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 5 November 2014

It might be hard to understand how this collection of images relate to each other.
But, they do

The odd one out is the picture at the top which is of a young woman who models for me occasionally.
We are good friends but we only meet up about twice a year.
That is usually when she calls into the gallery with her partner to catch up on old times.
Of course we talk about things we have done together and what we might do
"one day"
As always it is just fun to talk and to get excited about different projects.
'Sarah Day'
Is her name. Look her up, she is very talented artist.
But to me she will always just be "Sarah" my first and most long suffering model.
I have written of our adventures in the past, and I am sure there will be many in the future.

On A recent visit, just about a week ago
She commented on the sculptures that we have by Sandra Courlivant.
"these really remind me of something I have seen on TV
Apparently there is a young Mongolian girl who hunts with Eagles".

"Really", I replied.
Could you let me know who or what you have seen"?

The next morning I was sent a "link" that has changed my life in just a few short days.

It was an introduction to the world and the photography of an incredible man named 
Asher Svidensky.

He is a genius [which he denies]
And yet I must be the last person on the planet to know of him.

He is such an incredible photographer, a person who looks through the lens and views a painting.
Within seconds of looking at his incredible art I had an exhibition in my thoughts.
Sandra Courlivant & Asher Svidensky.
There joint art is focused on the children of Mongolia.

"I must show a joint exhibition".
A wonderful image but could I bring it to reality?

   I started with Sandra, because having exhibited with us she understands that I am mad and that I live on dreams.

"Would she consider exhibiting with and creating sculptures based on the photography of Asher's
Mongolian children hunting with Eagles"?

To my delight she replied that "of course I will. I am so inspired".
It made sense to me, but then I am just a dreamer not a creator, I just dream of others creations
[that might be].
It is a dream fulfilled when an artist shares my visions of their ability.


So, next call was of course to Asher .
When that time came I had started to learn just how famous he is.
He has been featured on television programmes worldwide, and his photography has become "viral".
I am not certain what that means but I am pretty sure it is good.

So, I reminded myself that the biggest artists that we have dealt with have always been the nicest and yet the most humble.
So, what was there to lose
[just a dream]

So I sent him a "heart" inspired email at 6.30pm, then crossed my fingers.
Maybe, just maybe, he might respond.

At 7.30pm the telephone rang.

"oh no"! it's another late day sales call asking did I want to subscribe to.............?

I picked up the telephone with the words "Get Lost" in my thoughts.
Instead I heard a voice saying.
"Hello this is Asher Svidensky calling about your exhibition"

Being the king of cool I replied

"Bloody hell..................! you are the last person I expected to be calling".


Of course, frequent readers will appreciate that I have not yet [after 10 years] mastered the art of being calm and controlled with artists that I admire.
But, the good thing is Asher was not used to dealing with gallery owners who are fans.

So the result?

Not only will we be holding the first UK exhibition of Ashers Photograph's
But also the first "World Wide"joint exhibition
[I am sure there will be many]
Sandra Courlivant & Asher Svidensky

It would have happened one day I am sure, but I am so proud and excited that it will happen here.
On occasions I feel very happy.
This is one.

Just how lucky can I be?

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Happy but Sad

It is hard to come to terms with the fact that our latest exhibition has actually opened, at last.
I have wanted this exhibition to happen for a long while
I have planned and worried about it for a long time but now it is finally happening.

The two artists involved are very important to me as I admire their art so much.
Anne Bachelier the artist and Rachel Anne Stevenson the sculptor.
I am a very great fan of both artists, so I was very nervous about this event.
You could say that I was a little "star struck".

Unfortunately, although she had intended to Rachel was unable to attend the opening
Something that she was upset about as the two artists had collaborated on one piece
And she had wanted very much to meet her fellow artist.

Anne, however did make the journey from the French Alps, not only to attend but also to assist
in any way she could prior to the opening.
Of course this only added to myself induced stress levels,
It is difficult to be a fan yet remain "cool" when meeting a great artist you are in awe of.
I need not have worried.

Anne Bachelier, has been without a doubt the most normal [for a famous artist] person who has ever
exhibited in our gallery.
From start to finish the whole exhibition was nothing but a great pleasure.

It was also the most successful exhibition that we have held.
On so many different levels.
But mainly because it was an enormous amount of fun, it seemed that everyone enjoyed the event
The months of preparation and planning were well spent
If we were to close tomorrow, the whole purpose of our being has been completed.
The artists were working in collaboration with us, not for us, and the experience has been wonderful.

Of Anne, I cannot say enough good things.
The paintings that have moved me for so long were created by an extraordinary, yet very modest artist.
Her thoughts were always of us the gallery, not her the artist.
As a result the event was relaxed and very enjoyable, I can't even remember being stressed,
So that shows there is a first time for everything.

Anne was here for just four days, but four days that have meant so much.
I can not thank her enough for her great participation and the pleasure her and her art have given us
[and many, many others].
The exhibition may have been long in the planning but the opening was a delight for her many admirers.

Although a great deal sold at the opening there are still many beautiful artworks for sale.
The reason for this is because Anne is a very prolific artist
She even travelled with her paints, she creates because she must.
It is in her soul.

