Wine and art – a perfect pairing

Polly Gifford accepts #Letter365 No19 in the Arts Centre bar
Polly Gifford accepts No19 in the Arts Centre bar

“Wine and art – a perfect pairing” is what we called the preview evening for our group show “Five artists at the Chapel in the Garden” last August.  Tonight’s delivery of #Letter365 No19 was a much quieter affair. Polly bought me a drink to celebrate successfully completing #Collage365 and the film was good so a fine result all round.

Gone all pale and subtle

#Letter365 No19 ready to be delivered
No19 is ready to go in all its pale glory

I was in time to get this in the post but as I am going to the Arts Centre tonight I’ll deliver it by hand. It’s the last night of the Film Society season and they are showing “Village at the End
of the World”, a Danish film about a village in Greenland that has a dwindling population of only 59 with a single teenager longing to escape. I bet it will be visually stunning in a bleak kind of way. A bit like the collected images of me posting #Letter365 I expect.

I had a clear idea but something else had a better idea

I am always interested how I can go to the studio with a clear idea of what I want to do and something else will turn up and it all changes. Today’s #Letter365 piece (not quite finished so it could all change when I go back to the studio!) has turned out different in size, shape, colour, technique and textures to what was in my head. It was as if this other idea was hanging around waiting for me to sit at the table and plug my head into it. Until the moment I sat down I had no intention of deviating from the idea tha had been brewing all morning! So what goes on? Am I just easily distracted? Or is there some other process going on in me beneath the conscious that is alert to opportunity and is prepared to, has the freedom to, run with the new.

This piece came together with certainty, clarity and speed and is a much gentler and calmer piece than intended: perhaps my systems were telling me to slow down.

In, out, shake it all about

The slightly rain-spattered #Letter365 No18 gets posted
The slightly rain-spattered No18 – I knew it would get wet!

Sometimes it all seems a bit pointless. I just put the latest #Letter365 in the post box. A few minutes later I popped back to the shop (Bradpole’s excellent Post Office) and the postman is taking the stuff out. I could have just hung about in the rain and given it to him. If everyone had waited around we could have had a nice chat and the postman wouldn’t have had to do any bending.

Postman collects the mail
Just minutes later the post gets collected

Talking of the rain this is probably the first time there was proper rain at posting time. I knew it would might get wet so adjusted the wording on the envelope!

Anyway I had a chat to Ann in the shop. She had seen me the other day as I mentioned. Now I have explained what I am doing she doesn’t think I am any madder than she already knew I was!

Ann in the shop
Ann says she doesn’t do photographs (wrong!) but she specialises in clothes that match her surroundings

Just look at all those tobacco products. Only by shopping locally do you see that sort of thing. I have to say that I am not tempted to take up smoking each time I see them!

Sunny Sunday No17

#Letter365 No17 gets posted on a sunny Sunday evening
No17 gets posted on a sunny Sunday evening

This one took ages to dry – now there’s a hint: glue or paint or ink maybe – so I am pleased I started it early. I spent part of the day painting in the garden – black paint on a solar wax extractor – not sure that is going to dry properly now that the temperature has plummeted, but I don’t have to send it off to anyone only find it a place out of the weather.

I like the colour on this one very much. Perhaps I’ll stick with it.

Does having more time make me more critical?

#Letter365 No16 gets posted
No16 gets posted in the gloaming

The post from the village post box goes at noon on Saturday and there is no collection on Sunday. So at the weekend I feel I have more time. While the deal I have made with myself is that I will hand it over for delivery by midnight each day, where possible I am trying to get it in the post . At the weekend it’s all a bit more flexible and I’m not under the self-imposed pressure to do the piece early in the day.

So today I wasn’t happy with the first piece I created – well at least not for this project. I suppose I am ultra-critical and feel I must make sure I am delivering pieces of value as people will be buying blind. The first piece is fine I guess and it may get offered for sale (obviously I cannot use it as a #Letter365 piece as it does not meet the criteria of being substantially made on the day).

I just wonder, had I not had the luxury of the extra time would I have let it go?

Delivering by hand tonight

#Letter365 No15 ready to go with me to BAC
No15 ready to go with me to BAC

As I am going to Bridport Arts Centre tonight to the Story Cafe it seems sensible for me to deliver this by hand. I may not be able to post evidence tonight of me delivering or handing it over so it could be a catch up in the morning.

I love this one too. There will be other work in this vein being done over the coming weeks so I’ll try to post it somewhere as an idea – or not.

Self-restraint and discipline

Whereas yesterday was a struggle today was a breeze. I am so pleased with the piece that I wanted to save it for another day or not include it in the project! It’s one that I am happy to keep looking at and would definitely have on my wall: the sort of piece I would buy if it was by someone else! But that’s where I have to have the discipline to go through with my intention and the self-restraint to not covet my own work. Oh dear.

I suppose part of it is that I am considering destroying any unsold pieces, unseen, at the end of the project and would find it difficult to see this one “put down”!

And now I wonder about exploring the elements of that piece further. There are elements that I want to use in some larger pieces but should I now just leave them secret in #Letter365?

#Letter365 No14 being posted by a sign for fish and chips
#Letter365 No14 can’t hang about for fish and chips

It started to rain as I walked back from the Post Office. It was almost the first posting in the rain, which is amazing after all the months of no stop wet weather we have had. The fish and chip van doesn’t come for a while, so I didn’t need to push through the crowd to get to the post box. Mind you, Ann in the shop waved through the window as I took the photo, but she knows I am mad.

People are getting interested

Thank you to everyone who has sent words of encouragement about #Letter365. I hope I have thanked you personally. I’ll try and make an effort to thank you publicly too from now on.

So, for example, my thanks go to Megan Dunford who tweeted:

Picture of Megan Dunford's tweet
Megan Dunford tweeted her encouragement

…and Martin Martin said:

Martin Martin's initial tweets about #Letter365
Martin Martin’s initial tweets about #Letter365

and many more. Thank you everyone.