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 27 February 2016

I have just returned home from Paris and here is my photograph of the Tower as proof of my visit.
More snapshots will follow in another post.

However, the purpose of my visit was to meet artists and visit certain galleries,
It was not intended to be a holiday, although I do feel refreshed for a short break, and it has certainly filled me with enthusiasm and idea's for the future.
I think that I was becoming a little "desk bound" and it has been good to remind myself
What I am working towards and trying to achieve.

My main objective and priority of the visit was to meet one artist
Gerard Daran

It seems I am just not very good at getting out of bed early in the mornings,
But for this trip I drove away from home at 3.30 .a.m. and to my body it felt like I was still asleep.
For some stupid reason I thought that it would be good to catch the first train of the day.
My thoughts had been that I could make use of a few more hours in Paris.
Bad idea.
Nearly two hours later I was not only regretting the early train but also the fact that I had not
departed at least a half hour earlier to catch it in time.
Who expects a busy road that early in the day?
[anyone who thinks]
I had forgotten that is when most trucks and container lorries travel
But despite the panic [and taking the wrong road] I was on the train and asleep as it left for France.

 It seemed almost minutes later that I was then getting lost on the Paris metro.
This should be impossible as it has always seemed so much easier than the London Underground.
I put it down to the panic of trying to arrive for my 11. a.m. meeting.
I know that I was being timed or judged but I had given the time of my arrival and I wanted to
make an impression.

After [eventually] leaving the metro
Walking towards the home of Daran I couldn't help but have a feeling of 'Deja Vu'
Despite the fact I had never been to this part of the city before it all seemed a little familiar to me.
The reason for this was explained to me later
It was the location of the most recent Paris terrorist attacks, I was looking at shops, buildings and
restaurants that I had watched on TV at home just a few months earlier.
The difference is that then guns were firing
Today the sun was shining and this small part of the world was at peace.
The most dangerous thing for me was to remember that everyone here drives on the wrong side,
so I had to look right not left as I stepped out to cross roads.


I made it, and almost on time. 
A short time later I was relaxed and enjoying a breakfast/brunch of Champagne and various
culinary delights that had been prepared for my visit.
Or maybe perhaps this is how the Parisians eat every day. 

I was greeted on my arrival by a friend of Gerard's
He is Pierre Herman a man that I have come to know from many telephone conversations.
Fortunately he has been acting as our 'go-between' interpreter,
Because for some reason Gerard has never bothered to learn the English language
[something unheard of for a French person]
He obviously believed my lies of being multi-lingual
With my French and his English
I don't think that we would ever arrived at this day without help from Pierre.
Someone who is not French and has a very mixed heritage, ["I was born from Saturday Night Fever"]
As a result he can speak many languages.
His life story would make a very good book, but as I struggle writing a blog I best continue
with my own short tale.

I was visiting with a purpose. 
We were to be finalizing plans for Daran's solo exhibition at Imagine Gallery.
It is set for the middle of May and there was a lot for us to discuss,
Also, Gerard wanted me to make a choice of his paintings that "I liked" and which I felt would
fit in with our gallery.
This was a good idea as I hadn't fully appreciated the scale of his different artworks but now I can
make plans in advance of what paintings can be displayed in different area's.
But before that I have to decide which artworks I would like to have on display.
This was going to be a long job as the quantity and variety was too much to absorb in a few hours.

 I made the decision that the best thing to do was to photograph every
Painting, drawing and lithograph I was offered
Doing this I would be able to study them at length when I returned home and with the bonus of
having the sizes plus memories of my first impression.

Prior my visit I had certain preconceived ideas of how the exhibition should look.
I was going to choose only the figurative work, male and female.
Because some of his figures have wings I think that in my mind it was going to be an exhibition of
Angels & Demons
I certainly had absolutely no intention of choosing Landscapes.

