A collaboration of minds / brushes and hand holding
With 2020 and the start of 21 royally sucking at in person exhibitions and with yet another one being cancelled we decided we had to dip our toes further into the virtual world. (I write this in March 21 with the hope that come June we will able to start again *touching wood). There's so much to learn and get our heads around with ever changing technology and editing our offer to suit such a platform that facing it alone was very daunting.
Im a member of the Connected Artists Club run by UK artist Alice Sheridan and that's were I met Penny Hunt and Emma Tweedie.
Frustrated that yet another show was pulled from under my feet (Ive yet to do a big show and have been itching for the last year to get to one) I asked the group if anyone wanted to join me in putting on our own show.
Penny and Emma both jumped at the chance and I'm so glad they did. All of us bring different strengths to the exhibition and I'm eternally thankful for the super organisation of Emma Tweedie!
An artists insight into buying original art online.
Times are changing and it's not only important we move with them, but that we also put new things into practice. Buying such an important thing as original art is never going to be an easy thing. Buying online means we are able to discover many more artists but it can also mean its harder to connect with a piece. Unlike buying the latest technology or wardrobe we can’t guarantee specifics and one person's experience of a piece can be widely different from another.
From an artist's point of view it's not my favourite way of selling, I love meeting my buyers and seeing their reactions when they fall for a piece. With this in mind and knowing that virtual shows and selling will be with us for the foreseeable future (perhaps never now leaving) I've put together things I do and tips to help you decide if a painting is right for you and to get as many feels from it as you would in reality.
1 . Put it virtually in your space
Put it virtually in the space - it a MASSIVE bug bear of mine when artists show off paintings insitu that aren't to the right ratios. Yes it looks great above that sofa but when you look at the detail the painting size ratio is completely out. Pay close attention to this and make sure you check sizes. What I and many other artists should be able to offer is an option to put it virtually in your space. I'm not talking complete Photoshop perfection, but a simple mock up that fits our art into your space with the right dimensions. This is even useful if ordering a commission and you want to see how the canvas size fits too.
It just happened too often for me not to take notice.
I would be chatting to someone about making art and I would hear over and over again 'I can't draw', ‘I’m not creative' 'I'm not good enough' 'I haven't made art since school' 'a teacher put me off art' 'I don’t have time for it' 'I don’t know where to start' and countless other negative, self criticising or concerns which meant they just didn't do any. And that's totally cool if you're okay with that but I know there's many out there who would love to make art.
Art shouldn't be scary, it shouldn't be stressful, it shouldn't be elitist and it shouldn't take up all of your time.
Now coming into the world of art and putting myself out there as an artist has taken confidence and just a little bit of balls! I've had minimal training as a painter (I did an art foundation but studied printed textile design and then went onto a hospitality training and managing role for over 10 years) but over the last 3 years since I made that commitment to myself that this is what I wanted to do I've gone back on a journey of discovering what in art brings me joy.
Whilst on my journey I happened upon the concept of mindful drawing and expressive drawing. It had me hooked and played to all the things I enjoyed about drawing. It celebrated loose styles, powerful and tender marks, involving the whole of you and also seeing the world through different eyes, the eyes of Japanese wisdom Wabi Sabi. In the summer of 2019 I held a workshop at a wellness event called Mindfulness through Expressive drawing. Set on a beautiful summers day in the country it was the perfect backdrop to let go and enjoy the process over perfection journey of making art. My students absorbed it and fully got involved with the class. I was at the same time launching to the wedding market my Your Guest Canvas event and as it was peak time to get involved with the wedding industry I put the workshops on hold until I presumed the spring of 2020. But when we couldn't meet in real life I didn't feel ready to take my ideas online and to be honest was feeling quite overwhelmed by what everyone else was doing. So I retreated into my own practice, making lots more art, learning lots more and connecting with other artists.
Why make a group?
When figuring out how I wanted to get this message across I soon decided I wanted to make this a group and a community of the joy of making art. So the support could continue on long after a course and relationships could be built. I wanted a safe space to share, encourage and challenge. Where you can chat as much as you want or just sit back and absorb. I have a whole host of short workshops pre-filmed for you to watch when you can and once your in, your in. you can stay for as long as you like. I don't claim to have all the answers straight away or have set this up as slick or as perfect as some but I am passionate about it, I will be 100% on hand to support and I'm always remembering new things so you can grow with me for as long as you like.
As an ultimate goal I want to challenge any pre-concieved ideas about what is good or bad art, it doesn't exist art is just art. You like what you like and you enjoy what you enjoy. Championing process over perfection I'd like to inspire you to try different techniques and learn a few skills that may grow your confidence. I want to empower you to seek your own expression and voice in your art and gift you the opportunity to find a time for art and realise that even 30 seconds is good enough.
The summer of 2020 was one no one planned.
But without plans but with the added interference of the unknown and rules I'd never experienced before, more than ever I became appreciative of the freedom that we did have, the nature around us and all of the little details.
