Friday, October 28, 2011

Calling All Animal Lovers!

Look what's just scampered into the gallery! 

Small, fun-loving creatures have rushed to the gallery to enjoy the Margaretann Bennett RSW exhibition.  After a phenomenal start, her paintings are selling almost daily, and I guess they don't want to miss out!

Look at this chilled out pooch!  Okay, I'll come clean -  they were lovingly created by acclaimed sculptor Christine Cummings.  But I do believe they have a life of their own. And I'm sure you will too when you observe these little guys - still as statues, full of life, ceramic cuties.  Wait a minute, I'm sure that one just moved . . . ..

So, like me, they observe the collection that Margaretann has put together.  She really is the toast of the town just now, having also won an award at the 150th RGI exhibition. I think it may be her fifth award there.  It is really good to see talent, dedication and uncompromising creativity being rewarded.

Margaretann is no sheep!

Thanks for reading!


PS I love sheep

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gallery Girls

The Margaretann Bennett RSW exhibition opened on Sunday and I'm pleased to say it was a great success. After so much preparation, my breath was held as it always is, until more and more people came through the door.  The smiling faces, the delight and the conversation was like a warm blanket.  I felt myself relax and I really enjoyed the day.  I so wanted Margaretann's beautiful new collection to be appreciated, and it was.  

There was a great atmosphere.  The gallery seemed transformed into something else.  The power and beauty of Margaretann's paintings, all the different characters dancing in the room, created an exciting energy which I think most people felt.  Margaretann has sold an amazing fifteen paintings already, which reflects the enthusiasm for her work. 

We all got a little affected by the paintings, and dressed the part.  Look at these ladies in black!  This is me, Margaretann and Obsidian.  But who is who?!  I think I'll let you work it out!

Many thanks to Margaretann, for her work and also for being such a wonderful presence in the gallery.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Almost Time . . .

It's hung!  All week I've been hanging the Margaretann Bennett RSW exhibition.  Forty eight beautiful paintings, each with a life, character and beauty of their own. 

I have to say there are quite a few sold already.  This can happen even before the Private View from the moment people receive the invitations. And it happens when work is as sought-after as Margaretann's is.

What I have noticed about the early birds clamouring to see the works before the Private View, is that everyone seems to be drawn to different paintings.  I love it when this happens.  It shows that each work is imbued with something special, a different mood, or energy that different people respond to. 

Here's a sneaky peak!

Okay, it's just a small peak . . . . much better to come to the Private View on Sunday and see for yourself!

The Private View of Margaretann Bennett's beautiful new collection is from 1pm to 5pm this Sunday, along with chocolates, champagne, and of course, the artist herself.  Not to be missed!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Different Dynamics

All the Sandy Murphy RSW RGI PAI paintings have been taken down today and carefully wrapped.  I felt a little sad, but being surrounded by Margaretann Bennett's new work gave me that little frisson of excitement I feel when a challenge awaits.  Plus, they are just plain fabulous!

I have to find the perfect home on the Smithy walls for the forty eight beautiful pieces that make up her new collection.  Hanging an exhibition is always a little daunting.  I want it to be as good as possible, with every piece in it's optimum place. 

I know how much work and preparation the artist has put in, and I really want to do their effort and talent justice.  Although mainly figurative, Margaretann's latest collection also includes some of her intricate still lifes and landscapes.


As I lay the pieces out and am mentally going through combinations and patterns, a welcome break occurs from my machinations as Lesley Carruthers arrives with sculpture to complement this exhibition.

Lesley is a widely acclaimed, talented sculptor working mainly in cast aluminium, and I am delighted to introduce her work to Smithy Gallery, particularly in conjunction with this exhibition.

These three pieces, set on the best quality oak plinths will be a fabulous punctuation to such a strong body of work from Margaretann.

Even with such a lot of work to do, I am already looking forward to the opening of the exhibition this Sunday, mainly because the gallery will be transformed into something completely different.  From the tranquility and tonal subtlety of the Sandy Murphy exhibition, it will have an altogether new and vibrant energy about it, and this is what I love about art, expression, creativity and being lucky enough to house it all under one roof.

Hope to see you there.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, October 14, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different!

The Sandy Murphy RSW RGI PAI exhibition comes to an end this Sunday, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.  I have wanted to hold this exhibition for such a long time, and I'm amazed to say that it exceeded my stellar expectations.

