Well then, that just about wraps it up…

at-the-kunstlerhaus

At the Kunstlerhaus

I’m awake and up early this morning and after two or three days of heavy rain it looks like I might have one last sunny day here in Speyer before I fly back to Scotland. It’s quite amazing really to think my stay in Germany is almost over. I guess it’s a time of mixed emotions …. I’ve had a great time, met some amazing people, great artists and thoroughly enjoyed living in this beautiful and friendly little city …..but ….on the other hand I think I’m about ready now to get back to Irvine, albeit with its litter strewn streets. I’ve missed my walk along the harbour side to my studio each day, hearing the sound of the yachts clinking at their moorings, the raucous cries of the gulls and the beautiful song of the skylarks on the other side of the river….and perhaps it’s that very special Scottish thing …the quality of light, that I’ve missed the most. I always say to people who visit my studio in Irvine, that I just love the harbour side because it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing, whether it’s pouring with rain or bright sunshine, summer or winter …the light is always wonderful. It’s a very special place.

But before getting back to it there are a few final things to be done and said here. I am currently sat amidst the remnants of my exhibition. The show ended on Sunday evening and although it’d only been open for three days, I’m pleased to report that it was a real success. There was a real ‘buzz’ about the preview last Thursday and this followed through over the next few days, resulting in over half the available pieces being sold. Interestingly, the four ‘Scottish’ scenes I painted here (that were not for sale as they are for the forthcoming Jolomo Finalists exhibition in London next month) generated a lot of interest ….indeed I could have sold a couple of them several times over! So then, a good boost to my bank balance and my studio rent is secure for another year …great stuff.

You know the big drawing I’ve been going on about for the last month or so? Well, that is probably the most interesting tale from the whole exhibition. I did this drawing …well, just because I could. What I mean is, because I had a five metre long wall to work on. At home I can just about fit a 2 metre wide painting board on the wall so this was an opportunity not to miss. When we came to hang the exhibition it seemed right to include the drawing …it did, even though I say it myself, look good, but I never really thought, (it being 4 metres long and a metre and a half high) that anyone would want to buy it. As it turned out, I actually had four people interested, including the new Lord Mayor. In the end, a local businessman bought the piece for his popular city centre restaurant. He invited Anita and me down to the restaurant to see the wall where he was planning to hang the drawing …and it’s a great space in a great location. He already has two big pieces of artwork hanging in the restaurant and so my drawing will fit in well I think. There was of course the question of just how exactly the drawing would be hung, but after a visit from a local carpenter and much discussion, a solution has been arrived at. People here who’ve seen the drawing seem to be genuinely pleased that it will stay in Speyer …and in a place where they can get to see it …the restaurant where it is to hang has a reputation for high quality food and wine …so a good excuse to go and see the picture! Of course this now gives me a good excuse to visit Speyer again …as if I needed one!

Despite my worries about how I’d cope with little sight and not speaking the language, it’s been a wonderful time. Everyone has been so friendly and helpful and I’ll leave on Thursday with some great memories and some real friends. The arts are so well supported here, both by the city and its inhabitants …but then again, why not, the city has many fine artists living and working here. The Kunstlerbund is a group the city can be proud of and I’ve been delighted to have been their guest this summer. I am the 23rd guest artist to live and work in the Kunstlerhaus and I’m sure whoever the 24th lucky artist is, he or she will have an equally enjoyable and inspiring time as I.

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