After a busy few months the exhibition went well, throughout the eight weeks people appreciated the paintings’ calmness and the reminder that there is a summer, somewhere, on the horizon.
The arts centre staff were truly supportive as ever, which was welcome after the multitudes of buses and trains I was on through the hills with the art in boxes although some went by courier. The journey between the two counties is at an awkward right angle inland over the Cambrian mountains then south (anyone who lives on the welsh coast knows what I mean!) I was living in a different place when I booked the exhibition so hadn’t taken that into account.
For a rurally placed arts centre the Wyeside packs a lot of activity into it’s schedule, with about three films per day, as well as theatre and exhibitions, fairly typical of most of the Welsh arts centres. After hanging about 30 pieces for a few hours with the technician, I switched off by watching Peter Rabbit in the cinema, hilariously, it somehow reflected the exhausting but chaotically cheerful escapade across country I’d had.
The paintings themselves are back with me after a couple of sales, which is normal after a medium sized show, it doesn’t anywhere near cover the cost, which is why I only exhibit every couple of years, but the paintings gradually find homes later.
A welcome quiet phase to catch up with the MA, means I have some time to think about direction , it my interest in the symbolic/visionary in painting is emerging again, whether through archaeological history or collections of paintings.
Landscape painting, even visionary I would add, has a long tradition in Wales and I’m feeling my way into that genre as a Wales based artist. Having visited the national library to view a selection of Welsh painters works, an art group asked me to talk about those works as an artist, it was an unexpected request so I used my instinctive responses, it became clear to me that I had properly reconnected to the landscape after moving around for a few years. I feel more of a sense of connection with those paintings.
Inter-tidal was produced with an intense part time job in the background which turned out to be a 6am start to 6 pm home on the days I worked. It was outside so I got to know the rhythm of the day and coastal seasons but it left little energy to really focus on developing my studio painting work and I can never focus wholeheartedly if there background chaos. I rarely paint within academic ideology, I have found it to be restricting (for me) but I’m willing to try and merge the instinctive ‘life’ of the work with some concepts of art history, continuing study will provide that framework and support.
After freeing up time to visit galleries in north Wales I found new painting and crafts at the Mostyn, a favourite. There were some stunning photographs at Oriel Colwyn, Antonia Dewhurst’s Hearn/Iron and Pete Davis’, Great Little Tin Sheds of Wales exhibited together- a friend commented on the subtle hues which the photographer’s catch, especially poignant of the light, morning and evening, both evocative and memorable in terms of the remote aspects of this landscape. I also visited the Alison Bradley gallery late last year and talked with her about her work for a little while.
I have ideas for my next painting project, but it needs some time to warm up, like our spring!
maybe with the wild ox in mind…from Builth Wells, bu-alth -Wild Ox on a Wooded Slope.