But walking through the entrance of his studio the first image I focused upon was a Landscape.
A Landscape with a difference, then my eyes turned to a second.
"I like those", I surprised myself by thinking.
From that moment my thoughts were no longer closed, I decided to "go with the flow"
Or where my heart took me and which Gerard would allow me. 

When I had taken all of my photographs and as we sat and talked together
My eyes kept returning to one painting.
I had liked it from the first viewing, now I noticed as the light altered the picture changed.
It is beautiful but it seemed so strange that as the outside light varied so to did the painting,
it altered dramatically.

I loved it.
My first choice was made, I have to have it in the exhibition.

There is not enough time for me to recount the full details of this delightful visit. 
It was great fun.
Meeting with both Pierre and Gerard's partners.
The wonderful food provided, the interesting stories told, were all a feast.
I can not explain and it is hard to describe how it feels to be sitting relaxed, talking, laughing and Enjoying the company of
Friends, friends that you have never met before.
Yet, people who are not strangers.

Before my departure Pierre insisted that we had a photograph of the occasion. 
Having a dread of being photographed I resisted.
So here it is.

This is my first choice of the paintings.
The others I must decide upon tomorrow as I had promised I would do it today.
But I still can't make a decision.
At the moment I have a list of 20 but I will refine this a little[or add to it].
Decisions, decisions!
I will show them to you in a couple of months.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Late as ever. 
Buried behind all of my daily thoughts, concerns, and office work has been one important thought,
Maybe I should mention of our next exhibition?
With so much to do writing my blog doesn't seem that important,
It is just an indulgence for myself and a way of looking back on what we have done
During the course of the year.
Today in between making picture frames, painting walls and answering mail
I decided that I must write something or the whole event will be over before I even mention it.

On Valentines Day
We are holding the opening of an exhibition of paintings by the French artist
Sylvia Karle-Marquet 

As you can see her paintings are just a little bit unusual.
Animal portraits with a difference.
Painted in the style of 'old masters' her animals take on a different dimension and personalities
All of which makes it easier to relate to their emotions and sensibility.
Animals that we know to be enemies are shown as friends, even lovers.
Their relationships are those that we would like to believe really happen
Maybe, set in an innocent past or perhaps a place we all dream really exists.


The exhibition is titled

I would love to explain that the reason for the title relates to the relationships of the subjects
[which it does a little]
But that would be a little bit of a lie.
The real reason
Is that the date for the exhibition was set for February 14 [for other reasons.]
Unfortunately none of them romantic

For me the 14th was just a Sunday in February [which tells you a lot]
That was until I had to book hotel rooms for Sylvia and her friends who are all travelling from France for the "Vernissage" of the exhibition.
At the hotel the receptionists exclaimed,
"oooh, six people from France for Valentines day that sounds very romantic".
"February 14 Valentines day".

"oh yeah, I've heard of that".

My thoughts were that I had made a big mistake, I should have arranged an exhibition featuring romance.
Then, the more I thought about it the more I decided that I had, this was romantic.
We all love animals
And certainly the animals in the paintings have close relationships.
So until I had a better title it became, and has remained
'Animal Lovers'

I don't think that the paintings by Sylvia need explaining as they tell their own stories
Yet, I am sure that we all read a different story in each painting
They are all different and very emotive yet they all have one detail in common.
A Ladybird.


The small red insect with wings beneath its shell.
There is one featured in each and every painting.

Recently I have grown a little "rusty" with my "parlez vous'ing" 
Becoming to understand this Sylvia suggested that "perhaps" to aid our conversation "perhaps"?
I should speak with her friend who is fluent with English.
Not a problem,
I can do English.
Multi tasking, multi-lingual, I can do it.
I'm also pretty good at multi bullshitting, but that's something I am working on.

Her friend Evelyne explained to me.
You may have noticed that each painting contains a 'Ladybird' hidden amongst the detail.
I confessed that I hadn't, but then I started to search.
Sure enough in every painting there was at least one Ladybird.
Evelyne told me the reason for this.

