Tuesday, 25 August 2015

First Surrey Contemporaries Exhibition of 2015!

Hello my lovelies!  Hope you're enjoying this early winter as much as I'm not.  Horrible, isn't it?

However, it seems the weather's gone a bit bonkers across the planet this summer so we're not the only ones suffering - there's been an horrendous drought in California and the west coast is suffering really bad wildfires, and The Lovely Husband has just come back from a week's business trip to Mumbai in India during what is meant to be monsoon season and while it was warm and muggy, he said they only had a couple of brief showers over the whole time he was there rather than the torrential 12-hour long downpours he'd been expecting.  Said it's rained here more than there.  And while you might think that's not a bad thing - after all, who wants everything to be damp and mouldy all the time, especially clothes and bed linen, yuk - the Indians rely on the monsoon for their agriculture so they're now looking at skyrocketing prices for fruit and veg in the future, which isn't a good thing.

While he was away for the week, I took the opportunity of getting myself a new desk to work on in my studio.  The old one was an ancient student's desk that someone gave us that had a 3-drawer cabinet built into one side.  Over the years these drawers had slowly collapsed off their broken plastic runners and pancaked into each other.  I'd put up with this for at least 10 years now, possibly more, so decided, finally, enough was enough!  I decided that I would also give the studio a bit of a clear out as, from the end of the year, I am no longer going to be making jewellery so will need to start thinking about what to do with all the beads and supplies that I've used.  I don't want to get rid of them altogether (I may use some in my paintings) but they can be put somewhere else, it would just need reorganisation in my tiny studio.  I'm not the quickest tidier - I like to ponder everything and decide whether to keep or chuck, and then find an appropriate place.  It's also dusty as fuck up there, so a really good clean was also needed.  With TLH away, I knew I could spread everything out and take my time without worrying about him tripping over random things like badger skulls and taxidermied Puffer Fish.

So I bravely took myself off on my own to Southampton Ikea to pick up the desk top and legs I'd chosen, and added a 3-drawer cabinet to slide underneath.  Of course the trouble with/joy of Ikea is you always end up spending more than you intended but I was really REALLY good and only spent a total of £80.  Go me!  Incidentally, they've started selling veggie meatballs in the cafe and they're pretty good.

It took me almost 4 days to sort out the room (I wasn't rushing).  Unfortunately I didn't take photos of the 'before' stage, but did of the 'during' and 'after' so I could send them to TLH to show him what I was up to:

Using the master bedroom as a storage dump (I slept in the spare room so I didn't have to clear this every night):

The new desk in place with the cabinet underneath (which I eventually moved to the other desk on the other side).  I also kept the top from the old knackered desk and put it on top of this pristine black one as I didn't want it to be covered in paint meaning it could be used in future as an ordinary table if I wanted:

What the room looks like now - I've cleared 2 shelves from the bookcase of jewellery stuff & put paint stuff there, also the other desk has been cleared of jewellery stuff and it's all been put on the top wall shelf on the left side wall.  This is SO much better now:

The other main thing I was doing was final preparations for my first Surrey Contemporaries group exhibition of 2015, which will be underway as you read this.  I've put in seven framed and seven unframed pieces and while I'm not really expecting to sell anything, it would be lovely if I did!

I was on the hanging committee and hanging took place this Saturday just gone, and I had to open the gallery for paintings drop-off at 10am on Saturday morning.  I also had to pick up TLH from Heathrow at 7am that day as he was returning from Mumbai that morning.  Consequently, despite setting the alarm for 5.30, my stupid brain insisted on waking me at 4.30 instead!

Still, he got collected, and it was lovely to have him back again - it's weird being in the house alone, even though we skyped every night it's not the same.  I deposited him at home and about an hour later set off for the gallery.  People came and went throughout the first hour and gradually stacks of paintings were formed.  Eventually just the hanging committee were left and we got ourselves organised.  We split into pairs to deal with a wall per pair - my friend Jackie and I got to do the 'bright colours' wall (the others were 'monochrome', 'blue', i.e., land/seascapes, then 'everything else').  It's quite hard to classify paintings according to a devised scheme and while allocation was general, there does come a time when it's more 'that painting fits that gap, so stick it there'!

In the end everything found a home and the whole process went pretty smoothly, egos were kept mostly in check and although there were a couple of very minor disgruntlements concerning placing of favoured paintings these were sorted amicably.

I have to say, even though I'm biased, that the standard is really high, there are some fantastic paintings - I've personally got my eye on at least 3!  Should I sell anything I may buy something....

