There is nothing that people like more than a smug artist (above) talking about their own successes. This is just as well, because this week, that is exactly what is happening. My show at the Indo Bar finishes this Sunday and I shall be taking down the work. It has been a terrific and eye opening experience I am now going to tell you about it, at slightly greater length than is politic. Photos in this blog courtesy of John Mackenzie.
Firstly the Indo (above) was an excellent venue. It has great bear and does very nice Pizza and chips as food. Also the owners Peter and Katie are super relaxed and friendly. They were present on the day I appeared with Hugh Mendes (who acted as my curator) to hand the paintings. They said complimentary things and indeed I sold my first painting before it was up on the wall. You could not ask for a better start to a show (well you could but not probably at my stage of the career). On then to the paintings.
Above are the first two paintings I did from the series, the one on the left called the River Lea Navigation was the very first and remains my favourite. It is deliberately in a slightly abstracted style. The one of the right is called Graffiti on the River Lea. People reacted well to the presence of the graffiti on the wall.
I decided to larger versions of several paintings, indeed for the first paintings I did two larger versions. In the end only two of the larger paintings made it into the show (above). It was interesting to me. People reacted better to the above left painting better than its smaller original. It was painted quickly and loosely and I think people responded to the energy. In contract people preferred the original of the one on the right to the larger version. The main criticism was the chimneys are to jarring. This was not something that I saw until someone said it and now I agree and it really bugs me. I may change it.
The above two are painted on wooden board, rather than canvas. The wooden board creates a very different effect which is most obvious in the water. I really like these and thought they were two of the stronger pieces in the show. People liked the one on the right but were not that interested in the one on the left. Well your public can't be right all the time.
In contrast The Willow on the Lea (above) was not one I thought was particularly good. Hugh though was insistent it should go in the show. He was right and it was one of the three paintings I sold. Indeed it provoked a lot of interest. This has brought home to me the comment that is often made is that the artist is not a good judge of their own work. I am super pleased it sold thought and it is off to a good home, once I've had it framed.
The last two pictures in the show were also the other pictures that sold. Somehow I don't have a picture of one in-situ so we will have to make do with the one from the studio. I had this from my first exhibition but the ones that sell often attract a great deal of interest and such was the case here. I could of sold particularly the one above left , several times over. I think there are number of reasons for this. The colours are more vivid. They have a perspective that lead you into the picture (the pipes in the one above left, and the path above right).
They also have a structure and the structure acts as a focal point, and a point that people are interested in. I think the willow tree performs the same function it it's painting. This is a useful lesson when thinking about future paintings.
This then was a very useful, ego-boosting experience. I came away with three sales, a commissions, some new friends and a new bar to drink in. If you are an artist and you haven't yet I highly recommend exhibiting your work. Even if you have to set it up yourself as I did last year. You will be surprised as to the result.
Now I will just have to start hustling for another one.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.