I've just got back from dropping a painting off at the Royal West Academy Open Exhibition, and it was very similar to the experience of dropping paintings at the RA in London, but smaller. The initial process involved submitting work online, which the RA is adopting for next year. The RWA chose one of the paintings I submitted which meant I had to take it out of the Made in Roath Open. I had a similiar giggly feeling handing over the painting as I do at the RA and my fellow artists all looked similarly excited in the grand surroundings. I may have made a mistake when I dropped the work off because I popped into Forbidden Planet on my way back from the RWA which is what I always do on my way back from the RA, have I jinxed myself? It's hard to believe that popping into an overpriced comic shop could affect my chances of getting into an exhibition but sometimes I find it hard not to be superstious. We'll see. I did get soaked on my way back which I suppose is neither here or there.
The painting which was shortlisted (pictured on the right) also one second prize in Made in Roath and it had been hanging on my studio wall for probably a year. It was part of a larger piece and to be honest I'd become a bit blind to it. Then one day I walked into my studio and looked at it and thought "Hmmm, actually that bit's not bad...." I find it hard to be subjective about my own work but I realised that there was a core to the painting which didn't work at a larger painting, so as it wasn't going anywhere as a large painting (and as it was taking up room) I edited it down and it worked as a smaller, tighter piece. The ironic thing is of course is that Sian wasn't too fussed on the painting and I did umm and arrr about submitting it anywhere. Glad I did.
Getting shortlisted is also systematic of a new, more professional approach to my painting. I'm soon going to build a new website just for my paintings. I've also noticed a narrative developing in my work which has been influenced by my Buddhist practice. What I've also realised that I need to get my work out there more, that it's not going to be recognised and sell over night, that it's something in addition to the painting that I have to do. Actually applying for exhibitions takes time and money and if the work does get selected you need to get it to the venue, but I do enjoy the whole process, well except getting wet on the walk