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David Shepherd and Pre exhibition nerves.

Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest of timing that the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year and my solo show at Oil & Water opened within ten days of each other. I’m sitting in bed, on a glorious June dawn, having woken early, and having a cup of tea, trying not to worry about tonight, the opening night.


www.catherineingleby.com
Kick up your heels by Catherine Ingleby

David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year.

I was very flattered to have been included in the well publicised teaser catalogue, and despite the hassles of wrestling two such enormous pictures into London, seeing them hung, in amongst such a strong body of wildlife art, was immensely rewarding.


https://shop.davidshepherd.org/list.php?search[exhib]=way14ex&search[event]=8&max_perpage=9999&from_event=8
Winged Messenger of Death bu Christine Lambeth

The evening itself was great fun, I managed to nab a photo with the man himself, and although I didn’t win the ten thousand pound cheque, it was good to catch up with so many friends, and meet some new faces.

Myself and David Shepherd, in front of my two charcoals.

It was HOT in the mall galleries though, boy, do they need to invest in some air conditioning!


https://shop.davidshepherd.org/list.php?search[exhib]=way14ex&search[event]=8&max_perpage=9999&from_event=8
Moon Bear with Butterflies by Susie Marsh
 

I was particularly taken with some of the sculptures, there was such a variety, and I could have taken every one home. A sculpture by this French artist win the main prize. Deservedly so.



Transparence - Rhino
Transperence – Rhino by Pascal Cheasneau
Some of the works were so much more impressive in real life, when they had been a little underwhelming online. This rook was stunning.
https://shop.davidshepherd.org/list.php?search[exhib]=way14ex&search[event]=8&max_perpage=9999&from_event=8
Rook by Susie Dafforn
Monochrome Category Winner
 

Pre Solo Exhibition

Catalogue is printed, the work delivered, the walls are hung. Tonight is the private view, and I’m trying to gather myself a bit before the day starts.

Ready to go!

I enjoy these evenings, but  I feel a large pressure to sell well this evening, and they can feel like a marathon interview, chatting to potential clients, and explaining the work time and again. I am pleased with the body of work, I truly found it a pleasure to paint, and seemed to come, by and large, with ease to me. I hope that is reflected in the art, a friend made a lovely comment “It looks as though the artist has found joy in the process of painting it” which couldn’t be more accurate.
Let’s just hope the clients find enough joy to reach into their wallets!


www.catherineingleby.com
Burning Bright by Catherine Ingleby



www.catherineingleby.com
Ivy, my spaniel, with a scuplture by Rosemary Cook
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Plenty in the pipeline…

Artists block and inspiration

I spent most of January shivering in my very damp studio struggling with artists block. Always an artists worst nightmare, exacerbated by the thought of nothing to show in June for the exhibition. I started having nightmares about standing in the gallery, with a crowd of people looking at blank walls, and then at me…
However, luckily it passed, I had produced several very average paintings (all of which have since been scrapped) then one good charcoal and is so often is the case once I get on a roll I start producing plenty of work that I’m pleased with.


Artemis’ revenge
 
This wild boar (Artemis’ Revenge), and another have been entered into the David Shepherd Wildlife Art competition. I had no luck in it last year, so fingers crossed for better results this time! I find out later this month. I also have another HUGELY exciting project in the pipeline, more wildlife art, but I’m unable to talk about it until it has all been finalised, although I’m literally bursting with excitement.
 
The jumping dogs, which were so immensely popular in the run up to Christmas, are going to be a recurring theme in the June exhibition, this is my favourite at the moment, with a working title of ‘Black & Tango’. I’m working with the fabulously talented Sarah Farnsworth who is photographing some more varied dog breeds for me. As enthusiastic as my cocker Ivy is about jumping, she was beginning to dominate the collection!
 
 
Black & Tango
 
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Post exhibition

Oil and Water Gallery, Wandsworth

A very successful run of private views at the newly launched Oil & Water Gallery  in Wandworth. The paintings held their own on the walls, surrounded by several other stunning paintings from a variety of artists.

340, Old York Road SW18 1SS

It’s been fantastic to be involved with a gallery from its set up. The amount of work and expense that goes into the setting up is staggering. Galleries have an enormously important role to play in the art world, bridging the gap between artists and clients, and while the Internet may have made artists far more directly accessible nothing makes life easier for an artist than a good agent or gallery owner. I do think galleries need to become far more interactive spaces, as the book selling trade has cottoned onto so well, holding literary festivals, author led evenings, book signing events etc. the art world has made a start, but there is still a long way to go. With this in mind, Oil & Water are holding a ‘meet the artist’ night on the 14th November, please contact the gallery if you’d like to attend.

I sold various paintings over the private views, the jumping dogs were enormously popular, and the battle for the charcoal of Ivy was won by a friend of mine. Lovely to know where a painting will end up. I’m now back in the studio and will be definitely be exploring the theme of the jumping dogs further, I have several charcoals and oils planned, the pressure is now on for the solo exhibition in June!

 
Lion Leaping – Sold

I’m now looking towards the Christmas countdown, always my busiest time. Burford Gardens have sold out of the chicken prints and so need more stock, plus they’d like a drawing of a “Burford Brown” hen. So that’s in the pipeline, and the usual rush of Christmas commissions are beginning to roll in.

The Wandsworth gallery is holding a limited edition prints show in the run up to Christmas, so I’m busy framing and mounting for that.

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Exhibition looming…

I’ve been taken on by OIL AND WATER GALLERY in Wandsworth, London. A stunning new gallery, with an eclectic mix of artists. I’m involved in a mixed exhibition which opens on the 10th of October. I have also committed to doing a solo with them next year, in June.

