Fiona Roberts – Some reflections on my work.

Park Gate by Fiona G. Roberts

Park Gate by Fiona G. Roberts

I’ve been asked to write a blog about my work in the Shed summer Show. I’d  like to start by saying thank you to Chelsea and Ben for all their hard work in selecting, curating and bringing the show together in such a successful way.

There was quite a lot of interest in the pieces I exhibited and I’d like to address some of the questions that came up. First, I suppose that,  although my style is fairly established, it is constantly evolving. I have always enjoyed working in a fairly free and impressionistic way and this has been helped by my recent use of larger canvases (thanks in part to encouragement from Chelsea). The looseness of my work probably looks quite careless to the observer, but in fact, I start with a very clear idea of the composition I want  and the palette I’m going to use, though these are always open to change as the work progresses. Although I often love the happy accidents that that occur during the painting process, because these sometimes really make a painting come alive, each painting is constantly and carefully revised and refined until I get exactly what I want.  Controlled chaos is a reasonable description of my style, I suppose. Using the larger canvases has allowed me to free up my technique even further and I have been really happy with the results (although to be honest I’m not sure if an artist can ever be really happy with their work but that’s another issue).

River Irt for Caroline by Fiona G. Roberts

River Irt for Caroline by Fiona G. Roberts

The subject matter of my work remains more or less the same. I keep returning to the places of my childhood for reference. Although I may start out thinking ‘well this is going to be the Thames or somewhere in Dorset’ or whatever, the finished painting is invariably (to me at least) representative of some place that was part of my past, and that’s usually the farmland, woodland and rivers of the Lake District where I was brought up. Places that are (perhaps inevitably) loaded with emotion for me.  And to be honest,  just as I start with a clear idea of the composition I want, I also have an idea of the mood/emotion that I want to convey. I think you may be able to tell by the names of the paintings (peace, solace, joy etc) that for some reason (I have no idea why!) I want to comfort the viewer (or myself?). It may be that the paintings are a form of catharsis, I’m not entirely sure.  I’m sorry if that sounds pretentious but it’s something that has emerged in my work and I’m just being really honest.

Storm 1 by Fiona G. Roberts

Storm 1 by Fiona G. Roberts

Of course I don’t produce photo realistic paintings, so for the viewer, the landscape/seascape could be anywhere. I love the fact that people bring their own meanings to paintings. I think it’s hugely exciting and interesting that, just as with music, writing or film, we project and impose our own feelings, thoughts and desires onto art, and that they may somehow meet the thoughts, feelings and desires of the creator of a particular piece. I remember two people discussing a painting of mine and each was adamant it was a specific place. Of course it was neither, but I love the fact that it was meaningful to each of them in different ways. I suppose at this point we could talk about post modernism and  Roland Barthes’ idea that ‘the origin of a work may lie with the author but its destination is with the reader’.  I think that there is some truth in this, although I think that the (possibly subconscious) desire of the artist to communicate can be very powerful.  So perhaps Tolstoy also had something when he said ‘A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist’.

Trees In Snow by Fiona G. Roberts

Trees In Snow by Fiona G. Roberts

At the moment I’m working on some small portraits in oil and some large landscapes mainly in acrylic. My portraits are quite different from my landscapes in that they tend to be more obviously dark, although I think that the themes of comfort and catharsis still apply. I’m really excited that my paintings are going to be shown in a gallery in Barcelona. I hope to be showing again soon at Portland the Gallery in Richmond Upon Thames and am looking forward to the Shed Winter Show. I feel privileged to be allowed to paint and I guess you could say that life is good.

View Fiona’s Shed profile.

Maisie Hill on Lyme Regis ARTSFEST.

Visiting cobbles by Maisie Hill

Visiting cobbles by Maisie Hill

I found, in the Lyme Regis museum, a tiny locket that when opened, revealed a miniature photograph of the town. The act of finding the image and the way the image was intrinsic to the success of the locket appealed to me. Photographs blur the boundaries of and go through the actions of being, a moment, an idea, an image and sometimes an object that you can hold.

