The last copy of my new book sold at its launch, Patchings 2018
Wow, what a week has just past. I went to Patchings Art Festival where I had been invited as a celebrity guest artist for St Cuthberts Mill marquee. I also had my own marquee where I was launching and celebrating the release of my new book " Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour". The first night there I set up my marquee with the help of my terrific friend Lindsay and then rested before the opening day.It had been a long day getting there.
Over 45 coaches arrived the next morning to see the Festival and the car parks were quickly filling up. I was demonstrating at 1.15 p.m. and wandered outside my marquee for some air before making my way towards the demonstration marquee. Outside I could see a huge long line of people queueing up to see an artist and then I realised they were all queueing to see me! Everyone laughed when I told them. I will admit it is still a little overwhelming when things like this happen as they quite often do. You would think I get used to this because I travel, film and teach so much but no. I am still completely surprised when I see a huge audience. Surprised and thrilled.Humbled, taken aback and prepared to show as many techniques as possible to ensure everyone watching has a great time.
There was standing room only to watch my demonstrations on the first day and with the intense heat at the time I admire everyone who sat through the hour long demo which everyone did until the very end. The applause then was a lovely way to close the session and I quickly raced next door to my own marquee to sign copies of my books. The crowd had now moved there. But I was taken aback because I sold out of everything on day one at the festival. In the morning I had a lovely display of many books piled ready to sell. And sell they did! This is actually quite a feat as I had discussed the order of my books with my publisher well in advance. Because it was so big I had expected to bring some boxes of books home with me. But no, they all sold and quickly which left me with a terrible dilemma. I now had nothing to even show anyone who came to Patchings on Friday and Saturday. Luckily my publishers wonderfully came to the rescue and drove all the way from Kent in UK to Nottingham with many more boxes which we all agreed would see me through the next two days easily. How surprised they were when I had to tell them the good news that my new book had sold out yet again! By late Saturday afternoon I had no copies left.
I gave three sold out demonstrations to over a thousand people, I signed so many books that I lost count and I met the best people ever making my return to this fantastic annual art festival a truly memorable occasion.
The only blip this week was right before my Thursday demonstration when I had to be seen by a medic to check I was okay before going on stage. They also checked me out afterwards. In fact they were brilliant. So if anyone in the front row could see what was going on outside the marquee at the front, I am fine and I am sorry if it worried you! Being totally honest I was offered the opportunity to not demonstrate at all but I couldn't do that. I know my workshops are fully booked and some of the audience had looked forward to seeing me at Patchings for so long that I simply couldn't let anyone down. Luckily ten minutes into the demonstration everything settled and I gave quite a closing telling everyone what had happened and how ecstatic I was to have pulled the tips and technique demonstration off. I have never in my career not gone on stage or not turned up for a workshop and I don't intend to start now. I even taught several courses in UK in a wheel chair once after breaking my ankle, as artists had flown from all over the world for them.
So, to everyone who came to see me. THANK you so much! To everyone who bought a book or brought one to be signed, thank YOU so much. And to everyone who came to say Hello, thank you so much too!
I have more to share which I will over the following week but its' good to be back in my studio right now. Painting and loving life here again.