Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Short Film

Above is the short film of Anne Bachelier demonstrating at the opening of her new exhibition
Here at the gallery.
I have tried many times to show this but with no success
So if this doesn't work it is back to single pictures.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Last weekend we had the pleasure of a visit by the artist
Anne Bachelier
Anne was here to attend the opening of her second exhibition at Imagine Gallery.
She came with the company of her husband, organiser and chauffeur Claude
Who drove them both from the French Alps to our small village in England.
Excluding the time on the cross channel ferry it was a journey of 14 hours.
A sign of true love.
It must have been, as the weekend was the occasion of their 47th wedding anniversary.
Still, what better way to spend it than here in my gallery?
Well, I can think of other more romantic locations
But surely we must be a close second.

Not only did they arrive but we also had a visit from a couple of her good friends.
Her friend Philippe had come with the intention of making a short film of the exhibition.
This he did in his own very unobtrusive, very polite way [a lovely man]
It was to be made even more interesting as Anne had agreed to demonstrate her method of painting.
This she did, and to say that it was fascinating would be something of an understatement. 
I was determined to capture the procedure on camera.
Unfortunately I had many distractions and people to occupy my time so I was unable to record
it from start to finish.
What amazed me was how many times the painting was altered as Anne's idea's progressed.

The painting was not completed while Anne was here, but it was a pleasure to see the progression.
Luckily the process was recorded by Philippe, and today he has sent me a copy.
Unfortunately at the moment it is too large for me to include with this post
But I hope to show it in the next.
Here are a few of the snaps of "work in progress".

The painting is still to be finished.
I am sure that it is totally different to anything that she might create in her own studio,
Their she creates without distraction and her idea's are very private
She has spoken in a previous filmed interview that having people watching takes something away
From her art.
This I understand and I am very grateful that she took the time and had the patience
To share a little of her world with the people [and me] who visited.
Thank you Anne.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

I have been in the "doldrums" for far too long but now I'm back.
Of course I appreciate that the world has not been waiting with baited breath, but still it bothered me.
The reason I have not been motivated to write is because of the bloody 'Brexit'.
The ramifications of what has happened has had me fixated with changing events and the news 
each day, I have been waiting to learn it was a great mistake.
It wasn't, we did it or half the country did and they have taken the rest of us down with them.
Just days before the referendum the 'Washington Post' predicted that it could not happen
A whole nation cannot be mad! They told us.
Of course the are not subjected to the shit that we are fed by our so called newspapers.
So it happened, and like so many people I have been in a state of shock.
Perhaps for too long.
We have a wonderful exhibition approaching that I have been busy preparing for,
I should be really happy.
I needed to forget what has happened and enjoy life.
So I did.

A few months ago Irene had purchased me a ticket to go and see my favourite band
Tears For Fears
At last the day of the concert arrived, and there I was just ten feet from the stage
With a few beers inside, having the time of my life singing along to every song.
Life was back on track. 

Now, I really am getting excited about our new exhibition.
Excited and nervous.
The artist is Anne Bachelier, one of my biggest art heroines, this is the reason for being nervous.
Although I know I should not worry because Anne would tell me
"I am just an artist".
But, of course it is always harder when you really admire someone.
I am not bothered for myself I just want Anne Bachelier to enjoy the exhibition,
Which of course makes me put unseen pressure upon myself.

To be honest, what can go wrong?
We have some fantastic paintings, drawings and mixed media that has arrived
From her studio in the French Alps.
All I have to do is put it on display.

Of course I can't make it that simple for myself I have to worry about something.
So I have.
First I worried about the frames I was making. Were the y good enough?
Then my design for the invitation! Could it be better?
The printer of the invitation! Is he an idiot?
The advertising! Should it have been more simple?
In what area's should I display the different work, should I keep oil paintings separate from the
mixed media?
Should I create a banner?

The list goes on and on, there is a lot to worry about and all of it in my mind.

