The Summer Exhibition: Seascapes+Art for Beginners 2011

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I wanted to show a bit of what I do and who I am, to the village, and to show with bursting pride the 2 year progress of the Adult Art classes I’ve been running here… Always up for a performance or presentation… I took the chance to transform 2 full and dusty barns into interesting exhibition spaces, industrial style. To show my 3d collage Seascapes; my plastic makes from things all washed up on the shores and at home, part of a large scale project and book I’m working on; my drawings of my vegetables I grew last year made in to prints for sale, and in barn 2, the students’ work to be bombastically hung to wow! And it did..

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We built a ‘washed up beach hut’ from an old garden shed to present the allwashedup! project..It looked great in the middle of the barn…everyone loved standing in it to chat…

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I hung series 2 of my Seascapes, bigger, more abstract and more quirky on the contrasting white boards we hung from rusty reinforcement rods with red sailing rope against rough stone walls, 40 pieces in all…what a fiddle to get them all level.

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I made a series which made me smile using my 1950’s cocktail-stick bathing beauties, a 50’s salt and pepper boat and choice pieces from my market hunting days…

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I hung the back of the hut with 8 neat white framed boxes to contrast the rough wood, with my oil pastel sea sketches pinned to one side…

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I hung the window on the other side with some of my curious plastic beachfinds which contrasted with the shiny photographic blown up prints of some of my pieces pinned up inside…all photographed by Shannon Tofts, yes, my brother.

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I glued a grid of wooden clothes pegs on the boards to neatly peg the 50 colour pencil vegetable produce drawings up as part of my Greenhouse Art at the other end of the barn. I produced a series of limited edition prints for sale, large and small, solo and combination images.

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Greenhouse Art led through to the 2nd barn..to show “I can’t draw…”

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A 2 year review of the adults who were mostly too scared to draw, let go and have fun mixing colour, making marks and learning to look…

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I hung the work over 4 long days, it was so hard to choose…with wooden clothes pegs on reinforcement steel grid sheets, wired together to make a firm inner wall system against the perfect concrete grey of the barn. It looked fantastic! Truly an impact, and very professional, though I say it myself. A phenomenal space to walk in to. We sent everyone an A5 hand produced invitation, printed, inked, chalked, drawn or painted, pure quality, for the private view…

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Over 200 people came. There was such a buzz of energy. It was bursting with colour and such energy…and as everyone said, so much joy and fun. It made all the students so proud; for they finally saw that they were quite good really, that it was alright to draw and paint, that it was alright to have fun. The whole village was impressed and amazed to see what the students had achieved. Everyone beamed with smiles. It was so wonderful to watch, I was so very thrilled and proud. As a 7 year old said…”why is it called ‘I can’t draw…’ when…they can.” ? The barns were open for 2 weeks, 12-4. I started every day with coffee and Corelli in the calm cool of the barns, and chatted non stop to visitors who were all impressed and very enthused; with lots of people wanting to come join in my experience, to loosen up, lose their fear, find their confidence to create, to look at colour, to have fun.

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See the whole of the story :

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