So after a lovely summer break it was straight from Patchings and back in the studio to complete entries for the Association of Animal Artists Exhibition at Weston Park! It has been a whirlwind year so far for PPP!
No sooner will we have packed up from the Granary Art Gallery, and we will be preparing for Animal eARTh Exhibition in Chester, where we will be demonstrating on our stand on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday before packing up our paintings on Sunday 28th October.
So not much time in-between to plan and run workshops, which was definitely on our To Do list at the beginning of the year!
Nonetheless there is still time and there will be a series of Acrylic and Pastel workshops run from our Cheshire base in November and some Lino Cutting Workshops planned for early 2019. These are ideal for beginners or those revisiting art after a break and would like to learn some new techniques.
Spaces will be limited and placed on a first come first served basis, so do sign up to our newsletter so you will be the first to know about them.
To watch a video straight from the Association of Animal Artists Exhibition you can click this link!
Don't forget to watch to the end so you can see Alison being daft!
We made it!
There were times when I really didn't think we would...but we did!
There was a last minute (before the printing of the price list, signs, catalogue etc) trauma with my computer.
And lost all it's data.
DO NOT MENTION THE 'BACKUP WORD!!!!
Despite a promise from the supplier that my frames for my paintings would arrive in plenty of time, they arrived two days before we left leaving me to paint 8 frames and actually stick them around my paintings in 8 hours - they all needed 3 coats and despite having a short coated dog (Manchester Terrier), in the extreme heat we have been having, he is conveniently moulting!
Karen meanwhile had all her framing equipment to hand only to find the blades were blunt and had to make a last minute dash to a local and ever so friendly but also manically depressed framer who saved the day! At great expense! Hooray!
I then got a last minute 'good luck' text from a lovely art friend who asked me who I insured my paintings with when I go to art festivals as she was looking to do one in the future and just wondered....ha!
Admit it - you thought I had forgotten didn't you?
Luckily I am a member of two organisations that provide insurance for such events.
The SAA and the GSA.
I am an Gold member and Professional Artist of the SAA which gives me some great benefits including:-
They have a great support package for it's members including the Original Art Register which protects artists copyright by cataloguing the artwork, along with relevant images. For only a few pounds per artwork it is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Along with comprehensive legal advice and extensive knowledge in areas that most artists will utilise, such as picture framing, fine art printing and exhibiting artworks it is a good way to develop your art career with their knowledge and support to guide you.
So armed with two cars crammed full of paintings, greetings cards, prints, hammers, nails, screws, screwdriver, banner, table cloths, paint, brushes, canvases, easel, aprons, in the safe knowledge that it was all insured, off we went!
Patching is a great event. Friendly and full of like minded people happy to help and willing to advise and share their methods.
It was hot when we arrived and even hotter through the four days we were there. We had a great position in the marquee but unfortunately airflow was limited. After a few attempts at 'unstitching' the side of the tent, we found a friendly steward who managed to make a hole large enough for us to breathe through but small enough to deter people looking for a short cut.
Karen set up her demo lino cut - a Razorbill!
A lot of interest was from fellow printers who wondered how on earth she managed to print a 3 colour lino cut in the heat - it wasn't easy and Karen actually declared it a bit of a failure - but I loved it and so did others! It was really too hot for the ink though and as fast as she could roll it on the ink dried making the outcome a bit patchy - or interesting textured if you're a glass half full kind of person!
Despite the heat everyone remained cheerful and positive and we had some great visitors to the stand.
Patchings is also great for ticking off all the items on your Art Shopping List and both Karen and I had promised ourselves that we would not get carried away buying even more things for our private art store - I mean, studio. But we would allow ourselves to go and look once we had made our first sale.
Which was a card.
There was a brawl over who would get to go round the art suppliers tents first!
I won and came back with a nice shiny set of Pan Pastels which I had promised myself after attending a fabulous Pastel workshop by Les Darlow, who was also demonstrating there.
Pan Pastels are NOT cheap and the £2 greetings card didn't really cover it, but with a promise to use them extensively I convinced myself that I would easily make the outlay back in art sales once I had got the hang of them.
From then on we deiced that as long as we covered the cost of our wine consumption while we were there we would be happy.
We were very merry indeed....every night!
