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Whew!

I have spent the best part of the last two days putting together an application  for the first stage towards  being credited with sufficient previous learning experience to cover the first level of a distance learning Creative Arts degree through the Open College of the Arts – www.oca-uk.com – and I can’t believe quite how exhausting it’s been.  The first level of the degree comprises three units, which in my case would, I hope,  be Drawing Skills, Writing Skills, and Illustration, and as I’ve done a lot of all three things over the years I am hoping I will be able to skip the first level and begin at the second. 

 I am very excited to have found this degree, as it combines some of the things I most love doing and offers a lot of variety. But it has been surprisingly difficult putting together a portfolio for each and making a convincing case  within the requirements for a pre-application application, which will give me an idea for £50 whether I am likely to be successful and if it’s worth paying the  £250 for a full application. It’s possible to send more information with the full application, and I am worried I won’t send the right  bits first time to convince them I have a chance. The standard of my work should speak for me, I know, but I cleared out so much stuff last year when  we moved and this year has been so busy that I haven’t  done so much,  so I’m not sure I’ve got enough variety. And where I’ve had choices have I chosen the right one?   Oh dear!

Still, I can only give it a go, and I’ve certainly spent a lot of time trying to make it a persuasive bid,  so now I will send it off and keep my fingers crossed!

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A while ago I designed some penguin  digital stamps for the Christmas issue of PaperCraft Inspirations, and the mag is published soon. Jenny, the editor, chose five of my designs and I said I’d make the other four available on my blog, so here they are!  Just click on the file names, and save them, then you can print them out and have fun with them!

penguin009        penguin001

2penguins   snowballpeng

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The painting I sold

It’s been a long, and busy, day, but the art group exhibition was quite successful. We had more paintings entered than we’ve had in a long time, so we ran out of forms and labels, then we ran out of tables and easels, and spent a frantic half hour before we opened shifting paintings around, trying to make space and get all the framed paintings, at least, on the table easels. Everything was just about ready in time but it was touch and go.

 We had far more visitors than we usually do,  especially visitors who weren’t friends or relatives of the artists, so that at least justified going back to Combe Down, and we sold 7 paintings, again more than we have done at other exhibitions recently.  But apparently despite the crowds the teas and coffees didn’t go as well as usual, and the cards didn’t sell any better than usual. So the Treasurer will have to do some calculating before we know if it was really a great success.

I was quite happy with it from my own point of view, as I sold one  painting, a rose, and quite a few cards.  And Mum came up and won a raffle prize.
But it was an awful lot of effort on the part of a few people really, so there is a lot more than simply finance to take into account.
It was a great pleasure to be back in the hall at Combe Down though. It is really lovely since it’s been done up, very light and bright, clean and fresh, and a perfect place for the exhibition. Just very expensive, unfortunately!

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I’ve been working hard all morning framing some pictures for the Combe Down Art group exhibition on Saturday. Why do I always leave it to the last minute? Every time  I promise myself that next time I will frame them as I finish them if I think I’ll put them in the exhibition, but it never seems to work out!

I’ve not got a lot of new works for this exhibition, but I am putting in this one that I did for the club’s Christmas card competition – I shall probably reproduce it on cards to sell, too,  and use it for our Christmas card this year. I’ve also got one  that I did as a demonstration using wax pastels earlier in the year, along with two flower paintings that I did back in the summer, and an abstract that I did as an experiment for the fringe festival this year, so at least I shall be contributing.

This exhibition is a bit of a gamble – it will be the first  time the group has been back to the Church Rooms in Combe Down since they were condemned and we had to find alternative accomodation. Now that it’s been done up it’s terribly expensive, so we could make a loss on this, but members want to give it a try so we’ve got our fingers crossed that people will come – and buy – and it will be successful.

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The Bath Prize

I was pleasantly surprised to find that both my entries for The Bath Prize this year were chosen as finalists. Admittedly, there are a large number of finalists, but fewer than half the entries get through and I hadn’t been very pleased with my efforts this year.  I was allocated Kingsmead Square as the area of Bath I had to produce at least one entry inspired by, and I didn’t actually find it terribly inspiring. A super part of Bath, yes, bustling and popular , but not really the sort of thing I usually paint. I spent some time looking for that one view that would work for me, but in the end decided to take lots of photographs and see if I could do something combining several aspects of the square. I’ve done a couple of pieces in the past made up of a number of small squares , and that was what I had in mind to begin with, but wasn’t really happy with how they all went together, so in the end I picked the three that I was most happy with.  They seemed to go together to represent a slice of life in the Square and I guess someone liked it!

North Parade Bridge from the Parade Gardens

My second picture iss more the sort of thing I usually do. I started it sitting in the Parade Gardens on one of the few lovely days of this summer, and I managed to fill in most of the shapes and get an idea of what the picture was that afternoon.  Then I brought it home and worked on it a couple of times in the next few weeks. I usually take photos for later reference, but the batteries in my camera let me down, although I think that was actually a good thing, as I concentrated on making it work as a picture rather than getting the detail “correct” according to a photograph. I used wax pastels on black paper, a favourite medium. The black  gives the colours some drama and increases the depths of the shadows.  It was quite and enjoyable piece to work on, and I was more pleased with the result than with the Kingsmead Square one.

They’re going to be exhibited with the other finalists in the Octogan, Bath, for a week from October 21st, then  they will be auctioned. I don’t expect them to sell, but am pleased to get them in the exhibition, anyway.

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I’ve had a painting accepted as a finalist for the Bath Prize, Plein Air section, so now I have to get it framed. I was rather surprised, as I thought the one I entered for the With the Bath Lions  section was better, and there weren’t as many entries for that section either, but there you go! I’m pleased, obviously, although I don’t think I’m seriously in the running, but there’s a chance of selling it. It’s funny, I almost didn’t enter the Plein Air section, as it had to be done on the spot, and I prefer to work from photos and take more time. I was allocated the Assembly Rooms as my spot, which isn’t the best place in Bath to create great pictures, so I intended to do one picture there, as the rules require, and then do a second picture somewhere else for my second entry. Then for some reason I thought I’d take my pastels with me the day I was going to the Princess Diana dresses exhibition there, and if it was sunny when I came out  I’d give it a go. I was surprised how well it seemed to work, so I went back a week or so later to finish it, and had my photo taken by a chap from the organising gallery who’s trying to make a record of the artists. Maybe that’s why they put me in the exhibition as a finalist! I’m not sure exactly where or when the exhibition is, but I have to get this framed by 18th September I think, so had better get on with it.  Deciding on a frame is almost the hardest bit of the whole process, I think!

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