Read new customer reviews

This whole art business thing is one of the biggest learning curves – every tiny step brings a new insight but what has struck a chord with me most of all is how customers like to engage with the artists they buy from. Investing in artwork is a more emotional purchase than say buying a new coat or a washing machine for example and it pretty much equates with the pleasure you get from booking a holiday. Almost.

Artwork lasts. It doesn’t break down, wear out and become unfashionable.

If you have been thinking about buying a print or an original to add to your collection you may be interested to read reviews from some of my recent customers.

I contacted a few customers who had bought paintings and prints over the previous three months and asked for some feedback. I told them that I wanted to post their responses semi anonymously and I was pleasantly reassured at the positivity and willingness of everyone I emailed.

The page is looking great – even if I do say so myself. I feel proud that customers value the care I put into ensuring great quality prints and finished originals. I use Royal Mail tracking so that I can see when the customer receives their print. It is more expensive but I think most people prefer to have the reassurance of tracked delivery. I loved all of the reviews but this one from Alex, a customer who lives in Bristol, just bowled me over.

“Having a painting of Mary’s on my wall at home brings me daily joy. Her work is stunning. I was lucky enough to be invited into her studio after contacting her to say how much I admired her work. It was such a pleasure to go and see where these beautiful paintings are created. A tremendously difficult decision choosing but I fell in love with The Madonna.

“Mary was also kind enough to let me pay for the painting in instalments which we agreed upfront with a contract. The communication was frequent and friendly and Mary even went out of her way to bring the painting to its new home. I will be forever grateful for giving me this opportunity, it helped me afford a piece of unique art that produces so much happiness and inspiration in our home. It is beautiful, thank you Mary.”

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Madonna and Child – available as an open edition print – Original Sold.

My Frida Kahlo

 

Frida Kahlo is an inspiration to so many and she has been having more than a moment in popularity just lately. Wherever you look right now her unique and distinctive monobrow seems to be displayed on anything from shopping bags to aprons and magnets to mugs in some of the trendiest gift shops in my home town, Bristol.

But her ubiquitous image appearing on all kinds of gift items is not the reason that I felt compelled to tackle her beauty albeit these may have had some responsibility in raising my awareness.

I noticed on my Instagram feed that people were using quotes by Frida to inspire and this led me to want to get to know more about her. She has, I learned, become something of a feminist icon and it is this primarily that peeked my interest.

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Frida Kahlo and flowers (detail – earlier in painting progress) ©Mary Price 2016

Her tenacious approach to a life marred by physical disability and disappointment is famously and beautifully reflected in the wonderful paintings she made where she pours emotion and her own life story through self portraiture and symbolism.

Frida said, “I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.” To follow Frida’s paintings chronologically throughout is to follow her life. She lost herself in the very act of painting and found herself reflected back onto the canvas. Despite being unable to move for much of her life she found freedom through her art. She famously said, “Feet , what do I need them for when I have wings to fly.”

This sense of how painting can give wings to fly to an imaginary freedom resonates with me entirely. Painting, I find, is an escape route into another place, another universe where when lost in the act, time stands still and reality is for the moment suspended in a creative dream.

My Frida is relaxed with her eyes closed and surrounded with a meadow of imaginary flowers symbolising her beauty and reflecting her enigmatic passionate energy. She also once said, “I paint flowers so they will not die” so I wanted my Frida to be almost floating or bathing in flowers.The bath of flowers is also an important analogy in respect of her famous painting,’What the water gave me’.

Her palm tree earrings are where I have chosen to connect us both. Palm trees are my symbol reflecting my love of travel, natural beauty and by their swaying loveliness growing best in warmer climates a sense of eternal optimism and hope.

 

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Frida Kahlo and flowers ©Mary Price 2016

 

Paintings for sale in gallery

Later this month 14 paintings and 4 prints will be available for sale at Tinca Gallery in Portishead near Bristol. This lovely spacious gallery sells paintings by several local artists I admire so it’s great to be in good company.