The Hanging Committee (my painting of Lake Louise is top left of the back wall):

I've got 4 paintings on this wall - 'Daffodil', 'Cherries', 'Pumpkin' & '3 Dead Roses':

This is the 'bright' wall that Jackie and I hung.  I'm very taken with the yellow and purple pug painting...:

I'm stewarding there from 10am to 2pm this Thursday (27th Aug) and we have the Private View that evening as well.  We've all been doing a lot of advertising on social media and our Surrey Contemporaries Facebook page has picked up a lot of new 'likes', which is lovely and we're hoping to get a reasonable footfall, if not outright purchasers.  If you're in the area over the next two weeks, why not pop in and have a look?  We've also got two more exhibitions before the end of the year, and already one booked for next summer at Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking.

I'll let you know how I get on!

Monday, 3 August 2015

So, what's been happening since April?

Time for a bit of a catch up.  Again.  I know, I know.  I've got very bad at doing the blog.  As mentioned, I think I just get bored of the sound of my own voice, and the inanities that pour out.  I'm just an ordinary person, no better or worse than anyone else (most of the time) who's doing her best to get through this life in one piece and with all her brain cells intact so to think that anyone might be interested in the mundane activities of my day makes me feel sorry for how sad that person's life must be.

I was never any good at keeping a diary, or, rather, I'd do it for a few months and then get bored and stop.  This blog is pretty similar.  Though much like my old, sporadic diaries (which I've kept), when I read them now, several years later, the memories come hurtling back in techicolour, because I went to the bother of writing them down at the time.  So maybe there's merit.  I have to admit that I am most impressed with people who can keep up with frequent blogging, year after year, and still make it a very interesting read.  I'm thinking of people like Katyboo here, who has been diligently blogging for...actually, I don't know because I can't find how to go back to her very first post on her blog, but her profile seems to date from 2008, so we'll say that, shall we?  2008.  That's like millennia in blogging world.  And that's just beyond me.

Plus I find I tend to ramble around the point rather than coming straight to it.

Like now.

So, getting back on track - how's things at Jones Towers?

Things are pretty good, actually.  I'm more or less over the weird stomach thing that's felled me for the best part of a year.  In fact, it's exactly a year since I took the antibiotics that, I believe, started all this in the first place, which means it's almost exactly a year since we went to Copenhagen.  Blimey.

I'm now battling with my weight and trying to keep off the pounds I lost when I was ill, and I'm doing this by vaguely trying to watch what I eat but, more practically, going for a 30 minute walk every day (or damn near every day), and this week I reintroduced swimming which I shall definitely do once a week and preferably more.  I've got to that age now - 52, if you MUST know - where exercise is getting to be more than a good idea, it's vital if you want to be able to still be walking around when you reach 82.  And I don't mind the walking - I listen to podcasts and just do it, 1.5 miles every day.

So that's good, but not as impressive as what The Lovely Husband's been up to.  He's done his first full marathon!  Ran the Brighton Marathon back on 12 April.  It was a lovely day, beautiful blue sky although there was a stiff cold wind coming off the sea.  I wasn't feeling particularly chipper (gastritis was playing up) so after the start in Preston Park, I wandered down to the finish line on the seafront, found a deckchair and just sat there for the next 3+ hours watching it all on the big screen until he came home in the brilliant time of 3hrs 53m 59sec.  Some photos:

16,000+ runner gathering in Preston Park at the start

Walking from the park down to the seafront, in the middle of the road!:

Walking past a water station after the runners have gone through:

Brighton Pav:

The view of the big screen I had from my deckchair at the finish line:

Himself's finish time and the medal:

Pretty darn impressive, huh?  Makes my paltry 1.5 miles look a bit pathetic!

So, he's been running and I've been painting.  And the art group that I'm a member of - Surrey Contemporaries - has got three group exhibitions coming up before the end of the year which is pretty exciting, especially the one at the end of November as it's going to be at The Lightbox, which is a nationally renowned gallery/museum in nearby Woking where we'll be exhibiting for two weeks.  The other two are in two galleries in Guildford, one in August and the other in December.  In fact much of the last week I've spent doing the framing for the one in August which always takes a lot longer than you'd think, especially as I haven't quite decided exactly which pictures to put in that one so am doing everything I've currently got!

Plus I've also discovered the joys of lino printing, and also dabbling in oil paints as well as producing more paper collages, so I've been a busy bee.  Looking at my old posts it seems I've not shown you any photos of my art for over a year now so, be warned, there'll be plenty of pics!:

(I don't mean to sound mercenary but many of these are for sale (although the linoprints aren't there yet) and can be found at my Artfinder profile - www.artfinder.com/kaz-jones, however, Artfinder's commission is added to those prices so if anyone's interested, if you contact me direct, they'll be 30% cheaper).

I've also set up my own artist website - www.kazjonesart.co.uk - which acts mainly as a gallery rather than a selling portal; it's a repository of images of all my work, including sold pieces, that I can show potential galleries (should I ever be brave enough to contact any!)

And I think that's it for now.  We've not been away on holiday anywhere this year and, quite possibly, won't, which is a shame but we went abroad twice last year so I can't really complain!

As I said, things have been pretty good at least in the second half of this year - let's hope it continues...