Well you know most of the time I am pretty optimistic about things and to start with I was pretty excited about having an open studio weekend. I organised the advertising which consisted of creating an event page on Facebook, creating and printing up invitation post cards and texting anyone who I thought might be interested in attending etc.
As the weekend loomed i started to get knots in my stomach because according to FB i had 9 people saying they were attending and 14 saying they couldn't. Now you have to know I live in the middle of nowhere, 25mins drive from town and my place isn't the easiest to find. So I guess I wasn't too optimistic come Saturday morning. I converted the lounge room into a gallery space (thank god eirik was away this weekend working because if he saw how many holes i have put in the wall he would have divorced me there and then but now when i tell him how successful the weekend has been he might reconsider).
Below is how I set things out. As you came in the door i had info, cards, fridge magnets, gift certificates and Course Brochures etc (And also when people paid me and while they waited for me to wrap their artworks they had the chance to look at all of this info...smart plan).
Then I had one wall full of smaller works, masks, plexiglass paintings, an assemblage box and a few medium to larger sized canvases. Along the bottom I just layed more canvases. On the back wall I had a coffee table, offering both espresso and normal filtered coffee as well as a selection of cupcakes (which i coated with icing as they browsed the artwork- i think it is good to let people enjoy the work by themselves without you hovering over them).
In the lounge area I had a wooden table where people could sit around with their coffee and cake. In the middle of that table was a bowl full of masks, different shapes and sizes (Some rejects at discounted prices etc).
This is the bowl of masks I had sitting on the table. So as they sat their chatting and drinking their coffee and cupcakes they had the chance to look through the bowl of masks. As you can see by the before and after I sold a few faces. The doll face shaped masks proved to be most popular out of this lot.
Below are 4 of the 7 masks I sold.
So Saturday was a busy day considering I had only 9 attending. First came a group of 5 ladies, most of which I knew personally. They were so much fun, laughing chatting, drinking coffee and eating cakes oh and looking at the art. At that time an Aussie friend showed up and purchased 3 masks. Just as he was leaving another 2 showed up.
Next minutes I am busy wrapping artworks as everyone purchased more than just one item.For one brief moment i had that feeling what it must be like for super famous artists who turn up to their exhibition and completely sell out in a few hours...it was that feeling I had. I know it doesn't last forever and 99% of the year your back to selling your soul..but what a high it was and one i will hang onto for a few days;).
So that was Saturday. Sunday was much quieter with only one person coming...BUT he purchased a lot of art (In fact most of what you see below). He works for this Norwegian art society and they have this annual event. He purchased 3 large works on canvas for this event as well as an assemblage box and small plexiglass artwork for himself. He also wants me to run a workshop later this year teaching some of my techniques. All the items below sold on the Sunday!
But I want to thank the many friends who came and supported me during the weekend with art purchases and more importantly 'believing in me'.So to sum up the weekend I would have to say it has been fantastic. Has it been worth it? Hell yes! Will I do it again? Hell YES! the only thing I would do differently would be to advertise it more) And i think i will change the venue and find some old empty store or shop to host it...just for something different!!
This blog is a bit of a 'Mish Mash' of things. Hit the play button!
Abstract Landscapes Course
So this week I started developing a new abstract course which I am really excited about. It wasn't my intention to start planning a new course but it sort of just happened. I woke up one day last week and just decided it was time to start sorting through the 1000's of images of artwork I have stored on my external hard drive. So I began to sort and put images into folders and all of a sudden I just got excited at looking at some of my abstract landscape creations, I thought "MMMm I need to do this NOW". So I spent the whole day just brainstorming and writing down ideas and before long i had collected enough ideas that I could actually start putting together a new course. Not to give too much away at this early stage but a key component of the class is recycling. So YAY more about that course as it develops, I think it is going to be one of my best yet!
I am inspired by everything and nothing!
So today I was watching James Kalm's latest gallery show report and at 5:15 I saw an artwork which totally inspired me to race down to my studio and create this little artwork (see image). It is amazing how we can just see an image and be totally inspired to create, before that I wasn't even in the mood to make any art. Now I have no clue about how that particular artist created his artwork or what materials he used and in fact I don't want to know, half of the fun in trying to work out how they 'did it' is coming up with your own way of 'doing it'. But I had such fun playing today and experimenting with different effects and techniques that this 'discovery' has inspired a new series of abstracts. I absolutely LOVE pushing my own boundaries and it is nice to work with fabric because it opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Fabric can be manipulated into any shape you desire, it can be twisted and folded into creating something amazing with really no great effort. I am all about techniques and using materials which create 'big' impact. So it will be interesting to see how i can 'marry' the manipulation of fabric with textures. I don't think I 'nailed' it with this piece and while I like the contrast of both sides, I think I have 'over worked' the white side with too much texture. Maybe it would have been more successful if the white side was smooth to balance out the folds and the 'movement' of the fabric. But really I am not too worried, this piece was experimental and so I really wasn't too focused on creating a master piece. When your working a new idea the last thing you want to do is pressure yourself into creating brilliance. Creating beauty takes time, it takes making mistakes and then reflecting. You have to play and explore all options of the medium so you understand the materials you are working with! Only then can you create something great!
