Working at the end of the garden, cutting down all the weeds and hacking back the very overgrown Blackthorn hedging was pure pleasure with the heady perfume of this Philadelphus wafting in the air; it was almost intoxicating!
Well, life is a busy as ever! Which is why I have not blogged for a while, but I am still here and still getting on with things in the studio, house and garden. Oh, how I long for the day when the house and garden is finished, so that I can spend more time exploring this beautiful area of North Yorkshire and having lots more fun with family and friends. Did I say before, that we are expecting our first grandchild in July? I have re-discovered the joys of crocheting blankets of late! We are very excited and looking forward to meeting the small one.
Only a bit of painting to do in the new entrance at the back of the house; my new favourite place to sit with my tea in the morning.
Open Studios is over; I must remember to send in my feedback form and commission money. The second weekend was not as busy as the first, in fact, Saturday was pretty boring because I only had four visitors by eleven thirty in the morning and that was it for the day! Never mind; Sunday was much better and I was very pleased to meet France-Leigh Hadrysiak from Chrysalis Arts, who made the effort to come and meet me and see my work. It was very nice to be able to put a face to the name and France-Leigh's support is very much appreciated. All my visitors were genuinely interested in my work, which is encouraging. In all I made three sales of small works on paper but most importantly, more people now know about me than did before.
Another big bonus of the Open Studios is that I have become friends with three other artists in Ryedale; Catriona Stewart, Bridget Askew and Bridget Gillespie. We met at each other's studios in between or just after the event. It has been lovely to talk about our work over coffee and share ideas and experiences, it quite brought a lump to my throat because it reminded me of doing this with my good friends I went to college with who are no longer here.
Since then, I have been finishing off some small paintings on board for the upcoming show at The White Room Gallery, Priestley's No. 36, Bootham, York. The show is for the month of July. I was unsure of the paintings at one stage, but now that I have worked on them further I am happy. These are quite small works and tie in with my current theme and the Chinese sketchbook that was part of Sketch 13. Having them back from the framer, I am pleased with the work; framing always makes the work look so much better than I imagined it would. I will deliver the works over to the gallery this afternoon; I plan to take all ten of the small paintings as well as some of the small drawings that were the origins of the whole series I am working on. Then I will select the best combination of pieces for the balance of the whole show. I think it is important with a group show that the pieces work as well together as they possibly can. I am showing with Sally Taylor and Lyn Wait who are both artists that I respect enormously.
A small selection from the work I will be taking to Priestley's this afternoon:
Connect, acrylic and mixed media on board
Fabricate, acrylic and mixed media on board
Song, acrylic and mixed media on board
Small drawing: The Departed series
Meanwhile on the home front, things are gradually being finished off; I now have cupboard doors with the knobs on in my new porch as well as architrave and skirting boards. Upstairs, as I type this, the architrave and skirtings are going on in our new shower room. There are still some things to do but everything is coming together nicely. After such a long slog, living with chaos all over the house and having to halt at one stage because we ran out of money, it is such a relief to see this stage almost completed. I will have to do quite a bit of the decorating myself to save money.
The most exciting thing - our garden is finally about to get the hard landscaping and turf laid! This is a real landmark in the whole process; we have lived for years with rough stones covering up the mud while the building work has taken place. Again, we don't have much money for this but going along with our ethos of re-using materials, we have been lucky to find quite a lot of different types of slabs from kind people who were happy to donate them to our cause and glad to be rid of them in exchange for a fruit cake. Mixed in with our bricks reclaimed from the build and some gravel, I think we are going to have a really lovely out-door space. We have spent every weekend available clearing the garden in readiness. There is still quite a bit of work to do but this weekend should break the back of it and I'll do the rest when I can next week, in between delivering the paintings to York and sorting out the hanging. Exciting times indeed!
The courtyard area at the back of the house, finally cleared of all the building rubbish, ready for the hard landscaping and herb beds to be constructed.
I have no further exhibitions lined up for this year, which to be honest, I am quite glad about because it will give me time to do more work in the house, the garden and in the studio, to prepare and make the prints and artists' books for a submission in October. That's do-able aint it? !
Links to the artists I have mentioned in this blog:
Bridget Askew: www.bsaskew.wix.com/artist
Catriona Stewart: www.catrionastewart.co.uk
Sally Taylor: www.sallytaylor.net
Lyn Wait: www.lynwait.net
(Bridget Gillespie does not currently have a web site)
All rights reserved, images copyright the artist and PH Gough