Friday, 11 July 2014

Art Fairs and Fairness

The SEE Art Fair opened on Wednesday night, with 25 stands: galleries, artist groups, and individuals. This is a photo of me in front of a gallery stand, with my blue painting 'Paphos Walkway,' (a memory of flying out over Paphos harbour) on the panel above. I delivered 5 paintings and some of the others may be substituted as the Fair continues, but I was really quite disappointed that my painting was shoved to the top of the stand, and a larger work was not included. It made me realise that the only way to participate is to pay for your own stand! It was implied that my work was 'too colourful' and may not 'fit' with the other paintings, but last night I noticed that several artists on other stands had been nominated for 'Best Artist of the Show,' and they were mostly very colourful figurative or colourful abstract! Yet back in my studio I had so many colourful abstracts and semi-abstracted landscapes that were available to display. I felt I never stood a chance. Once again, it showed me that other people do not necessarily have your interests at heart. On the opening night I was told something along the lines of: we weren't sure how to fit your work in, and we were going to hang it horizontally. No way - I would have taken my work down and walked out.

On the positive side, it was a very lively event, held for the first time in Tunbridge Wells in the Assembly Hall, which usually shows theatre productions and concerts. The Private View was on Wednesday evening and last night I attended the Charity Gala Event, which was accompanied by live music and canapes. I stood for four hours and never stopped talking to artists, visitors and galleries. My painting received some very nice comments.

Above is a view of some of the other stands, with the theatre seating visible in the background. The music added to the general ambience and was not too loud. I really enjoyed meeting other artists, seeing some wonderful paintings, and took the chance to network and make artistic connections. But as I left at 10pm, I vowed that the next Art Fair I take part in will be under my own terms, with a stand of my own!

'Paintscape,' - work in progress, acrylic on board, 100 x 75cm

Friday, 27 June 2014

Random Paths and Sales

'Sale Fun,' acrylic on canvas, 92 x 92cm (36 x 36ins)
Yesterday my large painting, 'Sale Fun,' was installed in the windows of Hoopers department store, here in Tunbridge Wells, along with 9 other paintings. The brief we were given a month ago was to interpret SALE, and I had a lot of fun doing this! I started my painting with one idea and it ended up going in a completely different direction. The large, simple areas of colour and carefully placed figures represent a different approach for me, which is always good. The paintings are being sold to help the charity CHYPS (Hospice care for children and young people). I think that as we stood outside the windows yesterday to watch the 'live body sculpture' being performed in the windows, (which attracted much attention from passers-by), two paintings had already sold. No one knew which paintings but it is expected that many of the paintings will sell.

The night before the paintings were unveiled, I noticed that many shops had Sale signs in their windows, and yesterday most of the Sales began.

Unfortunately, my painting did not photograph well. I had to photograph it in a hurry as I was rushing to deliver it on Wednesday morning, and had just adjusted the colour of the vase near the top right side (it is a pale lilac, not white, as in the photo).  Luckily acrylic dries really fast. So I took the photograph of the canvas up against a wall, resulting in wonky edges. I could not crop them too much without losing important elements of the painting. The colours are also not very accurate: there is a deep turqoise blue in several places, and cobalt blues, and a lovely rich jade green. But the picture gives an idea of how I interpreted SALE.

After I delivered my painting, I had to dash up to London. My friend Gill Brown had work in the Society of Women Artists exhibition at the Mall Galleries and had given me a ticket to the Private View. When I arrived, she had just been given an award: The President and Vice President of the SWA Choice Award. It was much deserved as her sculptures are very beautiful and unusual. It made me reflect on the sometimes random nature of an art career. Last year I met Gill as I collected my paintings that had been rejected from the Discerning Eye exhibition. She was also in the tiny collection room, not far from the Mall galleries, and said to me, 'Not so discerning, are they?' It made me laugh and it was the beginning of our friendship. It shows how you can get rejected one year and win an award the next! I have had this experience too - I was 'culled' from the Axis artists' database in January 2012 (for not being 'contemporary,' I believe) only to go on to be one of 15 artists selected in June for an international painting residency at the Mark Rothko Centre in Daugavpils, Latvia. It was fully funded and one of the best experiences of my life, and my work is now part of the permanent collection at the Mark Rothko Centre, and not far from the original Rothko paintings. So for any artists reading this who are feeling discouraged, don't be - things can swing around the other way!

The window of Hoopers - promoting our paintings and Chyps charity

Monday, 9 June 2014


Last week the group show of the SEE Artists opened at Woods restaurant, Tunbridge Wells. It was a lovely opening with live music, drinks and canapes, and 10 artists are showing 2 paintings each. The above photo shows one of my watercolours, high on the wall, and in the foreground, on the left, Mark Paul Perry, who organised the show.

Me (on the right) by the drinks table
I only found out a few days earlier that I have been selected to paint a large painting for the windows of HOOPERS, a big department store. The theme is 'Sale,' and it is part of the promotion of the July SEE Art Fair here. I'm not sure how many artists are painting these 92 x 92cm canvases but we have until 21st June to complete them, and the installation of the work is on June 25th. I only just stretched my canvas and put gesso on it yesterday!