October Pampas by Maisie Hill

October Pampas by Maisie Hill

This all led to my newest piece of work that I have produced, with arts council funding, for the Lyme Regis ARTSFEST. As with the locket, I photographed Lyme Bay. Over the course of 6 months I went out at every full moon to take pictures. I soon learnt about weather conditions and nocturnal photography. Windless nights with broken clouds were the best. A totally clear night made the moon look amazing but the pictures had a lot of empty space, and the reflection on the water was a severe streak with no subtleties.

Chains in mist by Maisie Hill

Chains in mist by Maisie Hill

Once I was happy with my pictures I explored many ways of bringing them down from being a virtual set of digital data to being part of a particular item. I found a way of folding paper to produce a self-sealed envelope. Using black paper the image was lithoprinted (to keep up with the concept of the image being special) onto the interior of the envelope in silver ink. The fold lines were also printed on to emphasise the idea that this is an object, not just a picture.

Feedback from the Shed Summer Show and moving forward.

What a fantastic few weeks we’ve had in Lyme Regis. Blessed by what seemed eternally good weather and bookended by the sensational Guitars on the Beach and entertained by the Folk weekend, we can’t wait for next years Summer Show!

A huge thank you for the goodwill shown so many of you who came to the exhibition. Those of you who live locally were so encouraging and also bought work. Your support is so very much appreciated and to those of you from further afield thank you for finding the time to come along and chat to the artists/photographers or being press ganged into helping re hang, wrap or buy coffee!

Morning light in the gallery

Morning light in the gallery

The feedback as always was what a talented community we are building and how people look forward to our events. The diverse range of work sold just goes to show that if the work has integrity and is beautifully displayed it will find a home. Being a tourist destination many people will buy a momento of their time but we also sold more challenging work as well. The stand out successes were Andy White’s Beached Trawler and Iceland series, Kris Dutson’s atmospheric landscapes with Colmers Cumulus selling immediately and then sold again. Jeanne Goodridge’s Blue Wave from Lulworth and huge Cobb Wall in Winter, which measured almost two metres in length. Paula Youens’ monoprints of the Cobb and Maisie Hill’s Dorchester hospital series with ‘Charlotte’ and ‘Audrey’ going to a new home. But for us the breakthrough Fiona G Roberts the painter has made this exhibition has been phenomenal. I have been encouraging Fiona to use a larger format and she has responded by creating the most talked about pieces of the show. Her new work just struck a chord and we were delighted to sell 2 paintings. We are convinced this is just the beginning of a long career.

Hilary Buckley meeting an admirer of her work.

Hilary Buckley meeting an admirer of her work.

So now we turn our attention to getting the last orders processed, payments received and delivering the work. Over the coming fortnight we will be in touch with you.

Moving forward the most telling feedback from the buying public is to keep your website/profiles alive with new content. The more interested you seem in your own work the more likely someone else will gravitate to you and your energy and want to be a part of what you create.

Paula Youens demonstrating large scale freehand drawing.

Paula Youens demonstrating large scale freehand drawing.

Interaction with the rest of the community by seeing what they are up to and commenting on their work may help you gain ideas as to how to push your own work forward. Simply copy and paste the URL at the top of your profile page and send it in an email to your friends, family and anyone who has expressed an interest in your work. You can encourage them to buy directly online. Explain that this is your website from where they can buy your work easily and securely, mounted and ready to hang. Selling artwork and especially photography in these straightened times, when everyone believes they can take the same image on an iPhone (which we all know we can’t) is hard work. We need to double our efforts and capitalise on the success of such events. We encourage you all to have some samples printed to show how versatile and elegant photography mounted on aluminium is, hang your own work in your home and have a gathering/private view with some drinks to showcase what you do. It’s how most of us started and it’s a long road but so worth it.

Will they, won't they....they did!!

Will they, won't they....they did!!

