The stars of the show were the Tactile paintings

The launch of my first solo exhibition at The Oxmarket at Chichester was hugely supported by friends and family, as they would do, I got  great feed back, lots of sales and felt really good.

I really wanted to  see what the  public response to the tactile paintings was like. The best way to observe this would be to spend all day, every day at the exhibition.  Depending on their reactions and what the feed back was like, would determine if I made any more.  Each tactile painting takes a lot longer to create than just applying paint and  I did not want to continue doing them, if there was no interest.

I should not have felt any concern. The sighted visitors, closed their eyes while they felt the paintings, visually impaired shared their joy at being able to touch,  and children  were happy to know that they would not be in trouble for touching.

All week long the gallery  was buzzing  and there was tremendous interaction. Total strangers discussed what they saw and felt and  this was awesome.   It was a really special time. Local press  coverage of the exhibition and  focus on the tactile paintings  resulted in increased numbers to  the gallery.

One of the tactile paintings Is called HAPPY RAIN.   Once I built it up with plaster, I painted red, yellow and blue rain drops in enamel paint to make it slippery, and these were shown falling  on an umbrella. The story is, if it is a dull day,you are not in a particularly good mood and it pours with rain, you generally feel fed up. Imagine a  day out with friends, you all visit a  Restaurant and when you leave, it starts to rain. You are not really bothered, because you are happy. hence the title HAPPY RAIN.

I had now achieved my ambition to make 42 paintings,  I found a way to create  tactile paintings and because  public response was so  encouraging, I was  determined to carry on. It would also be  important  to carry out  research on where tactile art could be seen and felt, who the artists were and which galleries this style of work.

My next ambition was to   find another venue, book it for 12 months ahead, and fill it with tactile paintings.  I would make  an exhibition where  I could invite the  previously excluded audience of  blind and visually impaired visitors, so they too could share the experience.