Original Watercolour by Jean Haines available as cards at the
SWA Society for Women Artists Annual Exhibition 2010
I know many of my blog followers and friends have been wondering where I am as I haven't had time to keep my blog up to date recently. I have interviews, charity events, press releases and of course the SWA Annual exhibition is now open. Every time I go to an event it has been incredible meeting people in person who immediately let me know they love reading my posts and seeing my paintings. In many ways I feel overwhelmed by such wonderful feedback and also feel I am letting everyone down when I don't always have time to update my news.
Life is busier than normal with my book launch next week,working with the SWA Council for the exhibition, a charity event in aid of McMillan Cancer Support tomorrow night and a feature to complete for an art magazine. I am constantly asked " How do you do everything?" and the answer is "I don't know, I just do!"
As for my book launch next week I cannot believe it will be taking place at the prestigious Mall Galleries in London. I have been there for most of this week as I became a newly elected member of the SWA Society for Women Artists council last year. I have to say openly it is both a privilege and an honour to work with a team of such dedicated and professional artists.
Barbara Penketh Simpson PSWA, RMS, FRSA is an amazing President who inspires by her incredible leadership. In fact having been a part of this years exhibition from behind the scenes I can honestly say I am not at all surprised to see it is a huge success on so many levels.
What happens behind the scene of any successful event?
Usually there will be a commitee who work together to cover all angles. Long before the exhibition there will be decisions on dates and timings, publicity, call for submissions, handing in days, catalogues, invitations, setting up, the Private Preview and the event itself. We all tend to walk in to any exhibition and forget all the hard work that has created the final result.
Looking back at the submission day where the team personally made everyone feel welcome as they delivered their work one date I will never forget. It was reassuring to learn that many artists are nervous on these days. Not just the new artists. Even established artists who have shown for years still experience doubts as to the choices of the work they are submitting holding that fear of rejection. I too was nervous as I had won a wonderful award last year and I wanted to live up to that prize and faith in my art.
The wisdom of the selection by the judging team is easily seen in the brilliant variety of paintings and scuplture on show. The standard is high so to gain a coveted place on one of the walls or plinths in the gallery artists really are encouraged to submit their very best pieces every single year whether you are a member or non member. To me this makes the society stand out.
Finally the day is here when setting up takes place and the team arrive to work hard and hang the exhibition.This takes great skill and talent so watching the exhibition come to life from bare walls was fascinating. And tiring. I have done this many times but nothing was missed. Every area of the Mall Galleries looked fantastic and it was the night before opening.
How successful would the Private Preview be?
The team waited in line to be presented to HRH Princess Micheal of Kent and she was wonderful. It was fun to practise a curtsey and wait together as a council for the Princess to arrive. After presenting the prizes Princess Micheal graceully took her time absorbing every single painting genuinely taking an interest in what was on display. If only all patrons could be so enthusiastic.
Crowds had started arriving very early in the day coming in continually but I have missed one part of the build up to the exhibition that will stay in my mind always.
This time last year I recieved a personal phone call from the President to let me know I had been accepted as an ASWA, Associate Member of the Society.This year I was elected a full member.But just before last years exhibition I had a phone call to ensure I would be at the prize giving ceremony. I honestly thought nothing could ever beat that feeling. That sense of shock at first then a high that you cannot describe.
But something is far better than that feeling.Far better than winning a prize yourself.
And that is being in a position where you can tell someone else to be at the prize giving because they have won a prize.Hearing the joy in their voices and knowing exactly how they feel.
I did just that and listened, then walked away knowing in my heart that life is not about us, or always about what we achieve. It's about those around us and how we effect them.What we can give,say ,do or share.
I watched the wonderful artists face as they stood next to Princess Micheal of Kent for their award. I wouldn't swap places. I had my moment last year and I will remember it forever, as I will this years "moment" and many more to come.
There is nothing nicer than being told you need to be at the prize giving ceremony because you have won a prize, unless you are telling somebody else they need to be there.