The visit by her and her husband Claude will never be forgotten,
it was a very unique occasion.

So, it was with great sadness last night that we said our final farewell to them both.

Just for a while.
I hope and think that our paths will cross many times in the future.

Before her departing she made a dedication [and a painting] inside one of her books for Irene and I.
It was very moving.
I will scan and show it in another post.

Meanwhile, I will start planning our next collaboration.

I am sure that Anne, Rachel and ourselves are meant to work together in the future.
I hope so.
Thanks to them both for such a memorable event.
Plus, a very big thank you to Claude, for braving the English roads in darkness to bring Anne here.

Of course the images are of Anne and her husband Claude.
A few of her sold artworks,
Plus the artist at work in her studio.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

A First

I had vowed to myself that I would never have a picture of myself on this blog
[for obvious reasons]
But there is a first time for everything, and this is it.

At the moment the gallery is in a state of turmoil as we prepare for this weekends opening
of the exhibition of paintings by
Anne Bachelier.
As we have just returned home from the Cambridge Art Fair there is a lot to be done,
and I must apologise to anyone who visits this week as we are in a state of disarray
[actually it is a bloody mess]
with boxes, wrappings, paintings and sculptures covering every surface.

I certainly do not have time to write a post,
which is a shame as for once I have a lot that I could write about telling you of our adventures and
fun at the Fair.

Our stand was manned by myself, my lovely son Sam and our best mate Paul.
There was a lot of stress and even more swearing
[mostly by myself]
but we all had a good time, and even better, good sales.

There is a lot to tell, so maybe another time, but let's just say that it "opened my eyes".
It seems that a lot of galleries tell "fibs" and indeed a lot of galleries don't even exist until there is an
Art Fair!

I have put aside my misgivings about pictures of myself because otherwise I would not be able to
show the photograph of me and my new customer.
Jeffrey Archer
I have promised that I would not record some of his comments [all good]
in fairness to the other exhibitors.

Since the Fair we have spoken and concluded his purchase of a beautiful sculpture.
As part of the deal he is giving me a dedicated book of my choice.
He asked me
"which book would you like, Kane & Abel"?
An obvious choice because it is perhaps his most famous novel.
I told him, no, I would like
'Not A penny More, Not a Penny Less'
[His first novel]

"My, you go back a long way", he remarked.
Which I think was a polite way of saying "what an old git you must be"
Something that is proven by my photograph.

The picture at the top unfortunately is not of myself,
it is Sam
The other is of "Jeff" [my new best mate] myself and Craig the Art Fair organiser.
In case you haven't guessed I am the old man that looks about 90 years old.

I was young once, "honest".

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Here is the proof that I am feeling under pressure, I have delegated!

I suppose I am what is described as a "control freak" [I hate that expression]
What I mean is that I am convinced that the only way anything should be done is "my way"
I trust only my own abilities to get the results that I desire.

Of course that doesn't include things like fixing the car, plumbing, decorating, grass cutting, ironing,
etc,etc,etc, the list is endless.
But with 'arty farty' stuff and anything to do with the gallery I only trust myself
and that is why I have been struggling recently
as there is a multitude of things to be completed in a short space of time.

One of the tasks that I wasn't looking forward to was designing the invitation for the coming exhibition.
This was not because I don't enjoy doing them, I do
But I just have a tendency to dither and try out different designs and images,
The result is I usually end up doing about four different versions which take just as many days.
I explained to Irene that "I just have so much to do in too little time".

She asked why I didn't ask for help?
"We will all help you, all you have to do is ask".
I told her that my next job
[making it sound like I was painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling]
was to design the invitation "and that's going to take for ever".

She took control.

"Right, I will ask Sam to do that, he will have it done in 10 minutes, while you get on with other things
[I think you can all appreciate just how bullied I am].

A miracle happened.
I let go.

It didn't hurt [except my ego] and the result was it was at the printers that same day.
Plus, I really like it.
It is different to what I would have finished up sending
But I think it has benefited having a fresh and different [dare I say younger] approach.

Of course, when things are back to normal [whatever that is] I will be back in control
After all if I wasn't in charge of everything
What else would I have to do?
Then before you know it they would have me doing "real" jobs
Like washing my own clothes.

Must go now, I've got so much to do.
Worry, worry, worry.
As Carly Simon sang to me "nobody does it better".

Thank you Sam.

Saturday 27 September 2014

I have a knot in my stomach, I think that it is called "Panic".
With the
Cambridge Art Fair
Almost upon us which is then followed by a very important exhibition I am starting to worry that
there is just not enough time left to achieve everything that I have planned.
The past two weeks have been spent framing paintings for both events and there are still many  remaining that must be completed within the coming week.

This might be possible but it will be at the expense of everything else that I intended to have done.
I would have achieved a lot more but a lot of time has also been spent trying to get a small catalogue completed and sent off to the printers.
Actually it was sent to a printer, and it should have been in my hands now,
but there were a few communication problems [I'm being polite], so I started again with another printer .

