone takes the trouble to stand in front of one of my paintings, and really takes the time to look at it.

August First Thursday at Cultivate Evolved
August First Thursday at Cultivate Evolved. This is what makes it worthwhile.