When I first started painting I visited a cross section of artists who were part of the Chichester Art Trail to find out how and where they worked. Feeling confident about my own work, and having a commission and three solo exhibitions under my belt. I contacted the founder Susan Cutts and she accepted my application. I became one of 40 artists who took part in the event, two weekends of the year.
As the first day loomed up I had that awful feeling that perhaps no-one will visit, apart from family and friends who are made to come. I need not have worried. The event was exhausting but great fun. I have had so many visitors that occasionally I have had to send them out to the garden to look around, until there was more space to accommodate them in the studio.
I asked one woman if she had travelled far and unbeknown to me she was one of my neighbours and a lecturer of Fine Arts at Chichester University.We have been friends ever since.
Over the years a number of visitors do stand out. One mother had travelled from London and brought her three children, two of whom were born blind. Whilst they were in the studio, a local journalist wandered in and could not believe her luck. She was able to see and hear their reactions, one of them said,” I love this picture so much I just want to hug it” she got a story, I got press coverage and we all got our photos in the paper.
Another visitor who stood out was a young blind girl. I gave her a number of paintings to touch and as the studio filled up with visitors, s she was able to tell us not only what she felt on the painting, she also related what she thought the story was about. It was the first time a child who had been born blind read my paintings.
Apart from sales I have had some amazing contacts as a result of the Art Trail. One of them resulted in my having a six page spread in House Beautiful, of my home, studio and paintings. I also had a page in a Sunday supplement about women who turn their lives around. More recently I have been contacted after a visit to the studio, asking if I would be interested in being involved in a most unusual contact, of which I will tell you about another time.