Enjoying other people’s art

Since I started the idea of selling my art at the end of January 2017 I have been exposed to more examples of art as I meet many other artists in Purbeck and across Dorset, plus other artists using Instagram and Facebook globally. I enjoy this. There will be pieces I admire but not have space for or the finances to buy.

I have been lucky to buy pieces over a number of years, now I increasingly buy work from local artists whose work I admire and who often have become friends too.

The last two larger piece that I have bought are sculptural rather than paintings.

At Christmas while I took part in Artisans on the Beach 2018 my hut was next to Alan’s and this splendid piece showing a range of his glass fish was exhibited daily outside his hut. As the event was successful for me I was able to buy it and I look at it everyday as it catches the light in so many ways and expresses movement.

During Purbeck Art Weeks 2019 I left my studio for two visits after normal opening hours. At Moira Purver’s we bought a small deer piece for my mother in law. At Angelika Seik’s my heart fell in love with a piece that expressed how Anne and I often relax with a book and a mug of tea. This is my largest purchase to date and I was able to sell some of my art too as a part exchange towards the price of the piece.

What do you enjoy art wise readers?

A Flight of Fancy…PAW19

A change of plan re sharing my main piece I have been working on this week. So each year Purbeck Art Weeks has a competition at the start of the year linked to the chosen theme for that year. Art 2D or 3D can be submitted that fulfils the theme brief and may be selected to be used for publicity for the programme that shares details of Open Studios, the brochure that describes the music and dance events, the poster used to promote the Art Weeks.

Within my current portfolio I have a range of pieces, including two drawn in 2018 that are relevant to a “Flight of Fancy” in my “Santa Over Purbeck” series of Christmas cards, although of course they are not relevant for an event spanning the end of May and start of June. Although, this year during my Open Studio I shall have copies of the series of four cards already available and the new 2019 designs which I have yet to draw, but have planned. It surprised me when people wanted to buy the new designs so early in the year and in fact my first Christmas card order was made on June 1st.

So another idea was needed if I was to submit a piece of work. During “Artisans on the Beach 2018” event I designed and drew on two boiler suits. On the practice one (a paper diy version) I drew a panorama that circled the body of the Purbeck Coast from Sandbanks as far as the north of Swanage bay. It was drawn from the view a bird might get or an “oblique aerial” view as I would have described it previously when teaching Geography. Much to the surprise of visitors who asked I drew said view from my head with no reference materials to hand. This was based on my knowledge of the coastline as; a geographer, rowing to Old Harry Rocks with Swanage Sea Rowing Club, reading Ordnance Survey maps, seeing drone based photography posted on Instagram and Facebook by photographers in or visiting Dorset.

I was very pleased with the execution of this piece and it linked to a previous idea I had been considering for the PAW19 theme.

So I was thinking of how a sketching artist could gain the same view as drones and based on seeing a number of paragliders above Ballard Down on the north side of Swanage Bay. So my idea would be to:

1) Use a tandem paraglider where the pilot flies the wing while the passenger is able to sketch.

2) The “wing” enables inclusion of the PAW logo and also reference to the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci.

Originally I thought that I would choose a coastal view, but then decided to show the view onto Rollington Barn where the main PAW exhibition is based. It also allowed inclusion of the Purbeck chalk ridge and the village of Corfe Castle. Unlike the work for the boiler suit I had to refer to some aerial photography so used “Google Earth” as a source. There is distortion of scale and perspective as my artistic interpretation is applied. I don’t know that a paraglider without a motor would actually be able to “fly” over this section of Purbeck.

Having a fixed deadline motivated me to develop the piece over a number of days and I even went on a cycle ride on Thursday to take additional photos from East Hill above Corfe village to gain additional detail to what I could see on “Google Earth”. The final piece is very pleasing and has now been submitted. This has been one of my most challenging art pieces to date and will be available as an original and possibly as a print during my Open Studio. Feedback is welcomed.

Now I can return to my other piece based on drystone walls on the boundary of our home, this has also attracted some interest already too.

Developing a distinctive product.

When I first moved to Dorset I looked around for local scenes with Christmas cards. At the time in 2016 I didn’t find any but have seen some since. I decided that I could use this idea of Christmas cards to draw some well known local views which many people have done but in a new way.

So approaching Christmas 2017 I designed my first two cards – my theme – “Santa Over Purbeck” and I produced two scenes / 7″ by 5″ card designs. These were drawn originally at a slightly larger scale and then printed as cards.

The more successful design has been “Santa Over Swanage”, early comments included that Santa was on the water rather than in the air, but I was fine with that. I used the classic view north of Durlston Castle showing: Durlston Bay, Peveril Point, Ballard Point and Old Harry Rocks with Bournemouth in the background. The card sold well in 2017 and has continued to do so in 2018 also.

Drawn in Winsor and Newton Promarkers like most of my coloured work, Santa gave a reason to draw a deeper night sky.

The second card in the series also produced for 2017 shows a view you have to travel off the beaten track to see and is beat seen on foot. It shows Houns Tout, the headland I live on standing above Chapman’s Pool with the silhouette of the Isle of Portland in the background. A lower selling design but an idea that I will add to as there are several favourite landmarks found on foot here that you can not see as easily, it is why this coastline appeals to many walkers.

The cards were a success during Artisans on the Beach 2017. During the event I chose my next areas to include. I drew an original A4 piece for Wareham but then modified the design as I wanted to include the bridge as well as the Quay. This original remains available (If interested, please contact me)

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The revised version was drawn at size to fit an 8″ by 4″ card template. I have been pleasantly surprised and this card has sold in better numbers than I expected in 2018. In fact if I had cards printed in time for PAW18 I could have sold Christmas cards in May/June which was a genuine surprise.

