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.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013


I hope that you all have a good Christmas.
with a little of the magic that we all remember.

Friday, 20 December 2013


I have been forgetting just how close it is getting to the
"Big Day",
and yet I still have so many pieces of art that I have been intending to show before Christmas so I had better start catching up, and fast.
There is one sculptor that I have been very long overdue to tell you about,
and for that I have no excuses as it is a lady that I met in the summer, which now seems so long ago.
Lucianne Lassalle.

As I do every year I visited a ceramic fair in the Lake District.
I always enjoy the visits but of course I never know if the journey and time away from the gallery will be justified.
I do get to meet up with old friends, but the same people I usually see several times a year
when I am visiting the various art events of interest around the country
so there is no real need to travel to see them so far north.
But, it has become something of a tradition for me, plus I enjoy sleeping beside the lakes and getting
the opportunity to stop overnight in Yorkshire on the way there.

I must confess that this summer I did question why I had taken so much trouble to fit in the trip.
Yes, the fair was good as always but this year it seemed that it was very much the same as last year,
and to be honest almost like every ceramic fair I visit.
Same face just a new location.
Still, I knew it wasn't time wasted as I got to meet and talk with one of my favourite ceramic sculptors,
Christy Keeney.
Christy is from Ireland and he only gets to visit a couple of times a year
so I know that whenever I meet him I will always come home with something exciting,
fresh and different.
He also has a good understanding of how I think and which sort of sculpture excites me,
so when he told me that before I left for home that I must go and look at the work of a certain sculptor
who was a friend of his, I knew that it would be interesting at the very least.

Which was how I first met Lucianne.
She was showing ceramics and ceramic sculpture, which at that time I assumed was the only medium
she worked with, now I know no better.

What first drew me to her work was the association that I felt some of the pieces had with the early work of Picasso.
Simple sketches of nudes, drawn with very few strokes and seemingly with no hesitancy,
I loved them, they were simple, honest and beautiful.

So all I had to do was approach her and ask would she let me show something in the gallery.
If it was only that simple.
Whenever I fall in love with an artist's work it becomes a nightmare for me.
I just don't know how to approach people, I understand that there are ways to go about these things but nobody has explained them to me.
So, I just try to be honest, and believe me if anybody has ever told you that 'honesty is the best policy' then they are "fibbing".
But I don't know another way, so lacking any charm
I just asked Lucianne could I show some of her work "just because I liked it so much"?
She explained to me that she was represented by many galleries and at that time wasn't looking for another.

it was time to re-think my approach.
I went back and asked "are you sure" [If that didn't work then what would]?

She was lovely and thanked me for my interest, but she couldn't at the moment as she was so committed with different exhibitions.
I accepted this but warned her  "you will regret this".
So like a spurned lover I returned home and got on with normal life.
Two days later I had a call from Lucianne.

"You told me that I would regret not letting you have some of my work,
I do.
Would you still like something"?

I was overcome.
That an artist was so generous and so lacking in any ego is a very rare thing.
How many people can bring themselves to say "I was wrong"?
Not me, that's for sure.
Since that day we have been fortunate to show the many varied creations by Lucianne.
Surprisingly only a few of them being ceramics
But what came as a complete surprise was to learn that although she lives in Scotland she was born in Paris, the daughter of artists, and her aunt was in fact a model for Picasso.
It all made sense.

Thank you Lucianne for having such an open heart,
plus thank you Christy for having the understanding that I would love her creations.

So for this years Christmas exhibition we have a few of her special pieces shown above.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Getting Closer

Today, I started to give some thought to Christmas,
You know, the last minute thoughts that most men have, what should I buy, what would they like,
and I bet I get it wrong again this year.
So it had me thinking about which days I should go where to get whatever.
Counting off the days made me understand that it really is getting closer and I haven't even started to show anyone some of the lovely and unusual work that is in our seasonal exhibition.
In fact I don't think I even mentioned that we have one, well we do, and I have been told by many people that it is the best Christmas show we have done, which is not a lot of good
if nobody knows what we are showing, so here's just a few pieces that we have on display.

Rather than show a complete mixture [plus I have many pictures still to take] I have decided to
start with paintings. 
To my great delight we received a new selection from Anne Bachelier,
and as always I have been undecided about what to show first so I have started with one
that I feel really reflects this time of year,
it is called 'Winter Morning' or more romantically "Matin d'hiver" which sounds much nicer.
For me this painting really gives me a feeling of the 'Green Man', the character of legend and mythology plus it has a cold winter feel about it,
although the painting is small it moves me in a large way that I can't define.

Below her painting is one by Nom Kinnear King, who is our most recent 'new' artist.
I came across her paintings for the first time at an art fair in London.
I loved them and I kept returning to the stand where they were shown, just to look one more before I left for home, just so I could etch them in my mind in case I never got to see her art again.
To my great surprise it turned out that she was really local to our gallery.
I hadn't heard of her, she hadn't heard of us.
Now of course we are friends and I am truly enjoying the paintings that she has let us show.
Our exhibition is titled
'The Light Before Christmas'
Even though she only had two weeks notice Nom insisted that she wanted something on show which had been created especially with that title in mind.
The painting speaks for itself.