At least I don't have to worry about the art, as usual Anne has sent some beautiful work.
This is amazing as she has just opened a major retrospective exhibition of her art at
'Chateau de Lavardens' in the south of France.
There she has managed to fill an entire castle with her paintings.
Yet, she still makes the time to create a new exhibition for us.
I have told her "This is impossible, you are only one women".
But, she lives to paint.
Also she is one of those rare people who delivers what she promises.

So despite the worries that I am still creating for myself I am becoming increasingly excited.
Her paintings all have such a strong narrative, and there is nothing I like more
than reading a story in a painting.
Perhaps this is why in the past she has been asked to illustrate several famous books.
Although I think it would be easy to create a book from just one of her paintings.
Evidence of this is the painting below which is the one I chose for advertising.

So if you would like to see some amazing art and have the opportunity to speak with the artist
This is the place to be in a weeks time.
Of course you can also ask me about Tears For Fears.
Just don't mention 'BREXIT'.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

I have lost count of the number of different artworks and events that I have intended to write about.
Something new would happen and I would decide "I must write about this"
Then I would remember "But, I haven't written about that yet".
So another day will pass with the promise to myself that I must write about something,
Anything, even if it is about the weather.
Or just the prospect of the UK leaving Europe.
Now, that I could write about for hours, it wouldn't make me popular
But I would certainly have a lot to say.
"A train crash waiting to happen"?

Apart from the politics that we are all immersed in at the moment there have been many
things that have been of interest to me that I would have liked to have shared
But it all gets buried under the mountain of daily office work.

However, here at last is a little post.

I have recently thought that I should post about new art that would be arriving here soon.
Then decided "No wait until it is here, I might be tempting fate" especially as it takes a few months
from "shaking hands" to becoming a reality.
But, now at last I can show some eagerly anticipated paintings because they are actually here
In the gallery and on display, they are by the artist
Jean-Francois Segura

His name is so beautiful perhaps you don't need to see the paintings
No, on reflection I think you do.
They really are different, beautiful but different.

After they had been delivered by our English/French "Transporter" [that's what they call him].
I left it for about three hours before I unwrapped them.
I could only do it once and I really wanted to savour the moment.
It had been a long wait as they hadn't been created when I first approached the artist.

They were everything that I had hoped for and more.
I love it when paintings have a narrative, you can make up your own story to go with the painting.
With the paintings by Jean-Francois I could imagine many different stories.
I loved the fact that when the image was "cropped" it told and gave the impression of a totally
different scene.
So this is what I have done for you, I have tried to give you an understanding of how they appeared to me.

I suppose for me it was a little like watching a movie when suddenly the camera pans out
and the whole scene is revealed for the first time.
It changes your thoughts and perspective about what you expected.
I am sure that Tom Cruise understands what I am saying.
Bloody pity he doesn't read the Blog, I'm sure we could be best mates.

I suppose that really I have nothing left to say on the subject of these paintings,
I will leave it to you to make your own interpretation of them

All I will say is that I am so very happy and proud to have them on display here in my shop.

Sometimes the waiting is all worth while.
I have waited for months to show you these paintings, now I have.
Unfortunately, they will never be mine but I will enjoy every day that they are hanging on my walls.
Not for long I think.

Au revoir pour maintenant mes amis blogueur

Saturday, 16 April 2016

There is an unusual artist who brings us paintings from time to time
Or did I mean an artist who brings us unusual paintings?
Actually it's both.

Will Teather is the artist.
Everything that he creates is very different and each piece has its own unique history with many stories attached.
They are set in worlds of his vivid imagination which he makes a reality.

In the past he has created so convincing a fictitious history around the subject in one painting that it became believed that the woman portrayed actually existed.
I suppose this was helped by the fact that he had preserved her clothing in museum style cases.
I had not intended to start talking about
"Maudeline Spacks", the vanishing artist.
As I don't have that many hours spare to devote to that creation.
Suffice to say this not existing person now has her own tribute band.

To describe him as a "larger than life" character would be very apt.
For one reason he is large and very tall, but more to the point he has a personality
That dominates whatever space he occupies
In this instance it was in my gallery. 

