Excitement is Rising

As we come closer to the October event, things hot up.
Don’t simmer on the back burner – get to the fire and get hot!
boiling-pot

We are just reaching the end of the Early Bird reduced registration fee structure and although quite a few have grabbed the opportunity, many are still simmering… However, no need to panic! As from 1 March until 30 April 2017, registration fees are exactly the same as they were last year. This is, of course, extraordinary as we are offering more than ever before!

Here at the virtual COS office we are working towards making the experience more and more exciting and this year, we have added the opportunity for professional artists to be selected for gallery exhibitions. This is a first! The attraction is the price. For a flat fee – way less than galleries usually charge – you will have the full force of Cyprus Open Studios (COS) promotional machine behind you. If you are selected, you will be listed under the separate heading of Cyprus Open Galleries on the website.

If you do not get selected by the galleries who are hosting this year, we would strongly recommend that you team up with each other or with other artists in your area to open a studio space together. If you have any questions about this process, please contact us for further details. It is an opportunity not to be missed!

gabi-gillian-2Visitors to Gillian Keef’s open studio

Last month we shared a blog post from Jason Horejs, who is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona – here is the link in case you have missed it: http://reddotblog.com/hosting-a-successful-open-studio/

One of the points he made was this:
With more and more open studio events appearing around the country, this is a great topic. An open studio tour can be a great way to get your feet wet if you’re new to the art market, and for established artists it can be a great way to build connections directly with art buyers.

And the other point that really impressed me was this:
If you think about it, it’s almost like a treasure hunt. Participants are provided with a map and then get to plot their course from studio to studio looking for art that grabs them.
Participants also get to meet the artist. Art buyers love this! While it’s certainly possible to fall in love with a piece of art for its own sake (this happens all the time in the gallery), it adds a whole new dimension for clients when they can meet the artist.
At COS, it is our mission to make the experience of both artists and visitors one to be remembered and also to create the desire to do it again next time.

Another first for COS is that we have assisted 6 artists to register for selection at the Royal Academy of Art in London; their Summer Show is one that artists will forfeit their eye teeth for! The 6 artists are all members of Cyprus Open Studios and we will do everything in our power to make their experience as painless as possible.

the-royal-academy-of-arts-piccadilly-london-f3hrejThe Royal Academy of Arts London

Should they not be accepted by the RA, they will automatically qualify to be exhibited at the Salon des Refuses, also in London. No mean ‘second prize’ – and yes, we at COS are assisting with that too.

salon-des-refusesOne of last year’s Salon des Refuses summer shows.

There are several other opportunities abroad and when we have further information, it will be shared on our blog – follow us by adding your email address in the space to the right and you won’t miss out!

However, if you wish to participate in exhibitions abroad under the Cyprus Open Studios umbrella, you need to be a member. Don’t be shy – have a look at our website which is growing with 2017 members – and complete the registration form. Registration closes on 30 April 2017, which will be extended until 31 May 2017, but with a small penalty for late registration.

Have a look at the FAQ if you are unsure of the procedure; if you cannot find your answer there, please contact us either via the website or by email at info@cyprusopenstudios.com – we would be delighted to help.

starving-artist Best guess for this image: Henry Wallis:  The Death of Chatterton

We have often heard and read about artists toiling away in cold attics in bitter winters with no hot water and six flights of stairs under snow. Well, in this day and age there is no need to starve, or commit suicide, as an artist.

These days, what we hear a lot is: ‘I’m not really good with a computer’… Our advice is: Get better! It can only improve your chances of success if you know how to handle emails and images as there will always be people like us at COS who are ready to help you promote your art. But you need to get your skills honed not only to produce your ‘product’, but also to ‘launch’ it.

rocket-launch

If you think we can help, send us a email… yes, that’s the way to do it!

Email Inbox       Till next time, keep on creating!

MAKING MAGIC

Everyone who is interested in art will have pursued their interest by visiting museums, galleries, street art fairs, open studios, or someplace where they could feast their eyes on the magic that is art.

