Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Secret Lives of Artists

Hello everyone,

The title of this blog is a little misleading. It should be called 'The Secret Lives of Artists' Partners' but it didn't look so good when I typed it in.....

You probably know that our current exhibition is a solo one of work by my wife and business partner, Alison Auldjo, entitled 'Gone to Earth' - and very beautiful it is too.  As well as the bountiful praise that has been heaped on the work there have been some supeb reviews - just reward for such an artistic tour de force.

Much has been made of how Alison fought with the work and how that has been transferred onto the canvas, but I though I might give you a little insight into how the process of creating an exhibition affects the artist's nearest and dearest. Those of you who are close to an artist may just recognise some of my thoughts on the matter.

It is impossible for anyone to really appreciate the stress, angst and downright grumpiness of the artist at work until you have experienced it yourself.  Alison and I have been married for 18 months, and at least 12 of those months have been a living hell because of the impending storm that is 'Gone to Earth'.  Night after night of tantrums, self-doubt and the searching for reassurance take their toll on you - even more so because as a mere bystander there is very little you can do about it.  Of course, you can remind the talented one just how good they are, and you can give an inciteful critique of the work as it emerges, but it really won't help - trying to convince an artist that they are doing the right thing is like trying to convince a banker that they shouldn't take their bonus; even if they know you're right they won't listen. Here's the maestro at just such a moment:

A tired and emotional Alison Auldjo in her studio.
Of course, there are great highs when a work is completed or is coming along well, but even that is fraught with danger.  You cannot avoid the 'does my bum look big in this' moment when you try and be constructive but nothing you say will be right!  The world of the artist, bearing their soul for all to see, is a confusing one for those of us who are not that way inclined.....I am relieved that I only have to go through it by association.

The end result, however, is an exhibition of astonishingly powerful and beautiful paintings that mean even more to me because I truly appreciate what it has taken to create them.  Visitors to the gallery are responding so well to the work that it fills me with pride and not a little emotion.  Just have a look at this:

'Safety in Numbers', oil on canvas, by Alison Auldjo

And this:

'Into the Wilderness', oil on canvas, by Alison Auldjo

And finally, at this:

'Open Spaces', oil on canvas, by Alison Auldjo

If you haven't been in to see the work, you really should before  the exhibition closes on 5th December - it is an exhibition full of subtlety and beauty.  

The exhibition may have had a painful birth, but it was worth it and I wouldn't have had it any other way.



  1. The honesty's brutal. But so is the appeal of the exhibiton. This bit of writing has made me feel a bit funny Rob. In a good way, I think. Congratulations on a wonderful exhibition - hard fought for (by both of you) and well earned (by both of you)! La Pie (that's my art critic name)X