He was here drawing me into his own world.

The reason for his visit was because I had pestered him for one of his "new" works
A series that he has titled
Infinite Perspectives
These really have to be seen to be believed, neither I or anyone else has seen anything like them before.
These are scenes which are painted onto giant globes which are suspended from a ceiling.
The amazing thing is that whatever area you view is perfect yet when you look to the sides the perspective changes as the painting diminishes into the distance.
Turning the globe then brings those area's into perfect size yet what you had been looking at now becomes smaller and slightly distorted.
They are difficult to describe.

Above is a portion of one such painting.
The picture below of Will in his studio is not an attempt to show how they look as it just
shows the artist with paper "mock ups" and small "keep sake" recreations of the real thing.
You have to imagine BIG and perfect.

Knowing that he works on a very large scale I had been "playing safe and had requested
A "half sphere" painting that I loved.
I understood that it attached to a wall like any "normal" painting so I knew
that it couldn't be too large.
It is concave and measures 40 inches in diameter and protrudes 20 inches from the wall.
Why had I expected anything different from this gentle giant?

It is an amazing piece of art.
It is almost interactive, as when you hold your face close you have a sensation of being a
part of the painting.
Birds are flying above, below and around you.

Along with this masterpiece he also left me with some of his "normal" art.
Yet, of course these have a story to tell
Will just doesn't do ordinary

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Open at Last

At last the exhibition of art by George Underwood is open to the public.
It has been much anticipated by us and many others, especially once the media had become involved.
For myself it now feels almost as if I am on holiday as the pressures have eased slightly
Although there is still a lot to do, especially considering I ran out of time with making frames.
There are still some to be made and new works to display.

It has been difficult trying to juggle and prioritise the different things that need to be done on a daily basis, because unlike what people think running a gallery is not all romance and pleasure.
Of course there is a lot of pleasure but that is only because of the work done each day.
But, at last after all of the preparartion
George's art is on display and to prove it here is a picture of him outside the gallery
Posing [by request] beside the exhibition banner.

George himself has worked perhaps harder than anybody.
Not only did he produce an exhibition within a short time frame he has also been very busy
behind the scenes.
Or perhaps I should say in front of the scenes as he seems to have spent more time on television 
and radio than doing anything else over the past week.
Which explains some of the other photographs.

A couple of days before the opening we received a another call asking if the ITV news
could be allowed to film the opening of the exhibition?

Well let's be honest, I was never going to say no.
So a few hours before the opening the film crew and George had the gallery for themselves
[and me of course], and they were able to hold an interview focused upon his paintings
And as expected his relationship with David Bowie.
To say I found it all very interesting would be a slight understatement.
Of course there was lots that never made it through the editing process so I felt privileged to hear many stories
that are perhaps unknown.

The filming continued for hours and even included an interview with myself.
They didn't actually say it but I am sure that now they must be very tempted to offer me
my own TV series.
Perhaps not.

Before the camera's left we had the arrival of George's old mate friend.
Steve Harley
The man who is the driving force behind Cockney Rebel.
At one time his song "Make Me Smile" was the most played record on the radio, it is one of those songs you can never forget and whenever I hear it I have to sing along.
He is a real fan of George Underwood's paintings and he spent a long time
viewing painting on display.
What was really nice is that he didn't just talk with George, he had time for everyone who recognised and wanted to speak with him.
He was interesting, charming and polite.
I only managed to have a brief chat with him as I had about five different conversations
on the go at any one time, but it seems that Irene and Rebecca managed to have much longer chat with both him and his lovely wife.
Although in truth "Bec" rarly moved from the desk and without her we would have struggled.
She was able to entertain, hold conversations, pour wine and handle the sales without
wandering off around the gallery.
I think it's called multi-tasking, women are good at that.


So above are pictures of them having a good time while I was busy elsewhere.
And there was a lot to be doing as the gallery was full of visitors all day
However, I did manage to get "snapped" having a cuddle with George as the evening approached.
I had been caught in the middle of my own multi-tasking
Talking and drinking wine.