The fourth design and extremely successful design for 2018, almost catching the sales for the Swanage card is Santa Over Corfe Castle. Living on the edge of Kingston on the limestone ridge in Purbeck I am used to looking down into the valley upon Corfe Castle and Poole Harbour beyond through the gap in the chalk Purbeck Hills ridge. I have used this sort of view before for my piece North of the ridge. It is also a popular local angle used by photographers capturing Corfe in the mist.

This picture sold its original in 2017 and the print is proving popular too.

My first successful Lino print drawn by hand and then took hand painting with printing ink to get a satisfactory outcome as it was hand rolled. (This picture is in my private collection).

Both card designs had been drawn and proofs printed by February 2018 but cards weren’t ordered until August when they started to sell. For 2019 I have two designs in mind, again I shall be drawing them this month and having proofs made but there will be cards of all six designs ready for PAW19 just in case the demand is there again.

I am so pleased to have gone ahead with this idea and it has been very successful now accounting for up to 30% of my greeting card sales to date. I have had ideas suggested by visitors / customers and there may be a new “Santa Over….” series starting in 2019. If that happens you will be able to read about it here.

Informal sketching Meet-ups

For 2019 I have proposed to Purbeck Art Weeks especially the Visual Arts Forum about holding informal sketching meet ups rather than a formalised programme. It develops what I was doing in the autumn at Purbeck Artisan Yard where I advertised an event each time I was on duty for people to join me and try my art markers and / or draw.

So, the first one is next Sunday January 13th, the obstacle with the Artisan yard is that it is always very cold but I would love to meet up with other artists for such meet ups more often in Purbeck. There is an Urban sketching group now based in Bournemouth and Poole who meet on a regular basis too.

Later in the year I will look at some informal events around my Open Studio during Purbeck Art Weeks (Saturday May 25 to Sunday June 9). Also later in the year exploring more local landscapes including Studland, Chapman’s Pool, Dancing Ledge, Swanage Bay etc.

Your thoughts and feedback are welcomed. This is not intended as a sole effort and I am not creating another organisational role for myself.

Drawing on myself….not the usual way to sketch, but an interesting challenge during Artisans on the Beach 2018.

Drawing during PAW open studios on a sunny day – a friend who is also an artist taking the opportunity.

Trying a new media with drawing inks during PAW 18, the resulting picture is shown below.

January 2019

So, Artisans on the Beach has completed bar the wash up meeting on Thursday 10th, I need to make some notes to share what was involved and also aspects of the event to work on. One that has come up in discussion is the importance of clear communication during the event and the importance of artisan peer support.

Tidying up after an event – an event can remove much of that artwork that dominates your home for a period. After the event there is bound for many of us to be work that returns home and restoring it to reduce friction with partners etc. I am in that phase currently.

Practical artwork, to be honest a few days off to just be and fight off lingering germs and start to reintroduce a daily nap when needed.

Planning ahead and items I will be blogging about;

– boiler suits and wearable art

– developing an ongoing range, for me; Santa over Purbeck series

– new ventures, possibly involvement in PAW sketching programme, I was volunteered but will have to see

– PAW19 membership and entry for open studio application due before end of the month

– develop some work linked to PAW theme possibly

– rationalising stock, materials and using accounts to plan how to spread costs more evenly.

– Purbeck Artisan Yard Bay rearrangements

A print framed and edited for client’s intended recipient, now totally unique – apparently very well received.

Colouring yourself in, in public – attention seeking boiler suit art during Artisans on the Beach and a lasting original idea.

Santa over Purbeck series – Swanage card after two seasons still in the lead, closely followed by this one of Corfe Castle in its first season on sale.

A sunny day in PAW18 having to draw in the shade outside Open Studio as too hot in the sun. Experimenting with drawing inks.

Day 27 – Tuesday 1st January – New Years Day

Less artisans but another mild and dry day on the seafront. There were lots of people around and much answering to our greetings of Happy New Year and an extra sign across the road to say it if we weren’t heard.

Took sales of cards and a framed print of PAW studio in the Snow which had been admired previously.

A feeling of an end to term. A few huts will be back tomorrow trading and packing away, so if you meant to visit you have one chance left.

Day 26 – Monday 31st December

Well there were certainly lots of people about in Swanage today and quite a few came and investigated what we had to offer at the artisan huts. For me more card sales and an original that has sat in Java – a Swanage Institution for a while has been sold to my best customer.

December has been my best month as an artist in the 23 months since I started with 50% more sales. This links to being in a large event but is very pleasing and a sign that things are moving forward.

2019 starts with two more days at the huts with some possible interest in at least one more print perhaps going. Either way I am going to enjoy my two last days for this episode at the seafront.

Many thanks to all my customers and supporters this year, you are all appreciated.

Andy

Day 25 – Sunday 30th December

Slow to start and then more people about but very little spending generally. Comments on art suit, liking pieces but not purchases. sold some cards, read my book and helped hutters finishing to have correct number of items in their huts.

One positive from the day was achieving highest monthly income as an artist to date as earnings topped £1000. A new record by almost £300 and very encouraging going forwards.

Days 23 and 24 – Friday 28th and Saturday 29th December

Fresh air doseage is now causing tiredness of this artisan. I am struggling to arise and down to Huts by 10 a.m. which has caused some consternation in my fellow hutters as I have been so reliable. I have continued to sell mainly cards but sales have been lower these last few days.

On Friday I added the remainder of the artisan huts to my suit and then wore it today (Saturday). As other hutters finish there seem to be a range of suggestions / wants for next year which at this moment I really can not compute. I just need to pace myself through my remaining four days and make the most of the dry conditions.

Pacing – now starting to run on empty a bit, but so be it.