 

Let’s consider art as magic. Firstly, magicians do sometimes appear out of a puff of smoke but how long has it taken that magician to create that magic trick? It was first a thought, then the work began to manifest that thought into reality. After much hard work and many mistrials, the magician goes ahead and charms the audience who responds with oohs and aahs. What we often forget is that the trick may have taken years to perfect.

 

Art is magic. The artist walked the exact same path as the magician by first dreaming about making the piece of art you are looking at and has probably taken quite a long time arriving at the point of showing it. Possibly even years of study, with mounting student loans and burning the candle at both ends, but in the end, there it was – magic manifested.

magic-wand

All over the world artists, makers and creators share their magic with those who admire not only the end product, but also the making of such magic. There are many who aspire also to create such magic. Not the same magic though; a trick is only a trick when no one else can do it. But those who wish to make their own magic go ahead and do their years of study and hard work and experience mistrials until they are able to share their own kind of magic with others.

 

Here in Cyprus there are many magicians who create their own form of magic: ART, manifested in paintings, sculpture, mosaics, glass work, jewellery, ceramics – oh, too many to name here. If you happened to have been in Cyprus during the month of October, you will have had the opportunity to see how this magic was made. Cyprus Open Studios 2016 ran over the first four weekends in October and if you were amongst the close-to-2000 visitors to the artists’ studios and work spaces across the island, you were some of the lucky ones who could meet these magicians.

 

 

If you were not so lucky to be visiting our Island of Love during this period, do not despair – it will happen again in October 2017 and it will be even bigger and better and more magical than Cyprus has ever seen. It’s not every day you get to talk to an artist about their work and their process, especially in the place where they make their work. We think it is magical. We trust that you will agree.

 

There are plans in the pipeline to make our second year of Cyprus Open Studios truly magical. It is a very important year for Cyprus, and especially for Paphos, the 2017 European Capital of Culture, twinned with Aarhus in Denmark. Expect works of art in every imaginable medium celebrating the rich cultural heritage of this jewel in the Mediterranean. Excitement is running at fever pitch as we are all preparing for this momentous occasion.

 

If you wish to be part of all this (as an artist – of just about any kind), registration for participation will open on 1 December 2016. You will be able to access the registration form on our website at http://www.cyprusopenstudios.com/index.php/en/membershipBUT … we are in the process of giving our website a face-lift which we think will knock your socks off.

 

And there is one really big surprise waiting in the wings. But you will have to be patient as it needs to be ready for unveiling when it has been fine tuned. Don’t forget to click on the FOLLOW button on this page so that you will get automatic updates in future.

 

If you wish to be part of this phenomenal occasion by sponsoring our event, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please send us an email: info@cyprusopenstudios.com

 

For any further information, please contact:

Maria – for English –  +357 99 512 959

Marina – for Greek – +357 99 341 726

Nora  –  for Greek  –   +357 99 678 132

An interview with ANGELA WINSTANLEY

Angela runs the Kouklia Artworks, an Aladdin’s Cave of artistic treasures, where she represents many talented and creative people.

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Angela and a friend

 

 

kouklia-arts-centre
The entrance to Kouklia Artworks

However, I wanted to find out a little more about the person and set out with some questions and a notebook.

Maria Etheridge: When did you start painting? Has it always been a passion or are you a ‘late bloomer’?

Angela: I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t sketching and painting, in fact I can remember drawing on my bedroom wall, and indeed, on the classroom floor when at Infants’ School – so I guess it’s always been a compulsion with me. I went to art school many years ago – back in the ‘70s – Leamington Spa, but then followed the family trend and pursued what appeared to be a ‘safer’ career in Social Work. However, my artwork has been a real bonus in working with people, so ‘it has always been there’, as part of my working life. I have used my art professionally throughout my career, without the specific title ‘Art Therapy’.

I suppose I may be referred to as ‘A Hobbyist’ by some. However, now having time to develop, I enjoy an excellent turnover of sales and demand, therefore let’s hear it for ‘The Hobbyists’ as it is possible to enjoy a great deal of success and recognition.

M: Do you only use acrylics or do you work with other mediums too?

