After discussing in depth, the great setting for my present exhibition at The Old Parsonage Didsbury, it was just as impressive when I visited the site for my next exhibition in July; The Castle Parks Arts Centre Frodsham.
Again, this is an excellent building, housing three galleries and a café, It is used for several activities such as workshops and classes for all ages. There are also a courtyard where you can sit and enjoy your refreshments or visit some of the on-site craft workshops. In the grounds there is a large garden, children's play area and several walks.
We arrived at lunchtime for a drink and the café was busy with a group having a break from an art workshop they were participating in. It was nice to wander around the galleries for a sneak preview of the work before the preview in the evening. I wanted to go to this, as my preview was coming up on the 28th June, and I wanted to see what was involved on the night.
In gallery one was a group exhibition entitled 'Elements'
Below is a statement from them:
We are all able to conjure up one or more ideas for what a title like `The Elements` might have in store for us. Some of these might be Scientific, Philosophical, Spiritual, or Sensory based. Every artist representing themselves here will have dedicated a great deal of thought and energy to their particular interpretations of the theme.
We hope you enjoy the works on show and have fun making your own imaginative connections to the pieces you are looking at.
The Eddisbury Artists are a group of local artists who meet together to paint and develop their artistic interests. Initially meeting in a room at the rear of the Post office in Frodsham, they moved to Castle Park Arts Centre in 1996. The group held its first major exhibition at the Centre in 1997.
This was a varied exhibition from the group members and like many art groups varied in style and content. It's always pleasing to see how groups like this are thriving and producing such a variety of good artwork.
In the next gallery downstairs there was a workshop on at this time with several artists beavering away on their paintings obviously engrossed by the subject. I managed to peep in but couldn't get a look around until the evening. The work by Ann Johnson was a contrast from the other gallery and featured some excellent landscape studies in an expressive style.
Artist's statement below:
This exhibition continues to reflect Ann's passion for paint and is inspired by the landscapes that she sees locally or when on holiday. In her paintings she likes to interpret what she sees emphasising mood and colour.
In the corridor was an exhibition called Diverging and Converging by Sue Marsden and Philippa Maye. It was easy to miss this, as the works were quite small and on the preview night this was quite busy. These were interesting pieces on show showing different approaches to their inspiration 'The British landscape' where different materials were used for their interpretations.
Over a period of a year they worked independently but often they came together to discuss themes, ideas and their progress. These meetings and discussions reinforced the themes of Rhythms, Call & Response, Movement and finally Diverging and Converging as a title for this collection of artworks. The mutual feedback was used to deepen and enhance their explorations of materials and processes developed in their work. This pattern was repeated often and the resulting work makes up the body of the exhibition you see here.
The upstairs gallery, where I will have my exhibition, is titled. Towards Abstraction by Re-View Textiles.
Re-View Textile artists from the North-west are showing a vibrant selection of work on the theme of "Towards Abstraction", using felt, dye, paint, stitch, print, weave and assemblage pieces.
I always enjoy exhibitions that surprise me and this was one such show where I can appreciate artwork, that I couldn't possibly do myself. The range of textile work was impressive with everything from sculptural woollen work to intricate stitching. There was a wide range of work and talking to one of the artists in the evening, it was interesting to find out that they all come from different towns and only meet once a month at The Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, where they discuss their themes and work.
An inspiring group and fascinating exhibition, it even had my favourite piece from all the shows that must have taken many hours to produce. We often like to purchase work and this at £195 was a little more than we wanted to pay, but we could appreciate the hours and skill needed to produce it.
An enjoyable day spent at another excellent gallery that shows a wide range of work and has a great involvement in the local community.
In the end Sue bought a small piece from the last gallery to add to our collection (shown here). Maybe we should have bought the one above as to our surprise when we went back in the evening the price on this had been changed to £750 reflecting it's true worth.
After several weeks planning and two days hanging paintings, the preview day had finally arrived. The weather was reasonable, not too hot that people would flock to the beaches and not too wet that they would stay at home. Arriving early, Sue and I set up a table with some drinks and snacks before setting down to have some lunch. The group in the other gallery were still busy hanging pictures, as they hadn't realised that they could put work up on the corridor as well as their gallery.
1pm soon arrived as did a few visitors. One of the first was a past pupil of mine and it's always nice to catch up with how they are going on, and to my surprise he even bought a painting. Slowly, more people arrived as well as family members. I was busy talking to people and Sue was busy at times serving complimentary drinks as well as explaining to visitors how the digital drawings were done. One lady, who follows me on Facebook, decided to buy one of my oil paintings. She spent a long time agonising over which one as she liked quite a few but when a final decision was made, she was delighted with her choice.
Eventually, after a couple of hours, it quietened down and I had a chance to view the other artists' exhibition and have a quick walk in the colourful gardens outside.
The setting at the Old Parsonage is excellent and the grounds are really impressive. The turnout was pleasing and so too was selling a couple of paintings. A few people were away for the weekend and have said they are looking to visit before it finishes on the 27th May.
I was delighted to see fellow members of Salford Art Club, who not only came to support me but to sketch in the grounds as well, although the cold eventually forced them inside! It will be interesting to see their work.
I'm looking forward to going back a couple of times when it's less hectic and enjoying the building and it's grounds before taking the paintings down and preparing for my next exhibition at The Castle Park's Centre, Frodsham from the end of June.
Thank you to all of you who came to share this experience with me. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!