Opening weekend at Starling Studios

Setting up

Before letting you know how the opening weekend went, I feel beholden to tell you that my meticulously laid out plans for hanging that I mentioned in last week’s post didn’t quite go to plan!

I had to hang my paintings last Thursday evening. At first, all was going swimmingly. Until the moment when one of my larger paintings came crashing to the floor, shattering glass everywhere and smashing the frame. The Command strips that I’d used successfully in the past didn’t seem to be working so well on this occasion. By this point I’d already hung quite a few paintings and they seemed secure. I decided that for the remaining larger paintings, I’d use screws to hang them. This did set me back a while as it meant working out an additional set of measurements.

For all the A4 framed works, I stuck with the Command strips thinking that they’d suffice as they were comparatively light. Sadly I got a text much later that evening to tell me that another one, a smaller A4 painting had fallen too.

I had no alternative but to return early the next morning and rehang everything using screws!

I’m still not sure why the Command strips didn’t work on this occasion. I know I took a few shortcuts in terms of the drying times, but no more so than I’ve done previously! I’m wondering if it could have been something to do with the paint surface? Anyway, it’s given me some food for thought for the next time as this experience has rather dented my faith in the ‘too good to be true’ Command strips!

Hmm, I wonder which one fell off the wall?
How it looked before the Private View

I was quite pleased with how this looked in the end and, while it took longer than I’d anticipated due to the unforeseen circumstances, it otherwise worked out pretty much as I’d planned it.

As with previous exhibitions, it does feel satisfying to see the work mounted and framed, instead of loitering around loose in various portfolios!

The exhibition

The private view on Friday evening was well attended but by this time, I was just relieved to have got my part of the exhibition ready and up in time; I was shattered to be honest!

I had to be at Starling Studios all day on Saturday so I thought that rather than being a nuisance, I’d keep myself busy by doing a painting outside. I’ve done this at previous Open House exhibitions and I’ve usually found that some people quite like to see someone painting.

The pub was such a tantalising distraction!

I opted to go for a half-sized sheet painting, which I wouldn’t normally do, but I was part thinking ahead to this weekend’s workshop with Alvaro Castagnet. It’s likely that most of his demo paintings will be done at half-sheet, and I’m thinking that this will also be a good opportunity for me to paint larger and looser.

I had a view already mapped out based on my recent topographical muse, Picadilly Circus and was looking forward to the day ahead.

In full flow outside Starling Studios

I did have to keep moving my easel around to stay in the shade, and I enjoyed seeing the confused expressions on people’s faces as they desperately tried to match what I was painting with what they could see in front of them! I think quite a few just assumed I was rubbish as it didn’t look a bit like the view in front of me!

It was great to be painting, but it was also a little challenging too! There was such a steady stream of visitors that I ended up doing a lot of chatting. While this was lovely, it did also rather interrupt my flow. While I usually spend a few hours on a painting, I was working on this one on and off for about 4 or 5 hours with all the stops and starts.

Picadilly Circus, painted at Starling Studios

There were elements of this that I really liked, and equally elements that I really disliked – but the main thing was how much I enjoyed working on a half sheet and breaking out some big brushes!

It’s left me brimming with nervous anticipation about this week’s masterclass!

The highlight of the entire weekend however was meeting up with a few followers of this blog! It was so nice to put faces to names and to have a good old chin wag about our various painting endeavours. I’d particularly like to thank Brian and Rob – both of whom travelled considerable distances to visit me.

The exhibition will be open again this Saturday and Sunday from 11am-5pm if anyone would like to visit. Sadly I won’t be there this weekend as I’m away on my long-awaited Masterclass!

Once the exhibition is over, I’ll start uploading everything that’s new to the gallery pages of my website so you can always see what I’ve been up to there!

Thoughts on Opening weekend at Starling Studios

7 thoughts on “Opening weekend at Starling Studios”

  1. Great paintings John and well done for getting out there! I’m glad you’ve had some sales.
    I’ve just returned from a 3 day watercolour course with Andy Evansen at Windrush, and it was all I could have hoped for and more! Planning to work intensively now! Enjoy Alvaro and the sun 💥

    1. Hi Carole and thanks for this! I’m so pleased you had a good time on Andy Evansen’s course! I saw all the paintings that he posted on Instagram from his time in the UK and they looked amazing.

      I’m sure it was very inspiring and look forward to seeing your next few paintings!

  2. Enjoying your posts. Voild you give some details on the method you use to get the visor to stay over your painting to provide shade. Tis

    1. Hi Suza and many thanks for this. So pleased you’re enjoying the posts and yes, of course, I’ll try to post some pictures that show how this works! It may be the week after next as I think next weeks post will be all about my workshop with Alvaro Castagnet this weekend!

      1. Of course, if I were you, I wouldn’t be able to add to single digits together right now! I would be Sooo all about that class! I’m jealous. Have fun!

        1. Haha, thanks and yes, I am feeling surprisingly nervous! Found out today that we’ll be painting outside so if the sun’s shining it’ll be a good opportunity to get some photos of the sun shade for you!

        2. Hi thanks so much for this. I must confess I am feeling surprisingly nervous. I found out today that will be painting outside so if the sun’s shining it’ll be a good chance to get some photos of the sunshade for you!

I'd love to hear any thoughts you have about this

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