June – Suffolk Open Studios 2018

The doors of my Open Studio have almost closed again for another year and I look forward to seeing which visitors will arrive on the last day, tomorrow. It’s always a fun waiting-game. You never know what fish you’ll catch or who’ll be the next person to walk through that gate. So far, so good. I’ve had a very positive experience with all my visitors so far and feel that I did the right thing by opening for two weeks in a row and to take part in the scheme for a second year running. In terms of footfall and numbers-through-the door though it hasn’t been remarkable. Cathy D’Arcy, Sudbury ceramicist extraordinaire, said she’d had 90 visitors the weekend before last. Cripes! I’d never have coped with that amount and was more than satisfied with my gentle trickle of interest which gave me the chance to savour each adventurer at a time. I always marvel at how, by divine intervention it seems, when one goes the next soon arrives.

so, it’s been a good innings for me which got off to a good start with last weekend’s preview drinks. It’s a really bolstering experience to fling open your studio doors and to raise a glass jointly within with friends and like-minded arty people, sharing with them the fruits of your labour over the winter months; those lonely months when you slaved away tirelessly like a hermit, sometimes with a glow of pride and other times with a frown and a question mark above the head wondering ‘does this serve a real purpose. Should I not be out there in the real world doing a proper job instead?

The effervescent Lynne in a bright orange shirt burst through my gate this afternoon. She behaved like somebody who’d just won the lottery to have found an ‘Open Studio’ in Hadleigh en route to visiting her ailing parents in the next cul de sac. She showed me some of her people portraits which looked impressive and said she was looking for a teacher to help raise her game. Our encounter was charged with such a current of positivity that it made me feel that this was another good reason for having opened the studio – to act as a link for others on their own artistic journeys. I hope I have given her some useful contacts and I hope we shall keep in touch.

My friend, Sheela, has asked me to give her some oil-painting lessons so that’s a challenge I look forward to getting my teeth into and I now have three commissions to fulfil so it looks like it’ll be a busy and fairly lucrative Summer for me. Yippee!

I feel like I’ve come through a forest of thorns to reach this happy arty land full of kindred spirits. Painting will heal the scratches and hopefully the money pot will morph itself into a magic porridge pot and never run out …. so that this blissful sabbatical from tutoring English can continue for ever and ever – amen!

Here below is a portrait of Lily that I finished last week, a thank-you to Ivan and Rita for looking after Olive whenever we’re away. I shared it with a Facebook group called ‘Mad about Whippets’ and they went crazy over it. I was stunned. One said it looked like an Edward Hopper painting. I had to be honest and tell her I’d never heard of him before so I googled him and then yesterday, lo and behold, only two days later, I saw a book all about him on my friend Sue’s coffee table. It was one of those jaw-dropping coincidences which gave me a pleasant tingle.
Am feeling doubly inspired now but too full of Prosecco this evening to do anything about it. That’s the trouble with parties – always too many left-overs!