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Agony and ecstasy

Perhaps my title is taking the allusion a bit too far but like everything to do with the creative process, there are no ups without downs.   Downright hard grind plays a good part in the process of creating a piece of work, but there is always (or nearly always) a reward in the form of a period of elation and satisfaction when something works out.


The annual Open Studios event takes a few weeks of serious preparation and involves a certain amount of financial outlay.  This year the sluggishness of sales so far is really disappointing because many of us rely on the event to provide a proportion of our annual income.


However, this is by no means the be all and end all.   One of the first aims of the Drawn to the Valley group was to create a network for artists in the hopes that we would forge new lines of communication with each other and within the community at large. After nearly 10 years of the group’s existence, artists and the public alike now look forward to the Drawn to the Valley Open Studios event with enormous enthusiasm and our original aim is more than being met.  A good reward indeed for everyone’s hard work over the years.


One of the most rewarding aspects for me this year is that  I have been really enjoying the afternoons looking after my show at Art at the Works.  It is such a delight to meet people and to have the opportunity to talk to them and to absorb their responses to my work.  This is one of the big joys of this event and really helps to demystify our activities as artists and make it clear that it’s just our job.  I also like to think that this demystification process works in conjunction with the galleries that represent us.  I like to think that people will feel more comfortable about visiting galleries at other times during the year having talked to us informally in our own venues and studios.


Another benefit is that in between visitors, I am forced into contemplation!  This can be good and bad!  In periods of lull I have been finding myself in the unaccustomed position of thinking at leisure about how my work is developing overall and it is revealing to say the least.  For example, the painting, “Engine house remains”, has grown on me during the last 3 days and, with the help of a collection of outside responses (which gives credence to the observation that it is only the viewer that completes a piece of work), I am beginning to accept that this painting does actually achieve my initial objectives.


So – again – good reward indeed.  Here is a picture of the painting, and a few pictures of the show itself  (with apologies for their quality).