I am currently in the process of planning and creating work for my August exhibition, An Ode to Daylesford. It’s the first exhibition I have held in years due to family commitments, time commitments and She-Tea (my tea business). While sending out press releases this morning, it occurred to me that the whole planning process behind the creation of an art exhibition might be of interest to you, as it is something that is usually kept very private until the “grand unveiling”.
It is certainly a big undertaking to hold a show of your artwork. Where do you start?
Firstly, you need to find a worthy subject matter that will appeal to people, then you need to make sure you can find the inspiration to create around 20 pieces of work that fit within this theme. Next you need to be happy with the venue / gallery space and negotiate agreeable terms with the owner. Then you need to think about your story and media appeal. Questions I need to ask myself: Is this something that people will respond well to? Is my story of interest to others? Will I get any support from magazines and papers that will let people know about my show?
There are a lot of things to consider, and it’s fair to say that you need to muster a great deal of courage to start putting yourself out there to get the exposure you need to create interest around your show. Deep breath, baby steps forward…
For An Ode to Daylesford, I have been very lucky to be offered Made Gallery in the historic Raglan Building. Jo and her partner Bob bought the Raglan a couple of years ago and have spent an enormous amount of time, energy and money restoring her, and forming a wonderfully creative hub within her walls.
Next to the MADE Gallery is the CeCode Design Workroom, and on the end is Kazuki’s Restaurant (former head chef from Lake House) so the building often glows with creativity and inspiration. I feel very privileged to be included in this space and the building itself, and it’s history has already inspired me to a whole new and consistent level of creativity.
I chose the subject “An Ode To Daylesford” as I am feeling particularly inspired by the life and people in this town. The subject matter is endless, and it is a way for me to show my appreciation for what this town has brought to my life.
It sounds very corny, but the move from the centre of Sydney where life was fast, fun, stressful, and well, somewhat unhealthy, to a beautiful country town where I can step outside and pick fruit directly from the trees, where my son sings all the way to the markets while he rides his little bike and points out all the different kind of birds, where I can walk into local cafes and they know my name and my order. For me, this is happiness and it’s finally time that I put it to canvas.
Once I decided that I was definitely going to do this show in August, the first step was to go and buy a brand new sketch book. There’s nothing quite as inspiring (and daunting) as a book full of blank sheets of paper!
Next step, I started working on ideas and painting series. I generally work on sketches and ideas over and over until it feels right, and then I paint based on that feeling. The painting always turns out a little different to the sketches as it has more time to develop and grow.
Here are two examples of sketches from my book, and the resulting painting to give you an idea of the difference.
Titled: Dreaming Of Here
Titled: Mostly I Prefer the Company of Books
As I work on my collection for the exhibition, I also need to create a series of press releases for different media. Some magazines are monthly, some are quarterly, some papers are weekly and some are daily so I need to create a press schedule that will accommodate all of the different needs of the different outlets. In the end, the more media attention I can generate, the more people know about the exhibition, and the more people who will come and have a little look!
I also need to be thinking about the opening night drinks, planning activities throughout the month that could be held on site, and so on. There are a range of events occurring over winter, for example, Words in Winter is an annual literary event that takes place in a number of towns in the Goldfields region in August so I am hoping to tie something in with this group and the gallery on one or two days…we will see!
Although it is a lot to think about and plan, somehow it all seems to be flowing beautifully. Daylesford has certainly turned on the charm with the weather in the past month (Autumn is always spectacular but not always this warm and sunny – thank you!) and I am sure that this has contributed to my sustained energy levels when it has come to my painting.
This is a little picture of my painting spot off our lounge room when the weather is right. Bliss now that the leaves are bright red!
Well, the more I write about this process, the more I realise how much work I have to do, so with this in mind it’s time I sign off and get back to it.
I would like to finish, however, by extending an invitation to the opening of my exhibition:
An Ode To Daylesford
Friday 3rd August between 6pm and 8pm.
The exhibition will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the month of August so please come and say hi!
Thanks and I look forward to your company!