I’m delighted to introduce my second 'Guest Blog' from Living from Art member, Anita Saunders. This one is very relevant to artists and art lovers alike as we all strive to make sense of what’s important in these difficult times. Anna Poulton
The power to escape to another dimension – with a shopping trolley, of course
Anita Saunders • Dec 07, 2020
I love being an artist. The joy I get from the act of creating is hard to put into words. Sometimes it’s simply the way a brushstroke is held in the plump, loveliness of paint on canvas. Or, it can be the wave of excitement which bursts through me after running a new drypoint plate through the press for the very first time. The moment when peeling back the paper reveals that very rare thing – a beautifully clean, clear image- just as I imagined it to be.
But life is far from a constant stream of one high point after another. This year has thrown a fair few spanners in the works for people like me, who rely on organised events and exhibitions to make a living. It’s been the cause of much soul searching within the four walls of my little studio. ‘How long can I keep going? ‘Should I try to find a job with a regular income?’ and the big one…‘Why am doing this?’, have all bounced around my brain with alarming regularity.
I know in my bones that I am driven to create; it’s something I just have to do. It’s almost like breathing. That sounds pompous I know and selfish too – but I don’t mean it like that (although the guilt over being selfish is another thing to add to the list).
Then, out of the blue, it happened…something which reminded me exactly why I do this. It also demonstrated the power and magical transformational qualities of art, which we, as humans, need and value.
It was between lockdowns. I was lucky enough to hold a short exhibition is a lovely little Cotswold Gallery. It was a grey, extremely quiet morning with very few people venturing out. The door of the gallery opened slowly; the bell announced a visitor by bouncing excitedly on its spring.
The first things I saw were two small wheels attached to a large red shopping trolley, followed gradually by a small form wrapped in a large raincoat, plastic rain hat and the now obligatory face mask. After returning my good morning, this small, elderly lady asked in a timid voice, “Do you mind if I just have a look round? I won’t be buying anything today but after everything which is going on out there”, she sighed, “I just want to lose myself in your beautiful pictures.”
I then spent the next fifteen minutes in silence, watching the transformation. Taking each piece in turn, my visitor did just as she said. I saw her looking intently at the image before her, sighing every now and then and taking an even closer look when she saw something she particularly liked. Her body language changed and step by step, her shoulders relaxed, she stood more upright and her eyes twinkled above her mask.
After enthusiastic and heartfelt thanks, the lady picked up her trolley, took a deep breath and opened the door to face the day. I swear she left the gallery more energetically than she entered and she definitely had a spring in her step.
So, I thank my visitor for reminding me that what I do, does indeed make a difference and all the angst of this year will be worth it in the end.
So, I am holding on to that thought as this year draws to an end. After all, what more compelling reason could there be, to keep on doing what I do?
Do visit Anita’s website to read all her blogs, her pieces where she shares the techniques she uses to create her work , and to sign up to her regular newsletters
Work from Anita’s latest exhibition is on her virtual exhibition site https://publish.exhibbit.com/gallery/20096138/solo-gallery-34200/