'Artists are gnostics, and practise what the priests think is long forgotten.' - Hugo Ball

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Cards now at Celtic Dawn


Good news for all of you in London who are looking for my cards. Celtic Dawn, a beautiful Celtic Jewellery and Craft Shop in the heart of Camden Lock, now has a stock of them!

Celtic Dawn specialises in the artistic legacy of Celtic Culture:
London's specialist retailer of Celtic Jewellery Arts, Crafts and Gifts has been extending a warm welcome to visitors from across the globe for more than eighteen years. An established favourite in the heart of the world-famous Camden Lock Market, we pride ourselves on having won a reputation for good quality and choice...
For centuries the ancient lore and culture of the Celts produced symbols, myths and customs so powerful that many have survived to intrigue and attract us right up to the present day.
Celtic Dawn
35 Middle Yard
Camden Lock Market
London NW1 8AL

Photo © Celtic Dawn

Friday, 22 June 2012

Four Elements

Four Elements
© Sue Wookey
This is a painting that I've had hanging around for ages before finally posting it here. As is often the case, there are some things that are not exactly as I envisaged them so I've been fiddling with it off and on to try and bring it to the point where I thought it worked and was complete. Very unusual for me as I usually finish things very quickly! I think I've finally got there. It's easy to be too hung up with your own paintings and forget that others see them differently and bring fresh eyes. Most people seem to really like the work so I'm coming round to liking it more too. My main worry was that it was too fussy, but the four elements are a complex subject and symbolically there was a lot I wanted to say about them. And my attempts to go down a more abstract route failed when I became obsessed with feathers, the exact shape of a salmon's body and how beautiful a stag's head is when seen face on (though I think Landseer got there first...). I really get carried away with these things.

So - the Four Elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water are placed in the Four Directions they are most associated with, starting with the Hare (Earth) in the North, the Hawk (Air) in the East, the Stag (Fire) in the South and the Celtic Salmon of Wisdom (Water) in the West. I've also placed the symbols for the elements in the diagonals. Ether, or spirit, is usually placed in the centre, and here I've placed the sun/moon that I've put in several other paintings. For me it holds the Fire and Air, and the Earth and Water in balance.

The words around the painting read:

May Fire inspire and transform you
May Air purify you and set you free
May Earth uphold and sustain you
And may the blessing of Water make you wise.

- SW

Limited edition giclee prints are available from my website at Galley Hill Art.


Monday, 18 June 2012

Goodbye Gazebo...

Our gazebo before it was cut off in its prime 

Some people bungee jump or go white water rafting for their thrills. For artists it's Art on the Common and Gazebo Wrestling! Saturday we had weather. Lots of weather. The wind gusted, the rain came and went, and came and went again. And despite it all we managed to stick it out with our upper lips set to maximum stiffness. We spent quite a bit of the morning holding on to the gazebo and some moments were pretty alarming. Plan A (tables arranged neatly in a U shape inside the gazebo) never even happened. Plan B (above) lasted for about an hour, then we were on Plan C (human tent poles). We loved Plan C (not).

Hilary demonstrates Plan C

An hour or so of bracing ourselves against the gale later, we were on Plan D - stop the gazebo leaving the dock like a ship in full sail by removing all the sides and letting the air through. Plan D worked very well for a while. We were even a little bit smug as gazebos collapsed and died all around us. Then.... disaster. Total failure of the back left side leg and suddenly our gazebo was crumpling like a hankie all over two nice customers. Very quickly we were on Plan E, trying to take the gazebo down against gale force winds. For a while it struggled like a giant canvas octopus. In the middle of all this there was a massive gust and our cards and prints took off in the wind. We didn't know whether to hold onto the gazebo, or let it take off for a burial in space and save our stock. Luckily some very kind passers by dropped everything and helped us. Finally we were on Plan F, sitting out in the intermittent rain (never very bad, thank goodness!) dabbing our cards with paper towels. It was very, very British. We even sold some stuff!

When I got home I had to dry everything out....

this is only part of it....

Sunday the weather was much better - the sun came out and there was a lot less wind. We could relax and enjoy ourselves as it was a beautiful day. But for some reason sold far fewer cards and prints! As large clouds kept rolling over, we kept most stuff displayed flat ready for Plan G (throwing plastic sheets over everything).

Our display without the gazebo

There we lots of people walking up and down and a fair bit of interest. Hopefully, even though sales were a bit disappointing, we have encouraged quite a few people to visit us at Open Studios. Saturday really was gruelling but I'm already thinking of next year and whether it's possible to take arting to new extremes and go completely gazeboless...

Looking busy

All photos © Sue Wookey

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Art on the Common, Harpenden

Just a reminder that I will be spending this Saturday and Sunday (16th-17th) braving the elements on Harpenden Common as part of the Art on the Common event. Please cross your fingers, pray, light candles and do a sun dance for fair weather because 15% of the proceeds go to Cancer Research UK and a good day is a good day for them! Also, I don't want to spend the day holding down the gazebo or trying to tie guy ropes while fending off drizzle (been there, done that...).

Sharing the gazebo and windcheater/suntan cream (delete as appropriate) will be fellow HVAF member Hilary Taylor. If you have been to our Open Studios at Artscape you will already be familiar with her work. We would love to see you again on the Common. If it's raining stair rods we will let you hide in our tent.

Saturday is also Discovery Day on the Common, so there will be plenty of fun including falconry and dancing dogs. If you have a dog with a waggy tail you could also take home a Waggiest Tail rosette ;-). Who could resist!


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee Art Day on Dunstable Downs

My stall looking very festive

Had a very chilly and windy day up on top of Dunstable Downs on Saturday as part of the National Trust Gateway Centre's 3 day Jubilee Celebrations. The Downs is the highest point in the South East and with an easterly wind whistling through the marquee entrance flaps it certainly felt like it! Welcome to the world of Extreme Arting! Members of the Artists Network Bedfordshire who organised it and took part deserve special Jubilee Medals for sticking it out and making the inside of the Marquee look so terrific under such difficult conditions. Everyone made a huge effort. It's a lot of work setting up stalls and hanging paintings. Add bunting strewing and balloon blowing into the mix and it's amazing it all got done in 3 hours!

I think those members of the public who struggled down the field to see us (against driving rain for quite a bit of the day...) also deserve a medal. It must have been interesting trying to focus on all the paintings while the breeze made them wobble about! Even though we had damp grass, even damper feet, chilly temperatures and wandering earwigs to contend with, we all enjoyed talking to visitors and also enjoyed each other's company. As a bonding experience it was second to none. Corporations pay huge amounts of money to send their staff out on stuff like this, lol. 

I have more Extreme Arting coming up at Harpenden Art on the Common on 16-17th June in aid of Cancer Research UK, so watch this space!

All photos © Sue Wookey