With only nine days to go until the opening of our Park Gate Collective artists open house things are beginning to come together. The weekend was largely spent cutting yet more mounts, getting frames ready and whitewashing walls.
I took the measurements for ‘my’ wall and did a quick 1:100 scale mock-up of the space and the obstacles that I need to navigate, such a light switch and wall lights. I also cut cards to the scaled size of the frames that I’ll be hanging which makes it really easy to move things around and try out different formations and groupings of works. I want to strike a balance between having enough works on display to do myself justice without overcrowding, erring on the side of a less is more approach. I also want to show a mix of sizes and a mix of landscape and portrait formats.
Now this could well rank as the dullest photograph on the internet but I thought I’d show it anyway as it’s an invaluable time saver.
The dotted line across the middle is drawn at five feet five inches from the floor, which is (or was about 15 years ago when I worked in a major London gallery) the average UK eye line height. Where possible I’ve centred my paintings along the eye line. For two of the smaller works, there are light fittings above them, so I’ll have to show them lower than I’d ideally like.
I also made a ‘jig’ last week that will enable me to quickly mark out exactly where each hook needs to be to hang each painting on the centre line whatever its size and format. It’s one of those things that is again really dull, but should be a real time saver. It’s also even less photogenic than this scale mock-up, but maybe I’ll try to get a photo of it ‘in action’ to give it some context.
As long as my measurements are accurate, using my hanging plan and my hook jiggy-mi-thingy it should be pretty straightforward to get my works up when the time comes.
It terms of exactly what I’m going to hang, here’s my current thinking for the three smaller works (quarter imperial in 40cm x 50cm frames):
And for the three central larger works (half imperial in 50cm x 70cm frames):
I think that these six should work well together and they represent where I’ve enjoyed spending time recently: Brighton, London, Barcelona and Dieppe. I’m also pleased that they are all recent works, with the oldest one being from about six months ago, and the most recent only a week ago.
On top of these framed paintings, I’ll also have a browser or two with lots of other works (mounted but unframed) for people to leaf through at their leisure. There’s still lots to do, but with nine days still to go, it feels good to have my choice of works and hang almost set in my mind.
With so much going on outside of doing any actual painting, I sought refuge in some quick ‘comfort painting’. I’m not sure if this is a known term but, for me, it’s the painting equivalent of comfort food: something familiar, heart-warming and satisfying. I returned to one of my favourite views of Paris, a contre-jour view of the Pont Alexandre III. I’ve painted this a number of times before and, each time, the results have been distinctly different.
I think it’s been a year or so since I last painted this view and I like to think that I’ve been able to bring some of the things that I’ve learnt about painting in that time to this scene. If I were to characterise the differences from my previous efforts, it would be a greater overall sensitivity of treatment – a lighter handling of tone and colour and more economical and delicate brushwork.
It felt nice to squeeze some time to paint in amongst all of the preparations, even if it was only comfort painting. And who knows, this one might yet make a late entry to the exhibition in some shape or form!