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 30 December 2017

Before the year slips away I decided it was time to write a few words and show a few pictures.

This year Christmas at the gallery caught me unprepared, which seems an odd thing to say considering that I have had a years notice that it would be happening.
It was because of my little hospital holiday and the recouperation that followed that I was unprepared.
Although now I am pleased to say that I am back full time in the gallery I am paying the price for such a long absence.
Not so much my absence from the gallery but the fact that I missed out on many of my regular visits to see artists at their studios and the fairs at which they exhibit during the summer months.
This is still a problem as I haven't yet returned to driving but it is something that will be resolved early in the New Year.

This has been the first Christmas that we have not held a seasonal exhibition.
We intended and would have liked to have done so, but of course all artists and craftspeople like to have a little notice. But of course because of my preoccupation on my health the weeks slipped past.
By the time I was able to focus more on gallery events it was far too late to approach anyone, allowing them enough time to prepare. So this December there was no special opening with Mulled wine and minced pies.
Fortunately this did not mean that we had nothing new to exhibit as fortunately there were artists
who have been supplying various beautiful artworks to us in recent months.
So this is my chance to show a little of it.

For a long time I have been "lusting" for one particular painting and at last it is here on display.
It is the painting of the sleeping child.
I was thrilled and slightly nervous when the artist Wendy Mould arrived to deliver her paintings on her first visit to the gallery.
I have admired her work [especially that painting] for so long I had placed her on a pedestal
[in my mind].
Now I have gotten over my awe I look forward to more visits and hope that we build a long working relationship.  

It is visits like this that have all helped with my recovery, it meant my thoughts and desires were returning to normal.
[Normal for me that is]. 
Another long anticipated visit was from the artist Jeffrey Courtney.
It was perhaps two years ago that I first took delivery of a painting from Jeffrey,
It was titled 'Girl in a Gallery', the same name as the one above, in fact very much like the one above 
but with one major difference, it was huge.
Although greatly admired it was the very size that stopped the chance of a sale, many people wanted the painting and left with the dimensions but unfortunately there was no one with an area for such a large piece.
It was reluctantly returned to the artist along with my explanation for the disapointing result.
The immediate response from Jeffrey was,
"would you like me to paint a smaller version"? This is now on display in the gallery.

I have often wondered, what the painting that holds girls attention?
It must be good.

Of course the shop would never seem normal without having some paintings or prints by 
George Underwood
hanging upon the walls.
No sooner was his exhibition finished and I was pestering him for more work, so we had a visit to look forward to from George and wife Birgit to deliver a mixture of paintings and Artist Proof prints.
Here are just a few.

 These will have to suffice for a few months as we have a new solo exhibition with George planned
for October 2018.
At least I am not going to get caught out with lack of preparation towards the end of next year.
In fact I intend to start talking with artists about next Christmas some time next week.

Last but not least.
Almost like a Christmas present a new artwork from Michael Parkes arrived early in December.
Just in time to frame and place in the window for the festive season.

We may have missed an exhibition but it felt like Christmas to me.

Happy New Year

Wednesday 4 October 2017

An Unexpected Break

This summer was not the one I had anticipated it to be, I had been hoping to take a few days off
 but instead I had a long and unexpected break, and not a good one.
In the words of John Lennon,"Life happens while we are busy making other plans".
As I explained in my previous post I had been busy preparing for our next exhibition,
it had been scheduled a long time ago and although there was still a few months to go I was becoming
increasingly excited at the prospect and there was still a lot of planning to do.
However, I didn't plan on having a major stroke.
That was something that came as an unpleasant surprise,
and as a result most of my summer was spent in a hospital.