Seventeen paintings are going to excited buyers, and this has been a dream in itself, but what I didn't expect was the overwhelming feedback from every visitor.  This included Sandy fans, people new to Sandy's work, and a lot of well known Scottish artists who didn't want to miss the show.


I know we must never look backwards, but I feel a tinge of sadness that it will be over on Sunday.  It has been such a positive experience, and a bonding one too.  I have never had so many discussions about art and painting, and what it is about an artist's use of paint that can make the heart flutter.  I revelled in realising that I am not the only one who holds Sandy's exceptional talent in such high regard.

So I guess what I really need now is something to take my mind off it . . . . .

A distraction.  Something striking, thought-provoking and very, very different . . . .


Something like . . .  well what do you know!  Here comes Margaretann Bennett with a stunning solo exhibition of new works from 23 October.  Ignore at your peril!


Yes, that might just do it!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The Margaretann Bennett RSW paintings will be arriving at the gallery this week, and I will be able to view them properly for the first time.  Margaretann is brilliant to work with.  She knows how much I love her work, and over the weeks of preparation she has been sending me a string of tantalising images, each with a story attached, yet leaving a lot to the imagination.

Each work has character and narrative and I just love this.  They are already full of strength and mystery, but she adds clues with brilliant titles to get your mind racing.  Take Seductress above.  Perhaps she speaks for herself, perhaps not!  And then there is Sapphire below . . . . . .

 . . . . did this beauty once have wings? 

And Fragments contains so many meaningful images that tug at the heartstrings.  Did this possible love affair have a happy ending, or is it a friendship box, and what's that key for??

Oh, and meet Hugger . . . . .

Do we really want to be hugged by Hugger?!

Now that I'm full of questions, I wonder if Margaretann will tell all. . . . .

Thanks for reading!


Friday, October 07, 2011

Keep Calm

I see blue skies, I see sun, I feel a fresh chill.  My favourite weather . . . .  

. . . . . I'm back.  I had to run outside there and stand in the sun listening to the sound of the river running past.  The gallery is positioned right beside a river, the river Blane (we are in Blanefield).  For those of you who think I had to go look that up, I knew that already.  Okay, I checked, just to be sure.  What a beautiful sound though.

Okay, I'm avoiding the job at hand.  It's actually a job I like, but it's huge.  After weeks of planning, I'm about to receive Margaretann Bennett's exhibition invitation brochures back from the printers.  I always feel nervous and excited about this.  I like to design them to suit each individual exhibition.  The invitation is inspired by the work itself. I love this part, I even love obsessing about it. 

But are they going to do the artist's body of work justice?  Are they going to grab the attention of the envelope-opener so they immediately run to their diary and take a note of the dates, I imagine, in a red pen with an exclamation mark!

Here's a sneaky peak of part of the invite.

This is 'Dirty Blonde, Little Black Dress'.  Each painting has a fabulous title, and so much more behind it.  I'm really looking forward to the discussion the exhibition is going to stimulate.

So in preparation, there are the envelopes . . . envelopes, labels and stamps on every surface I can see. 

Margaretann is busy finishing off her new collection of works, and I'm worried about whether my stamps are straight.  Well, my last post did highlight the many important aspects that go into running a gallery. . . .!

I'm now up to a thousand envelopes . . . I need a break, I'm off for five minutes of river susurrus (my new favourite word - look it up!).

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Indifferent Directions

There are many different aspects to running a gallery.  Because I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such beautiful paintings and sculptures, sometimes I don't realise how many directions my mind is going in. 

Sometimes when I am talking to a customer, they might ask me 'What do you do here all day?  They are asking this whilst standing in the serenity of the gallery space, balanced and calm.  I smile, and try not to reel off the list of aspects that go into creating the balance and calm.  I do sometimes feel like a swan with my strange little webbies silently propelling the gallery forward.  I want people to feel happy and calm and I think they do. 

Of course, I also want people to be stimulated, as there is nothing I like better than a good discussion about the paintings and art in general. 

And this is what the upcoming Margaretann Bennett RSW exhibition is going to be all about.  I sometimes find that people worry about 'not knowing anything about art'.  For me, creativity is a very human quality and can be discussed by anyone.  I even enjoy discussing why someone doesn't like something.  These can sometimes be the most interesting discussions and sometimes,  opinions can change just a little.

Apart from the beauty and the drama of Margaretann's work, I am looking forward to the discussion.  Indifference is not an option!

Thank you for reading!