Opening my Creative Space

MAY IS HERE, so I’m opening Mays Barn (my own creative space) to exhibit a new series of silhouette paintings and prints. Do you think I should invite Theresa May?

Creative Space

Earlier this year (see last post) I cleared out Mays Barn. I gave away huge quantities of old and unsold art. It was a strangely satisfying process. I did it to open up a creative space – as much in my head as in the studio – and the result was both spectacular and chaotic. Over a period of days hundreds paintings and drawings left Mays Barn, some in frames and others in folders. Several people asked me to send folders of work around the world (a rather hit-and-miss process as it turned out – apologies if you were one of those who didn’t receive quite what they expected…  ). At the end of the month the remainder were ruthlessly consigned to the council recycling centre, where they may at least do the planet some good.

Creative space visitors choosing art.
Visitors to my studio choosing pieces of art to find a home for.

Some fellow artists felt this was too drastic an act, yet I felt several immediate benefits. Firstly, I was able to reconnect with a number of past clients, wonderful people and all fans of my work. Secondly, it was great to see old work going to new and appreciative homes. However, the major benefit was that the process was unexpectedly creative. I got to physically look at work – one last time – which I hadn’t seen in years. I was surprised at the quality of some of it. It was a huge confidence boost and soon my mind was spinning with new ideas for creative exploration.

Utterly Butterly: one of a set of new prints made in the creative space
“Utterly Butterly”: a combination of cutting, painting and photography,focussing on recycling and the human presence in the landscape.One of a new set of prints on show this month.

A Riddle of Creativity

Sooner or later all artists ask themselves about the nature of creativity: “What is it? Where does it come from? How do I foster it?” For everybody the experience is different. For some, creativity is a collaborative act, while for others it’s deeply personal and private. However, all seem to agree that creativity is a process; there are steps one can take to set the process in motion. One of these steps is to define and cultivate the creative space.

Silhouette off cuts in a wedding guest book, impromptu creative space
People love silhouette cutting, I’m amazed how much they do. Sometimes they join in: gathering up my off cuts and pasting them into guest books!

In my own case, when cutting silhouettes, the simple act of donning my long, blue jacket defines the creative space. I’m fond of showing people the arrangement of internal pockets and telling them: “The jacket is my studio” >As a painter, my needs are different, Mays Barn has long been the private, creative space I need. Every year in May, the private space becomes public. I invite the public in, along with other local artists.

An Argentine Sketchbook

The invitation to this year’s Open Studio event features a silhouette of two Tango Dancers (top). Its an image from my Argentine sketchbook, where I went on a recent holiday. The private view is this Sunday and the studio is open to the public over the next two weekends. The studio is open as part of two Art Trail events. You can find more information about them here: Caversham Arts Trail: Berkshire Open Studios: course, this time you will need to buy the art in order to collect it!Whether looking or collecting, or just visiting to talk about silhouettes, it would be great to see you. Sundays are best if you want to see me (I tend to be cutting silhouettes somewhere on Saturdays). On other days Lauren will be there, as well as other artists sharing the space. If you have visited my studio, either during the clearcut event or on an Open Studio day, please do leave a comment with your impressions.

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Susan Powis
Susan Powis
5 years ago

We would love to come on the 12th but we will be packing for two weeks in beautiful Crete. (The ‘we’ is the royal ‘we’ as Martyn will be at a rugby club match!)
Good luck with the venture. It looks really interesting.
Susan Powis

Eileen Buckley
Eileen Buckley
5 years ago

Hi Charles ,Mays Barn sounds fantastic -don’t spoil it by asking it’s namesake to attend ! Unfortunately we’re away this weekend. Duncan is doing an Ironman …. but a relay before you’re too impressed. I’m watching only. Hope it all goes well. See you later ,Eileen

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