Monday, May 27, 2013

Postcards and Portraits

On Monday 20th I took a day's holiday from working at the zoo, as I had an afternoon and evening of arty stuff arranged. Primarily I was to do an art demonstration in the evening, but I drove up after lunch to meet up with Kate (Marketing) at the Nature In Art Museum and Art Gallery. I also hoped I would be able to view the Postcard Portraits exhibition. I am unable to pop up to Gloucester as I used to do and now have to try and combine as much as I can into one trip; I had missed out so far on seeing this exhibition, which was to end soon, so I was really hoping I could view it.

As usual the driveway leading to Wallsworth Hall, where the Nature In Art Museum and Art Gallery is housed, gave me a deep sense of calm as I drove into it. I don't know what magic it holds, but I always feel myself relax as I go along their access lane.

Kate very kindly gave me a couple of hours of her time to show me some computing apps she uses. I have long thought of doing an e.newsletter to send out to those on my mailing list to apprise them of upcoming events, workshops, news etc but have never got round to it, mainly through lack of time to set it all up. But Kate had told me of a free app that she uses for the museum, so I was keen to see how she uses it and whether it was suitable for me and what I want to to. I was originally supposed to be at Nature In Art for the weekend but the 2 day batik course I was to tutor was cancelled as sadly there just wasn't enough people booked to make it viable for Nature In Art to run. So the Monday had been booked weeks ago with the thinking I would already be in Glos. 

After looking over the computer apps with Kate, I was able to go upstairs to the gallery in which the Postcard Portrait exhibition was on show.  As the Museum is shut on Mondays to the public, I was the only person there apart from Simon, the Director, and Kate. 

There are over 200 Postcard Portraits... each an original artwork donated to Nature in Art by 200 artists that have associations with the Museum. This is a great fund-raising idea which they have done once before (I also had a Postcard in that). The same number of tickets are sold as there are Postcard Portraits and at the end of the exhibition each Portrait and ticket are matched up by the numbers that had been allocated but kept secret and then the owner of the ticket gets that Portrait. So for the price of a £20 ticket there is s possibility of owning an original artwork by the likes of well-known and famous wildlife artists such as Guy Combes, Andrew Denman, Julie Askew, Gary Hodges, David Shepherd, Martin Ridley to mention just a very few. But you won't know what you get until the end of the exhibition. What a fantastic 'Lucky Dip' Fundraiser.

In the photo, my little oil study of Paseka, one of the elephant calves I met in Botswana, can be seen in the nearest framed selection (in the middle, second from the bottom). I have also bought a ticket, so I have to wait and see whose Portrait I get.. it's very exciting.

After viewing the exhibition I went over to the Atrium which is the Educational block in the grounds of Nature In Art, to where my art demonstration was to take place that evening. The art group that had booked me was the Gloucestershire Society of Artists (GSA). I had set everything up earlier in the day so now Kate came over with me to set up the video camera and projector. The GSA  don't actually record the demonstration but just project it onto one of the white walls so that those towards the back can see what I am doing. The camera is focused in the piece of work, so my brush work can be viewed as I do it.

I did a little work before they group started to arrive, to 'warm myself up' and get my mindset back into the painting. I was working on a lion portrait that I started back at the beginning of May and it is the same one I used for the Demonstration I did in Thornbury, earlier this month. I shall post a photo of it here soon, hopefully as a step by step, so that you can see the progress.

There was quite a crowd who attended that evening, over 50 people; some of whom I knew and it was lovely to see their faces there and chat to them again. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening; again the response was very positive and I had some great questions asked throughout. I hope I have inspired some to try oils again, there were one or two that had given up on them or were about to, but seem enthused when they saw how I worked with the medium. 

It was a late night by the time I got home and unloaded the car, so I was glad I had taken the following day as holiday too, to prepare for the two workshops I was doing with school children and the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project on the Thursday and Friday. More of that in my next post.

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