'Procession,' (Cyprus series) acrylic and gesso on watercolour paper, 11.8 x 8.3ins
 Finally, and deeply memorable, was the tribute to my ex-tutor Stass Paraskos that I attended on 24th May, at the APT STUDIOS, in Deptford, London. It was heavily attended and included a show of his marvellous paintings and a film about his life. I met some tutors I hadn't seen for some 25 years, and some people who had been in my Year at college.  It was very moving and all of us shared many sweet memories. Stass taught me at Canterbury College of Art, and I was very saddened when he died a few weeks ago. I will write more next time.

A photo of Stass, in front of tulips (he would have loved the colour), at the Tribute

Monday, 19 May 2014

Three Exhibitions in June

Me with 'A Journey Through Paint,' oil and acrylic on canvas, 95 x 54cm (behind, right)
The Private View of 'Landscape - Urban/Rural,' at 'art gallery 110 camden road,' was on 14th May from 6 - 9pm. It was a wonderfully sunny evening and visitors spilled out onto the pavement, attracting further attention for the newly opened exhibition. I have four paintings in the show, with two more ready to hang later. The painting to the right behind me is the largest one I have in the show.

Me with 'Rape Seed Fields, Kent,' oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30cm
I also have a couple of paintings in the exhibition that are slightly more landscape-referenced and this is one of them.

My husband Thanos with two of my abstracted landscapes - to his left - 'Seasonal Echoes,' (the orange-based landscape) and 'Reverie,' (below the orange painting) both oil and acrylic on canvas

For the first time, I will have work in three shows in June! Two paintings are going up to London for the NOT THE ROYAL ACADEMY EXHIBITION (Llewellyn Alexander gallery) this week, and the show opens on June 10th. The current show at 'art gallery 110 camden road' runs till June 29th. I have work going on show in the SEE Artists group show at Woods restaurant in Tunbridge Wells on June 4th.

Monday, 28 April 2014

New Work - New Opportunities

'A Journey Through Paint,' oil and acrylic on canvas, 95 x 54cm
My diary for this coming month is full. It is getting to the point where preparing work for shows, and doing all the admin work and website updates, social media updates, and all web-related, promotional admin is taking over from actual painting! But these two paintings are some of the recent work.

I have to deliver two paintings to the Llewellyn Alexander gallery (London) in May, for the NOT THE ROYAL ACADEMY EXHIBITION, and they are still not framed. I am showing some work at The Art Pull gallery, in Tunbridge Wells (Kent, UK), in the middle of May. I'm entering a portrait for a portrait exhibition, which is a long shot as it will be very competitive. I haven't painted a portrait for a while and it was a very interesting thing to do. Also I have several applications for exhibitions pending and I am still planning a show in Cyprus with a friend, though currently we are looking for a venue.

'Paphos Walk,' (2) acrylic on canvas, 60 x 50cm
My work is still hanging in Camden Quarter (Tunbridge Wells restaurant), and every time I walk past the bright colours catch my eye. I think they catch everyones' eyes as they walk by!

I have also made a few updates to my novel's details and hope to get on with the sequel soon. The link is:

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Older work

Priest, oil on canvas
For this pre-Easter post, I'm adding some older work that I made when I lived in Cyprus. I finally scanned the photos of this work onto a CD and loaded them onto my computer. I have added them to my website too. I'm thinking to start painting portraits again, as an addition to my other work. When I lived in Cyprus, it was always a good source of income. The above portrait was painted over a week. The priest sat for me very patiently, in between seeing to funeral services! He liked the portrait so much that he ordered a second one, for his brother, though it was painted from a different angle.

The Priest with his portrait
This gives an idea of the size of the portrait.

This is part of a mural I made for a tavern. The owner wanted me to paint both walls of a corridor, which were roughly 30 foot by 9 foot high. On this wall I painted an image that showed a tavern. Half of the painting shows a man approaching the tavern in daylight, smartly dressed and ready to meet  his friends.
My Mural
 The other half shows him leaving at night, dishevelled and drunk. His wife is waiting at their house nearby, with a stick in her hand. This is what the tavern owner asked me to paint and her customers loved it, saying it reminded them of their wives! It took me about 5 days to paint, using housepaint. I invented the picture as I went along. Here is the night part: there is even a snail climbing up the side of the painting.

My Mural

On the other side of the corridor, I painted a scene of Cypriot houses:

The Second Mural
I completed literally hundreds of portraits and various commissions during my time in Cyprus. I love working large like this; it's when I feel most myself and that I have the freedom to spill out all my imagery without restrictions. The sad thing is that these murals are probably not in existence any more, because the building seems to have been renovated and I am sure they painted the corridors with something else.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Camden Quarter

'The Beyond,' acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40cm
I have just hung several paintings in a very beautiful, new restaurant in Tunbridge Wells, called CAMDEN QUARTER. The bold interior reminds me of New York restaurants, and as one of the walls is brown bricks, it called for bold, colourful work. There was really only space for three medium to large canvases, and one smaller one. On Friday I hung three canvases. One was  WE ARE ALL NOMADS (posted below), the largest, and the other two canvases are 75 by 75cms. I will post photos of the restaurant this week.  They are waiting for one more, smaller canvas to complete the set.

'We Are All Nomads,' oil and acrylic on canvas. 110 x 80cm

Other than that, I am pushing on with more work. Here is another of the Spring-based work.

'The Beyond,' (3) oil and acrylic on canvas, 35 x 24cm