Since becoming more involved in the art world that merely an interested observer, which I suppose means since having met my other (some would say better) half, I have learned a lot about what it is to be an artist. Of course, having not one artistic bone in my body I can't pretend to know what it really feels like to be immersed in the creative process, but I have had many conversations with some of artists that we work with. And those conversations probably give me more of an insight than most laymen.
So I get that the process of creating a work of art can be a painful one, and that many artists are never really happy with what they do, and that drives them on to do more and more work. I get that painting is usually a solitary profession, and that there is an obsession with detail that can drive the artist crazy. I also get that even the most casual-looking brushstroke has probably been thought about, worried about and, for it to be effective, has taken a great deal of skill.
But, and many of you will know this, there are things that I don't understand, and that I never will.
Take our current exhibition, 'Annette Edgar: Life Times', which opened last Friday and has been greeted with acclaim by those who have seen it so far. This is an exhibition full of colour and joy. Annette, herself, says that she loves life and her work is a celebration of this - and you can feel that. Arriving in the gallery each morning is a genuinely uplifting experience at the moment, and there are well documented explanations of how colour can affect you. You could even say, I suppose, that these paintings are 'good' for you.
Take a look at this:
'Spring Trees', oil on linen, by Annette Edgar.
'Pure Love', oil on linen, by Annette Edgar.
These are paintings that fill you with joy - there is a beauty and simplicity to them, in terms of colour, subject matter and the skills utilised that make it a real delight to spend time with them.
But, here's what I don't really understand: when talking to Annette about her work, and indeed when talking to others about Annette and her work, it becomes clear that there is more going on than merely talent and commitment. Annette has to paint. She cannot function properly without it - it is as important to her well-being as the air that she breathes. It is not something she does simply as a career, or even something she just loves to do, it is a vital and irrevocable part of her psyche - a way of life. Now I am sure that most artists who read this, if there are any, will nod their heads in understanding, but I don't get it. Is it something that she is born with? Or can it be taught? The one thing I am sure of is that it is very, very real, and that for us bystanders it is a very good thing. The passion and love that goes into these paintings is there for all to see.
So for that, all I can do is thank Annette Edgar, and be happy that such devotion and care can be found on the walls at Union Gallery.