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.