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.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Recently, I have become excited about different artworks that will be arriving in the near future.
I wanted to share them immediately even though I am not sure of the arrival date.
The reason for that is they are still being created.
But, that's no reason to not show them I thought, as it is always the anticipation of what will arrive 
that can be the most exciting of times in the gallery.
The excitement and the desire becomes almost like a drug
I just know I won't be happy until it is here in my possession for a little while.

Then I remembered that with all of the current nonsense going on that has distracted me somewhat,
that there were many deserving exhibits that had "slipped through my net" and not been shown.
I decided that it was time to play "catch up".
So here are a few [very few] images of pieces that should have been shown as they arrived.
I will add others over a period of time.
[It is no good me saying tomorrow, because sometimes for me tomorrow never comes].

One man is long overdue for a mention, Noah.
Yes that's correct Noah.
He may have not yet created an Ark but he has come very close.
It is impossible to put his work in any "pigeon hole" all I can say is that it is very unique.
He works on many different scales from small delicate silver and bronze containers
To giant size tables standing on antique industrial wheels.
His work [for me] has a slightly 'Jules Verne' nostalgic feel about it, and as suspected the evolvement
Of his sculptures have a history of their own.
In time I will feature many of his smaller works.

The artistic creations of this incredible young woman are equally hard to describe and to show you.
Viewed "front on" they look like paintings
Which in fact they are, but paintings with a great difference.
They are 3 dimensional artworks.

In fact she told me that being unable to describe them to galleries has really hindered her.
"It seems that my work has to be a painting or a sculpture but not both", she told me.
In the past she has even tried to describe them as a collage, but that didn't work either
as it seems it would then have to incorporate printed paper, which it doesn't.
So for want of a description it is sometimes ignored and goes unseen.
I just call it beautiful
Works for me.

I hope that the images shown explain a little of how her work really looks.
It is painted on 'chamois' leather attached to wood, which is then cut out and built in layers
Which create a 3D painting.
To view them from side to side is an education.

Again, I will show more in the future.

At least this doesn't need an explanation.
It is a "very" limited edition print that I am thrilled to have from an American artist.
The edition is of '91' prints which is very unusual.
Framed, and hanging on the wall in front of my desk it is an image that I have enjoyed
each day since its arrival.
I have tried many times to work out the story within the picture, yet every day I imagine another.

The art shown above are a sample of what has arrived and is now on display.
However, I couldn't help myself and I had to show you just a hint of what we will have in the future.
So below are two examples of what will be arriving very soon.

I won't say anything about the artist or what we will be exhibiting of his art at the moment
But I can tell you that we will not have these two paintings.
They are sold.
Although limited edition prints are available of both. 

The paintings that I have chosen and those still being created I will leave to your imagination
Until that day when I can show them to you as a complete group.
But I think that you can guess that they will be just slightly different to traditional landscapes.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Will I ever write on my Blog again?
I have been asking myself this question for a very long time. Since I last posted the world seems to have changed a great deal, and to say that events have left me angry and frustrated would be an understatement.
So to write about myself and the gallery seemed a very shallow thing to do when there is so many important and life changing events happening everywhere.

On consideration, I realized that the whole purpose of my Blog was just to talk about events that happen in my life and a art gallery in a rural part of England.

Whoops! I nearly went off on one then with the word "England".
Now, back to reality and really important events.
My events.

Early last year we held a fantastic exhibition by the artist George Underwood.
Perhaps you may remember that George had been David Bowie's lifelong friend from the age of nine.
There friendship and adventures together have been well documented, and of course George's paintings of his friend have been exhibited worldwide, plus also at our gallery.
At the conclusion of our solo exhibition with George my thoughts were
"That was great fun, I wish we could do it again".

Of course we always have a selection of his art on display in the gallery but I wanted to repeat the fun and excitement of holding a special solo exhibition with him.
The response from the public had been fantastic, to the extent we even held a "closing day" event,
this was a first for us and was held so that his fans had a chance to have a "one on one"
conversation with him, although that didn't happen as he gathered everyone around him and it turned into a group session/interview which was loved by everyone.
As I walked around the gallery dealing with everyday customers I could hear in the background laughter and applause.
"What am I missing"? I wondered.
That evening it was all recounted for me by George, his wife and Irene.
What a day, what an exhibition. How I would like to experience it again.

