Friday, 29 March 2013

Think outside the white box.

It can be very hard to manage the whole process of being an artist. To navigate your way towards success, to enable you the self-sufficiency to continue your artistic passion. Firstly there is ordinary life to contend with: family, bills, food shopping, illness, laundry, tidy up and repeat. Then there is finding a space to work, buying materials and making canvasses followed by varnishing and framing/presentation. These two things are hurdles that on there own could stop you in your tracks. Ideas and actually painting can be the least of an artists challenges. I never thought I would say that.

The next hill to climb is towards exposure, powered by dreams, determination and social media to reach the pot of gold: A sale! There is already a bottleneck of talented artists seeking to exhibit in white-box style galleries, with as much as 50% commission lining the galleries pockets. Further, the artist needs to fund and arrange the safe transportation of their work to and from the location plus insurance costs.

Last night I had a crazy dream of a gallery in my garden. A garden gallery for one day only. Maybe this is not such a mad idea, weather permitting. It has led my thinking towards alternatives to exhibiting in galleries and ways to cut the middlemen out of the selling equation. I quite like the idea of a backdrop of a flower border to my paintings and a birdsong soundtrack. With luck I could even have my own Damien Hirst butterflies. So rather than contemplating all the hurdles, maybe it's time to work with my limitations and stretch the boundaries of how an artist can exhibit their work.

My house may need some TLC, but I have the prettiest cherry tree at the end of the garden.
 Last week I bit the bullet and started a Facebook artist page A had been stalling on this, because I was waiting for the day when I eventually had the money to purchase a decent camera and take quality photographs of my artwork. This day is not likely to come any day soon. There will always be something else that funds need to be spent on, however a hand held camera phone is not going to give a professional impression. I have always struggled to photograph large reflective oil paintings. My new plan involved a tripod found in the local charity shop, a budget camera left here and forgotten for a while by a relative, that I might as well "borrow" and my new white photographic studio (the garden on a grey day covered in unseasonable snow). Follow the link above to see my results.

Using the snow as a white photographic studio.
 I posted about my garden gallery dream, on my new Facebook page and got a helpful and positive response. Thanks Ruth ! My favourite way to spend free time is looking at art, being in a garden, drinking tea and eating cake. The actualisation of this is a way off yet. Time will always be scarce, I have children to look after and a house to clean but I believe it is something to work towards. Through my Facebook post I discovered Reminiscence Vintage a local business who supply beautiful vintage china, linen , bunting and artefacts and cater for afternoon tea events who are interested in working with artists. It seems that lots of peoples favourite things include art, cake and flowers. The pipe dream of an "On The Fence" exhibition could become a reality.

Just a thought, if anyone has a spare lorry, what about this for an idea. Instead of a mobile library, have a mobile gallery featuring a number of artists work inside with the sides of the truck advertising the idea. Take the art to the people, to the city, the village fete or just pull up outside a national gallery. You could even have a visitor's book and tea and cake! I'm sure it would get some publicity. Unfortunately I can't afford a lorry or have a HGV license. This one will probably have to remain a pipe dream.


  1. Have you seen this gallery? They were at Wirksworth Festival a few years ago.

    1. That's brilliant, I hadn't seen that. Thank you, it's such a cool idea.

  2. sue sturt-bolshaw29 March 2013 at 15:18

    Love your ideas , and 'Reminiscence Vintage' would love to be involved. We must all put our 'Possibilitarian' heads together to turn this dream into a reality...

    1. It's an inspiring thought, thank you for your input.