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artist's blog

July 2021

”Meeting deadlines and Mall Galleries..."

A month of mixed pleasures has prompted me into action to commit my thoughts to ‘paper’.

The main object that’s occupied my time just recently has been getting my work organized for the SGFA Annual Open which this year is in the Mall Galleries in Central London, 6-11 July 2021.

The exhibition had been scheduled for 2020, but Covid de-railed that one as it did for all public events. The paintings have been stored at home unframed all this time, but for some inexplicable reason I seemed incapable of getting back into gear, working out the deadlines, framing, labeling and ultimate arranging delivery.

Nothing extraordinary there in the scheme of things, having spent my adult life exhibiting and priding myself on being well organized. However, I was horrified by my apparent lack of recognition as to the urgency, deadlines and the fact that things are not quite as they were.

Interestingly, I have discovered amongst my colleagues and other fellow artist friends, that I am not unique after all! Now there’s a shock……….

Working as most artists do in isolation in normal times, the lockdown didn’t appear so bad – normal even. However, because there has been no pressure to frame up and present the work other than for ‘online’ exhibitions or Zoom events for well over 18 months, it appeared to suddenly hit home that a longer lead in time would be necessary for the framing, for example, as essential materials were ‘in transit’ or an extraordinary backlog of work had built up due to staff shortages, etc., etc.

Other issues also hit me hard, for example; having spent months within the confines of our home and garden, it felt weird of course just stepping outside, let alone getting in the car and driving beyond the village green just to check that the wheels were still round.

Taking on a drive more than an hour was stressful – behold, other cars on the road for a start – without considering going into London. Fortunately, a colleague stepped in as my guardian angel and saved the day.

Having gathered two other artists’ paintings (one had arrived from Australia just in time…) Maz and I set off to meet halfway and launched ourselves on London together. Meeting up with some of our colleagues as we queued to hand in our work was wonderful – just like old times. In fact the experience of lockdown for all this time just evaporated – it felt almost like a celebration as we stood in the warm sun catching up face to face.

The Society of Graphic Fine Art Annual Open is now open in Mall Galleries until 11 July – see it online through our official Society website or in person by appointment with Mall Galleries. The exhibition will be filmed and appear on the website shortly, and with around 340 exhibits, be prepared for an incredible journey.

A ‘normal’ day in London I fear is still a way off, but my husband and I took  the train, underground, and bus, and although it feels really weird to be in one of the World’s usually busiest cities devoid of crowds, it had a certain appeal nonetheless.

It would be nice to think that at some time there will be no roadworks for the traffic to negotiate but I fear that too a long way off, if ever!

However, the long awaited Covid-proofed SGFA Annual Open Exhibition finally opened (a year later than originally scheduled) in the wonderful Mall Galleries on Tuesday 6th July, to visitors, albeit reduced in attendance, but it was in no way diminished.

With around 340 exhibits on display, to attempt to take it all in in one visit was always going to be challenging, but with Government restrictions still in place we all had to adhere to this ruling, and I’m very pleased that the feedback so far has been fabulous.

Our Society website, illustrates the work, and various social media accounts are live as I write.

The exhibition has been filmed and will also be accessible through the website.

I hope that one way or another you may visit this show which displays work in a wide variety of media, size and genre.

Enjoy and come back for more!

                                   Jackie Devereux

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