A few days later the opportunity for such a unique event presented itself.

In his long career and also from his friendship with David Bowie George has met and painted portraits and album covers for many famous musicians.
Some were created for his own private collection but many were used by the artists.
One such artist/musician was the "late" Marc Bolan.
An incredible musician who tragically died far too young and at the height of his musical career.

He has left behind a giant fan base and even inspired the now famous tribute band, "T.Rextasy".
A tribute to the name of his own first band "Tyannosaurus Rex".
T. Rex as it became known.
The singer and founder of the tribute band is a lovely man name Danielz.

Because of the exhibition with George Underwood, Danielz came to the gallery and left me with the cover of an early Marc Bolan album [created by George[ which George had promised to sign for him.

A few weeks later Danielz returned to collect the signed cover. 
By this time I had given much thought to a "follow up" to the Underwood exhibition.
So, in conversation with this charming musician/artist/singer I asked "did he play acoustic"?

"What an idiot", he must have thought.

He explained that the band had just done a fully acoustic Gig in the nearby town 5 miles away.
In fact with his band they intersperse full sessions with "unplugged" gigs.
Which makes perfect sense as much of Marc Bolan's earlier work was acoustic folk music.

So, to cut a very, very long story short.
We will be holding a solo exhibition by George Underwood this September.
It will be an exhibition with a difference, it will consist of all of his music portraits and album covers,
Some for sale, some on loan from his collection, but with new paintings and many Limited Editions
created especially for the exhibition.

The main focus of the exhibition will be his art of Marc Bolan.

Marc died on September -16 - 1977
Our exhibition open on September -17 - 2017

On the 40th anniversary of his death our exhibition opens, and to mark this very special event
Danielz and his drummer John Skelton will be here in the gallery to play an acoustic session in tribute to the late musician.
The music of Marc Bolan will be played in front of a background of paintings by George.
It will be unlike any event we have done before, and I expect ever again.
I think the term is "once in a lifetime".

There is a great deal of planning to be done, idea's are growing as I write.
Even today a visitor asked will you hold an "Evening with George Underwood" the night before?
Wow! Now that's an idea.
Anyway at the end of this month all parties are meeting to discuss the growing plans so I will keep you "posted".
I confess I am scared as I think that the event will be "BIG".

I had not intended to talk about this for another couple of months or so, but as people have started to call/email asking for "ticket" availability I have started to become really focused.

Of course we will be holding some lovely exhibitions before this date, but in terms of planning
they will almost seem a "walk in the park".
This does not mean they are any less important or be treated less seriously but the logistics will be more what we are used to.
Because of this I am looking forward to them with greater pleasure.

So, if you are a music fan and have a free day in September.
Get in touch soon.

Of course what is shown above is just a small selection of George's music portraits and album covers,
a very small sample of what to expect.

The exception is the first image, which is of a poster produced be Danielz which is available at 
his many Gigs.
At the moment he is playing around the country almost every night, his only days off are when he is traveling to the next venue.
Check his website [we are listed as a "unplugged" Gig].


I am glad that I did write again.
As I was writing I could visualize how the event might unfold and look and I have become very excited.
So, tonight I will not return home and watch the news on TV,
I am in a much happier place.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Our Christmas exhibition opened a couple of weeks ago but until today I haven't shown any of the
Varied art pieces that have arrived.
The exception being the amazing "Pop-Up" book by Anne Bachelier.
Which really has to be seen to be appreciated, if only it wasn't a "one of a kind" we could all enjoy
owning a copy.

As the cover of the invitation [shown above] suggests the exhibition is titled
A Christmas Carol.
It would have been great to have every exhibit centred upon the old novel
But in reality this was an exhibition that was open to interpretation by the various artist involved.
To my delight everything received captured a little of the innocence and magic of Christmas.

'Nom', the artist we recently exhibited went out of her way to create something with a nostalgic feeling.
She also created it in little time and under great pressure.
I had asked her if she could create something really special for the exhibition,
I knew she could and would,
But with the needs of a little girl and a new baby to care for I think that her attention was focused
on many other things and she was forgetting how close Christmas was becoming.

