I want to help raise awareness of the Just a Card campaign for small business owners and creatives. Every purchase you make, big or small, makes a difference to a small business owner. If every visitor to a small art gallery bought a card, it helps sustain the business in between sales of art pieces. It can be the difference between opening the gallery doors, or closing up shop. The cumulative effect of these small sales helps drive creatives. If you admire the work of a creative, and you find yourself browsing their card rack – if you find something you like, don’t pass it by, smile and say “that’s a nice card!” Support the artist and put your money where your mouth is. You can’t even buy a McDonalds meal for £2, but you can support local artists!
I’ve been exhibiting my paintings locally for over 15 years, on and off. The early years were more fruitful – I only showed paintings, and people seemed to like them and buy them. The last few years have been less successful, not just for me, but for my peers too – the recession did hit the art industry, and footfall (and thus, sales) has been noticeably lower at the exhibitions I’ve been part of. Groups are struggling to achieve the commercial success that was available in the 90s and early noughties. As I paint for pleasure, and don’t rely on the income I am more fortunate than other artists. I have noticed that sales of prints has increased as buyers are more reluctant to part with cash for originals, even at reduced prices. I began making cards of my most popular paintings as an additional stream of income. They’re fun to make, there’s profit, they’re very affordable, and it also serves as another way to market myself – every card I make includes my basic contact details and my name on the reverse. I think it’s a great way to remind people about what you do. It’s always makes me smile when I’m present at a show and I get to meet the people buying my cards – whether it’s a woman buying a set to write cards for her friends, or a child buying one of my animal prints with their own pocket money. It’s affordable and accessible at every level, and that’s why I continue to make them.
Click here if you are a fellow creative, and download free flyers and posters to support the campaign in your shop or gallery.
I’ve been busy… here are some photos I took at the Station House Tearooms in Holmsley. The delicious food features in the pictures, with lots of traditional British dishes, and of course, cream tea – what else does one come to a tearoom for! The tearoom building itself is rather interesting, as it’s set in an original station house. The building has been reconstructed and well-maintained over the years. You can see how similar the building remains, looking at the memorabilia in the foyer and on the walls in the dining area. The tracks can be found a short stroll across the road. It’s a good base for cyclists and walkers as many of the routes connect to the trails surrounding the area.
It’s a series of short, basic interactive online workshops. It’s presented in video format, with written instructions alongside, and templates as well for those who don’t want to practise sketching (just painting). My personal preference is always to draw from scratch, so I had a go at the exercises.
If you sign up (it’s free), you can post in the forums and gallery, allowing you to interact with the instructor and classmates. As far as I’m aware, because there aren’t deadlines, it’s open for quite a few months to give you time to post your exercise attempts whenever you want.
While I was using up the last few sheets of my Cotman watercolour sketchpad, I found some watercolours I painted last year. I spent most of 2017 experimenting with watercolours – it’s a medium I’ve wanted to get better with for a long time, after favouring acrylics for so long. I love the thick textures and how expressive acrylics are (it really is the medium for me), but I also really appreciate the delicacy of watercolours. These were fun to do at the time – lovebirds and crane birds! What do you do with your small pieces, do you display them, sell them, or throw them out? Mine just stay in the pad!
This was my second time attending a Dr Sketchy’s event, and it didn’t disappoint. The format for the events I’ve attended remained the same – and it works well. It’s more of a casual, untutored opportunity to sketch from life. The poses are around 1 minute, 2 minute, 5 minute and 10 minute sessions and there’s usually two performers. The performers don’t always remove all their clothes – and that gives it’s own challenges with sketching clothes over the human form. There’s music, challenges and prizes, and a performance from each of the life drawing subjects. The first session I went to had a fire dancer and cabaret singer (he was very good!), but last week we had a mime dancer (lip syncing) and burlesque dancer. Although the latter pair were entertaining, the fire dancer was very mesmerising.
Here is a selection of sketches from the evening. Highly recommended for a fun night out – it’s informal, great value (£7 entry), and entertaining. You can even get competitive with entries for Nondominant hand, Most Magical Sketch, Partner swap drawing, etc.
UPDATE: I’ve just heard bad news – unfortunately the Salisbury Arts Centre has decided not to schedule any more Dr Sketchy’s events. If I hear of any similar events being run, or Dr Sketchy’s moving to a new venue, then I will let you all know.