There have been no posts during May as I’ve been totally preoccupied with my open house. I forgot how much work is involved in transforming the home acceptably into a gallery setting and trying to keep it in order throughout the month, although I was only open to the public on Sundays. This was a good experience for me: as a solo painter, I get fewer visitors than houses that open with a wide range of artists and makers, but the people who come are very interested in painting and do look carefully at the work, which has resulted in a pleasing number of sales.This picture shows the front of the living room with the Fighting Cats paintings on the wall. The ducks and the sculpture are things I own. Although I have to clear the rooms where I’m showing, it’s nice to retain some personal items that give a broader sense of who I am and what I like, which in my case includes a lot of plants and books as well as favourite objects. The Significance of Bears paintings were hung together on the opposite wall.
The ground floor is one big through room: at the back there are pictures from the Family Photos, Brown Paper Drawings and Bears series. I couldn’t bring myself to dismantle the electronic drum kit, thinking I would probably find it difficult to put it back together. Sadly, few visitors seized the chance to release their inner rock god, although I was happy for anyone to play.
The studio was arranged more informally. There were very few framed or mounted pictures up there. Works on show were both finished and unfinished, I also included a few that I consider unsuccessful but that help to explain thought processes and links between the works.
My photo wall was left in place – this consists of found photos I have clipped and saved over a period of many years, and the images contribute ideas to a variety of works. The Brown Paper Drawings, for example, are entirely composed of images from the photo wall.
The main problem I’ve always had with doing open house is that it diverts my attention and energy from doing new work. This year I have made an effort to get going on a new project and now look forward to reclaiming the studio space, making a mess, pursuing new strands of work. My thanks to all the visitors who came, it is not only sales that make this kind of exhibition worthwhile, but general interest and feedback, and the occasional person who says it has inspired them to try something painterly. The recent a-n artists’ survey reveals that the most highly valued reason for exhibiting is to share the work with the public.