The last day was of course already going to be written off by the World Cup but as England hadn't made it through the semi finals we breathed a small sigh of relief. It was only the Wimbledon Final that would keep people away.
It was indeed quieter than the other 3 days, but still busy enough to keep us entertained until about 3pm when everyone seemed to disappear. It is always the last hour or so of a show that is torture for the stall holders as the clock ticks slowly and visitors dry up.
Furtively we began to pass things through the hole in our tent one by one, and scurry them away to the car. By 5.15pm the stand was practically bare and although hot, sweaty and covered in dust from departing cars, we knew we had one last mission to perform.
Get back and unload in time for Poldark!
Thank you to everyone that made our Print Pastel and Paint adventure to our first Art Festival so enjoyable and to the amazing Patchings team that seem to have it all down to a fine art!
Follow us on Facebook
Alas, I confess, that my other half is NOT a wizard at anything remotely D.I.Y. and doesn't know one end of a spanner from another so he could not be called upon to make a folding screen. On the other hand, Karen's beloved husband is a whizz with an electric screwdriver and despite a few naughty swear words has managed to make us a perfect (well it looks perfect on the pictures she has sent anyway) hanging facility for some paintings!
Racked with guilt over the effort and time this must have taken I dismantled an old frame and painted it pink! That should even out the score in the "what did you do to make the stand look amazing?" stakes! It did take three coats after all! And a coat of varnish!
Then came the revelation that Karen was going to make her own frames! Now we all know how ridiculously expensive framing is, but also that the right frame can make a bad painting, and that a bad frame can break a good painting, so it was no surprise to me to find photo's pinging through of a frame cutting machine sat in Karen's studio! Hat's off to her! Excellent plan...but with only three weeks to go I am not sure that there is time to perfect the technique. I had my doubts. Which if anyone knows Karen, is just pointless, because despite the instruction manual being in German, she has turned 'Learning How To Use My New Toy' into a leisure activity, and I have no doubt that she will be getting a big list of things to frame for our next foray into the world of exhibiting! Still it's nothing that becoming a member of the Fine Art Trade Guild won't solve as I am sure there will be framers happy to give advice! As a member myself I will luckily be insured in the event of a thief with an eye for a masterpiece for the duration of the show!
So on to the actual production and refinement of what will be appearing on the Stand (Stand 60, Marquee 17 in case you want to come and admire our efforts). As this is my busiest month for commission work I have been relying on a few paintings from the archives making an appearance, and adding some new work into the mix. I was quite proud of my efforts and was giving myself a quiet pat on the back when 'PING!' my phone alerted me to a new update from the Sillar Studio!
OMG!!! She's either hyper thyroid or on some sort of recreational performance enhancing drug!
Look what I got! Her tile cutting hands must be covered in Band Aid!
Not to be outdone I rustled up a new painting of a horse that I had been pondering for a while!
'PING!' Ha! Sent! That'll get her going! HAHAHA!!
So despite the frenzied activity in the Sillar Studio, and a deep feeling of guilt that I harbour, I personally cannot wait to see how the stand comes together and spending some time with my PPP friend will just make our 5 days together all the more enjoyable.
It will just be Karen and I showing this time as Jenny takes some time out with her little boy, but we are so excited to be able to show you what we have been up to.
Do come and see us on Stand 60 at Patchings.
We are at the top of the first bend so easy to find - plus the Stand will be several shades of cerise pink so you can't miss us! x
Now, on with weaving that cerise pink carpet for Karen to rest her feet on! ;)
So a lot has happened since our little foray into Shrewsbury! Jenny has adopted a little boy and is instilling a creative spirit into every day life with a small person! Potato prints and mud pies are nothing in her house!
Karen has become the Treasurer of the Association of Animal Artists accompanying me, (Alison) into the world of volunteering! I have been the Chairperson of the AAA for a few years now and love it but it does sometimes get in the way of personal creative time! So our plans for PPP have taken a slightly different turn this year! We have taken a stand at Patchings Art Festival and although Jenny will not be showing any of her work this time, she will be visiting us on Saturday 14th June so if there are any dog owners that are after a beautiful dog portrait you can grab her then. In the meantime, Karen and I are busy planning our stand and painting and printing like mad to fill the space with colour and goodies!
