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 3 December 2016

Our Christmas exhibition opened a couple of weeks ago but until today I haven't shown any of the
Varied art pieces that have arrived.
The exception being the amazing "Pop-Up" book by Anne Bachelier.
Which really has to be seen to be appreciated, if only it wasn't a "one of a kind" we could all enjoy
owning a copy.

As the cover of the invitation [shown above] suggests the exhibition is titled
A Christmas Carol.
It would have been great to have every exhibit centred upon the old novel
But in reality this was an exhibition that was open to interpretation by the various artist involved.
To my delight everything received captured a little of the innocence and magic of Christmas.

'Nom', the artist we recently exhibited went out of her way to create something with a nostalgic feeling.
She also created it in little time and under great pressure.
I had asked her if she could create something really special for the exhibition,
I knew she could and would,
But with the needs of a little girl and a new baby to care for I think that her attention was focused
on many other things and she was forgetting how close Christmas was becoming.

She gave me a call telling me that she had purchased an antique clock case to be the frame
for her Christmas painting. "What do you think", she asked?
"Fantastic, just the sort of thing I have been wishing for, but have you enough time?
When does the exhibition start?
In a weeks time.
Oh! I had better stop talking and get painting".

One week later, and two hours before the opening Nom arrived with her finished painting.
I think it is easy to see why I like her so much.

Even better she arrived with her husband
The illustrator 'Adam Oehler'.
Adam had also produced two artworks for the exhibition.
Both in his very unique and innocent style. Which seems strange as he had just finished animation work
on a video for the "Heavy Metal" band Metallica, which was far from innocent.
His personal work is always innocent [and very collected], and I don't think it will be long before we are all owning a copy of his new book.

Adam and Nom, both totally different artists, both very nice people, both very talented.

I have been yearning for the sculptures of a very modest sculptor for some time.
Sometimes, although it is frustrating the wait is all worthwhile, and so it was with "Barry".
A very modest [extremely so] sculptor who had worked for the British Museum of Natural History.
His own personal work covers many different styles and interests.
From detailed wildlife sculptures to his beautiful recreations from Alice in Wonderland.
It was these that he drove for hours to deliver to us.
'The Walrus and The Carpenter'.
Both sculptural recreations of the illustrations by John Tenniel featured in the original version of the famous book.
They are "smoked fired" to replicate the "black and white" quality of the drawings.
The Carpenter is even "shedding a bitter tear" and at both their feet are the Oysters that they eat.

The man is a genius and I really hope to exhibit more of his work next year.

Something totally different is a cabinet which is a collaboration.
The cabinet made by myself many years ago from reclaimed Elm floorboards.
It has been put aside for decades, I don't know why really but I never thought it was complete.
This year I discovered the perfect artist to complete, transform and improve the object.
Despite the fact that it would be weeks of work at the wrong time of the year a wonderful woman
"Jo Anne" undertook to finish the cabinet for me.
I feel that her input was perhaps greater than my own, however I now look at the finished piece
With the feeling that it is at last perfect.
Inside is another piece of her art, to see that you will need to visit the gallery.
It is titled 'Sleeping Beauty" cabinet.

After another long wait [months], at last the first of the highly unusual sculptures and paintings
arrived from another artist that I admire, Jill Desbo.
Some of her creations very serious others not so, but all with a large amount of imagination and work devoted to their creation.
One of my personal favourites is this sculpture/puppet titled
"Mrs Thackeray's Theatre".
Her dress [stage curtains] part to reveal the audience inside watching the performance.
With rods her hands can clap and her head will turn.
Although it's hard to see, a bird nest complete with chicks perches upon her sheep s wool hair,
But I don't think Mrs Thackeray has noticed [she doesn't wash it often].
What all of them are watching I do not know, but perhaps it is a performance by another of Jill's puppets.
We have them all.

An artist who did a special painting directly related to the title is Jane Ford.
"The Poor of the Parish". is the title.
I think that it is perhaps not what Dickens was thinking of when he wrote the book
But for Jane it is a version of her Wild Life adapted to fit the theme of the exhibition.
It is certainly innocent.

But when it comes to childish innocence I could exhibit nothing better than 'Wind in the Willows'.
Or at least this fantastic creation of Ratty's home by the riverside.
I have tried many, many, many times to take a photograph of this sculpture.
None of them work, or show the true detail so I will have to describe it instead.

