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A girl can change her mind, can't she?

Updated: Mar 23, 2023



When your husband looks over at your half-finished sketches and asks if your exhibition is next week and you reply "no, tomorrow" then you know something's gone wrong.


Wrong is perhaps too strong a word, off-plan might cover it. With less than 24 hours before installation, I decided to admit what I'd known for a while; it just wasn't working. The colours weren't right, the theme was doing nothing for me and it all looked a bit, well, meh. There was only one thing for it. I needed to start all over again.


THE NEW PLAN


The only part of my original plan I liked was the idea to create about 50 mini artworks. A throw-away doodle while thinking about what I could do lit a spark. A quick overprint in a shade of yellow brought it together. A plan was born. I'd create 1 minute abstract sketches using graphite water-soluble pencils, allow to dry then print over the top. It was certainly achievable and looked like it might work too.


What I haven't told you at this point is even with my original idea I didn't know how I was going to display 50 pieces of art. I didn't want it to look too polished so framing each one wasn't an option, plus with less than a day to go wasn't realistic. I wanted the work in its entirety to look spontaneous yet curated. I'd used pages from a spiral sketch book for each drawing and wanted to carry on the idea of an artist sketching, ripping out the pages and quickly fixing them to the wall.


"YOU'RE USING WHAT TO DISPLAY THEM?"


There was no way the gallery would allow me to just slap the sketches up on the wall so I had to think of a way to display them. I don't even know where the idea came from but I had two old Victorian doors sitting on my allotment that I'd got out of a skip (permission asked, in case you were wondering) and had been planning to make into a room divider. Again I wasn't after perfection, I hoped they just needed a bit of cleaning up, but it was nearly 12am, I had no idea what state the doors were in and I still had to over print the majority of the sketches.



DAY OF THE EXHIBITION


6:30am head down to the studio to print over sketches I'd left drying


8am free parking runs out so I dash back to the car. I'd purposely given myself a deadline as I know what I can be like.


8:10am back home, breakfast and grab stuff I might need to clean up two Victorian doors


8:30am on the allotment, having hauled two (what turn out to be VERY heavy) doors from their resting place I start going over the first one with a wire brush, scraping off loose paint and washing with soapy water. It doesn't look too bad and it sort of works.


9:15am make a complete fool of myself getting door to car and somehow into car. Thankfully no one was around to see me stack it.


9:30am repeat above but get help from one of my lovely allotment neighbours getting the second door from my plot and into the car.


10am back home, big mug of tea, bore my husband with the morning's antics and get ready to leave for the gallery, which thankfully is in the same building as my studio.


11:30am meet the wonderful, calm Vanessa who curates HalpernPOP gallery, we carry the doors into the gallery and I start attaching sketches to the doors.


Quick. Slow. Slow


A sketch is a moment.


An idea.


The start of something.


The exhibition, S K E T C H, is made up of 48 one-minute sketches. Quick drawings that require slow looking. You’re invited to pick up a viewfinder and search the sketches. Take your time. What do you see? Follow the lines - some heavy, some light - explore patterns, allow your eye to move around the negative spaces, notice the relationship between shapes, enjoy the shadows you cast. I love that you can get so much from something that was created without much conscious thought.



Don’t just stop there though, make it a habit. Over the next week take the time to look and follow the lines in nature, in your home, in artwork, on your daily commute. Take a moment to see the small things. You may be the one person who noticed.

S K E T C H is currently showing alongside work by Julia Scanlon at the HalpernPOP Gallery, Rochester, Kent.

Entrance is via Café Nucleus and there's no entry fee.

Open daily 10am - 4pm

15 February - 28 February


The HalpernPOP gallery is one of nine art galleries in Medway. Download the Rochester to Chatham Arts Trail - a walking guide to the art galleries in Medway.



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