It’ll do… won’t it?

The last few months have been an incredible learning curve – learning about the art world and what sort of art I want to produce and attempting to find my feet in this very new place.

I’ve continued to develop my work for the summer exhibition – and yesterday on a train to Basingstoke I suddenly had an idea for a fifth 3D piece that I am very excited about.  It involves about 500 business cards!

On Friday was the opening of our Interim Show which went really well.  I have exhibited a series of nine found signs called “Do not crush the daisy”.    We live in a world of negative signs.  These signs do not nurture us or keep us safe, they seek to control and carry a strong emotional message that tells the viewer they are not wanted or not free to express themselves.   These signs act like injunctions and stab at us as we go about our day.

The exhibition continues in Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth until 2nd June.

I have also been busy entering open calls and preparing work for exhibitions in June and I have learnt a lot about how I want to present my work.   There is nothing worse than walking into a room and seeing your own work and being disappointed because you didn’t present it in the best way possible.

I am prone to cutting corners, either to save effort or money, and a common phrase of mine used to be “it will be all right” or “It’ll do” – and of course it seldom is.   Cutting corners shows and I am learning, even if it costs more or takes longer, that I have to do my absolute best to show my work in it’s best light.   I don’t want that feeling of being disappointed again.   And of course the result of cutting corners if often far more effort and cost as I found out this week when I had to rehang my entire exhibition late the evening before!

As an artist it is extremely tempting to save money wherever you can!

Mindfulness has helped in this regard immensely, enabling me to step back and see what needs doing and to observe how I am feeling about some aspect of the work.

This week I realised that there is a huge difference between “It’ll do” and “It doesn’t have to be perfect“.   Striving for perfection might be a hard sometimes (and overkill), often all that’s needed is the best available solution under the circumstances and knowing what’s required without going overboard is a great skill to cultivate!

Next time I catch myself thinking “It’ll do” I will step back and ask “Will it really?



Painting my umbrella – rain or shine, I’ve got it covered! Larmer Tree here we come!

I recently saw a passing comment about someone painting an umbrella.  The idea instantly appealed to me, but I had no idea how to go about it.

Some busy Googling didn’t tell me much more, there is not much documented out there, but I did find others who have done it.

First, I bought a reasonably priced white umbrella on Amazon and I found an old white umbrella (that I was given free at some conference or other) to test paints on, I didn’t want to make mistakes on the real thing.   I had a clear idea in my head of what I wanted to do but very quickly saw that my idea was too detailed.

I tried painting with acrylic paints and spraying stencils with spray paint.    The spray paint, although it gave a lovely effect, was too problematical, it cracked and it was very hard to get the stencil flat on the material.  I was a bit disappointed as I had painstakingly cut out the stencil of the flower, but it wasn’t consistent enough.   I even tried painting through the stencil with a brush, but that was really terrible, so acrylic paint, directly onto the fabric it had to be!

Here is my test umbrella by the end of my experiments!

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A daisy theme seemed more sensible, and it wouldn’t use too much paint 🙂

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Yesterday I sat down and just went for it with the paints and I am very pleased with the results.  The paint doesn’t crack and I think it is clearly a daisy!

The paint goes on very well, as long as the material is taut, I did it about 30% water because I didn’t want the dried acrylic to be too brittle and crack.   Some colours show brush strokes more than others, the blue and the yellow were best, in retrospect I would use them more another time.

I am off to a week long festival soon so this will be brilliant, rain or shine, I will have my daisy umbrella to keep us dry or cool.     Fingers crossed I get to use it as a sun shade!

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I would definitely try this again, perhaps next year I might attempt a more complicated design – a peacock tail springs to mind……..