There is another artist that is new.
Not a new artist as he is firmly established worldwide but he is new to us,
Mark Harrison.
What I most love about Marks's work is it is all about light, or sometimes the absence of it.
I find his work very moving, evocative and it talks of a times gone by.
He paints scenes of places like New York, Venice, London and the English landscape,
all of them very moving.
After my initial task of persuading him to show with us, then real problems started.
He asked me to choose [without restraint] which paintings I would like to show.
Each day I would make a choice and then talk with him, but that was too late.
They were selling faster than I could decide so in end I just sent a wish list ten and told him I needed
five of them.
A result at last, we now have some beautiful paintings hanging here in the different rooms. 

This Christmas we are also doing something we haven't done before.
We are showing the work of different print makers.
There is something about the quality of hand made prints that I have always admired, the best seem simple yet they rarely are, they are the result of talent and time,
The skills to produce exceptional prints are a labour of love, in theory it all sounds so simple,
wood block, lino cut. Surely we can all do those? NO.

Below are examples by two of the print makers we are fortunate to be exhibiting.
Colin Moore

Janet Brooke.
Both acclaimed and well collected, and both producing beautiful prints.


The cover of our invitation featured another of our new paintings by Anne.
'Un Papillon dans un cercle d'or'.
Just reading the title makes me wish I could speak French, it sounds so lovely.
So is the painting, lovely, gentle and telling a story.
I suppose if there were to be one common link to all of the paintings shown it would be
that they all tell a story.
They show places and people that you can let your imagination dream about,
some give me happy feelings some sad, but they are all very similar

because they give me such immense pleasure.
I am just a custodian but until Christmas they are mine.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


We all like a nice surprise now and then and today that is just what I had.
Of course it is the time of year when we are looking forward to receiving something that we desire,
something special, something unexpected.
It doesn't always happen but it is good when it does.
So here is an early Christmas present I received from the ceramist Geoff Swindell.

Well, it wasn't exactly a present but it was certainly a nice surprise.
Perhaps I had better explain.
Geoff is a well known, perhaps famous ceramist. He is also a very nice "gentleman".
I don't know him very well, in fact we only meet and talk about once a year, this is usually at one
of the summer ceramic fairs.
I am not even sure how we started talking but my memory tells me it was about a mutual admiration of the others shoes.
Since that day Geoff's have got better and mine have got shabbier,
perhaps that's because he buys new pairs and I'm still wearing the same ones.
However, our conversations did move on from shoes and turned to conversations about ceramics.

So once a year we would talk about pots, potters, and also about life.
It is always easy to pick up and continue a year old conversation with Geoff, as he is such an easy going person, knowledgeable, confident and a very good listener,
he listen and advises.
These are perhaps some of the reasons that he so highly regarded by past students.

"He warns you about life after art school and prepares you for the real world".
"Geoff taught us how to present our art and how to approach a gallery".

Are comments I  have been told by two of his past students who have approached the gallery.
Not only did he teach them how to create, he also told them how to sell

So it is little surprise that each year when he visits the one ceramic show there is a constant stream of
ex-students who are waiting to purchase one of his unique pieces.
Understanding that they will visit, plus knowing that they will be short of funds he will always
have a selection of affordable pieces ready for them.
In fact I almost feel that he attends this event just to catch up with old friends,
it is certainly not the kind of venue that you would expect to find an artist of his renown.

He has been a well collected ceramist for as long as I can remember and time hasn't diminished
his popularity, in fact it has grown.
You usually only find his work in major galleries, both in the UK and abroad.

So each year I look forward to our little chat and on occasion I might purchase something in the
knowledge that we might not meet for another year.

This summer I left with one small piece,
something that is not unusual as Geoff works on a small scale [think centimetres not inches].
Nevertheless it was a significant piece that left a great impression upon me.
A simple spoon.
Simple but very beautiful, a piece that he created with his wife.
I would look at it each day, the more I looked the more my imagination ran away with me.
In my mind it was like a miniature witches ladle, from there my thoughts went to a group of three.
Three witches, in a circle.

Being a totally frustrated artist I contacted Geoff and ask could he create such a thing for me.
He replied that he only worked during the winter so it would be near to Christmas
before he could think about making such a thing.
I thought that was just his way of letting me down gently,
after all what was I thinking of trying to place my frustrated ideas into the mind of an artist?
But, of course I had forgotten the man.

This morning a box arrived,
of course it contained my three witches, and as Geoff had promised "near to Christmas".

It is now proudly on display [ and for sale ] in the gallery.
Thank you Geoff.

Of course I have titled the piece