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.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

I am constantly in a state of excitement and anticipating when new pieces of art expected to arrive at the gallery,
Once I have seen something that I desire and spoken with the artist
I have no peace until there work is here on show.
This of course is totally illogical
as I see many "objects of desire" that I would love to exhibit
But I appreciate that because of other commitments only a few will ever come to the gallery
But, sometimes when I come across artists whose work really moves me
 I feel certain that if it was on exhibit here it will move the emotions
of others in the same way as it has moved mine.
On these occasions it becomes a mission and the words "no I can't" are something that I don't understand.
Fortunately for my health this does not happen often.

Thinking about things, I suppose this is what the purpose of having a gallery is all about
Showing art that people can connect with and are moved by.
Of course,
It goes without saying that if they happen to purchase that piece of art it is a big bonus,
I confess that I sometimes get confused and have to remember this is not my own personal collection
that I am exhibiting, it is art for sale.
But it is a wonderful feeling when sometimes a piece of art that you are showing
can move someone enough to make them cry.

Emotions are a strong force
When I do become really excited all logic and thoughts of sales "go out of the window"
and I will not rest until I have that piece or some of that art on show.
Then I can relax a little until I find another great artist,
and the worry starts again.
But that's the fun side of having a gallery [the rest is all stress].

I would like to think that there are a few artists/sculptors/ceramists that we have helped gain recognition,
But the truth is that I "just knew" they were going to be great, with or without us,
it was obvious.

So, here above is the art of a lady who I know is going to achieve very great things,
In fact in America she already has.
Perhaps here in England we can help the same thing happen

We don't have her sculptures at the moment they are still being created
but they will be arriving here in a few weeks.
I can't wait for that day.

Here are some pieces of carpentry/sculpture that I have long been awaiting,
that now I can enjoy.
James Evans
Is a man whose work I absolutely love, we have shown him in the past
and I hope we will many times in the future.

His work on display here now is an example of how some things are worth waiting for.
His work has been promised for a long while 
[well eight weeks seemed a bloody long time to me]
The wait had only heightened my excitement and anticipations,
I am not disappointed.

Each and every day that I look at his cupboards I find some new detail that I had missed,
they are truly stunning and are the result of hundreds of hours work.
These are pieces that I would love to possess,
but until that day happens I am proud to be a temporary custodian of such things.

I had felt sure that once they were here on display
I might calm down a little and perhaps my enthusiasm and love of them might diminish.
But it hasn't it has grown.

It would seem that much as I desire and won't rest until a piece of art is here in the gallery
that it is only on arrival that the true admiration and appreciation of that artist
and their art begins.

Which takes me back to the top of the page.
When the sculptures arrive I will tell you the artists name.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

"Would you like some new Pen & Inks?"

Was the question I was recently asked by the artist Anne Bachelier.
I don't think she really needed to ask as I am sure that she knew what my answer would be.
"Yes please", or perhaps "oui merci" I should have said
as her exhibition here at imagine Gallery is getting closer and closer and I had vowed to myself
that I would try and refresh my [schoolboy] memory of the French language
before meeting her.
Somehow, I don't think that is ever going to happen so when the time comes I will just try and speak English with a French accent and perhaps throw in the occasional "mange tout", "petit pois"
or even "merde' just so that she understands that I am a well travelled
and an educated man.

Anne's offer of some Ink and watercolour "drawings" for the summer was an offer I really couldn't resist.
I adore all of her art but I am not sure what it is that draws me so much to her
Pen & Ink.
Maybe it is the spontaneity,
maybe it is because of the gaps and spaces that your own imagination has to fill,
perhaps it is the attention to fine detail or maybe it is when I discover birds and creatures hidden
within the details.
I just find them very powerful and moving.
So, of course I jumped at her offer.

She then made it hard for me by offering me a choice of works.
"You can have one or all of them".

This was bad because I wanted them all [even though they will never be mine]
but I thought that would seem to be greedy,
so I pretended to ponder until I had made a final considered decision.
I left one off my list.
Lets be honest, telling an artist to "send everything that you have" doesn't sound too professional.

"They will be with you this week", she replied.

Have you noticed how sometimes a week will "fly past" and on other occasions it lasts forever?
This was one of those "forever" occasions.
Each day I would watch every courier van that stopped close to the gallery,
in the hope that it would be our new "drawings" arriving.
Of course in the end I had forgotten about things when a man walked in with a package from France.
After overcoming my initial excitement, I then left the package leaning against a wall
for perhaps an hour or so.
Because I could only enjoy the opening of it once and I wanted to savour that moment in private,
not have it interrupted with a visitor coming inside.
[After all, what do customers think this place is, a shop or something?]

Two hours passed, that was it I couldn' wait any longer.
I carefully cut the brown paper wrapping paper, putting aside the dispatch notes [for souvenir's],
inside there was a large foam package which contained the artwork,
but on one side the foam had a recess cut out that contained another smaller package.

