I have the great experience of attending Varnishing Day at the Royal Academy of Art in London, as a contributing artist to this year’s Summer Exhibition with my paintings Shut The Windows and Not A Drop To Drink.
What a day. Leaving early on the train I arrived at 11 in the courtyard at Burlington House to find many artists loitering, beautiful music from a steel band and an electric atmosphere. I saw Ben Edge and had a chat with him and a couple of other artists before the courtyard filled to brimming, with Joe Lycett jumping around filming.
The procession was lead to St James church where William Blake was baptised, for a formal ceremony of talks, sermons, hymns and singing. We were informed that this year more artists attended than ever before and it was full to the rafters.
Back to The RA with my companion Arthur, a political artist who had a screen print artwork in Grayson Perry’s room, who accompanied me in where I was delighted to see my painting Not A Drop in room 1, curated by Bill Woodrow. Hanging nearby was a painting by Ange Mullen Bryan who introduced herself and we set off looking at all the work together. I also was pleased to meet Louisa Longstaff Scales who is a fellow Norfolk artist and chatted to several others.
The exhibition draws criticism a lot of the time and yes, there were a few bloomers in my opinion but there were also many many fabulous works by artists a knew and ones new to me and the effect as a whole was just brilliant. It felt so validating for me to have this arm of my work accepted and se eit alongside others working in a similar vein.
I went home and started a large volcano painting the very next day. Freedom.