Thursday, 22 July 2010

To 'Sir' With Love...

I stood watching Garry with increasing pride as he put together this large piece for a customer yesterday and was inspired to photograph him as he worked. "Why do you do it?" I asked him. My eyes welled up with his answer "Do you have any idea how proud I am of working with all these creative people?" It was a question I could answer myself on any day. "Yes...", I replied, "...I do". I was emotional because of his passion which resonated with me. He genuinely loved what he was doing and he was committed to making sure that every bit of attention was paid to every tiny detail, even the lovely scented polish he was using.

While I pondered his response, it struck me not for the first time how very privileged I am to be doing something I really love and I guess that is how Garry must have felt as well as he lovingly and carefully polished the mounted print before making up the packing case.

We feel even more privileged to be in a position where we see nothing but beautiful creations each day, every one of them being unique in their own right. You see we print and mount loads of pictures every day and no two are ever alike.

The piece Garry was working on was sent to us by a regular client (of a number of years), Ken Lewis. Ken is a talented nature photographer and also has a wonderful portfolio of skylines from his native Liverpool. This 3 metre long print which was mounted on 3mm aluminium Dibond(tm) had been commissioned by his client to be hung in their reception area.

So when our customers call or email us to thank us for the print they have just received, we are able to respond genuinely... "the pleasure is ours, really it is."

Saturday, 3 July 2010

When women artists could not exhibit their work

Did you know, a mere 153 years ago, it was considered too shocking for a woman artist to display her work in London? When a few rebellious women formed their own society in 1857, there was no shortage of women artists, but some changed their name to protect their families.

The Society of Women Artists (SWA) is that same Society. Vibrant as ever, far from clinging to the modern world by their fintertips, they are proud of their history and bursting with talented artists vying to show their work at their 149th annual exhibition.

The show was opened by HRH Princess Michael of Kent, patron of the Society at the prestigious Mall Galleries in London on June 30th.

You can imagine how excited I was when on the evening before the show opened, I received a 'phone call saying my painting 'Harbour Market at Elmina II' had received an award for 'most original oil painting' and I was to be presented with the award by HRH Princess Michael of Kent.

My anxiety soon turned to concern when I realised I did not have the required 5 days I would need to groom myself and paint my toe nails. Would I need to learn how to curtsy and how would I address Her Royal Highness?

My anxiety soon turned to pride when I arrived at the gallery to find it heaving with people and a delighted Princess Michael soon put me at ease by wishing me well. She was very complimentary about the vibrancy of the painting.

So here I am in yet another proud moment of my painting career with HRH Princess Michael and Barbara Penketh Simpson, President of the Society.

I was both honoured and humbled. The talent in the room was overwhelming.

If you want to see the show (and it is worth seeing), it's on until 10th July.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

From Behind The Surgical Mask

Greetings and welcome to my latest blog which comes to you this month from behind a surgical mask. You see I am one of millions of people who suffer from hay fever; my allergies being specific to grass pollen at this time of year and today, the pollen count is off the scale.

Today has been the hottest day since the beginning of the year and whilst I seem to spend my time waiting for summer (you see I don't like the cold wet winters either) I find it ironic that having now received the sunshine I so badly craved I am complaining as much as I did during the winter months. There is no pleasing some I know.
So I write today in great discomfort from the heat and the allergies. I am sneezing louder than a vuvuzela and my eyes are bloodshot red!

Speaking of vuvuzelas; England sadly went out of the world cup today in what most will describe as their worst performance as a team in a very long time. Already the jokes have begun..."Breaking News... England have a new coach. It will come tomorrow morning to pick them up and bring them home..."
'We wasn't robbed!"... I feel could be an appropriate caption for the image on this blog. All due credit to whoever created it.

On the other hand my beloved Ghana has made her way through to the final 16; an achievement of no mean feat and I am extremely proud. I will be glued to my set on July 2nd as they come up against Uruguay and hope to cheer them to victory.

So for all those who managed to make it to South Africa and not only managed to see your favourite teams play, I hope you managed to get some sight seeing done as well.

Without making it look like I am pushing my wares too hard (ok I am but we all got to make a living don't we?) - don't forget you can turn your photos in to quality large format prints on a range of mounts. If you have loads of them - try getting yourself a beautiful montage and if you really feel like pushing the boat out to make you feel better about England's sad demise (there's a good name for it - retail therapy) well try one of those acrylic matriix things we do.

So until the next time, when the weather will be milder, the surgical mask removed and Ghana the proud winners of the world cup... sayonara my dear friends, see you soon.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

No More Tears Over Spilt Milk

I am acutely aware that I have not updated my blogsite since November 2009 but an article in small business section of The Sunday Times (18th April 2010) helped me come to terms with a situation I had been dealing with for quite a while...

The article entitled "Failure - it's the million dollar MBA" was very apt in my situation. Having to close a business down is probably one of the most painful things I have ever done in my lifetime (to date anyway). Anyone who knows me; friends, relatives and even customers will understand the passion with which I ran my business and those closest to me will have seen the real agony I shared with them and the support they had to provide day and night.

The fact is that in March this year, I was forced to close down my beloved company PhotoArtistry. The details are not relevant now but what is supremely important; and a point that was highlighted in the article '...think about what you have learnt. You may have lost a business but you have gained a lot of knowledge...' resonates deeply with me.

I'd like to share the highlights because I feel there are many who will have some empathy with my situation and doubtless many who will judge me. I cannot help the latter and can only thank the former but anyway here goes...
  • Take the time to mourn the loss of your business. It was your dream and now it has gone, it is healthy to grieve that.
  • Reconnect with the network of people you know, both business and personal. You may find a lot of warmth and support.
  • Analyse in detail what went wrong so you can avoid making the same mistake next time.
  • Don't get obsessed with finding someone to blame. It is pointless and destructive.
  • Think about what you have learnt. You may have lost a business but you have gained a lot of knowledge
I do feel quite privileged in that PhotoArtistry may have died as a company and whilst she was critically ill, I did all I could and spared no expense to save her but eventually the life support was pulled and she passed away peacefully. However her demise was not due to a lack of customers and so out of her ashes came a new birth; a new daughter we have christened AnneHerbert has all the good qualities, creativity, energy, passion and intentions of her mother and is wiser - a lot wiser from the lessons she learned at the feet of her dying mother. I feel very privileged indeed.

I had to tell this story as I felt unable to move on unless I did. We have to accept the mistakes we make and ultimately the buck stops with us. Now it is time to move on.
anne :-)