The person I most wanted to talk with was George the artist and star of the show
But as is the norm at any opening it doesn't often happen.
The artist's time belongs to the public on that day and he didn't have many moments to himself.
This was one, it was the "lull before the storm".

I wanted to show a little of the diverse artworks on show,
There are many and although very different they are equal with their haunting beauty.
However, there was one in particular that interested and fascinated everyone.
'The Man Who Fell to Earth'.

My own feet haven't touched earth since the opening,
Because of the camera's and the crowds of visitors it all seemed slightly unreal.

The morning after as I unlocked the doors I was surprised by the silence.
For a little while I was alone with my own private collection.
This didn't last for long, and today it is the same there are a constant stream of visitors who just don't seem to understand that I am trying to do something important.
I am writing my Blog.

Friday, 25 March 2016

We have never had an exhibition that has generated as much media attention as the forthcoming one.
The artist involved is George Underwood.

Always in the gallery there is a selection of his art on display, paintings and prints.
The prints are Limited Editions but we only show the 'Artist Proofs' which are more rare.
Over the period of a few years he has become one of our most collected artists.
For this reason only we have never held an exhibition of his work.

My feelings have been that the public would not notice the difference between
an exhibition and a normal display.
I have often been urged by people " you should hold a solo exhibition by George ".
Now we are.
The decision to do this came by chance and circumstance.

Just a few months ago a famous musician visited the gallery, he was fascinated by one large painting,
Of course the painting was by George Underwood.
 On that day I was not at the gallery, my daughter was in charge of my little empire for the day.
In conversation with her the musician explained that he and George were very old friends
In fact his best selling album featured Mrs. Underwood on the Cover. 

Of course I was greatly disappointed that I was not present that day as I had missed the opportunity to meet a hero. 
However, I did have A vinyl copy the album featuring George's wife and as I was anticipating them both to visit the gallery sometime soon I took the record to the gallery with the intention of getting her to sign it when they visited.

Two days later a gentleman came into the gallery who was interested in only one painting.
A George Underwood painting.
I said "hello" to him then I did a "double take".

"Hey, it's you! 
Don't you go anywhere before you sign this".
As you can tell I have a way with words and famous people.
He ignored my rudeness and we had a long conversation [plus he did sign the album cover].
He explained that he hadn't seen George and his wife for many years, but now he was
determined to make contact with them again.

Two days later I had a call from George. 
"I understand you had a visit from an old mate of mine".
The musician had contacted George and had invited him and his wife to come to see him
on his latest tour.

Joking with George I said "we should have a solo exhibition of your art and get him to come and open it, and maybe sing a song".
We laughed about it, then on the spur of the moment I said 
"shall we do it"?
"Are you serious" he said?

As a result on April 3rd. That is just what we are doing.
We have both been looking forward to the event and George has been [and still is] busy
creating new paintings, it seems that there will be a lot of previously unseen artwork on display here.

Things then became very serious. 

George Underwood has a great many famous friends in the music industry,
One of these was his best friend, David Bowie.

People worldwide had been shocked to learn of the death of this iconic figure.
None more so than George.
This was his mate who had passed away, the boy that he had grown up with, the boy he had fought with over the attentions of a girl, the boy who he formed a group with.
The boy who became the man who then became 'Ziggy Stardust' and who he later toured America with.
The person he stayed friends with until the end. 

Although David Bowie owned a large collection of his paintings
George Underwood had never used his best friends fame to further his own career.
In fact he would rarely speak about their relationship they were just mates.

With our coming exhibition this has presented the media with the ideal opportunity to interview
Bowie's oldest friend.
 The first of these interview's will be published
This Sunday in one of the country's most important newspapers

After that in the week building up to the opening there will be many other interviews.
Newspapers, magazines, radio, television and social media.

Yes, they will be asking for stories about David but the emphasis will be on the paintings by
George Underwood.


I think you can see why that should be.