I can’t say how fantastic it feels to get some validation from a gallery. This is the first time I have shown work in this way. It’s scary but also really affirming. I will be featured as artist of the week when the paintings are on display on the gallery Facebook page very soon.

These are the limited edition giclee prints that will be included for sale.

I will also be offering these in my Etsy shop eventually. Each step takes time and this one has been taking forever but I don’t want to spend too much time glued to the computer. It will be up and running as soon as I can manage and announced here and on social media when ready.

It’s quite a steep learning curve getting work prepared for a gallery – painting the edges of large canvases, mounting little paintings onto MDF boards that need to be primed, emulsioned and sanded and finding out how unsuited IKEA Ribba frames are for showing in galleries. They look nice  and are lovely for home but galleries cannot fix screws into the frame without them disintegrating. But it’s all a learning process so I know this for next time!

Here are three tiny paintings that I finished recently that are a new departure that will be on display.

The gallery has also taken on one of my very large paintings inspired by my recent trip to Cadiz. I’m fascinated by the ornate doorways and weathered textures of Southern European buildings, it’s amazing how you can stumble on really magnificently decorated homes that are often hidden down narrow streets. The fact that these buildings are hidden has not stopped the builders and artisans from festooning them with beautiful tiles, wrought iron work and sculptured facades. This one is called Casa or An Imaginary Home. Like much of my work it draws on travel memory for inspiration interspersed with my own license to explode the colour onto the canvas

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Casa or An Imaginary Home 100 x 100 cms acrylic on canvas

Earlier this month I had another lovely moment – my first Instagram sale that came about as a result of a 100 day project challenge that I’m currently doing to try to hone watercolour painting skills. Watercolour is a medium that I love the look of but find difficult so I’ve been trying to get better at it.

Instagram is where I post progress images and finished work very regularly so do feel free to follow – I’m @artistintheshed surprise, surprise!

Here is the little painting. Just a bit of fun really.

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I will keep you updated with the date that the work goes up in the gallery. Thank you for reading.

Cactus and carnival inspiration

Tenerife is an island of fantastic beauty, a hard black landscape sculpted by massive volcanic lava eruptions, where prickly cacti grow with so many triffid like variations in weed like abundance.

This week I took photographs of the riot of colour at the Los Gigantes carnival and made a series of quick sketches of cacti.

Here are a few drawings and photos capturing some inspirations together with a painting made at a little studio in the main square at Los Gigantes.

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Cactus celebration – acrylic on canvas

 

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‘Lives lived here’ – progression of a painting

Last weekend we wandered the quiet winter streets  of Porto stealing photographs of street art, old doors, old windows, strings of washing, lived in windows with decorative lace curtains and watched as birds circled in the sky above us.

This post shows the progression of my current work in progress, a large canvas depicting an old door and integrating motifs based on memories of the city. I’m calling the painting ‘Lives lived here’ as so much of this city has buildings that are unoccupied but which speak of their history in subtle ways.

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First layer with outline composition painted onto wet canvas                                                                                                                  ©Mary Price 2016

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Second layer introduces dark tones and a variety of marks scratched into the surface with sharp bamboo skewers                   ©Mary Price 2016

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Third layer and more colours added and elements and motifs to bring meaning into the work are added, symbols, arrows, birds and the washing line strings ©Mary Price 2016

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Memories of the street art by Hazul Luzah are introduced into the bottom right corner in the figurative form and the diamond shapes that appear on many of his works; the words ‘lives lived here’ are etched into white paint reinforcing the history of people who inhabited the crumbling buildings that abound in this wonderful city. A lace curtain with a finely stitched bird is a stolen image from a window on the waterfront. I signed the painting thinking it finished but I think I was a little premature. There is more to do. ©Mary Price 2016

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The street art image becomes more defined looking like a huddled ghost whilst the swifts are brought into sharper focus against pale backgrounds. Maybe the figure gives a sense of the past lives lived, a symbol guarding memory. Notice the padlock and chain on the door sealing in the memories. I have since added a heart to the padlock – it may remain or it may be taken away! ©Mary Price 2016