A: I will use any medium. For portraiture I prefer oils, but have produced work in watercolours, pastels, and colour pencils, plus other media. I use acrylics for my ‘series’ paintings as I find it the fastest medium, and some of these paintings are very detailed, and require an amount of ‘easy layering’. My caricatures are pencil sketched, scanned to the computer, and colour applied with a ‘digital’ palette.

Drums, a portrait, and two from ‘Cyprus Life’ series

M: What do you believe is the key element in creating a good composition?

A: This so much depends on the subject. I’m aware of all the formal ‘rules’ – however, for me there must be ‘points of interest’ which draw the eye to different parts of the whole. If there is space, this too should bring ‘something to the plate’. I look for light and depth, and a composition which ‘tells a story’ or stands in its own right as a single item.

M: You have created series of paintings under the headings of Cyprus Life, The Professionals, Musicians in Hats and so forth. Could you tell us a little more about each series?

A: When I first came to Cyprus I followed the usual route of seascapes, sunsets, doors, etc. – there was inspiration at every turn, together with the ‘time to do it’. However, being among ‘the people’ and listening to their stories, I found a catalyst which lead to the Cyprus Life series, all of which are the result of things which I have observed, or things which have been said, around me. I believe I have a good sense of humour and can usually see the amusing side of life, therefore the style appealed more and more, both to myself, and as it turned out, to ‘the market’ which spurred me on to capture the continuously appearing material onto canvas. I discovered that I was actually smiling whilst I painted and new ideas emerged.

Foreign Delegates, the latest one, a local inhabitant, and a Stormy Kouklia Sunset

From this came the Professionals – having realised that I had ‘a style’ which people appeared to enjoy – I was inspired by stories from a number of people in different professions – and having painted ‘Yes, Chef’ (because we were once involved with the Hospitality trade) – I decided to expand on this. Like Cyprus Life – some of the paintings have real people in them, some don’t but for the Professionals series I always take advice as to how far I can ‘push the boundaries’ and still remain credible.

I am an amateur musician and wanted to create a series to celebrate this. It’s a very different style to my other series, because the focus is different, i.e. I was particularly interested in encompassing lighting, posture, and the interaction between the instrument and the musicians’ hands – hence just the ‘tilt of a hat’ and no face. Having started with the series, people commissioned pieces with specific instruments in the same style – so the collection grew.  

I then did a ‘Family Group’ commissioned painting for a customer in UK, in a similar style, and have since been commissioned for these highly detailed and personalised paintings.

There are paintings and prints from these series now hanging all over the world, and I often take orders through the Kouklia Arts website which are delivered direct. Many images work well as merchandise, so they are printed onto mugs, key rings, fridge magnets etc., my theory being that if you like the image, then you can buy it at a range of prices and in a number of forms – but there is only one original!

M: Your paintings seem to have a humoristic twist and are expressed in naïve style. Would you like to expand on that?

A: The style is just how they ‘come out’ – nothing thought through or contrived. In fact, the figures are often slightly out of proportion, but it appears to work. I don’t usually have references for these pictures – just the overall concept and ‘shape of composition’, so each is a journey and most of the figures and faces present themselves to me as the work develops.

For the Professionals I do a good deal of research to ensure that details are correct, although they may well then be distorted to suit the humour of the work.

I get great delight from the ‘license’ which these subjects give me, i.e. I look at the clock on the operating theatre wall and think: ‘Hmmm – what to do with that’? Like many offices, they may have left behind a Christmas decoration or two, and in a hospital setting, this may well be a blown up latex glove, so in goes the glove, holly and ribbon.

Sometimes people say my paintings remind them of ‘Beryl Cook’ style, although I say my style is very much ‘Beryl Cook meets Giles’, which would make sense as I used to pour over the Daily Mail Giles cartoon books for hours, enjoying the depiction of the interaction between people, and the little details that you don’t initially notice.

M: Do you use other styles of expression such as abstract, still life, or any other?

A: I have a wide range of works including still life, abstract, and much more – some of which are on display in the studio. The demand to develop new images in the cartoon painting style means that other subjects are rare for me nowadays.