Of course there are costs involved in presenting your art to the public, including the extortionate cost of framing. It is the one thing that is often overlooked and unappreciated by buyers of art but the one thing that can make or break a work of art.
In our AAA experience we see all sorts of horrors and as we are members of the Fine Art Trade guild we get inside information into the best practice when it comes to professional presentation. They have also launched a new Guild Society of Artists of which we are members. This is aimed not just at framers but at artists which gives some great advice, including guides on pricing and professional practice. We hope that this means that when you purchase a work of art from PPP that it will be optimum quality and made to last a life time!
So it's back to the easel and printing press and we look forward to seeing you at Patchings!
So today we wrap up the exhibition and say goodbye to Bear Steps Art Gallery. We have had such fun and met some really interesting and lovely people. We've sold some of our work, drunk too much mulled wine (and peddled refreshments to the stewards and visitors).
It will be sad to say goodbye but we have some exciting plans for 2018 so keep watching and following for news about future ventures!
We would like to thank everyone for coming in and especially to those who have left feedback and entered our Prize Draw! We will be revealing the winner of Big Cock this afternoon and I'm sure he will be bringing a smile to whoever is the lucky recipient.
Over and out!
From Alison, Karen and Jenny
We had a fabulous surprise today in the form of a visit from our fellow Association of Animal Artists Trustee, Christina Hopkinson and her lovely family! It's always great to catch up and what better way to do it but in the company of like minded friends over a mild mulled wine! (I have been convinced that the alcohol content of the mulled wine is low, but I can report back on that tomorrow night as we are all getting together for our Christmas PPP celebration and I am sure there are a few bottles that need polishing off!
Oscar dog was in fine form today and greeted the visitors with a full inspection and seal of approval. He was very conscientious and made sure that everyone knew that the prize draw was going to be drawn soon. Every comment on the blog counts! Here he is pointing out the prize alongside the entry info. (I knew he had his uses! Useless at hoovering and washing up though!)
After many visitors and an early morning sale (hooray!) to a lady that had found the 'one' for her new house, Karen settled down to an urgent competition entry - a tiger wearing a santa hat (er...like you do!).
I would like to take this opportunity to gush about Karen for a couple of lines (don't want to get carried away). She has been a total natural as gallery guide and it has been pointed out on several occasions that she really should try to seek employment in this area. We are totally indebted to her as she has turned up every morning to open the gallery and has been on hand to meet greet and inform, refresh, wrap the paintings and take the sales. She has battled snow, ice, a broken car, and a horrendous chesty cough! Karen we couldn't have done it without you! You are amazing! This surely is what friends are all about and both Jenny and I are really looking forward to taking our Print Pastel and Paint adventure into 2018. (Hopefully nearer to home so we can do the 'running')
OK so where is everyone? We opened at 10 and waited....and waited.....and....yaaawn.
Never one to not take advantage of a bit of down time, Karen set about doing her Christmas cards. We had a few visitors in today, but it was very slow, so made the decision to close early and get some Christmas prep done for ourselves. Still there's always tomorrow! Come on folks, only 6 more days until we pack up and get back to real life until the New Year!
We have had some fabulous comments left on our blog and there will be a winner for the prize draw pulled out of the hat on the 23rd! To enter just let us have some feedback so that we can improve for our next joint venture
In the immortal words of Martin Charnin.....
"The sun will come out tomorrow
so you gotta hang on 'til tomorrow, come what may!
tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow you're only a day away!"
It was Oscar's turn to steward the exhibition today so I drove him to Shrewsbury after his morning walkies and made sure that he was looking festive for the occassion! He hadn't slept much the night before as the excitement of meeting new friends and visiting somewhere new was too much to bear! Making his bed in the corner of the gallery, he decided that a walk around the exhibits to give his opinion was his first duty. Fixing on a portrait of himself he asked if he could have a selfie and then a quick sniff round the block before nap time.
DON'T FORGET TO ENTER OUR PRIZE DRAW TO WIN 'BIG COCK'!
We are three artists and more importantly friends that share a love of art, wine and cake! Gathering for weekly art making sessions over the last 10 years, and even when one of us moved counties, we are bound together through a common thread whose tapestry of life, laughter and art come together in our first exhibition!