It is little things like this that eat up any spare time that I haven't got.
So one thing I was certain of the blog was not going to be updated any time soon.
But then I decided that I would cheat and just show pictures and write nothing.
Then I thought "well I've got to say something".
Before I knew it I was in the mood for writing, but then I looked at the paintings waiting to be framed
and decided to revert to Plan A.

So here are the pages of the catalogue that should be delivered next week.

I confess that was a lot easier than writing, besides every picture tells a story, so they say.
I must go now as I have some serious worrying to do.
Someone has to, so it might as well be me.

Saturday 20 September 2014

So much for showing "a little but often".
It seems that Instead I am opting for "very little and certainly not often",
But I would like to think that quality is worth more than quantity, or perhaps its just called being lazy.

However at the moment I feel anything but lazy as there seems like I have so much to achieve with little time to do it.
I feel like I have done a days work just getting out of bed lately.
Of course that is meant to be my "little joke" but there are days recently when I feel tired before I even start.
Perhaps that is because I am staying here too late before going home and the fact that my "evening"
isn't starting until around 11 pm.

There is a lot to be achieved before our next event and I am only too aware from past experience
that a month suddenly seems to turn into hours with much still to do.
So, with the approach of our next really important exhibition
and the minor event called an 'Art Fair'
I felt that it would be best to put in some hours now in the hope that I will be relaxed and prepared
come the events.
Even as I wrote that I could hear 'Jiminy Cricket' on my shoulder telling me
"you gotta be joking, you relaxed"?
I tell him that there is a lot to do and little time to do it.
Which of course is yet another excuse for never writing the blog.

Although at the moment I am very focused on our next exhibition there are daily reminders that the
'Cambridge Art Fair'
is approaching at a rapid pace, and apart from the unexpected amount of paperwork
[I should have anticipated that as I have said before, having a gallery is like working in an office]
there are still many details to finalise with the different artists whose work we intend to show.

Because we don't specialise in local artists it makes things more difficult
as there are different works to be collected or sent from artists far away.

The first of these [shown above] is Rob Van Hoek the Dutch artist.
I have desired his paintings for a very long time, which is strange because his work is so unlike
that of other artists that I admire.
I find his paintings very moving and evocative of the English landscape,
It is his "grey" paintings I like the most, they really remind me of everything that I complain about
in our country, because if asked to describe England I would just answer "Grey".
Perhaps that is why I like them so much.

I have been "courting" Rob for some time now and although he had agreed to let me exhibit
a couple of his paintings I began to wonder if that day would ever come.
Simply because he has become so popular and is in very great demand and does not have enough hours
in the day to create sufficient work to appease his many clients.
He didn't forget me and recently contacted me saying
"I think it is time that I concentrated on your two paintings"
The two then turned into three, four and now, I think that it is six that are on their way to us to be
shown for the first time in Cambridge.
I hope that they will be the first of many to make their way to us during the coming year.

They paintings are being sent so that has made life easier for me.

There is my friend of long standing [I nearly said old friend which she wouldn't like] the sculptor
Nichola Theakston
She has shown with us on many occasions over the years and her and her equally talented husband Tony are people I regard first and foremost as friends.

What has been wonderful to observe is how her work and fame has evolved over a slow period of time.
Although she has always been highly regarded and collected I think that she has now reached
the point where she is really at the "top of her game".
Producing a collection of wildlife sculpture that now features at regular London auctions.
Although she is now becoming [dare I say it] famous, I just knew that she would create something for us to display at the Art Fair.

Still haven't worked out how they are going to get here,
I will worry about that at 3 am when I lay staring at the ceiling making a mental list of problems.
Let's face it if I didn't worry what else would I do?

The arrival of the paintings by the French artist 
Agnes Boulloche
Is still a problem I am working on, I think we have it solved but there are still a lot of "ifs and buts" to be sorted out.
I suppose I should be working on that instead of writing this, but my thoughts were
"write now while you still remember".
That is because I know that if I didn't it would be a few more days before I remembered that I was overdue to write [which I am now].

Discovering the existence of Agnes was a great and totally unexpected pleasure.
She wrote to me asking "does my work interest you"?
Four hours later we were making plans together [not marriage as I am playing hard to get].
I have yet to meet her, and I am unsure where that will happen because although she lives in the very centre of Paris [spitting distance from the Eiffel tower] she also has other homes and studios.
She is a total enigma, and I am so very happy that she [I don't know how] found me,
then recognised that I would be drawn to her art.

Art, that has somehow to be collected and delivered here very soon
If only the logistics of getting it here were easier.
Of course it would be lovely to "pop over" to Paris for the day and come home with them
but I think my fear of the French traffic is greater than my fear of the language.

Yes, my fear of the roads around Paris is definitely a lot greater.
Perhaps I am spending too much time in the gallery and not enough time travelling as now even
the thought of driving to that "strange" town London fills me with dread
So the thought of driving the wrong way down the Champs-Elysees is more than I could cope with.

Mind you I could imagine the Parisian women exclaiming
"who is that man who drives with such an independent air, he must be a millionaire,
et aussi he is so handsome".

He's just owns a gallery and worries far too much.