The stroke happened on what would have been a normal day in the gallery,
but now I appreciate that I will never have another "normal" day again.
I lost the use of one side of my body.
It was told by a doctor that I had had "a life changing experience".
And that is true
I had lost the use of one side of my body,
I couldn't walk, move my arm hand or fingers, but I was very lucky I could still talk.
So for a long all that I did do is talk as I started on the long road of learning how to use my body again.
Fortunately I had a fantastic team of physiotherapist's who worked with me each day,
they taught me how to stand, to move my leg and after a month how to take a step.
With each day that passed my constant goal was to be back at the gallery for the opening of the new exhibition.
While I was away the family had become a team and they were running the gallery.
In fact I think it has now become "our" gallery instead of "my" gallery,
so perhaps some good has come from my experience.
Of course the fact that I am writing this means I am "back at work",
I am still learning to use my body again and that will take time, but I am back.

I did achieve my goal of returning for the exhibition, in fact the opening day was my first full day
back at the gallery. 
It was tiring but what a great day to be back.
It was to be our busiest most attended exhibition ever, with hundreds of people visiting during the course of the day.
The opening coincided with the 40th anniversary of Marc Bolan's death,
as a result the walls contained many of the artworks that George Underwood had created of him during his short lifetime.

Along with portraits the album covers were also exhibited.
The one shown below is from the 1976 album 'Futuristic Dragon'.
What made this of special interest is that George was able to give us a copy of the original concept sketch for the cover drawn and given to him by Marc Bolan.

This along with a drawing by David Bowie for the 'Space Oddity' album gave the exhibition a greater dimension. It really brought the art to life and explained some of the history of George's relationship with these two iconic musicians.

Of course they were not the only "stars" that he has painted and worked with, the exhibition covers
some 50 years of music history.

'George Underwood
Rock and Roll'
is the title we chose for the exhibition and that explains everything.
Below is a very small sample of the art on show.

Here is a picture of the artist himself, taken just after he signed the banner outside the gallery.
 In fact signing is something that George had to do for the duration of the day as it seemed that
everybody wanted to take home evidence that they had met the great man. 
Here are a few pics of the day

You might be forgiven for thinking that this is a picture of George Underwood and Marc Bolan.
In fact it is Danielz the singer with the band T. Rextasy who played a live acoustic show for us at the opening. 

After my long break I couldn't have had a better return to both the gallery and life itself.

Thursday 25 May 2017

Rock 'N' Roll

This will perhaps be the smallest post that I have done.
To be honest none of them have been overlong, but at least they have had more images.

Thinking ahead for our next exhibition which isn't until September, there is perhaps something that I should mention. We are having our first ever 'pre-sale' of artwork.

The coming exhibition is from the George Underwood collection of "Musician portraits'.

I think that by now the world knows of his lifelong friendship with David Bowie.
What many people do not know that George himself was also a musician, in fact many years ago when they were young men he and Bowie had their own band.
Their school days together almost read as a 'rock 'n' roll' fairy tale.
Their art teacher [George's mentor] was Owen Frampton, father of Peter Frampton who went on to become one of the most successful English guitarists of all time.
What a melting pot of talent that school must have been.

George did pursue a musical career of his own joining many bands and eventually pursuing a solo career as a recording artist, but throughout his young life it seems that art was his first love
that he constantly returned to.

I will tell no more of his extraordinary tale, George tells it so much better in his own book.
Soulful Warriors

It just remains to say that throughout his career music was a strong influence both on him and his art.

So it is strange to learn that many people have little knowledge of his musical artwork.
I think it would be safe to say that at some time many music lovers have admired of purchased an album featuring his artwork without knowledge of who the artist was.
Of course the album 'Hunky Dory' by his friend David Bowie changed all of this.
The rest [or some of it] is history, as they say.
So our exhibition will show a history of his musical hero's, influences and his friends.


One of those friends was the founder of the band T REX
Marc Bolan

Bolan and Bowie were friends, as a result David introduced George his old mate to Marc
Who had a new album coming out titled
'My People Were Fair and had Sky in Their Hair.............'
As a result George painted the cover, and in his own words "never looked back".
This was at the age of 21.