She gave me a call telling me that she had purchased an antique clock case to be the frame
for her Christmas painting. "What do you think", she asked?
"Fantastic, just the sort of thing I have been wishing for, but have you enough time?
When does the exhibition start?
In a weeks time.
Oh! I had better stop talking and get painting".

One week later, and two hours before the opening Nom arrived with her finished painting.
I think it is easy to see why I like her so much.

Even better she arrived with her husband
The illustrator 'Adam Oehler'.
Adam had also produced two artworks for the exhibition.
Both in his very unique and innocent style. Which seems strange as he had just finished animation work
on a video for the "Heavy Metal" band Metallica, which was far from innocent.
His personal work is always innocent [and very collected], and I don't think it will be long before we are all owning a copy of his new book.

Adam and Nom, both totally different artists, both very nice people, both very talented.

I have been yearning for the sculptures of a very modest sculptor for some time.
Sometimes, although it is frustrating the wait is all worthwhile, and so it was with "Barry".
A very modest [extremely so] sculptor who had worked for the British Museum of Natural History.
His own personal work covers many different styles and interests.
From detailed wildlife sculptures to his beautiful recreations from Alice in Wonderland.
It was these that he drove for hours to deliver to us.
'The Walrus and The Carpenter'.
Both sculptural recreations of the illustrations by John Tenniel featured in the original version of the famous book.
They are "smoked fired" to replicate the "black and white" quality of the drawings.
The Carpenter is even "shedding a bitter tear" and at both their feet are the Oysters that they eat.

The man is a genius and I really hope to exhibit more of his work next year.

Something totally different is a cabinet which is a collaboration.
The cabinet made by myself many years ago from reclaimed Elm floorboards.
It has been put aside for decades, I don't know why really but I never thought it was complete.
This year I discovered the perfect artist to complete, transform and improve the object.
Despite the fact that it would be weeks of work at the wrong time of the year a wonderful woman
"Jo Anne" undertook to finish the cabinet for me.
I feel that her input was perhaps greater than my own, however I now look at the finished piece
With the feeling that it is at last perfect.
Inside is another piece of her art, to see that you will need to visit the gallery.
It is titled 'Sleeping Beauty" cabinet.

After another long wait [months], at last the first of the highly unusual sculptures and paintings
arrived from another artist that I admire, Jill Desbo.
Some of her creations very serious others not so, but all with a large amount of imagination and work devoted to their creation.
One of my personal favourites is this sculpture/puppet titled
"Mrs Thackeray's Theatre".
Her dress [stage curtains] part to reveal the audience inside watching the performance.
With rods her hands can clap and her head will turn.
Although it's hard to see, a bird nest complete with chicks perches upon her sheep s wool hair,
But I don't think Mrs Thackeray has noticed [she doesn't wash it often].
What all of them are watching I do not know, but perhaps it is a performance by another of Jill's puppets.
We have them all.

An artist who did a special painting directly related to the title is Jane Ford.
"The Poor of the Parish". is the title.
I think that it is perhaps not what Dickens was thinking of when he wrote the book
But for Jane it is a version of her Wild Life adapted to fit the theme of the exhibition.
It is certainly innocent.

But when it comes to childish innocence I could exhibit nothing better than 'Wind in the Willows'.
Or at least this fantastic creation of Ratty's home by the riverside.
I have tried many, many, many times to take a photograph of this sculpture.
None of them work, or show the true detail so I will have to describe it instead.

Built inside a Victorian cabinet with glass doors is a perfect miniature cottage, Ratty's cottage.
Complete with water and a jetty where Ratty is sitting beside his boat fishing [with fish in his basket].
It is a night time scene, the moon [illuminated in the sky] reflects upon the water.
Inside the cottage "Mole" is asleep next to a jar of cider, the fire is alight and windows illuminated.
The attention to detail is beyond belief, bottles, jars and box's sit upon shelves. 
Washing hangs from lines and candles sit in lamps, probably to help when climbing the stairs.

Obviously Ratty is a creature of thought as outside on the jetty is a telescope aimed at the moon, but this is nestled amongst baskets rubbish and flotsam he has collected.

At the base of the cabinet [beneath the cottage] is a drawer.
Opening this reveals a limited edition of 'Wind in the Willows'.
The whole piece of art is a total "one of a kind" there will never be another. It is a creation that makes me feel like a young boy each time I look at it.

