Behind the paint

'From the studio, Irvine harbour side'

'From the studio, Irvine harbour side'

The last week has been a fairly typical week recently ….lots of painting.  But behind every finished and exhibited painting there’s a safe full of other tasks.

I’m now on the final run up to the Wasps Studios Open Weekend, my exhibitions in Speyer and Dundee and ….the Battersea Affordable Arts Fair.  I have I think now completed the minimum amount of work needed for these shows but am still trying to complete another two 80 x 80 cm paintings and another one 76 x 23 cm piece.  Whether I will get these three pieces completed is debatable as from now on the back room tasks start to take precedence.   Thankfully many of these have already been taken on by my partner Anita (who reckons the pay rate for artists assistant is ****!).   While I’ve been wielding the paint brushes she has spent many hours doing this less romantic side of the job for me.

I’ll not only be shipping work out to Germany for my exhibition but am also finally in the process of setting up Papal on this website so that it will make it easier for customers to purchase paintings.  Before I can do this though I’ve needed to think carefully about how I ship work ….in other words I’ve needed to find out about and order boxes.  This doesn’t seem a great deal of effort but with there being a number of different sized paintings with several different framing options, it’s been vitally important that we’ve found the very best box ‘solutions’.  Part of the problem is storage space….or the lack of it!  As anyone who has visited my studio will know …there aint a lot of space there ….and as I said last week …the house is rather chock a’ block too.  The boxes I’m getting have a minimum order of 25 …so they’ll take up quite a lot of space…. hence the need to work out the very minimum number of different size boxes.  It’s all taken a lot of time especially as we’ve needed to get samples sent out and each of the different boxes tested out …but we’re getting there and Nita has just  placed the first order for me.

Other back room jobs this week have included sending out around 50 invitations to the Open Studios Weekend, delivering the last five paintings to the Waverley Gallery in Prestwick for framing …and collecting the one large painting (122 cm x 61cm).  I also spent an entire morning putting together a press release for our local paper the Irvine Times…..this to try and get some coverage for the Open Studios event next weekend.  The local papers have always been very helpful in the past and I received an email from the Irvine Times saying they’d put something in next week’s edition …perfect..it makes the time I spent on the press release worth while.  Hopefully it’ll bring a few extra folk through the doors and perhaps a sale or two for some of the artists taking part.

I’m leaving the actual organisation of the studio right to the last minute …well I’ll start tidying and cleaning on Thursday morning after we’ve been down to pick up the work from the Waverley  in Prestwick.   The tidying is the biggest job but I should have that done and the couple of walls painted by the time I go home on Thursday evening …quite late in the evening I reckon especially as I’ll also have to transport  one of the work benches, all paints and a good number of paintings home for the weekend.  Friday will be a day of setting up …selecting and hanging the paintings, printing and fixing labels, putting out a selection of business cards and other postcards, fixing clear signs directing folk to my studios and arranging lighting.  There’s probably a load of other jobs that I’ve forgotten now but will no doubt come to me on the day …and cause PANIC!

On top of this there’s a statement I need to write and send for my Queens Gallery exhibition, a van to be hired for delivering the work there and to the Strathearn Gallery on the 10th, and after the Open Weekend on 1st and 2nd, we have to wrap and box all 19 or 20 paintings ready for shipping to Germany.  These all have to be very carefully measured and weighed before I contact the shipping company.  Oh well, it keeps me busy …and Nita too.  It’s amazing isn’t it …you think you’re just doing a nice bit of relaxing painting……!   I love it, though it might not be so good when Nita sends her bill in!.

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