We are now half way through February and it’s time to update my plans for 2016. I can’t believe I am so busy. Did you know that June 2016 will celebrate my 2nd anniversary as a ‘solo’ artist?
I have been painting and exhibiting a long time but I only bit the bullet less than 2 years ago.
I was offered a pop up gallery as part of Carlow Arts Festival 2014. It was a themed exhibition focusing on my fruit paintings. I totally enjoyed it. I took the theme to its fullest in displaying real fruit from Carlow’s Farmers Markets in pretty baskets (compliments of SuperValu) under the paintings. Fresh strawberries, grapes and glazed cherries for the kids invited the viewers to taste the fruits. I had information on the benefits and history of fruit and veg, little experiments of growing plants from left-over stalks and pot pouri to finish off the theme. I was delighted with my little shop and although it was quite unusual to have an exhibition alongside fruit and vegetables for sale, it brought people in to see the art that would never step inside a gallery under normal circumstances. I think that was one of the most pleasing things.
Art should be for everyone to enjoy. It mostly is but although probably necessary, the design,
set-up and manning desks of a lot of gallery spaces leave the ‘ordinary folk’ feeling a little intimidated. I know it is only in more recent years that I have myself had the courage to ‘ring the bell’ to enter those wonderful galleries in Dublin’s finest streets. When it came ‘my turn’ to exhibit round the corner from Trinity last year, I made sure (with the kind permission of the gallery owner), to wedge that heavy Georgian door open!
Well I learnt a lot from that first exhibition and I enjoyed it so much that I realised I should have been doing it years ago. There is more to being an artist, than the deed of actual painting. It helps to be able to think outside the box and use your imagination when putting together an exhibition but you need to not let it run away on you or you lose the aesthetic appeal. You also need to be an entrepreneur, a designer, an accountant, an advertiser, a web designer, a social media guru, an inventor, a DIY expert, an actor and interviewee (is there such a word?), a writer and a gallery manner/sales person. I’m sure there are other tasks I have left out but suffice to say, it is a bit like being a mother! I have had my experience there so that has helped enormously!
A lot has happened since June 14. I have had 5 other solo exhibitions since then including 2 stints at RDS Art Source, 5 group exhibitions, gallery representation, completed 3 voluntary public projects, several commissions, Radio, TV and newspaper interviews.
I count myself lucky to be so busy. Being an artist is all I ever wanted to do since I first picked up a crayon! Art is my dream, my passion. It is my life! Yes ‘stuff’ got in the way of it before but now it is here, I am not letting it go. I didn’t expect to get offers and opportunities in so many ways and from so many different sources. I try to accept each one as I believe you do need to push yourself. I am still working part time in the mornings doing accounts for a team of Naval Architects (knew that would come in handy), running my own painting classes for adults and children, singing in the choir and loving it all. I’ve a lot of balls in the air and I don’t want to drop any of them. Not just yet anyhow so I continue to juggle the balls…
So I better get more organised. Never thought ‘wanting to just paint’ would lead to all of this or that you had to be organised to ‘just paint’ but here it is. For 2016, I am taking part in ‘Hares on the March’ for the Jack & Jill Foundation (check Michelle the Healing Hare – no 26), and I will have a stand at the new RDS HOUSE EVENT show in May. I am also planning a local solo exhibition plus ART SOURCE in November amongst other bits and pieces in the pipeline. So yes, I better get on with it.
Work in progress and so much to do but here I come…..
PS, Be sure to say hello if you call to the RDS or any of my exhibitions and yes of course, us 'ordinary folk' are always welcome!