Of course it sold instantly, but fortunately the buyer has let us retain it for two weeks, so it is giving pleasure to many visitors who think like me, children disguised as adults.
I will be sorry to see it leave the gallery as I will never see its like again, but at least for a short time it has been mine.

Thinking of the magic and innocence of such a piece I wanted to share it with someone.
I couldn't think of anyone better than my friend and artist Rachel.
A self confessed "Peter Pan" [I have never grown up] I just knew she would love it.
She did.
As a result the day before the exhibition opened I received her own piece of art inspired by the book.
Her version of the old and wise Badger, beautiful in detail and cast in Bronze.
I love him.

Perhaps Rachel is not alone as being a Peter Pan
There is a part of us that never grows up, in this bad world sometimes we all want to hide our eyes
and make the bad things go away.
This is what I wanted this exhibition to speak of.
Innocence and childhood.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Although there is still a month to go, our Christmas exhibition opens next Sunday.
I would make the usual excuses about why I haven't shown anything as yet but sometimes,
just sometimes it is not all my fault.
There are things that I am excited about and would like to show but I am unable to
The reason being that many are still being created as we speak.
They are all worth waiting for.
I am very excited about their arrival and I have seen many pictures of
"work in progress"

The finished artworks promise to be very special but they can't be shown in their entirety
until they arrive here in the gallery.
Until then I thought it worthwhile to show you some "teaser" pictures of some pieces that are still being created.

The first is by the artist Anne Bachelier.
This is to be a very special piece of art, she is creating a book.

I should first explain that the title for the exhibition is  "A Christmas Carol"
A theme taken from the famous book by Charles Dickens, a story that I have loved from the age of nine. Every Christmas I read it again and each time it still holds the same magic for me.
I think that it captures the spirit [or three] and the innocence of the occasion and with every reading it still makes me feel young again.
Stupid I know, but it makes me smile and think of better times when the world didn't seem as bad.
A time when Christmas was about magic.
For many years I have intended this book to be the theme for a Christmas show.
This year it is happening.

Anne Bachelier was one of the first artists that I approached to be involved.
Fortunately her imagination, creativity and ability far out exceeds my own, but the idea
excited her in the same way as it had me.
From our initial conversation we were comparing ideas and inspirations, it was exciting as I had someone who shared the same vision, plus the ability to make it happen.
These are the best days when running the gallery

Anne offered to create her version of the book
Not just a version illustrated by her but a very special childish version,
It was to be a "Pop-Up" book.
I am sure that the idea of something like that makes us all remember Christmas as a child.
The idea of something like that really excited me.
The perfect Christmas art, created by the perfect artist for such a task.
A Pop-Up book for adults.

The creation of the book has taken many months, and is still to be finished.
That she was prepared to attempt such a project is testament to her creativity and work ethos. 
Especially considering that this has been one of her busiest and most productive years with exhibitions back to back in many different countries.
But to know Anne you understand that she lives to create, she travels with her brushes and paints each and every day.
However the creation of this special book was so much more than painting,
It was creating paintings that were then cut by hand to fit and fold behind other paintings.
Also the whole book has been handwritten with her beautiful script,
In English I might add, which certainly must have been an enormous task.

[Of course not for myself, being multi-lingual and fluent in all languages, especially Cockney].

The thing that I find most amazing is that each page works as a "stand alone" painting.
Just because there has been so much work to do has not tempted her to cut corners or create
"throw away" images. She is treating the whole book as if it is one piece of art.
I eagerly await its arrival, when it does I will turn each page slowly.
This will be a once in a lifetime experience.

I can't thank Anne enough for taking the time and effort to indulge my passion for this project.
It speaks volumes about her, her generosity and willingness to help a friend.
I know that I will never own the book but what a wonderful present for the gallery.
I can't wait to show you the finished book,
I really do feel like a child awaiting the magic of Christmas.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Here at last is a small selection of sculptures that form the other half of our current exhibition.
They are by the artist Evelyne Galinski.

A year ago Evelyne contacted me asking would I be interested in seeing some of her sculptures?
She was traveling from France to deliver work to one of her many UK customers and she offered to call at the gallery before returning home.
After seeing a couple of images of her work I could never say no.
This sculpture was so good it was an opportunity not to be missed.
So, a couple of weeks later she arrived here at my doorstep.

