Too many!

A green stone

Do you have any collections?

Stones, rocks and crystals. Glass paperweights. Books. Plants (mainly Christmas cactuses). Cat ornaments. My paintings and art.

One small terraced house. Two bedrooms, one living room. Cluttered. I’m trying to declutter a bit, but it’s hard when you collect (or is it hoard?) things.

I tried counting the books once, but when I got to 1000 I gave up. I collected Terry Pratchettand and Ann McCaffrey books, also Ellis Peters (Brother Cadviael books). I might have spelt it wrong. I like science and biography, novels and history, too many…

Cat ornaments range from sculptures to small home made clay objects. I have most of them in the living room, sitting on the mantlepiece.

I also collect too much art supplies. I have lots of felt pens, brushes, paints, canvases. Yes it’s cluttered. So I need to organise everything. Have a spring clean. Dust off the glass paperweights, the cats, my paintings. If something happens to us goodness knows what my relatives will think!


Lost mural of Burslem Riot that was destroyed in a fire

My legacy is my art. I have painted for years. I hope that someone wants them when I’ve gone.

I was involved in painting several murals over my time as an artist, but sadly most of them have been destroyed in one way or another. I painted a mural in the stairwell of the Unemployment action centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent just after I finished college. Then we found the building was going to be demolished. So myself and a friend got permission to go in and take photos. Unfortunately the photographs came back blank. The film had not been attached to the spool and was not exposed!

Then I painted some murals with a council art group. Over a few weeks we worked on a school canteen (alien/ sci-fi landscape) a ward at a hospital (images of Stoke-on-Trent to aid elderly patients memories), and a memorial for the 1914 to 18 war. All of these were demolished.

Finally I did twelve murals at the Leopard Hotel in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. This took me the good part of two years on and off. The painting above was a mural I did of the Burslem riot of 1842? I researched it and a lot of the characters were based on local Burlem residents and people who worked at or frequented the Leopard. All of the murals were destroyed in a fire that burnt down the hotel.

I have also painted scenery for the local pantomime and Mystery plays, but I don’t know what has happened to them.

What is the legacy you want to leave behind?

So if this isn’t my legacy what is? All the paintings and artwork I have created over the years since I was a child. Not all of them still exist. Art turns out to be quite ephemeral in some ways. But I’ve sold enough that, if no one wants the ones I still have, the rest have gone to new owners. Even if they were to appear in charity shops, I hope that some do find good homes.

I need more stock.

I have a stall soon

I’m doing a craft fair soon but I haven’t replaced the paintings I have sold with new ones. I need to get my act together and paint. I just feel a bit down. This has been going on for weeks. I think its artists block? I know why, lots of thoughts on my mind and anxieties, so I prevaricate because I don’t want to get things wrong. I’m fine when things are going OK, but sometimes I let things get on top of me. I will try and sort my mind out this week! Then hopefully I will have new work to show you…..

Before an Exhibition

When do you feel most productive?

Something stirs inside me about a fortnight before I have an exhibition of my art (it doesn’t happen very often). I’ve probably had seven or eight solo exhibitions in my life and some group ones.

Suddenly I get the urge to create and I can produce several paintings in a very short time. It doesn’t matter what the subject is, I become very concentrated on what I want to produce. It’s like time changes and I can be working till 3 or 4 in the morning without realising how time is flying (is this flow?). At other times I feel less able to create, the switch hasn’t tripped inside my mind I guess.

Productivity has to have a reason. I need to be motivated to get work done. Every day I do a little bit of art, so over the years I must have been very productive, but now with my health I am slowing down. Something I could do quickly takes more time. I feel that, it makes me sad and annoyed with myself. I really want to turn the clock back a few years, but I guess that’s not going to happen, so I’ll keep trying to carry on. I use different media and have recently tried charcoal and pastels as well as my usual acrylic paint on canvas.

Art competition

Write about a time when you didn’t take action but wish you had. What would you do differently?

So many times I have missed deadlines for art competitions. I somehow freeze and lose confidence.

I think it stems from a college tutor who told me I would do badly and not get a good degree. I believed him and when I was successful I still questioned my validity. I come from a working class home and I didn’t have the self confidence to dismiss his opinion. I took three years to get over it and forever after I have felt some degree of imposter syndrome. I was once asked as l local artist to judge an art competition. It was so hard, I didn’t know what to do, whether I would disappoint people. The result was announced and I think people were pleased with my choice, but I felt great guilt!

It’s hard to think that those few words my tutor spoke forty years ago, sank deep into my heart. What would I be doing if I hadn’t listened to his poisoned words. I wish I knew then what I do now.

More paintings…

It was a busy day today. I forgot I took some other paintings over to Etruria Industrial museum too, and bought some home. I like the idea of people seeing my work, I hope they appreciate it. I don’t expect to sell the work, I guess people don’t have much money at the moment. I offered to halve the prices because my friend said the price point of things selling at the cafe is a lot lower than at a gallery. All I want, though, is for them to go to good homes. I feel like they are baby kittens being released out into the world. What a strange thought!

Tomorrow I’m going to try and paint something new….

Paintings delivered

I’ve previously exhibited these at Arts and Minds in Harper Street, Middleport and I’m having a swap round. So I’ve taken these to Etruria Industrial museum today. (I have more work up at Harper Street.) The lower two photos are my painting of the governor on the Princess beam engine at Etruria. The poppies and wildflowers represent the summer and poppies are hopefully going to grow there as the museum has initiated a wild flower garden to support bees and other pollenating insects. The idea is to stop mowing the grass lawns around the site and reintroduce more of a natural habitat.

One thing that upset me was seeing litter and rubbish in the grounds and in the canal which the museum volunteers deal with by litter picking. They have a long pole with a net and one of the volunteers fished a plastic cup and other litter out of the canal while we watched.

The museum is part of Stoke on Trents heritage and I’m pleased to have my art displayed there. X

Two paintings done

As part of the Art Fair today I completed the three small paintings that I started in our Art group meeting recently. I think these are five or six inches square. One is called Autumn and the other Coast. I enjoyed doing this as it kept me occupied. It was a quiet day, I think there was a big event going on in the town, but I sold three small paintings for a small amount of money, by the time I’d paid for my table it was £10 in total for the day, but at least I enjoyed painting, much better than sitting quietly and getting a bit bored!

Craft fairs

Something has happened! I’ve decided I need to try and do craft fairs again. I have asked to do a couple, over two weekends. I don’t think I’m ever going to make money at it but I hope to cheer people up with my little paintings. I only charge a few pounds for them, but they don’t take up too much space and they can get placed on shelves instead of having to be hung on walls… Now I just need some more small canvases.

Coming home today.

Sadly I didn’t sell any of my paintings at Stone (exhibition ends today). I did get some feedback from a customer who said it was a shame they didn’t display them on another wall. They were in the corridor on the way to the toilets and she said she would not have seen them if she hadn’t gone to the loo! I guess it just shows that whatever you do if your work is not visible enough it won’t get any interest.