Built inside a Victorian cabinet with glass doors is a perfect miniature cottage, Ratty's cottage.
Complete with water and a jetty where Ratty is sitting beside his boat fishing [with fish in his basket].
It is a night time scene, the moon [illuminated in the sky] reflects upon the water.
Inside the cottage "Mole" is asleep next to a jar of cider, the fire is alight and windows illuminated.
The attention to detail is beyond belief, bottles, jars and box's sit upon shelves. 
Washing hangs from lines and candles sit in lamps, probably to help when climbing the stairs.

Obviously Ratty is a creature of thought as outside on the jetty is a telescope aimed at the moon, but this is nestled amongst baskets rubbish and flotsam he has collected.

At the base of the cabinet [beneath the cottage] is a drawer.
Opening this reveals a limited edition of 'Wind in the Willows'.
The whole piece of art is a total "one of a kind" there will never be another. It is a creation that makes me feel like a young boy each time I look at it.

Of course it sold instantly, but fortunately the buyer has let us retain it for two weeks, so it is giving pleasure to many visitors who think like me, children disguised as adults.
I will be sorry to see it leave the gallery as I will never see its like again, but at least for a short time it has been mine.

Thinking of the magic and innocence of such a piece I wanted to share it with someone.
I couldn't think of anyone better than my friend and artist Rachel.
A self confessed "Peter Pan" [I have never grown up] I just knew she would love it.
She did.
As a result the day before the exhibition opened I received her own piece of art inspired by the book.
Her version of the old and wise Badger, beautiful in detail and cast in Bronze.
I love him.

Perhaps Rachel is not alone as being a Peter Pan
There is a part of us that never grows up, in this bad world sometimes we all want to hide our eyes
and make the bad things go away.
This is what I wanted this exhibition to speak of.
Innocence and childhood.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Although there is still a month to go, our Christmas exhibition opens next Sunday.
I would make the usual excuses about why I haven't shown anything as yet but sometimes,
just sometimes it is not all my fault.
There are things that I am excited about and would like to show but I am unable to
The reason being that many are still being created as we speak.
They are all worth waiting for.
I am very excited about their arrival and I have seen many pictures of
"work in progress"

The finished artworks promise to be very special but they can't be shown in their entirety
until they arrive here in the gallery.
Until then I thought it worthwhile to show you some "teaser" pictures of some pieces that are still being created.

The first is by the artist Anne Bachelier.
This is to be a very special piece of art, she is creating a book.

I should first explain that the title for the exhibition is  "A Christmas Carol"
A theme taken from the famous book by Charles Dickens, a story that I have loved from the age of nine. Every Christmas I read it again and each time it still holds the same magic for me.
I think that it captures the spirit [or three] and the innocence of the occasion and with every reading it still makes me feel young again.
Stupid I know, but it makes me smile and think of better times when the world didn't seem as bad.
A time when Christmas was about magic.
For many years I have intended this book to be the theme for a Christmas show.
This year it is happening.

Anne Bachelier was one of the first artists that I approached to be involved.
Fortunately her imagination, creativity and ability far out exceeds my own, but the idea
excited her in the same way as it had me.
From our initial conversation we were comparing ideas and inspirations, it was exciting as I had someone who shared the same vision, plus the ability to make it happen.
These are the best days when running the gallery

Anne offered to create her version of the book
Not just a version illustrated by her but a very special childish version,
It was to be a "Pop-Up" book.
I am sure that the idea of something like that makes us all remember Christmas as a child.
The idea of something like that really excited me.
The perfect Christmas art, created by the perfect artist for such a task.
A Pop-Up book for adults.

The creation of the book has taken many months, and is still to be finished.
That she was prepared to attempt such a project is testament to her creativity and work ethos. 
Especially considering that this has been one of her busiest and most productive years with exhibitions back to back in many different countries.
But to know Anne you understand that she lives to create, she travels with her brushes and paints each and every day.
However the creation of this special book was so much more than painting,
It was creating paintings that were then cut by hand to fit and fold behind other paintings.
Also the whole book has been handwritten with her beautiful script,
In English I might add, which certainly must have been an enormous task.

[Of course not for myself, being multi-lingual and fluent in all languages, especially Cockney].

The thing that I find most amazing is that each page works as a "stand alone" painting.
Just because there has been so much work to do has not tempted her to cut corners or create
"throw away" images. She is treating the whole book as if it is one piece of art.
I eagerly await its arrival, when it does I will turn each page slowly.
This will be a once in a lifetime experience.

I can't thank Anne enough for taking the time and effort to indulge my passion for this project.
It speaks volumes about her, her generosity and willingness to help a friend.
I know that I will never own the book but what a wonderful present for the gallery.
I can't wait to show you the finished book,
I really do feel like a child awaiting the magic of Christmas.

