It feels strange to blog  again.  I wasn’t going to. In fact I wasn’t go to do any more ‘art projects’.  I gave up my job  ( I took redundancy)  had an op (long boring story) and intended to spend my time, doing the occasional exhibition and/or  workshop and catch up with my travelling.

Obviously I hadn’t really thought any of the above through, I was just tired and burnt out and more than anything I needed a break.

Earlier this year I tentatively started exhibiting again – no big deals, just an odd piece here and there . Very small paintings , as, dare I say it , relaxation exercises.  That made me happy again with art after becoming very jaded.

I was quite happy plodding along really, but then I got an email out of the blue asking me if I’d like to do an installation – a paid commission.

That was quite a surprise as I no longer apply for things and hadn’t updated my website or artist social media sites for years !

But there it was. My work (installations that is ) had appeared somewhere or other and  I was reached initially through a facebook page I no longer use ( but is still active)

Well…. although I wasn’t going to do any more installations as they are a pain in the backside to store and obviously you can’t sell them…. but how could I say no?

What followed was a few weeks of conversations, deciding a fee ( which was initially rejected, but we came to a compromise when discussing where savings can be made in other places )  …and then drawing out an artists contract.

The theme is ‘Casting a net ‘ so I went off to work out what installation I could make that followed the brief.  I must add here, that  I’m not being paid just to make an artwork, I will have to run workshops too.  I’m working with a diocese and the workshops will centre around questions and thoughts based on religion.

This is challenging for me as I’m not a religious person but I will have to try to stay neutral, impartial , whatever.

So I thought about people writing down their thoughts and I would work round making containers for their sheets of paper. I know this is far from being a new idea, but it went down well and my conclusion was to make 3D fish that things can be placed inside.

So much has been happening these last few weeks – far too much for one blog post, but hopefully what I’ve written in this introduction will give an idea of what I’ll be doing.

I’ve also started a new Instagram account to show what I’ve done before . I just think its easier to see than wading through loads of ‘stuff’ on a website :


That happened quicker that I’d planned…. I saw an open call for an exhibition , so I submitted work on the deadline date.

Its a ‘local’ artist one . held in the visitor centre of a public park. I was accepted straight away, but I suspect everyone that applies is accepted.

There was an admin cost of £12.50 to pay, but you actually get that back if you invigilate .

As it was last minute thing, I didn’t have time to organise framing OR finish new work, so I took a couple of my small studies and framed them up using what I had in.

As they were tiny works though and the hanging method was hooks on display boards, I had to rethink how I would exhibit  the work.

This probably took longer than actually doing the work in the first place, but |I took the glass out of another frame and  stuck the two paintings inside.  It looked secure which is the important thing.

Two tiny framed paintings swinging on cord would  have been a nightmare to hang, would look awful and also could have been just whipped off by a park visitor.

I really felt like I was starting at the bottom again and questioned why I was doing this.

We’ll see. At the end of the exhibition, I’ll evaluate costs, time and outcome.

Tomorrow though, I’ll do my 3 hour shift in the space.


So since I’ve been to Athens, I’ve connected with a lot more artists…. adding the ones I’d met or whose work was shown , on to my instagram account .

I don’t use a website anymore as I initially had problems with the account ( think it was hacked) but it was rubbish anyway and hardly got any traffic.

As I added those artists, , more followed me as they had connections with each other. Really that’s what this blog post is about – the importance of connecting with other artists.

Did that sound like I was just after more followers ? I didn’t mean that . I’m genuinely interested in what others are doing.
What really struck me, was how many are always exhibiting .  They list what they’re in on their profiles . Crikey, that’s worrying… my profile contains nothing at the moment.
That got me thinking – should I start applying for open exhibitions? I’d steered clear of them for so long, but then, how do people get to know what you do if you merrily work alone in your own space?

I’ve listed what’s coming up anyway , ruling out the ones with silly fees to enter.  Whether I do enter or not is another matter, but it’s giving me something to think about.

I’ll let you know.


After the installation of the works, we all went out for an evening meal and a well deserved few glasses of wine.

New acquaintances.

We didn’t need to be back in the space til later the next day, so we used the time to find a funicular ( my other passion) and explore a little.  This being the third time Id been involved in Platforms  and Jackie & Alison’s 10 or 11th (!) we didn’t need to do the touristy things again.

Jackie Berridge in particular is very good at talking to people there and consequently ( Well, also her work is fabulous)  She was offered a solo  show at Enia Gallery next year, alongside fellow exhibitor Bella Easton.  This meant that she had to roll up her work and take it, along with the group work,  on the flight over.

I on the other hand,  took 3 small paper works in my bag as I could only take a backpack to keep the costs down.  Travelling overseas with work can be quite complicated, so it pays to be organised.

The Pv the first night was really busy.  We actually saw people queuing up to get in.  We all commented on this – it would never happen in the UK.  Usually you get your friends and family coming to see your work. Not complete strangers!