I understand that it is wrong to wish or hope for things,
but I did.
On a previous occasion Anne had included a copy of her 'Alice in Wonderland' book.
This was a limited edition book illustrated with pictures from her solo exhibition in New York.
In fact it was two books.
When you turned the book "upside down" the cover then said "Alice Through the Looking Glass",
the two books met in the middle [if that makes sense]. 
So, I became excited in anticipation that she might have sent me another book.

"Mon Dieu"
She had, beneath the gift paper there was a book and a card.
The book is another limited edition.

13 plus 1
Edgar Allan Poe
Anne Bachelier

A beautiful book produced for her last exhibition at the CFM Gallery in New York.
It is an edition of only 50 and mine is number 37.
It is not often that I am lost for words but on this occasion I certainly was.
I am a very lucky man and Anne is a very lovely lady.

You can tell by now that I am becoming very fluent at French.
Well I still have a little time to practise and if all else fails I will just drink French Wine
at the opening of her exhibition.

I have taken too long to show you the pictures of her drawings,
the reason for this is that I have found it very hard to take photographs that do justice to them,
so rather than leave it any longer I thought I would show the images
that Anne had sent me to choose from.
Of course I have omitted the one drawing that I declined for the simple reason that I am sure
it will be the one that everyone else would have chosen.

If you get a chance pop into the gallery to see them hanging on the wall, they are beautiful.
Meanwhile if there is a French speaking art lover out there
get in touch quick.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

As ever, I'm very late telling you what has been happening and showing new pictures.
It seems that in a short space of time a lot happens and I get confused
[with me that happens a lot]
about what I should record first.
As a result images and memories build up until one day I suddenly realise that they are old memories
which I have never shared and probably never will because they are overtaken
by the most recent events and discoveries.

In fact I can't wait to share my latest discovery of two days ago,
but I thought it might be best to take a step or two backwards and show what has been happening,
after all it's a bit silly to talk about the future when there is so much happening today.

As John Lennon told us
"life is what happens while you are busy making other plans".

And who knows maybe those plans will never happen so here is a small glimpse of what has happened.

Way back at the start of the year I told you about a remarkable lady
Jemima Jameson
An artist who paints on wood, or I suppose a better way of describing her art is to say that she records
her life and the animals she shares it with in paintings
and for some reason she chooses wood as the surface that she paints on.
Perhaps, just perhaps this is because her husband is a carpenter.
Whatever the reason I am pleased that she does, as much of her work is painted onto wooden boxes.
It is a selection of these that we are exhibiting at the moment.

The exhibition has been planned for a long time,
and it needed to be as her work is highly detailed and very labour intensive to produce,
plus of course the boxes have to be created before she can even start to plan and paint on the surface.

I love Jemima's art, it is so very gentle and innocent,
it makes me think of times long past and for those reasons it reminds me of my childhood.
Her scenes of Hares running through a winter landscape are visions from a child's Christmas dreams.
So to are he vibrant summer scenes.
We can all remember those Summers without end, the summer holidays when it never rained.
It seems that so do some of her animals, like the Hare on the box below.
The title is 'The Joy of Life'.
Although it is not shown in the photograph the Hare is being joined in his chase by a multitude
of different birds, butterfly's and Bee's.
The title really does describe the image.

But, not only do her lids show beautiful images, every surface of her boxes are covered in illustration.
Her love of old manuscripts and illumination is clearly evident.
They truly are works of art, and have been described by many visitors as


In fact Jemima used to describe them as "Memory Boxes"
And that is exactly what they are and is the reason that people purchase them.

I can't tell you of some of the reasons that they have been purchased because they are too personal
and sometimes sad.
But it seems that every new owner intends to store something very precious of 'their' life
inside one of the boxes.
Usually with the intent that it will be kept within the family and will have other precious
[not in value, but sentiment]
pieces added by other family members.
They truly are boxes in which you can store your happiest memories.

For myself what has been an additional treat is that Jemima relates to my love of "storytelling".
Each box arrived complete with a little story about the animals shown
or how they had inspired the paintings.
She told me "I know you like stories."
I do especially when they are innocent and of a sentimental nature.

For instance
The box at the top of the page is titled
The Swaggering Crow"
It is about the crow who lives in her garden, or as Jemima says
"maybe we live in his garden".
He struts up and down in front of her windows, admiring his own reflection in the glass
[or perhaps he fancies his new partner].
And of course she has given him a name.
Samual Swagger
A good name for such a proud beast, although I think I would add "esquire" after the name.

Her work, is beautifully crafted and the paintings are a pure delight.
This is a very serious artist who is creating in an innocent fashion yet creating very serious art.

The opening of her exhibition was visited by the artist Terry Pastor
the man famous for creating David Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust' album cover.
He told me that he thought that her work was "incredible and so very affordable".
"If I was approached to create this sort of art onto wood I would just say, sorry you can't afford me
because it is so detailed and would take just so much time".

He called me the next day to ask, would I tell Jemima that he thinks her work is incredible.
"Without a doubt she is amongst the best artists that your gallery exhibits".

Coming from an artist whose work is so very different from her own
I thought it was a lovely heartfelt compliment.