An Interesting Month

2011Article posted by Gilly

In connection with my doing an artist-in-residence session at La Salle College Exhibition, I was to be featured in a small article for one of the local community newspapers. So when the photographer arrived I expected a quick photo shoot and that would be it. However, he totally flabbergasted me by announcing that he wanted to do a video interview with me! Talk about being thrown in at the deep end! So, without any preparation or thought I was filmed in my little Studio and ‘though there are a few ‘urms’ and slight embarrassment, it didn’t turn out too badly. I think my years of amateur dramatics came to the fore! So, if you’re interested, go to this YouTube site and you can view me ‘in action’ so to speak! http://youtu.be/q3sGgSQ_czE

The artist-in-residence session was a lot of fun and many visitors stopped by my easel for a chat about my art methods - I was working in pastels as I find those so much easier when there are constant interruptions. However, I didn’t sell any of my work and, again, neither did my close contemporaries. In the other exhibitions I mentioned in my last ‘blog’ not a single painting by any of the artists was sold at either of the Ellenbrook Art exhibitions, which was a real shame after all the work that goes into organising and setting them up, but I did sell one at our Baskerville Exhibition. Although, once again, overall sales were down on last year. This economic climate is disastrous for art sales. My lovely kookaburra pair also won People’s Choice, so a little bit of kudos there.

The kookaburras have now gone to their new home and I was amazed, yet again, when my client suggested that he would now like me to produce two more oil paintings for him - one of rainbow lorikeets and another of an oversize yellow rose, plus the possibility of a family portrait!!! And I thought I was coming to the end of my commissions! A lot of my artist friends say they wouldn’t attempt commissions, but I find them gratifying. Gratifying to be asked and gratifying when the end result is well received. And it usually means a guaranteed sale and no spare paintings cluttering up my Studio space! So, there’s a lot to be said for taking on commissions, but still being selective about what I do.

I did take a small break and began the swans’ oil painting but am having some difficulty with the background. Technically, it looks fine, lots of reflections in the lake, but because the reflections are of the bushes and trees that fringe the lake the entire painting is too green. It’s a strange fact that the public don’t seem to like ‘green’ paintings, which is very odd considering the green world in which we live. I think this is also a factor in why people buy so many ocean scenes - blue! I’ve set the swans aside for a while to contemplate them - I’m thinking of introducing more burnt sienna and raw umber reflections to emphasise the tree trunks rather than the foliage. The swans look good, ‘though!

Now I’ve returned to the portrait commissions. I also gave two demonstrations over the month- one for a small group who work here in The Valley (that one went really well with lots of laughs) and a second for the WA Society of Art in Subiaco. That was another surprise as they rang me totally out of the blue to invite me. I was wondering where on earth they’d got my name, then realised a friend, Eileen Lee, is a member, so she must have recommended me. It’s a long drive from here to Subiaco, just on an hour, and I was reticent about going at night as I no longer enjoy driving in the dark (getting older!!!). Fortunately, my good friend, Val, offered to come with me so it was good to have a companion. I didn’t feel that I was so good empathy-wise in that demonstration. My pastel painting turned out well but I felt quite intimidated by the audience who were all much more professional artists than I’m used to so I felt quite gauche and awkward. I’m sure they could have taught me a lot more than I was able to impart to them! Still, it’s all learning, isn’t it?

Our Artisans on Swan group has finally folded - complete lack of interest took us from 50 or more members down to only 7. Lack of a permanent home with somewhere to showcase our work and an eventual loss of focus (we had originally formed to promote art in The Valley but in the end, only the artists themselves were left, not the businesses we’d hoped to engage) meant that we were meeting for no apparent reason, so it was decided to wrap it all up. Very sadly, one of our founder members and, possibly, one of the most enthusiastic who had been urging us to stay together, died suddenly of a heart attack only days after our last meeting. Ron Crane, a lovely man. Scary that I’d only been sitting and chatting with him at the meeting a few days previously. Always reinforces the old mantra, doesn’t it - live life to the fullest. You never know what’s around the corner.

Our Baskerville group is active again for the final term of this year. Another scary thought - that Xmas is only a few weeks away! We’re already planning Xmas wind-ups….....and looking forward to the summer break! Not that artists ever really take a break - too many ideas, too much to paint, too many creative thoughts. So, on with it!

Take care, everyone. Keep painting.  Gilly

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