Walsham-le-Willows Open Gardens

Sunday and Monday 25th and 26th August

I’m busy getting my work ready for the big Art Festival that forms part of this well known Suffolk event.   The weather is set fair this year and it’s a really beautiful village which turns out in force for a lively community event. http://www.walsham-le-willows.org

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FoxeARTh Nature Reserve

 

It’s been great this summer to lead some art days at the beautiful Foxearth Nature Reserve near Sudbury.   They’re very relaxed events – click on link below for details.

Art days August and September 2019

It was a great privilege to be commissioned by Sudbury Methodist Church to paint a picture of the reserve for Rev John Boardman when he ‘sat down’ (retired) this summer.  Fortunately he really liked it!

Sore with a Bare Head (Chemotherapy Diary)

It turns out that I was a bit optimistic at the end of 2018 about being back on track.  Coming to terms with what I’ve been through, and ongoing hormone therapy has taken quite a bit of getting used to. Good news though, my hair came back!   I’ve carried on extending my printmaking skills at Curwen Print studio, leading regular art workshops and am finding my feet working “at home alone” instead of going out to work each day.

What a boost then to have BOTH of my entries for this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition shortlisted, and Sore with a Bare Head chosen for display  (That’s two years in a row I’ve got in – not one for blowing my own trumpet but feeling quietly very satisfied).

   

Sore with a Bare Head (Chemotherapy Diary) Room VIII  No 1288 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2019

The original sold straight away at the Private View day, but on the advice of my Curwen tutor, I had it professionally photographed before it went to London. The response has been very touching so I’m pleased to say that copies are available to buy and I’m using it as a fundraiser for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan.  I wanted to get a good balance between care for people affected by Cancer and prevention and these two great charities seemed to fit the bill.

 Detail

  A2 Poster £28

      A3 Giclee Print Personally signed and numbered, Limited Edition  of 200   £35

Please note that Prints and Poster are supplied unframed.  Price includes tracked postage and safe packaging within the UK.  (Please enquire about prices for other destinations). £5 from every sale will be donated to the two charities named above.

Cheques can be sent to Stella Davis  72 Forest Road, Onehouse, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 3EP or you can email me for bank details artwisestella@gmail.com

This was my artist’s statement that accompanied the picture at the RA

In May 2018, after major surgery for Cancer, I celebrated my 60th Birthday by starting the chemotherapy that I’d really hoped to avoid. “It’s do-able” someone told me, and that was very helpful but I knew that some kind of ‘crossing off the days’ would work for me.  Over 18 weeks, my blank chart gradually turned into a piece of art, tracking my moods and showing up patterns. It let me have a moan and enabled me to see the good things.  Artwork kept me going – those were my sunshine yellow days.  I was able to complete my Certificate in Printmaking Skills and make my dress for our daughter’s wedding.  I spent time on my beloved old narrowboat when I could. Obviously there were down days too, and a lot of self-medication to get used to.  I poured out my feelings and marked off my progress.

I’ve been amazed and touched by the responses to it – from people with and without Cancer. It is a complex piece; it encourages and starts conversations , it supports by shared experience, but mostly its hopeful. I had a long talk with someone looking at it who was trying to understand what her brother might be going through.  I’d be the first to say that everybody’s experience will be different – but it’s a good way in to asking “was it like this for you?”  I’ve given a copy to my local Macmillan Unit – I owe a great deal to them and the wonderful NHS staff at West Suffolk Hospital.  A friend who is an Oncology nurse has bought one for her local BMI Hospital and is going to use it with the support group that she runs.

“my life is on that page”        “it helped me understand what chemo might be like”          “it’s so hopeful”

The person who bought the original has had chemo too “It took my breath away – I had to have it and ran to the desk”  she told me.

So it’s taking on a life of it’s own.  Please help spread the word so it can help more people. But most of all enjoy it and celebrate it as a joyous piece of art .  Every day now is a gift.

Stella Davis August 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Working as an Artist – Week 1

So far, very enjoyable!  I made lists of things I wanted to do so it was easy to go in and get started.  The first morning was spent with fellow print-maker and friend Cherry  reviewing work done in the Charles Shearer Cardboard cut workshop – really good to look at work closely and discuss it with someone whose opinion I value.  Then Job No 1 was to prepare my entries for the “Album Art” exhibition at Babylon Gallery, Ely.  It made me look at the other pieces in the series and they are good pieces of work that need to have a proper outlet somewhere. I’m starting to think about how to put together a portfolio of my best work.

Day 2 was spent printing cards – but with the main task being to get into ways of working at home, and to get to know my little press and start getting to know my Hawthorne ink colours and how they can be combined.  I’ve ended up with very useable cards.

Day 3 – Service preparation for Sunday took up the morning, but I had a great afternoon cutting up the second rate “pear” collagraphs to make a sculpture with a view to potential RA Summer Exhibition entry.  I’m pleased with the effects and the shadows thrown – the creative bit was selecting the sections to show and then linking them together afterwards.

Main frustration of the week has been IT – laptop is on a go slow; and Ipad not co-operating either – I want to put images up on instagram and its not happening.

 

From Student to Practioner

Thank you to people following this post who have stuck with me even though there hasn’t been much to read lately.  I’ve updated my Profile and made a new Page to describe my studies at Curwen Studios.

My challenge for 2019 is to develop the pace and presence of my professional work.   I aim to hone and deepen my skills by making the most of what needs to be my final year of mainly study, and change the emphasis of my activity to work as a practicing artist.

I’m hoping through this blog to make a record of how I go about making such a change!

 

What now? post Level 2

My student card for Printmaking 2 expires today.  By strange coincidence and the skin of my teeth, I have posted off my final Assignment.

It’s been a marathon.  When I started two years ago, I was a full time carer – my mother in law lived with us and I was respite carer for my mother with dementia.   For different reasons we have had to manage both mums into residential care, my mum has been moved up to Suffolk and is now seriously unwell, I am her only local carer/regular visitor, my brother’s marriage has split up, and mine is distinctly wobbly.  We are close to completion on selling mum’s house and buying another for my brother.  I have been trying to establish self-employed art-related work that pays, and seem to have ended up getting the voluntary experience but not the wherewithall to pay the rent!  Our son is abroad, and I have not seen him for the whole of the duration of the course!  Somehow in all this, I have got through the work! and remained reasonably sane.  My confidence as an artist has definitely grown.

So what now?  A short break – to finalise the selling of the house and finish the move.  Time with mum, which is running out.  Time reconnecting with the family, and a chance to paint and print the things I want.

An application form for Cliff College’s “Arts and Ministries” Course, and a conversation with OCA about exactly what is needed to complete level 3 as the courses seem to have changed since I first started my degree.  The three would work very well together I think, so I am seriously wondering whether  to use the next two years to focus on training and experience more than paid work and emerge in 2018 with a good set of qualifications to go with my brand new bus pass.  I will still have at least 6 years of employment ahead of me before retirement.