We were told later that 8,000 people visited the PV.

So yes, this was my chance to take a proper look at the work in our booth.  I didn’t recognise the names of the artists in Jackie’s , though looking them up afterwards, some were familiar.

Cynthia had several I knew and had even met. That was interesting considering she was from the East Midlands and I’m based in Wirral.  It also turns out that she , along with at least one of ‘her’ artists exhibited in Fronteers art fair in Chester last summer.  I had put one piece  in but couldn’t attend as I was away at the time.  We were so close to meeting each other then!

I didn’t at first recognise Rosalind’s name, but later realised how much she had written for A-N.  Plus, she published that excellent book  What they didn’t teach you at Art School  

That’s two near misses.

One of Rosalind’s artists was Kate Murdoch.  Kate, another blogger and social media friend.  Who’d have thought.

…..and that’s just the start of six degrees of separation  !






The brief for the work going to Athens, was that it was to be on paper, maximum size A4 and light.

I made sure all of ‘my’ artists adhered to that.  Some, unfortunately, thought they were exempt from such strict rules. That annoyed a few of us. Work was to be carried in our cases – mostly in hand luggage, so there was an obvious reason for the size and weight.

I had mainly been working on 3D  stuff all year , so I had to go through my sketchbook to find suitable works.  Although slightly in ‘work in progress’ stage, I was fairly happy with what I had.

The space we had been given was to be split into 5 ‘Plots’.  Each area headed by a different curator.   Although, I had been given the list of the other curators – Jackie Berridge , Wendy Williams/Basement Arts,  Cynthia Harrision Orr , Sean Williams / Fronteer and Rosalind Davis, I didn’t at the time recognise all the other names.

It was only when the work was unpacked and we were ready to install, I suddenly though – Ah, I know you.

It was quite a tight space to work in , with so many artworks and so many people.  Plus , the heat was terrific in the building.

It was interesting to see how different people approached the install.  Rosalind spread hers out on the floor of the free space next door ( the artists hadn’t arrived at that point) Working out from there where everything should go.

Cynthia produced a rolled up sheet of paper – the exact size of her space. On it were pencil outlines of all her works.  She then proceeded to place screws in the wall at the edges of each work. I really couldn’t figure out what she was doing, until she produced tiny magnets for each work.   How amazingly organised is that?

The works selected by Sean Williams and Fronteer were all exact same size postcards.  They had numbered each work AND had taken a photo of how it should look.  They couldn’t be there for the install but had made it as easy as possible for everyone.  Jackie, being a perfectionist, marked out the entire space with tape so that each card fitted perfectly inside.

She also did the same for her own space.  Though some of hers was challenging in that most were not on paper so had to be screwed to the wall.  Two also had little shelves to sit on.  OK, it all looked fantastic when put together, but honestly artists – stick to the brief will you!

Mine, fortunately although all shapes and sizes ( though under A4) were pretty light and could be installed using velcro strips.  Apart from Jackie and Cynthia’s all of the other work was installed with the same method.

We were hoping that it would all be done in a couple of hours, but it actually took over 7 because of the problems with certain works.

I learnt a lot from the others that day.  I would also make a lot more effort now if anyone is installing my work for me in future.



OK, my resolution to blog more didn’t really happen did it. Things happen, I get side-tracked and generally Life gets in the way .

Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Most of the time, things are personal to me and probably not of interest to others.

However, things have happened recently that have really set my thought process in motion.

I went to Athens…..

It wasn’t the place that shifted things in my head (though it was lovely!)  It was the people I met there and the conversations had, that jolted me.

I have exhibited at Platforms Project    several times . I’ve been in person twice – curating a booth and have taken a ‘team’ across. I’ve also taken part (exhibited small works) with Fronteer Gallery and with AlisonWhitmore’s group JAW.  I wasn’t planning to take part this year though.

However, I received a message from my friend Jackie Berridge asking if I’d like to curate a ‘Plot’ in her booth HMS

OK, I thought. That would be good. But then I thought about how much I had on at the moment with other things ( including work getting done in the house) So I asked Bruce from Leeds based Basement Arts Project ( who I’d worked with several times before) if he would like to co-curate the space with me, and thus freeing me up to do other things.
I selected artists I knew and was in regular contact with :

Elena Thomas , Catherine Harrison, Sufea Mohamad Noor, Paula Fenwick Lewis , Jackie Kerr and also myself.

Bruce selected Kimbal Quist Bumstead, Jeffrey Knopf, Kristina Nenova and Sharon McDonagh .

Several conversations with Jackie later and to cut a long story short, I decided to go across with them as they had room in their Airbnb for another body. So that’s basically why I went across – at that time, for the social aspect only. Catching up with old friends as well as a bit of warm weather before winter sets in.

There is quite a bit to write about on this one, so I’m going to break it down into chunks.  TBC…..