She recounted a story, a story that I have since researched [multi tasking]
and found many variants of.
 This is the version she told me:

It was the time of the French Revolution.
Beheading of Royalist's and people of wealth were a common occurrence.
In one incident a farm worker was assigned the task of being the executioner.
His victim a beautiful young girl.

The "executioner" was not happy with his job, he did not want to do this,
But rather than become a victim himself he proceeded.

The woman placed her neck upon the block.
As he looked down upon her the farmer noticed that sitting upon her neck was a Ladybird.
This meant that he would not only be killing the woman but also the innocent creature.
He reached down,
Picked up the insect and blew it away from his hand.
In doing this he felt that God would understand that he was not a bad man
Perhaps he would be forgiven for his horrid act deed.

Includes the insect in each painting she creates.
If the painting is not good enough she hopes that she will be forgiven.

I don't think she need worry.

Friday 5 February 2016


There is just a limit to how much time that can be spent doing paperwork, answering emails and tossing bills in the dustbin. 
Sometimes, just "now and again" I like to remind myself of what we are really about.
It's not an office it's an art gallery.
It seems impossible but sometimes an entire weeks good plans can disappear with nothing seeming to happen.
Except, office work.
After just placing a stamp on the last post of the day my thoughts were
"right, whats the next job".

No, lets do something good for a little while, I decided

The something good is to tell you about a recent visit by an incredible sculptor/craftsman.
Dan Morrison.

Dan had been recommended to me [and me to him] by another artist.
I was told....
"he makes these incredible lights, they are just right for you and your gallery".
The statement from a person I highly regard gave me pause for thought.
So I decided immediately to look at Dan's work.
I was impressed it but wasn't sure.
Would it be right for us, maybe?
I had to see it to be certain.

Dan generously offered to visit the gallery a few weeks later, so time would tell.

How many times have I had to remind myself,
"never, never judge a book by its cover"?
Too Many

So it was again.
A few simple pictures can only give you a glimpse of an artwork not an understanding and appreciation of it.
This was certainly the case with Dan's lights,
no pictures will ever adequately show the full beauty and complexity of his work.
In the same way the photographs I had seen of this "serious" craftsman did not prepare me
for the meeting with this exciting artist from "up't north".
It turned out that Dan is equally excitable and mad about many different things like myself.
We were at friends [it seemed like years] instantly, our thoughts and idea's matched.

He had visited to bring me his
"Alchemist Clam Clock".
I think no further description is needed once you have seen the photograph's.
It is incredible, beautifully designed and very well crafted.
It made me think of being a small boy playing with my "Meccano" set, it made me feel young.
This is what he wanted.

I am now proud to have it on display and in the evening it is a treat to see the response of people as they walk pass.
Glowing in the window it stops them in their tracks and I often hear laughter and words like

It appeals to all children, whatever their age. 

After 2/3 hour visit [which seemed like minutes] Dan prepared to leave.
"Before I go would you like to see my clock"? He asked 

Sure, Why not.

When he returned from his car I was on my knees under the counter sorting out a receipt.
"Here it is", I heard him say.
"Just a minute" I replied.

When I raised my head above the table  I was

I have never seen anything like the sculpture that was sitting there.

I was certain of only one thing
"THAT is not leaving this building"

It is fantastic, it is 'Buck Rogers' meets the future, very modern yet 'retro'
and so incredibly engineered/crafted/designed.
I had to have it
Well, the gallery had to have it or I would never have peace, it was too good to go anywhere else.
"This is not leaving my building". I kept telling myself.

Being the lovely, generous, foolish, like minded soul that he is Dan agreed.

So, I was happily able to wave goodbye to him as he drove away, content that I had the object
[just for a little while] of my desires.


I turned startled as the clocks 'Cymbols' clashed together 
Reminding me that I now had a very remarkable new sculpture from a remarkable
and very different artist.

A man who lives and works in a very old working class industrial town,
steeped in the history of production.
Yet, producing sculptural art for the future.


[but fun]