It's always a bit messy getting ready for an exhibition. Assessing which work looks stronger, fresher. Which paintings work best together. Which paintings to frame and which to show but unframed. And measuring everything (twice) before placing an order at Isis Creative Framing.
I'm showing two new sets of abstract watercolour paintings - Landscripts, and Visual Haiku - from 20th May, during Oxfordshire Artweeks 2017. And by then, the studio will look nothing like this. With an open studio exhibition, it's a bit of a dilemma, whether to leave it looking like a work space with paintings on show amid all the paraphernalia and materials. Or whether to tidy up, clean paint splashes off the walls, and go for something more gallery-like. I'm plumping for the latter because, at the moment, the most pressing question is: where am I going to hang it all?
It'll be the first time I've used my current studio for an exhibition, and the challenge is how to maximise the hanging space. Until two days ago, the answer was going to be thin sheets of MDF, painted white, covering up the shelving. With a lot of drilling to get the nails in. And then more drilling if a painting doesn't look as if it's in the right place, once it's up. It happens. But a few days ago, my mum said, 'Pegboard?'
The answer is pegboard, with moveable hooks, to turn shelving into useful hanging real estate. This means less drilling, more flexibility. And you can even get white pegboard, which would save me several layers of emulsioning 5m of shelving.
Pegboard turns out to be surprisingly tricky to get hold of, despite being on trend again, in a retro sort of way. It was last on trend on the garage walls of childhood. Now it's all over Pinterest. Rapidly re-thinking how to do the exhibition, I found the one place in the whole country with white pegboard in stock - thank you Chiltern Timber - and got the order in today.