Getting ready for ‘Streets, lanes and skylines’
This blogpost aims to give a behind the scenes insight into my second solo exhibition. Since returning to Bristol in 2012 and becoming a full time artist part of the big plan was always to work towards having an exhibition of work shown at a gallery. I’ve built up slowly selling my work through local shops and at arts and crafts markets, building a loyal customer base. But the plan behind ‘Streets, lanes and skylines’ was to bring my work to a wider audience.
So what paintings am I showing? Firstly my Bristol Winter series, completed two years ago when Bristol experienced a huge downpour of snow. This series includes the ever popular Clifton Suspension Bridge and The Paragon in snow paintings. I’ve mainly been selling these images as prints and cards over the Christmas period, but as the weather is still so cold I thought they would work well in a February exhibition. Alongside these are my Bristol Spring and Summer series which brings together my Christmas Steps, Park Street and Bristol Harbourside paintings. The St Stephen Church painting was created at this time as well, although part of this series it is distinctly different being a huge 40” by 50” acrylic and oil canvas.
The final set of paintings completed specifically for this exhibition are the pen and watercolour paintings of the Old City and Harbourside. These were created in response to feedback I received from many of my customers that they would love a set of Bristol paintings in simple black and white. For this series I captured many of my favourite ‘streets, lanes and skylines’ in central Bristol including All Saint’s Lane, Broad Street and The Glass Arcade. The plan will be to build on this series in the future, as there are so many other views to complete. Due to it’s hilly geography, there are so many great views and potential compositions to sketch and paint. When I am travelling around the city by foot or by bike i’m always stuck by the way the light is on a building or seeing a new perspectives on a street from a different angle. That’s why i’ve called my new exhibition ‘Streets, lanes and skylines’ as I wanted it to be about the hidden parts of Bristol and to present the city in a new light.
In preparation for exhibiting these 16 paintings, it was time to revisit each of the originals to add texture, highlights and detail. Many of them had been completed months ago, so it was an interesting process to take time with each of them after i’ve been selling the prints and cards of these images over the last year. Each painting needed to have a bespoke mount and frame created for them. This was a real test of patience, as everything has to be completely perfect when framing a painting. Hours were spent cleaning glass, then sealing the back, to only uncover that there was still a tiny speck in the glass and it all had to be taken apart again.
Creating the paintings was seemingly the simplest part. On top of being an artist, you are also required to be a PR person, media spokesperson, budget planner and web developer a real one woman band! After a long month of photographing new works, preparing prints, postcards, mounts and frames, by the end of January we were ready to go. All handed over to the incredibly supportive team at The Grant Bradley Gallery for them to hang, label and curate the exhibition. Walking into the gallery for the private view on Friday will be a very special moment where I can reflect on how far i’ve come in the last 2 years and look forward to creating a whole new set of works for future exhibitions.
Susie’s ‘Streets, lanes and skylines’ exhibition opens on Saturday 7th – 28th February 2015, with a private view on Friday 6th February 2015 from 6-9pm.