The other feedback has been how confusing our moving away from yearly to monthly payments has been. Our aim was to make your subscription easier to manage in small monthly amounts. The idea of providing an all round service everything an artist or photographer would need under one roof for half of what a normal website hosting would cost you is what the subscription pays for. The Shed is an affordable alternative to hosting your own website or an extension of your own with the added ability to be able to order, pay for and print your work online and also be involved in our exhibitions.

Our aim is to hold another event in the run up to Christmas, so keep working and we will be in touch soon! 

Sales at the Shed Summer Show, exhibitors and new sign ups to the Shed Gallery.

As the exhibition draws to a close we have re-hung several times to accommodate new work and fill the gaps as pieces sell.

Our concept of having affordable, elegant ready to hang photographs available to suit all budgets has caught the imagination of the buying public. With the smallest prints starting at just £20, we have something for every pocket!

The following artists and photographers have sold either a photograph or an original piece, print or sculpture:

M. Maddalena, Joseph Oughton, Tricia Scott, Philippa Gedge, Graham Wiffen, Jeanne Goodridge, Dixsy, Paula Youens, Jess Douglas, Lynn Hughes, Pamela Hollis, Pete Hackett, Rachael Talibart, Timothy Foxx Neal, Caroline Collet, Andy White, Cynny Sharp, Joshua Morris, Kris Dutson, John Marriage, Maisie Hill, Tom Hard and Bob Healey. 

We still have work by:

Helen Harper, Christine Santostefano, David Walker, Mark Thomas, John Hunt, Geoffrey Beer, Georgina Bedford, Ana de Lima, Peter Bazeley, Rob Coombe, Rosie Nalle, Michael Gardner, Fiona G Roberts, Emma Burton, Pete Mitchell and Daren Griffin on show. It has been a delight to include some work by recent sign ups Anne Reynolds, Liz Shewan, Phil and Carolyn Clayton including Carolyn’s lovely self-published book ‘The Fish Lizard of Lyme’. 

The exhibition finishes on Thursday so there is still time to come along and see our annual Shed Summer Show.

I’d also like to welcome our new exhibitors to the Shed Gallery:

Stephen Banks who specializes in Astrophotography with breathtaking results.

Archway to Heaven by Stephen Banks

Archway to Heaven by Stephen Banks

Myles Davidson who loves to capture long exposure land and seascapes, street photography and occasionally some extreme macro shots.

Dignified by Myles Davidson

Dignified by Myles Davidson

Gareth Edwards who’s take on photography is to ‘capture the unusual in everyday life and to freeze the moment, so we can ponder later. If we stop and look at what we think we know, sometimes we see that we had no idea what was actually there.’

Eiffel Tower Reflection B&W by Gareth Edwards

Eiffel Tower Reflection B&W by Gareth Edwards

Manu Pola an abstract painter from Barcelona who’s work has a subtly and gentleness I find fascinating.

Blue by Manuel González-Pola Muñiz

Blue by Manuel González-Pola Muñiz

Chiara Dorigo who has still to complete her portfolios, so I’m looking forward to seeing how her work develops.

Annie Carton who is a channel and medium and poet. Spirit of place influences all her work.

The chalk byway, Roundway Hill by Annie Carton

The chalk byway, Roundway Hill by Annie Carton

Richard F Taylor who enjoys ‘capturing the beautiful landscapes and seascapes of the South West of England from the rugged Tors of Dartmoor to the stunning coastline’.

Stars over the Moor by Richard F Taylor

Stars over the Moor by Richard F Taylor

Neil Barnes who describes himself as a ‘creator of contemporary digital art and traditional photography, his work features landscapes that are both complex and simplistic’.

Eggardon Hill sunbeams by Neil Barnes

Eggardon Hill sunbeams by Neil Barnes

Silvia Ragel-Serrano, born and raised in Barcelona, currently living in Devon, a mixed media artist combining my love for photography, printmaking and painting.

Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona. by Silvia Ragel-Serrano

Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona. by Silvia Ragel-Serrano

A big warm welcome to the Shed and I hope we will be able to include your work in future exhibitions! 

Chelsea