Now, just a few years [decades] later it is logical that George would re-visit these relationships
for his exhibition here at our gallery.
So in conversation with me it was decided that he would produce two new paintings of
David Bowie and Marc Bolan.

The painting of Marc is really appropriate as the exhibition is to open on the 40th anniversary
of his untimely death.
In honor of this the famous tribute band T. REXTASY will attend the opening of the exhibition
to play an acoustic set of some of his most famous songs.

Of course many original paintings by George will be available for sale,
Accompanied by a large selection of of limited edition 'fine art' prints of paintings previously sold.

As a promotion for the exhibition it has been decided to produce the two new paintings
as a special affordable limited edition of signed prints.

Since they were first offered for sale a day ago the response has been outstanding.

If anyone is interested in purchasing, contact the gallery direct or go to this link.

Saturday 6 May 2017

Time flies when your having fun, or especially when you are always thinking about the future.
Or as described better by John Lennon
"Life is what happens while your busy making other plans".

That is what I have been guilty of, "making other plans" or thinking of the future,
Meanwhile important events have been happening while I have been planning ahead.

I can only explain it by describing how on a daily basis I will have someone tell me
"You have such beautiful things on display",
My thoughts will be "just wait until you see what is coming".
I think this each and every day, but for me tomorrow never comes
I'm definitely a person who has a cup half full, and when things sell I start to panic about where I can find something equally as beautiful to replace "that" piece with.
So I start to search.
Then I want to tell you about who I have just discovered.
I want to tell you about "this"or"that" artist whose work will be here one day, then I tend to get over excited and undecided about what to mention first, so don't write anything at all.


This does tend to make life much easier for a lazy person like myself.

"Hhmmmm! What shall I write about"?
'Nothing', job done.
 So today, I decided to take a step back to reality and talk about art that actually is here
Art that I am excited about and which I am very proud to be exhibiting.

The last time I picked up my pen I mentioned an artist whose work I was looking forward to arriving.
It's now here.
 The paintings of Jimmy Lawlor.

Jimmy is an artist I have admired for a very long time, his beautiful paintings are the
"stuff that dreams are made of".
In fact they seem to come from dreams or very poignant stories.

Perhaps, 'poignant' isn't the correct description
Because apart from being very moving they sometimes also possess a great deal of humor.
They are beautiful in there execution and also great fun, they occupy a space in our imagination
Yet, they are also very "human" paintings, they show images of us as we were, as we are
And how we will be.
Age is very prevalent in all of his art.


So too are the landscapes.
To me it is obvious where these people of different ages all live.
Albeit a different version to the reality of the location, yet still instantly recognizable. 

As is shown in the painting above they also express a great gentleness and sensitivity.

The painting below is perhaps one of my favorites.
It really captures the world of my childhood.
It reminds be of the wonderful book 'Bevis a Story of a Boy', by Richard Jeffries
Although it was written in 1882 the story of a young boy and his adventures is timeless.
So is this painting.
A boy, with his best friend and his vivid imagination, what an exciting world.
I truly love this, it makes me feel young again.
I suppose that is the power of art, your age may change but your inner emotions don't and at times
All it needs is a painting or sculpture to unlock time and join the two together.

A clever, talented and very nice man.
I have wanted to exhibit his art for six years, some things are worth waiting for.

Now, onto something just slightly different. 

I was recommended by a painter [that's how it works] to look at the sculptures by a Russian artist.
'Tatiana' or Tanya as it is pronounced in our little island
Despite my many bilingual talents I am still unable to get my tongue around her proper name,
[Give me a week or two then speaking Russian will be another of my many talents].

Tanya creates sculptures from clay and found objects, each piece very unusual
but all with a sense of great age and history.
Of course her small antique additions help create the feeling of great age
But it is the story of each piece which creates the history, some of her sculptures will have more than one title,
It seems that she has named pieces to help with the English interpretation and understanding of each sculpture.