Monday 24 October 2016

Here at last is a small selection of sculptures that form the other half of our current exhibition.
They are by the artist Evelyne Galinski.

A year ago Evelyne contacted me asking would I be interested in seeing some of her sculptures?
She was traveling from France to deliver work to one of her many UK customers and she offered to call at the gallery before returning home.
After seeing a couple of images of her work I could never say no.
This sculpture was so good it was an opportunity not to be missed.
So, a couple of weeks later she arrived here at my doorstep.

She is one of those artists whose work has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
It is very complex yet at the same time very gentle and beguiling, there are stories to be told about Each unique piece of sculpture.
I am sure that my own interpretations of her work will differ from her own
But that is not important it is the emotion captured in her art that is so moving and personal,
That is important

I was really intrigued in the way her work was created
So on her visit here she showed me many pictures of the work in progress.
One image has been fixed on my mind ever since, it was a white hot sculpture with rain cascading upon it.
Well that is what I thought.
However, it was not rain but sawdust scattered in the air
Where the random flakes hit the hot surface of the ceramic it ignited and changed the surface.
I really wanted to have these images to show you as they were so dramatic,
Unfortunately for me Evelyne is in the progress of producing a book where the photographs will be Shown for the first time so I had to suffice with just a few close up shots of her working.

Her sculptures are sized from those just a few inches tall to others of a giant proportions.
Whatever the size the attention to detail is superb, they can only really be appreciated in the flesh.
There are details and shapes in area's that would not easily be seen
Unless the sculpture is rotated and viewed from every angle, unfortunately although
I am sure that can be done, I am unable to do that for you.

Hey! What do you expect I'm an aging man?

What I would really like to show you is just the raw emotion in each sculpture.
This is very hard to capture in a photograph but I have tried.

I can only say that my life is richer for having this work here with me for a short time.
It is all so dramatic and moving I just know that in the future
I will look back and feel amazed that I ever had this art here on display in "MY" gallery.
Perhaps I should keep one piece a prisoner to enjoy forever.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Under Pressure

I'm getting very behind.
We are having a few "back to back" exhibitions and everything is starting to blur a little.
Of course the art is totally different each time but the magazines and printers
work on a different deadline to me.
It seems that as soon as we have held the opening of one exhibition I am being chased for images
of our next exhibition, or I remember that I only have a few days to design
the invitation for the next show, which in my mind seems so far away as I am still so involved
with the current exhibition.

In reality it should not be too much of a problem, but on occasions the artist for a forthcoming
exhibition doesn't understand how far in advance I need information and pictures.
But, of course there are exceptions.
Rob Van Hoek
Is an artist that is one of those exceptions.
In fact he was "so far ahead of the game" I found myself trying to keep up with him. 

Although he is from Holland he is very collected here in the UK and America
Over two months ago he sent me small images of his new paintings so that I could have first choice
of his paintings for his exhibition with us.
My first thought was "this is going to make it easy for me".
But no!
Because I had lots of time I dithered about "umming and ahrring"
Should I go for this one or that one?
Meanwhile his collectors were buying.
Once I understood this I became more focused and made quick decisions.

Immediately Rob sent me "Hi Resolution" pictures in case I needed them.
This gives a small insight into how professional he is.

We have been showing Robert's art for a couple of years but this was to be his first exhibition with us.
I could not be happier.
The photographs just do not do justice to the paintings that arrived,
They are beautiful yet also different to the kind of art that I would normally want to show.
I can't put my finger on the difference but in a way I find them very sculptural.

This perhaps is because after finishing painting he then scratches though the paint to reveal the canvas.
In fact the details are actually the canvas revealed beneath the layers of paint.
The finished artwork has texture plus an almost a 3D affect.
Coupled with the simple innocence of the landscapes his technique is refreshing,
Very contemporary and beautiful.

The Titles!
I confess that in the past I have read the title of his paintings but then have struggled sometimes to make the painting fit the title.
Some are obvious others not so.
Then I learned that Rob plays music while he is painting, and it is the mood and atmosphere of the music that can decide the title of the painting.
It may be the title or just a few lyrics that then become the name of the painting.

I'm sure that we can all relate to that.
The way that music can make us happy or sad or can transport us to another time
memory or place.


I don't really need the titles
His paintings move me and my emotions.

This coupled with his professional manner has made this an [almost] easy approach to an exhibition.
Except that it put me in front for a couple of days so I decided to paint the gallery.
Big Mistake.
I am now behind as ever.
Also, Rob will be exhibiting alongside the sculptor
Evelyne Galinski
Whose work will arrive from France on Friday night, one day before the opening.
So it seems like it will be pressure as usual up to the wire.
I couldn't work any other way.