She is one of those artists whose work has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
It is very complex yet at the same time very gentle and beguiling, there are stories to be told about Each unique piece of sculpture.
I am sure that my own interpretations of her work will differ from her own
But that is not important it is the emotion captured in her art that is so moving and personal,
That is important

I was really intrigued in the way her work was created
So on her visit here she showed me many pictures of the work in progress.
One image has been fixed on my mind ever since, it was a white hot sculpture with rain cascading upon it.
Well that is what I thought.
However, it was not rain but sawdust scattered in the air
Where the random flakes hit the hot surface of the ceramic it ignited and changed the surface.
I really wanted to have these images to show you as they were so dramatic,
Unfortunately for me Evelyne is in the progress of producing a book where the photographs will be Shown for the first time so I had to suffice with just a few close up shots of her working.

Her sculptures are sized from those just a few inches tall to others of a giant proportions.
Whatever the size the attention to detail is superb, they can only really be appreciated in the flesh.
There are details and shapes in area's that would not easily be seen
Unless the sculpture is rotated and viewed from every angle, unfortunately although
I am sure that can be done, I am unable to do that for you.

Hey! What do you expect I'm an aging man?

What I would really like to show you is just the raw emotion in each sculpture.
This is very hard to capture in a photograph but I have tried.

I can only say that my life is richer for having this work here with me for a short time.
It is all so dramatic and moving I just know that in the future
I will look back and feel amazed that I ever had this art here on display in "MY" gallery.
Perhaps I should keep one piece a prisoner to enjoy forever.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Under Pressure

I'm getting very behind.
We are having a few "back to back" exhibitions and everything is starting to blur a little.
Of course the art is totally different each time but the magazines and printers
work on a different deadline to me.
It seems that as soon as we have held the opening of one exhibition I am being chased for images
of our next exhibition, or I remember that I only have a few days to design
the invitation for the next show, which in my mind seems so far away as I am still so involved
with the current exhibition.

In reality it should not be too much of a problem, but on occasions the artist for a forthcoming
exhibition doesn't understand how far in advance I need information and pictures.
But, of course there are exceptions.
Rob Van Hoek
Is an artist that is one of those exceptions.
In fact he was "so far ahead of the game" I found myself trying to keep up with him. 

Although he is from Holland he is very collected here in the UK and America
Over two months ago he sent me small images of his new paintings so that I could have first choice
of his paintings for his exhibition with us.
My first thought was "this is going to make it easy for me".
But no!
Because I had lots of time I dithered about "umming and ahrring"
Should I go for this one or that one?
Meanwhile his collectors were buying.
Once I understood this I became more focused and made quick decisions.

Immediately Rob sent me "Hi Resolution" pictures in case I needed them.
This gives a small insight into how professional he is.

We have been showing Robert's art for a couple of years but this was to be his first exhibition with us.
I could not be happier.
The photographs just do not do justice to the paintings that arrived,
They are beautiful yet also different to the kind of art that I would normally want to show.
I can't put my finger on the difference but in a way I find them very sculptural.

This perhaps is because after finishing painting he then scratches though the paint to reveal the canvas.
In fact the details are actually the canvas revealed beneath the layers of paint.
The finished artwork has texture plus an almost a 3D affect.
Coupled with the simple innocence of the landscapes his technique is refreshing,
Very contemporary and beautiful.

The Titles!
I confess that in the past I have read the title of his paintings but then have struggled sometimes to make the painting fit the title.
Some are obvious others not so.
Then I learned that Rob plays music while he is painting, and it is the mood and atmosphere of the music that can decide the title of the painting.
It may be the title or just a few lyrics that then become the name of the painting.

I'm sure that we can all relate to that.
The way that music can make us happy or sad or can transport us to another time
memory or place.


I don't really need the titles
His paintings move me and my emotions.

This coupled with his professional manner has made this an [almost] easy approach to an exhibition.
Except that it put me in front for a couple of days so I decided to paint the gallery.
Big Mistake.
I am now behind as ever.
Also, Rob will be exhibiting alongside the sculptor
Evelyne Galinski
Whose work will arrive from France on Friday night, one day before the opening.
So it seems like it will be pressure as usual up to the wire.
I couldn't work any other way.

"Under Pressure"
Now isn't that a title of a song?