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.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

 Most of the time I enjoy visiting different artists, it gives me the opportunity to choose the pieces of work that I feel are most suited to our gallery, but more importantly it gives me a little
insight into the world of that maker / creator.
It enables me to have a greater understanding of why they create what they do,
plus also on many occasions I get to see their source of inspiration.
I feel very fortunate to have these opportunities and it really helps when talking with prospective 
purchasers who have not been as fortunate, but who still desire to have first hand knowledge
of the artist.

 So my many trips around the country are usually something that I enjoy, plus the solitude
of a long drive gives me the opportunity to think through problems.
Believe me there are many when running a gallery.
My journeys take me to many places around our island and as a result I have come to regard many places as "home", or at least I feel comfortable in that region, town or even hotel.
But there are occasional exceptions.

 About three weeks ago I experienced one of these.
I wanted to visit various sculptors who happened to be showing together in Herefordshire,
it was a good idea to visit as I could reduce three trips down to one.

Unfortunately, but as usual for me I left all of my travel arrangements until the evening before I left.
Never again, this time I have learnt my lesson and I will try never, ever to repeat it.
I booked a room at a hotel in the town Leominster which was the closest location that I could find to my destination as I had left it so late.
The pictures on the "hotel" web site looked pretty good, and I admit that I did pat myself on the back and thought "well done John, you know how to find them".

Trouble was when I arrived on a cold foggy night at 10.00pm I couldn't find the hotel.
I have come to really trust my 'satnav' but this time it let me down
as it brought me to an 'Indian takeaway' restaurant which was situated next to a very "sleazy" pub.

I parked the car and wandered the streets trying to find the hotel,
I confess I didn't wander far as the area that I was situated in seemed "slightly" dangerous,
it felt like there was violence [and a kebab shop] at every corner so I decided to take 'satnav'
on trust and walked back to the 'takeaway'.
There I explained that I was looking for a certain hotel [no names mentioned].
I was told by two people that there was no such place, then a young woman of ethnic origin called out "yes, yes sir this is us".
Oh shit.

It turns out that the website photographs were images of various hotels,
none of them being the "doss" hole that I was to stay in.

 I have never slept above an Indian takeaway before and please God I never stay above this one again.
This was "the" most frightening night of my life.

I was given a key and directed up many stairways and corridors which brought me to a plywood door.
Inside was my "apartment".
I have no pictures to show as I left my camera, cloths and everything dear to me in the car
as I didn't want anything tainted by this place.
Filthy, frightening and vile would be the nicest thing that I can say about this room.
The windows were broken and covered with tape, the bed was stained
[I don't even want to think with what]
and the "bathroom" had blood splashed up the wall.
Why did I stay you may ask?
I don't know myself, but it was too late at night to find an alternative, I should have slept in the car
I now know, so I can only plead stupidity.

The door had no lock so I wedged a chair against it and lay on the bed fully clothed,
then prayed for sleep.

Of course I survived as I am here to tell the abbreviated story.
But never again, in future I will plan ahead [at least a day] and I hope that a night like that 
never happens to me [or you] again.

Was it worth it?
Some of it was some of it wasn't.

Above are a few of the reasons that made it so [there are others but I lack the pictures].

The porcelain work by Tony Laverick really is sensational, it really is translucent,
when a light shines inside it just glows.
He really is an excellent craftsman, plus one of the nicest, honest gentleman I have dealings with, 
I would like him even if I didn't love his "wafer" thin porcelain.

The smoke fired ceramics by Christine Gittins were also a good reason for the journey.

But of course not all good work requires a "night from Hell".
Jan Mayle [a very old friend] brings her ceramic figures here to the gallery for me to choose from.
This year she has excelled with her gentle [old looking] winter pieces.
Just what was needed for our ice cold December.

There have been other visits, some good some not,
I might tell you, might not,
but at least with them I was able to sleep in a bed not on it.

I must go now, for some reason I have the urge to have a bath.

Oh! The things I do for art.

Monday, 10 December 2012

I don't think that I ever got around to mentioning that our Christmas Exhibition has opened,
in fact it has been running for a couple of weeks, which may seem a little early
but we find that each year the serious buyers tend to come in early and it is only people
[mainly husbands] that have come to purchase that piece which their partners have been hinting
about for a long time that visit us late in the month.

Even then they don't usually purchase what they have been sent to buy,
instead the choose for themselves hoping that it isn't noticed.
One year we had a man arrive on Christmas Eve who had been sent to purchase a sculpture of a Peacock for his wife.
She had visited several times to look at the sculpture and she even told me
"I am having that for Christmas".
Instead she received a sculpture [it was good] of an Owl that her husband wanted and just knew
"she will love it".
She must have as she never came in to exchange it as I expected.
It must have been true love, either that or she hit him with it. 

Anyway, I have neglected to write about what I have been collecting and receiving over the past few weeks. I know it seems a little late to mention things now but if I don't it will
be another year and I will be concerned about other events.
Actually, it's not too late as we still have various pieces of art on their way to us, some from Australia
which I hope to show if they arrive safely and in time.

So here is just a brief mention of the pieces we have which are shown here.

The first two paintings have been long in the waiting and the creating,
as a result I wanted them even more and almost gave up on ever actually seeing them.
The artist Timothy Walton is a very busy man
and an artist of many skills, apart from being a painter he is also a master of visual effects 
for the cinema.
I doubt that any of us have not witnessed some of his work without ever knowing it.
He has worked on many famous motion pictures, such as:
Ghandi, The Killing Fields, Superman, The Mission, Stardust, Batman..........
the list goes on.
Most recently and for most of this year he has been working on
Les Miserables.
It was while he was working on this that he contacted me asking
"would I consider showing his paintings"?

"Would I"?
Yes please, I absolutely loved what he had to show me, he really is a talented man.
The paintings that I have just collected were born from his work on "Les Mis".
He worked on the creation of over 240 sky's for the film,
so remember when you go to see it at the cinema and your breath is taken away by a beautiful sunset
you now know who created that scene.
He explained that as he was working on the film he wondered if he could capture the same
feeling and atmosphere in his paintings.
As you can see he has.
Not only are the stunning and full of emotion, they also look so very old,
I was thrilled to find that when I collected them they had a crackle glazed surface,
they made me feel that I was handling something very old.

Now he has a little time to himself he has promised to create another two or three.
I know that I will write more about Tim and his art in the months to come.

Another piece of work that I have longed to exhibit is the wood carved Hare by Chris Hindley.
I first came across this piece a few months ago and was disappointed
to learn that it had been promised to a very famous London gallery for an exhibition
to be held in January.
But like a "dog with a bone" I wouldn't let it go and I am thrilled to say that my persistence
eventually made Chris give in and send it to me.

You can see why I wanted it.
It is beautiful, gentle and so very childlike.
For me it is a 'Kit Williams' painting brought to life. It is one of the nicest sculptures we have shown.

The last two pictures are of prints by George Underwood.
I know that I have gone on about him a lot recently but I just had to share these with you.
Like all of the art that I love they tell a story,
I'm not sure what the story is and I'm sure my interpretation of them would be different to his,
and maybe yours, but that is the pleasure of them,
they make you think, imagine and dream.