‘Lioness leaping’ Oil on canvas
 
 

I am enormously excited but, as for any artist, it is also becomes a time of huge pressure; ‘Will I have enough works?’, ‘Will enough sell?’, ‘Is ochre a crazy colour to paint the kitchen?’ Decorating as an artist is treacherous, I’m too addicted to colour to go fashionably neutral.
I’m feeling reasonably prepared, and am just finishing off the frames. Although, I have a feeling I will be far less relaxed as the solo exhibition deadlines draw near.

‘Ivy’ Charcoal on paper

These are couple of examples of work I will be showing, alongside a selection from 8 other artists. I’m pleased with my body of work, it’s a small selection from the result of a years hard graft since I went back full time after a longer than planned maternity break. (6 months off – Ha! So naive….) I have tried to develop a more distinctive, modern approach to the traditional sporting genre, and so I hope others feel that is has been successful.
 The opening night is the 10th of October, please email me: catherineingleby@hotmail.co.uk if you would like an invite.

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Is the traditional gallery a dinosaur?

The Affordable Art Fair Hampstead

I spent an immensely enjoyable day at the AAF Hampstead, with thanks to Alice Struthers. Great to reconnect with some of the agents and galleries, and to see what’s on in the market at the moment.

Anne-Marie Butlin



The format of the AAF has been enormously successful, now encompassing 15 fairs worldwide, it is clearly very appealing to buyers and it was great to see such a vibrant market and healthy sales. At the same time many galleries are closing, even Cork Street, the very home of art galleries, is threatened with redevelopment and closure. (www.savecorkstreet.com)

I passed a lot of the day talking to agents and gallery owners, and it is clear, that while many are modernising their approach to selling; by incorporating online sales and using social media, there are others that are struggling to do so. I get the impression that some galleries are intimidated by the openness of todays market, and the accessibility of their artists to their private clients. Exclusivity is a thing of the past, as almost every working artist’s contact details can be found within seconds on google.

Guy Allen (Grandy Art)

I have first hand experience, as have several times been approached by potential buyers who have seen work marketed by a gallery representing me. (For the record I do not undercut my agents!)
However there is clearly a grey area and the solution largely rests on trust and honesty and transparent dialogue between an artist and those who represent him/her.

 Equally an artist with a strong online presence, and healthy independent sales is a bonus, rather than a threat to a potential gallery, as harnessed together these attributes can only widen a client base, and increase publicity to both parties.

There are some fantastic agents and galleries out there, who support and encourage artists, and provide invaluable advice and opportunity to their clients. I believe it is a good thing the art market is being made more accessible, with schemes such as Own Art enabling even those with the tightest budget to purchase original work.

 
Oona Campbell (Panter & Hall)
 
 
More of my own work in the next entry – nose to the grindstone with private commissions!
 

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Art Competitions.

I’ve been spreading myself far and wide in the past couple of months entering pretty much every art competition going. My painting ‘Stags in Rut’ was awarded ‘Commended’ in its category in the BBC Wildlife Artist of the year, and I was given a lovely certificate, (though frankly would have quite liked the free safari and/or some cash!) and I got to spend the day in Marwell Zoo with the immensely talented Fran Sanders , who is a genuine wildlife artist.

I did wonder if I could stretch the boundaries of truth and enter the Sky.com portrait competition which is offering a very lucrative prize pot. Ironically I trained as a portrait artist, but quickly discovered I wasn’t best suited to that career; the best portrait artists leave their clients half in love with them, whereas I think my sittings were more akin to spending time with the Gestapo. I can’t chit chat while painting, listen to Shania Twain on loop and am not very tolerant of ‘suggestions’. Suffice to say, it was a short stint, and I moved into painting animals, which are largely silent and un-opinionated. Here’s an example of one of my early portraits (paid model – did as was told.)

This brings us back to horses, and the next big competition on the horizon is the Society of Equine Artists which is held in the Mall Galleries in London. The racing paintings are progressing really well, creating the spray of paint and movement has been challenging, but despite a paint splattered spaniel have been mostly successful. Loving painting on a bigger scale too, the one below is nearly 4 feet wide.

The Henley Arts Trail was a resounding success, hundreds people trooping through the studio doors, viewing and buying art. However next year, to save time, I might equip myself with one of these T-shirts….

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Art world Snakes and Ladders

It really does feel like that sometimes. I get an enormous boost up the ladder from something – selection as a finalist for the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year competition, or a couple of great commissions, but then the next week, an agent or gallery rejection will send me slithering back down the snake to square, if not one, then further from the finish.

Being an artist is not an easy career choice, it is very personal, and requires an extremely thick skin, and a limitless amount of self belief. I am learning to enjoy the journey, and celebrate the successes, and write off the ‘failures’ as just another stepping stone. In many ways, being an artist is not a career, but a life, and as the great Winston Churchill said
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”

So philosophising apart – being selected for the BBC Wildlife AOY is fantastic, the next round of judging is next week. This is the painting selected, which is in the ‘British Mammals’ category. Fingers crossed, but to be selected at all is an honour.

 
 
 
 
It is also ‘open studio’ time for the Henley Arts Trail this May bank holiday weekend. An event I love, not least for the interaction with so many talented local artists, and the opportunity to meet art enthusiasts from the region. It also forces me to to do an annual studio spring clean, without which I would vanish under a tide of wrecked brushes, dried out tubes of paint, and empty turps bottles.
 
 
I have been working on a new series of racing paintings, developing new techniques using an airbrush, (rescued from immense frustration with it by Andrew Breeze) and I am pleased with the results. They are more contemporary than previous work, and pretty big, but I have so enjoyed painting them, which always shows in the final result.
 
“Over the Last” Oil on Canvas 40×30 inches