She has exhibited and worked in many different countries, but now for some reason she works
in our small part of this country.
Her work defies being placed into any category but it does really engage the imagination.
When I have fully caught up with my very belated posts I will tell and show much more of her work.

Meanwhile, I have lots more to tell you about.
But as they say
"That's for Another day."

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Recently, I have become excited about different artworks that will be arriving in the near future.
I wanted to share them immediately even though I am not sure of the arrival date.
The reason for that is they are still being created.
But, that's no reason to not show them I thought, as it is always the anticipation of what will arrive 
that can be the most exciting of times in the gallery.
The excitement and the desire becomes almost like a drug
I just know I won't be happy until it is here in my possession for a little while.

Then I remembered that with all of the current nonsense going on that has distracted me somewhat,
that there were many deserving exhibits that had "slipped through my net" and not been shown.
I decided that it was time to play "catch up".
So here are a few [very few] images of pieces that should have been shown as they arrived.
I will add others over a period of time.
[It is no good me saying tomorrow, because sometimes for me tomorrow never comes].

One man is long overdue for a mention, Noah.
Yes that's correct Noah.
He may have not yet created an Ark but he has come very close.
It is impossible to put his work in any "pigeon hole" all I can say is that it is very unique.
He works on many different scales from small delicate silver and bronze containers
To giant size tables standing on antique industrial wheels.
His work [for me] has a slightly 'Jules Verne' nostalgic feel about it, and as suspected the evolvement
Of his sculptures have a history of their own.
In time I will feature many of his smaller works.

The artistic creations of this incredible young woman are equally hard to describe and to show you.
Viewed "front on" they look like paintings
Which in fact they are, but paintings with a great difference.
They are 3 dimensional artworks.

In fact she told me that being unable to describe them to galleries has really hindered her.
"It seems that my work has to be a painting or a sculpture but not both", she told me.
In the past she has even tried to describe them as a collage, but that didn't work either
as it seems it would then have to incorporate printed paper, which it doesn't.
So for want of a description it is sometimes ignored and goes unseen.
I just call it beautiful
Works for me.

I hope that the images shown explain a little of how her work really looks.
It is painted on 'chamois' leather attached to wood, which is then cut out and built in layers
Which create a 3D painting.
To view them from side to side is an education.

Again, I will show more in the future.

At least this doesn't need an explanation.
It is a "very" limited edition print that I am thrilled to have from an American artist.
The edition is of '91' prints which is very unusual.
Framed, and hanging on the wall in front of my desk it is an image that I have enjoyed
each day since its arrival.
I have tried many times to work out the story within the picture, yet every day I imagine another.

The art shown above are a sample of what has arrived and is now on display.
However, I couldn't help myself and I had to show you just a hint of what we will have in the future.
So below are two examples of what will be arriving very soon.

I won't say anything about the artist or what we will be exhibiting of his art at the moment
But I can tell you that we will not have these two paintings.
They are sold.
Although limited edition prints are available of both. 

The paintings that I have chosen and those still being created I will leave to your imagination
Until that day when I can show them to you as a complete group.
But I think that you can guess that they will be just slightly different to traditional landscapes.

Sunday 22 January 2017

Will I ever write on my Blog again?
I have been asking myself this question for a very long time. Since I last posted the world seems to have changed a great deal, and to say that events have left me angry and frustrated would be an understatement.
So to write about myself and the gallery seemed a very shallow thing to do when there is so many important and life changing events happening everywhere.

On consideration, I realized that the whole purpose of my Blog was just to talk about events that happen in my life and a art gallery in a rural part of England.

Whoops! I nearly went off on one then with the word "England".
Now, back to reality and really important events.
My events.

Early last year we held a fantastic exhibition by the artist George Underwood.
Perhaps you may remember that George had been David Bowie's lifelong friend from the age of nine.
There friendship and adventures together have been well documented, and of course George's paintings of his friend have been exhibited worldwide, plus also at our gallery.
At the conclusion of our solo exhibition with George my thoughts were
"That was great fun, I wish we could do it again".

