At the beginning of November I was asked if I would like to exhibit my work at a local gallery. I immediately said yes. Only later did I realise that I had very little to show. Much of my work has been sold, given as presents or simply not right for an exhibition.
Oh well, I had time enough to create some more, didn't I? The opening was to be on the 23rd of December. Almost a month before, we were invited to another opening at the same gallery. A painter and a photographer had covered the two, long walls with large pieces. Over our glasses of wine, between conversations, Caroline gave me a look. She flicked her eyes from right to left - indicating the amount of wall I would have to cover - and pulled a face to indicate that she thought I was in big trouble. Nonsense, I thought. There is plenty of time (and hopefully inspiration) to get it together on time. Just go get a load of frames and finally use all that watercolour paper I bought a few years back.
Detail from 'Les quatre canards', painted in indian inks.
What I forgot was that we were off to Spain for ten days, to see my sister and some friends. Despite taking my materials, easel and stool, they never really saw the light of day during the whole trip. Returning on the 16th, I had 6 days to put an exhibition together.
Caroline thought I'd blown it. Her character dictates that she gets stuff done so that she can then relax. Mine dictates that I do anything other than what really needs to be done, until time is almost up. Nothing like a deadline to get the creative juices going. No room for cock-ups.
The next five days I drew, painted and framed 19 pieces (I can't remember how many I tore up and started again). Watercolours, ink drawings and washes. A few long, late nights and the odd glass of inspiration produced some rewarding work. Finished products that I was very happy with. Almost unheard of for me, ask Caroline.
The cartoons based on life in our part of the world were very popular.
I could have sold this one five times over.
The vernissage (opening) was a success. I shared the gallery with two other artists. An abstract painter and an 'objet trouvé' sculptor. Combined with my pocket-sized cartoons and paintings, it was a rare and refreshing mix of disciplines. Mulled wine was served and the gallery visitors ebbed and flowed through the spaces. Red stickers started to appear on my frames and we heard many people chuckle and laugh at the cartoons and recognisable scenarios. Caroline captured me with a huge smile on my face, enjoying every moment. A selling artist. Blimey!
Not resting on my laurels, I have been creating more cartoons and drawings to replace the pieces that have been sold. The exhibition goes on until the end of February, so it would be silly not to get as much new (unsold) work up as possible. There is now a notebook next to the bed for those middle-of-the-night moments when a funny situation or line comes to mind.
Anyone who lives here knows what it is like to have a procession of visits over the Summer.
We often see one lot of visitors leave, to greet the next just a few hours later.
If all goes well, I can see me doing this more often. I have always drawn cartoons but never saw how they could become a serious source of income. This opportunity shows that there are possibilities to supplement my design business.
We are scanning the original art works and plan to produce a limited edition of each. This will allow more people to be able to take a Perry Taylor home! We hope to finally open the shop on the La Baguette Magique site and offer the reproductions for sale. Watch this space for opening times!
At the opening, Perry's fans covered quite a cross section of society...