The collection "Freedom comes in Waves" grew out that sense of freedom but also my own situation. We acquired a workshop at the end of summer and all of a sudden I had SPACE , a space where I could make bigger pieces, chuck paint around more and not be so concerned with making a mess. So with that these pieces feel freer, there's movement in them that are fresher but also a dream like quality that hopefully takes you to moment in your time, a moment of escapism and freedom.
freedom comes in waves
It was something that both of us had always wanted, I remember us sat last summer in a pop up space we'd hired for a weekend. We'd made it our own, I was painting, Dan chatting furniture. "this is what we want, isnt it" I mused at each other smiling. "yes, this but bigger and somewhere for me to work!" was Dans reply. A year and a half later and we got our dream and it was sitting under our noses the whole time.
Follow us in this photo journal of turning a dusty old barn into our dream space. Our sanctuary and our opportunity.
Art in your home - we ask two interiors designers for advice, top tips and a unique insight into making the most of art.
Becci - Hiltingbury Interiors
For me personally, I’ll often look for art when we are travelling either in the UK or abroad. I also attend exhibitions, open studios, art/craft fairs and I’m far more likely to purchase art if I’ve met the artist. I think social media is also really important and I’ll follow artists so that I can see who’s putting what out there.
For clients, I will often hook them up with artists I know. I have relationships with an eclectic mix of artists so can often match the client with an artist to suit their personality and interior design style.
Sarah - Sarah Beam Interiors
I’m always very excited to put the work of local artists into the homes of my clients #shoplocal. You can’t beat pop-up art exhibitions and local galleries - seeing a variety of collections up close with their varying styles and mediums broadens the chance of finding something that really hits the spot. Meeting the artists is invaluable too, especially if there is an opportunity to commission a piece specifically for my project – I can chat through the possibilities there and then to get the ball rolling.
I also increasingly value the opportunity provided by Instagram and other social media channels to get to know brands and the artists behind them. I’m basically matchmaking my clients to art(ists) I think they’ll resonate with.
"...social media content gives you so much more. Incorporating a piece of art into your home is personal, so getting a real sense of an artist’s values, approaches and inspiration is brilliant." Sarah
Cedars Yard as a vague business proposal was formed in the summer of 2017. We were staying at Dan's parents whilst in between houses, Emma had just decided not to return to her job post maternity leave and Dan was travelling and working many hours going back to Surrey as a tree surgeon. It was a fairly tough unsettling time, but what came with it too was a sense of freedom of opportunity, or at least the potential to do something scary and new.
In our still fairly young relationship of 3 years and with a young baby in tow we had already learnt that we both had a passion to run our own thing (and do things our own way!), that we could work together in the most stressful and fast paced of environments (we'd run a busy pub kitchen) and that we had similar values of what we wanted a business to achieve. So we hatched a plan of what Cedars Yard could be and got to work on a zero budget, zero experience in self employment but 100% enthusiastic ambition.
Choosing original artwork for your home is a wonderful experience and not as elite or unattainable as you may think.
With today's access to the Internet many artists are avoiding the high commissioned worlds of galleries and self promoting and selling. Meaning you can much more easily make direct contact with an artist you admire and deal directly with them.
So I've laid out a few steps that I'd recommend you consider when commissioning a piece of abstract art and things that I do to aide this process.
Now I would advocate paying attention to your local art scene. From open studios, shows, art fairs, independent shops to a good ole Google or Instagram hashtag search (I like to use #surreyartist #hampshireartist in my posts) there's lots of places to find what's going on in your local art scene.
Going local firstly supports those in your area which is undeniably valuable but it also enables a closer bond to build between artist and client because you can actually meet. I for one think its advantagous to meet in person and see the home of the client. It helps give in insight into taste and how your work will fit into a space.
Here's how I brought a couples dream of having a unique live edge wooden table to life.
When I was originally asked to make this table the plan was for one large slab for the top approximately 7ftx3ft. This was possible but after the first consultation with the client it was decided to use split chestnut due to the size, weight and cost of a slab that big. I could also see the love this person had for live-edge timber, so what better than to have a table that is full of natural shapes, colours and different grain patterns.
So the project was a go! I began by selecting two boards with the most interesting shapes for the outside edge and the other planks. This was from timber I had previously hand-milled myself and left to season.
Next up was the splitting process. Once I had the two outer edges split, I split another three planks and set them up together to see which ones would be best next to each other with the least alteration.
Once happy, the shaping took place using a adze. A little bit of finesse with a spoke shave and a final bit of sanding got these planks ready.
So, it now sat together beautifully and the next job was to make the cross brace and cut the underside out with the chainsaw and chisel. Actual blood, sweat and tears went into this part of the build to get it sat together right and secure.
How to have an arty wedding.
Do you dream in colour and crush over an impasto painting? Well we've taken an Internet dive to bring you some fabulous ideas to get you started on a truly unique arty wedding.
2. THE CAKE.
Let's face it, thick luscious icing has many similarities to paint. So why not treat your cake like a blank canvas and create a masterpiece on it.