"Under Pressure"
Now isn't that a title of a song?

Sunday 18 September 2016

At last, although very  late in the day I am telling you about our new exhibition.
It is very late in the telling, as it opened today
Of course I have many reasons for being late, and they are totally true.

It is a miracle that the artist Nom Kinnear has been able to produce an exhibition's worth of paintings.
This long desired exhibition was planned for earlier in the year until I received a call.
"Can we put back the exhibition for a later date, as I am having another baby"?
What could I say?

So the exhibition was set for a later date but it is still a miracle that it has happened.
With complications, Nom gave birth, and although she was told to rest she continued to paint whenever she could, which was not easy as also she has a young daughter to care for.
But, like all true artists she somehow continued to create whenever she could.
Here are a few of her creations.

As a result of her desire for perfection coupled with being a very busy Mother
I have been framing paintings whenever they were available.
Hence at 10.00pm on the night before the private view, I finished the very last.

We have been exhibiting her work for a long time now, but this is her first exhibition at our gallery.
Because of her circumstances we are now showing the best of her last years work. 

As you can see, her work is anything but normal.

She uses many different objects to be the "canvas" for her art.
For the beautiful painting above she has used the skin of on an Antique Tambourine. 

Below, the surface of a very old "Zither" harp.

Another painting is on the surface of a Mandolin.
I think it would be true to say that she is a very different artist. 

Her exhibition with us is titled 'Fallowmoor'.
Fallowmoor is a land of her imagination which is peopled by the figures in her paintings.
The paintings all link together and tell a story.

But although the images are from her imagination I have become to learn that some are based
Upon the features of very real people.
Including Nom and her own beautiful daughter.

Each time I talked with her I could see her face in a painting by her mother .

Although all very different each painting links to another.
However it has been the individual beauty of each piece that has captivated me.
I want to own them all, but of course I can't.

Because as I have been framing them they have been selling, which is the reason that I have shown nothing sooner.
I have been too busy framing them.
This is something which has been a difficult task, as I have wanted each frame to be different,
Yet, complimenting the painting.
I confess I have been dreaming about frames.
How sad can you get?

I tell myself "this must stop I have got to get a life".
Then I look at the beautiful framed paintings and realise that I do have a life.
A very fortunate life.
 What other job could give me so much pleasure? 

It has seemed that today every visitor has loved a different painting.
For many different reasons of their own
Above is my own favourite.

As with all of her paintings it has a long story to go with it, but I don't need to tell you that.
When Nom handed me the painting, saying "this is for the gallery".
My immediate response was
"This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen".
I haven't changed my mind since.

Thursday 25 August 2016

Short Film

Above is the short film of Anne Bachelier demonstrating at the opening of her new exhibition
Here at the gallery.
I have tried many times to show this but with no success
So if this doesn't work it is back to single pictures.

Thursday 18 August 2016

Last weekend we had the pleasure of a visit by the artist
Anne Bachelier
Anne was here to attend the opening of her second exhibition at Imagine Gallery.
She came with the company of her husband, organiser and chauffeur Claude
Who drove them both from the French Alps to our small village in England.
Excluding the time on the cross channel ferry it was a journey of 14 hours.
A sign of true love.
It must have been, as the weekend was the occasion of their 47th wedding anniversary.
Still, what better way to spend it than here in my gallery?
Well, I can think of other more romantic locations
But surely we must be a close second.

Not only did they arrive but we also had a visit from a couple of her good friends.
Her friend Philippe had come with the intention of making a short film of the exhibition.
This he did in his own very unobtrusive, very polite way [a lovely man]
It was to be made even more interesting as Anne had agreed to demonstrate her method of painting.
This she did, and to say that it was fascinating would be something of an understatement. 
I was determined to capture the procedure on camera.
Unfortunately I had many distractions and people to occupy my time so I was unable to record
it from start to finish.
What amazed me was how many times the painting was altered as Anne's idea's progressed.

The painting was not completed while Anne was here, but it was a pleasure to see the progression.
Luckily the process was recorded by Philippe, and today he has sent me a copy.
Unfortunately at the moment it is too large for me to include with this post
But I hope to show it in the next.
Here are a few of the snaps of "work in progress".

The painting is still to be finished.
I am sure that it is totally different to anything that she might create in her own studio,
Their she creates without distraction and her idea's are very private
She has spoken in a previous filmed interview that having people watching takes something away
From her art.
This I understand and I am very grateful that she took the time and had the patience
To share a little of her world with the people [and me] who visited.
Thank you Anne.