Just for fun!
While I was playing around with this techniques I thought there is no reason why it couldn't be adapted to work with my masks. So I have a few ideas of how I can use it to create interesting little sculptures.
Speaking of masks I am pretty happy with the colour scheme of my latest face. I painted it different shades of orange using a combination of yellow and red spray paint, then I wiped it over with that beautiful dark 'Bitumen' and let it dry. Took my citrasolv and then started wiping away the bitumen to reveal the vibrant orange underneath. But I only removed enough bitumen to really emphasize the detail. You can see the mask in the slide show above towards the end!
I am getting really excited about my new Plexiglass course starting on the 5th of next month. In fact I am surprised at how many have actually signed up for the class, considering plexiglass isn't the easiest medium to work with! But there are some great projects and I know the course is going to inspire those artists who take the course. (For full info about the course click HERE)
I can feel a sea change coming, it is rolling in like the tide, seeping into all the cracks and crevasses. Creeping over like a blanket pulled up around me on a cold winters night. There is a thunderstorm brewing outside, gathering its forces, wind chimes tingle in the breeze.
It is nothing new these changes, I have grown to accept them just as the seasons change.
Having a studio jam packed with paintings of all sorts of sizes has become some what of a burden in many ways, it weighs heavy on my mind and I am not sure it is a load I can carry much longer. It is depressing looking at years of work sitting there, doing nothing except reminding me of the countless hours spent alone. I guess that is why I have no trouble burning my paintings, in fact when I do it is a release because it is a sense of 'knowing' that they won't burden me any longer. The physical act of creating, "working in the NOW", that is the ONLY thing which makes me continue to paint. That is the orgasm, noting else. Maybe when I look at the culmination of my work together it brings the realisation of failure.
Painting is lonely and whereas I use to enjoy that loneliness and solitude, I now feel that painting doesn't bring me that same level of comfort and satisfaction. So in saying that maybe it is time to give it a rest for a bit (at least the canvas work), give myself time to reflect, to just contemplate.
So I have my open studio weekend coming up at the end of this month. I received my invitations today and I totally LOVE them, one thing I will give myself credit for is the ability to bring images together in a visually pleasing way. I think I should have been a graphic designer in truth he he he! I mean how can you not look at it and think at least 'This looks interesting, I want to go see'. Having said that, I have now come to realise that what I paint and the images I use are not so popular with a lot of people, especially in Norway (let me rephrase that...Norwegians in my area are more conservative, lots of religious people. So I guess I am not expecting to sell much art). I've been told everything from creepy, freaky, morbid, deathly, weird and bizarre. People don't like to be reminded of death and to be honest I didn't think that skeletons would scare a lot of people, one comment recently on my youtube channel " While I am a huge fan and love your approach to art, these canvases tend to turn me away. Must be because they remind me of the day of the dead art which creeps me out. Still, your techniques are worth watching as long as I don't look too closely at the death overtones ".
Isn't that interesting? Because I have never thought that the Day of the dead was creepy! I think it celebrates life and it is hugely celebrated anyway. I use skeletons in my work to remind us of our mortality and that we should make the most of our time. Is that creepy? I think the problem is understanding the artist and their thought process because if people know me then they would understand where I am coming from.
Growing up in the 80's as a teenager I was exposed to a lot of B grade horror films, because my mum use to work at a drive in cinemas and I would go out on weekends and help out in the projection room etc. I would always get mum to park the car right in the middle of the screen, put a blanket on the car bonnet and lay back on the windscreen with a drink and a hot dog watching these cheesy B grade films. For me there was a sense of comedy about them, the terrible acting, the over dramatisation, the ridiculous situations these people would get themselves into (Oh yes lets walk into an old mental asylum at midnight and see what happens). I mean how funny is that! So in saying that any images I use which could be viewed as creepy are in fact not in my perception.
So where is this blog headed? I guess I better sum it up and pull it together!
I am really keen on making masks at the moment, painting them all sorts of cool colours. I love them because I feel like they are real, they have eyes, meaning and expression in their faces. They all have their own stories and tales to tell and all though they all come from the same couple of moulds, not one is alike. Just by laying the clay into the mould in different directions creates the subtle characteristics which makes them so unique and individual.
They are mischievous, interesting and not perfect in shape or look and I like that! You could really image them being alive and in my world they are.
So I am going to be spending a lot of time making many more, adding unusual fabrics around them, objects, you name it I have a tone of ideas. At the next art fair I attend, I will be mostly selling masks.
It is time to give 'painting' a little rest and focus on my masks, as it is I already have orders piling up... that isn't a bad start!