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.

Monday, 25 July 2011

It is impossible to run a gallery and show the very personal work of different artists and just treat it just as a normal job.
What they are making, what they are up to in life and their well being is something that becomes very important.
Basically, I suppose what I am trying to say is that they become your friends.
Without intention and usually with just the occasional meeting they become very important to me. In fact I admit with some it perhaps goes too far and we argue, sulk,
and sometimes even fall out for a while.
I think it is all because what they produce is so important to them and then in the same way becomes important to me.
I can't think of any other group of people or individuals [outside my family] whose lives have ever become so entwined with my own.

Many days I will have go through my mind
"I haven't heard from XXXXXXX for a while, I hope they are OK".
But as Irene has explained to me many times they have their own lives to lead, and just because
they haven't called for a recent chat doesn't mean anything.
I think that is the way it works with friendship, and I certainly know that with some artists
the fact that we don't talk often means nothing, they know I think about them and vice versa.

Perhaps this applies to one artist more than most.
He is Mark Rowney.
In fact I have a vague memory that he was the subject of my first ever post and if I had the time he would be the subject of many more, or perhaps even a book, as there is so much to tell.
The short story is that Mark was raised as the son of a cowboy
on a Ranch in North Yorkshire.
You don't see many of those nowadays [if ever].
The rest as they say is history, or a least a very long story.

After many adventures [and even more careers], in various countries he eventually
settled down to a life of being an artist back in the County where he was born.
But what an artist he had become, his unusual life has left him with a wealth of varied talents,
from his stunning paintings on wood to his equally amazing leather carvings.
We are fortunate that he allows us to show a variety of his different works and I am never sure what I love more, in fact I am not even going to try and compare them.
I love them equally
It is a little like having two or three artists who share the same name.

Towards the end of next year we are going to be holding a solo show of his work,
something that I am really looking forward to, and what is nice so is Mark, the event will be
a pleasure for us both [and a great excuse to have a pint and a good chat].
He is one of those people that when we occasionally talk the conversation will be something like
"I was thinking about what you said........................."
and this would have been something we may have been talking about months before.
So it is always a pleasure to hear from Mark, and today more than most.

Last week marked the opening of a new gallery in North Yorkshire, well not really a gallery,
a complex of artist studios plus a gallery area which caters for every kind of artist
from painters, sculptors, blacksmith's to recording artists.
The new studios were to be opened by His Royal Highness Prince Edward and it was felt that to mark the occasion he should be presented with a special gift,
something that spoke of the art of the region.
Of course the artist chosen was Mark Rowney.

His gift.

A book, carved from leather and which took a month to create.
None of this I was aware of until today when I received a "what I've been up to" mail
from Mark, written as usual in his casual unassuming way.
He included a few pictures of the book covers and himself with Prince Edward.
What struck me as really important is that the work [books] he has sent to me are equally
as beautiful and must have taken the same time to make as each was special for our gallery.

So Prince Edward is a fortunate man but I think he was aware of that as he has promised Mark that he intends to write in it regularly [it is a journal], and I am sure he will.

The one difference between "his" meeting with Mark and my own is I doubt that Mark asked

"have you got time for a swift pint before you go mate".

But knowing Mark nothing would surprise me.

Above are a picture of the front and back cover, followed by the bookends
[note the Royal Crest on the butterfly].
Then Mark with H.R.H. Prince Edward, with some of Marks incredible leather pictures
in the background.
I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure that in the last picture Mark is saying

" you sure you wont have just a quick half then, I'm buying "?

Or maybe it's only me that is lucky enough to receive those special invitations.
Well done Mark.


  1. STUNNING work, wow! I can feel how inspired you are by your artists, and I, by your wonderfully personal eye. I am invited into your very personal aesthetic because you go to such incredible lengths to share it!

    Yours is JUST the kind of gallery I would go to for inspiration - work so different from what I do, but rooted in the same astonished witnessing of the natural world. Too bad for me you are so far away.... !

  2. Thank you for sharing Mark's fabulously detailed work, look forward to seeing photos of his solo show and I dream of visiting your gallery one day!

  3. Believe me Valerianna I become totally frustrated with the things I have here, they all give inspiration but I have nowhere to channel it.
    If only I was an artist, I love so many of the things that we show and become so involved with them that sometimes I could almost convince myself that I created them.

    In my dreams.

    I'm sure you will visit here one day Mo, just make sure that you give me lots of warning, so that I can have a good clean first.

    Thank you both for your comments, sometimes it is nice to find that you are not writing just to yourself.

  4. Thank you John for this rather humbling post. I will say that if I met more lovers of Art and especially owners/curators of such wonderful galleries like 'Imagine' then the inspiration to produce work of the best quality that I can produce would be much easier. Mind you who said Art should be easy. I do believe that I continue to grow, thanks to the support of You and all those I love.