I was lucky enough this year to be able to use the new gallery space at Ashburton Arts Centre to exhibit for Open Studios. I can't use my own studio because it's the size of a shoebox and we have three very annoying dogs which would not make for a relaxing viewing experience, plus a lack of parking.
Andy Williamson, who runs the Ashburton Arts Centre (if you live in or near Ashburton and have never been to one of the music events put on there then check it out) made everything possible for me by installing a hanging rail. He'd already fixed the walls and lighting, and I was honoured to be the first artist to use this new gallery space. And what made it even better was Rafiki's cafe was open, often with guitarists playing too. It was such a nice vibe, and such delicious food (although I overdosed on pistachio chocolate brownies).
I had been a bit nervous about exhibiting again. Because of Covid it's been two years since my last exhibition and financial pressure has meant I've been having to earn extra money by doing transcription work from home the past six months, not giving me much time for painting.
From the first day, people came, bought and wrote such lovely comments in my visitors book. I loved watching faces break into smiles as they looked at my work. Over the two weeks I sold ten paintings and countless cards and prints, and made a welcome and healthy amount of money both for me and the Arts Centre. But best of all, my confidence as an artist has been given a massive boost, and I now have a renewed determination to push forward with new paintings, new exhibitions, new cards and start offering workshops too.
So a big thank you to all of you who came. I loved talking to you, finding out a bit about you, sharing stories. And thank you to everyone who bought something, from a £1 postcard to two paintings.
Here are some of the comments left in the visitors book (more on the News Page)
"Really loved your work, especially the mixed media and messages."
"Lovely original work, and beautiful messages."
"Absolutely fabulous display of work."
"Your works brought a smile."
"Such joy. So uplifting and healing and bright."
"My favourite artist."
"I simply adore all of the pictures - they are just so 'me'! I can't believe I will have one to treasure forever. Genius!"
"A joy to see and feel the warmth."
"Definitely my favourite Open Studio!"