Of course we always have a selection of his art on display in the gallery but I wanted to repeat the fun and excitement of holding a special solo exhibition with him.
The response from the public had been fantastic, to the extent we even held a "closing day" event,
this was a first for us and was held so that his fans had a chance to have a "one on one"
conversation with him, although that didn't happen as he gathered everyone around him and it turned into a group session/interview which was loved by everyone.
As I walked around the gallery dealing with everyday customers I could hear in the background laughter and applause.
"What am I missing"? I wondered.
That evening it was all recounted for me by George, his wife and Irene.
What a day, what an exhibition. How I would like to experience it again.

A few days later the opportunity for such a unique event presented itself.

In his long career and also from his friendship with David Bowie George has met and painted portraits and album covers for many famous musicians.
Some were created for his own private collection but many were used by the artists.
One such artist/musician was the "late" Marc Bolan.
An incredible musician who tragically died far too young and at the height of his musical career.

He has left behind a giant fan base and even inspired the now famous tribute band, "T.Rextasy".
A tribute to the name of his own first band "Tyannosaurus Rex".
T. Rex as it became known.
The singer and founder of the tribute band is a lovely man name Danielz.

Because of the exhibition with George Underwood, Danielz came to the gallery and left me with the cover of an early Marc Bolan album [created by George[ which George had promised to sign for him.

A few weeks later Danielz returned to collect the signed cover. 
By this time I had given much thought to a "follow up" to the Underwood exhibition.
So, in conversation with this charming musician/artist/singer I asked "did he play acoustic"?

"What an idiot", he must have thought.

He explained that the band had just done a fully acoustic Gig in the nearby town 5 miles away.
In fact with his band they intersperse full sessions with "unplugged" gigs.
Which makes perfect sense as much of Marc Bolan's earlier work was acoustic folk music.

So, to cut a very, very long story short.
We will be holding a solo exhibition by George Underwood this September.
It will be an exhibition with a difference, it will consist of all of his music portraits and album covers,
Some for sale, some on loan from his collection, but with new paintings and many Limited Editions
created especially for the exhibition.

The main focus of the exhibition will be his art of Marc Bolan.

Marc died on September -16 - 1977
Our exhibition open on September -17 - 2017

On the 40th anniversary of his death our exhibition opens, and to mark this very special event
Danielz and his drummer John Skelton will be here in the gallery to play an acoustic session in tribute to the late musician.
The music of Marc Bolan will be played in front of a background of paintings by George.
It will be unlike any event we have done before, and I expect ever again.
I think the term is "once in a lifetime".

There is a great deal of planning to be done, idea's are growing as I write.
Even today a visitor asked will you hold an "Evening with George Underwood" the night before?
Wow! Now that's an idea.
Anyway at the end of this month all parties are meeting to discuss the growing plans so I will keep you "posted".
I confess I am scared as I think that the event will be "BIG".

I had not intended to talk about this for another couple of months or so, but as people have started to call/email asking for "ticket" availability I have started to become really focused.

Of course we will be holding some lovely exhibitions before this date, but in terms of planning
they will almost seem a "walk in the park".
This does not mean they are any less important or be treated less seriously but the logistics will be more what we are used to.
Because of this I am looking forward to them with greater pleasure.

So, if you are a music fan and have a free day in September.
Get in touch soon.

Of course what is shown above is just a small selection of George's music portraits and album covers,
a very small sample of what to expect.

The exception is the first image, which is of a poster produced be Danielz which is available at 
his many Gigs.
At the moment he is playing around the country almost every night, his only days off are when he is traveling to the next venue.
Check his website [we are listed as a "unplugged" Gig].


I am glad that I did write again.
As I was writing I could visualize how the event might unfold and look and I have become very excited.
So, tonight I will not return home and watch the news on TV,
I am in a much happier place.