Danny House exhibition, 24 & 25 September
I think this exhibition at Danny House was the first of its kind and, even though it was part of the Hurst Festival, I wasn’t holding out much hope! This was reduced even further when I struggled to find the venue late last Friday night! Exhibitors had been asked to meet at the venue to set up at 9pm as there was a cello concert in the Great Hall that was finishing just before then. I arrived a little late as my sat nav took me on a detour to a nearby farm! I eventually managed to flag down a taxi that was taking another exhibitor there and managed to follow it to the venue! The fact that it was so remote and tucked away that I couldn’t even find it didn’t fill me with confidence for attracting many visitors.
All of this doubt however was subsumed by the sheer beauty of the venue! It’s like a country estate and much more akin to National Trust property than an exhibition space. The approach is almost a mile of private driveway leading up to a magnificent building. The exhibition, showing the work of fourteen Sussex-based artists, was to be set up in the Great Hall.
By the time I arrived, the room had been cleared from the concert, and we all had to chip in to carry into the space all of the exhibition boards. Once these were set up, there was a most amicable discussion about how best to arrange the boards to allow for the best light and ease of access and then, it was everyone for themselves to get their boards set up!
The boards are owned by the Sussex Watercolour Society and each one is 8ft x 4ft. As I’d only recently hung work on one of them for the Sussex Watercolour Society exhibition, I knew what to expect and already had a plan for what I was going to hang and what the arrangement would be. This meant that I was able to get my board set up relatively quickly and painlessly.
I was also mainly exhibiting different paintings for this show than I’d had framed for the previous exhibition. This had taken up quite a bit of time in advance, swapping paintings in and out of frames and wrapping up different paintings in cellophane for the browsers, but this all felt worthwhile as it made the set-up as easy as possible. The two larger paintings, of Brighton Pavilion and Sussex Haybales, were fresh back from being on display at Atelier by the Seaside’s Open Exhibition.
By about 11pm, the show was mainly all hung. Some artists were due to set up first thing on Saturday morning, ahead of the doors opening at 10am.
I was there on Saturday from 10am and I must confess that I was pleasantly surprised to see such a steady stream of visitors. They were also very engaged too, taking time to look at each artist’s work and explore their browsers too. For my part, I just revelled in the space! I had hoped that I’d be able to explore more of the house as I was sure that it would present me with many an opportunity for some wonderful interior scenes but this just wasn’t possible. It is, after all, a private building for the retired residents that live there and the owners.
I had to leave in the afternoon, but not before I’d enjoyed many a lovely conversation with other exhibitors, visitors and a few watercolour enthusiasts. I hadn’t sold anything, but I had really enjoyed myself! My next visit was to dismantle the show at 5pm on Sunday afternoon. I hadn’t received any notifications about having sold anything so it came as a total surprise on my arrival to learn that I’d sold three paintings!
I’m delighted that these three paintings have all found new homes.
The painting of Trattoria Centro Rampini was only finished last week and only just made it into the exhibition and to sell it so quickly was particularly gratifying!
So, for all of my doubts, this venture was a great success, not just for me but for many other artists too that also sold work. It would be nice to think that this could become a regular event, but I’ll have to leave that to the organisers. If it does though, I’ll be eager to take part again!
While this was my last scheduled exhibition of the year, there is a little something else that’s just come over the horizon that I’m rather excited about – but you’ll have to tune in next week to find out more!