Unhinged. I'll leave you to decide if this applies to me or just to the diptych I entered for the Westward Ho! & Bideford Art Society's annual exhibition at the Burton Gallery in Bideford. Quite possibly both you will decide. A painting from a couple of years ago but I thought the two parts of 'Making It Up' - click on each picture below to go to larger representations and read a little about their origin - was something they might have liked. It was not to be.


 Making it up 1Making it up 2


They told me I created a problem for them: they were too big (both together were less than one metre), and that I'd stated the works should not be separated. That is so, because it is one work, which to me looks pretty obvious.

The truth lies elsewhere. Incidentally, since these photos were taken I'd made it more clear by starting the signature on #1 and ending it on #2... but you'd have to look to see that.

People look at paintings far too quickly and make snap judgements in most selection processes. The old adage, 'You only get one chance to make a first impression' might be cool business speak but it doesn't apply to anything which demands contemplation. Research shows that most people look at paintings in galleries for a few seconds, half a minute at most. How long do you listen to a symphony? As long as it lasts. But a painting is infinite; it lives on the easel for say 3 days, and thereafter for ever.

Cezanne said, "I have to work all the time, not to reach that final perfection which earns the admiration of imbeciles. And this thing that is so commonly appreciated is merely the effect of craftsmanship."

Nothing wrong with craftsmanship, but if that's ALL there is it had better be up to Pre-Raphaelite standards.

Never mind, my own lonely furrow is enough to plough.

Stella Levy
- 14 September 2017 at 12:11pm

Keep on furrowing, I say. Yes painting can be lonely and thankless, but in the end if you are happy and satisfied with the final results, surely that is a huge plus. Not looking for others to make their small minded judgements!
Stephanie Young
- 14 September 2017 at 12:11pm

The paintings are effective together. And that's what matters. You felt the effect and we, seeing them here, do too. I say congratulations and what a relief they weren't accepted! They stay together, as you mean they should. As Stella Levy says, a huge plus.
- 14 September 2017 at 12:11pm

I would suggest - judgements by others say more about the judgers themeselvs - than the work or thing they are judging. Paint on!
Valerie Biebuyck
- 14 September 2017 at 12:11pm

Dear Richard
This pair of paintings was more likely not accepted because it was not in the conservative style of most of the pictures chosen. Your paintings are vibrant in subject, interpretation and colour. This pair in particular was perhaps shocking to the judges sensibilities as was the art of many of the impressionists that shocked the public in their day and are now much beloved and praised. Don't be discouraged - your work is wonderful! The painting I bought from you is always the first picture on my walls to be remarked on and praised. I get quite jealous! Don't change your style or the energy that shines out of your pictures.
Patricia Butler
- 14 September 2017 at 12:12pm

Hi Richard
I too was rejected this year. It would seem that there are only the chosen few who are allowed to be shown.I know when I look at the exhibition that my work is supeerior to many on show and so are yours. You and I do not do twee we do not paint to impress we paint from the heart. You know that I love your work. Stuff em . paint on.....
- 14 September 2017 at 12:12pm

Thank you all for those wonderful encouraging comments. What a surge of adrenalin they give me. I know from these comments and some others told me privately that indeed it isn't just me who falls foul of closed minds - others with certainly more reason to feel aggrieved than me (amongst them those commenting here).
What is remarkable, as Valerie points out, how can nothing change in a hundred years given all the interest in modern fine art across the cultural landscape.
Frank and Miranda
- 14 September 2017 at 12:12pm

Hi Richard
Sorry we have not commented sooner but have been away.
We both loved your 2 paintings and thought they were excellent and obviously have to be hung side by side, there is no accounting for taste though. However, let us throw another old adage at you: "When one door closes another one opens". Remember that.
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