I take great delight in painting trompe l’oeil, (trick of the eye) and have painted on several walls in Kouklia. I have also ‘reverse glass painted’ a series of ‘stained glass’ windows in Konia.

I also create digital pictures which I have transformed into two animated movies ‘(The Adventures of Noggin Clontith). I have written and illustrated children’s books, namely The Adventures of Noggin Clontith, Cyber-Gran, Olivia and the Dinosaur, and The Adventures of Padistan Bear.

I have been very pleased to create props, staging and backdrops for Kouklia school and Youth Club plays, and a number of Taverna signs around the village.

M: Tell us a little more about your charity work, especially with regards to the cats. And how you raise funds and awareness, please?

A: Ah, the cats – actually, I wasn’t really a cat person before coming to Kouklia, but there they were – just everywhere, and we found kittens needing shelter – so off it went – cat rescue, both at home and the studio. Then I met Cynthia Smith, from Mandry’s Fund charity, and became involved in the Trap Neuter Release programme. We have an ideal location at the studio, and cats gather each day for feeding, so we are able to trap them for neutering.4166895_orig

We sell second hand books at the Gallery to raise money for the charity, plus I have painted a picture especially (Caterwaul) for the Cat Charities, for which they have the copyright, and can create merchandise to sell. I am currently doing the same for the dogs.

I’m also involved as an advisor / consultant with the Aiya Napa / Famagusta Autism Parents group, who are incredibly driven, and are working toward the first residential and respite Autism unit in Cyprus. I have pledged to create a specific merchandising image, for them also.

Indeed, I am a very busy person, having Management and Autism as key specialities. I am involved with a 3 year EU funded project developing Parent Training in 4 European Countries, which takes me to some interesting places. I am also delivering Soft Skills training, again EU funded, in other parts of Europe including Cyprus, plus Management training in Abu Dhabi, so there is not a great deal of down time.

M: You are participating in, and are hosting five other artists for the Cyprus Open Studios. Please tell us if the public should be aware of any particular points that will make their visit to Kouklia Artworks as pleasant as possible. How easy is parking, for instance? And what should they be looking out for as landmarks.

A: I am really thrilled at the team who will be exhibiting for Cyprus Open Studios! Between us there is a range of works and styles, and all of us are ‘on our journeys of development’, and therefore it is interesting to see how people have varied their subject matter over time.

A taste of the other participants at Kouklia’s work

As well as paintings, visitors can see a range of other items produced by the artists.

At one time the Capital City of Cyprus, Kouklia is a destination village, boasting Aphrodite’s Temple, the medieval fort museum and a ‘real feel’ of Cypriot Culture. There are a number of Tavernas where you can sit and watch village life, and enjoy good food and wine.

The Studio / Gallery is situated just off Kouklia Square, in a building which, I believe we have ‘authentically’ restored, between Sophia’s and Gabriel’s Tavernas. There is a main car park just before the square, or near the Temple entrance.

M: And how long have you operated in Kouklia?

A: Kouklia Artworks was established 3 years ago, and provides the opportunity for Artists and Crafters from as far away as Nicosia to Polis to display and sell their work. We have a number of different nationalities, producing a variety of styles and products.

There is a small classroom to the rear of the Gallery, where I give painting / drawing and other classes to both children and adults.

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The Kouklia Arts website is www.ArtworksKouklia.com, and we have a FACEBOOK page.

M: As one of the organisers of Cyprus Open Studios, I wish you and your fellow participants great success in this year’s event – we are planning to make next year’s event bigger and better! Thank you, Angela.

Ed.~ To see all the participants in Cyprus Open Studios, please visit our website, download the catalogue and do a final check of the revised 2016 schedule – all on the website: www.cyprusopenstudios.com  And don’t forget to get your entry form signed by four participants (in different locations) to stand a chance to win a voucher for €150,00 sponsored by www.art-en-route-cyprus.com – and have fun!

Please note that all images are subject to copyright laws and copying may result in legal action. Permission to reproduce images must be obtained from the authors mentioned in this post.

 

 

109 days to lift-off!

Publishing is a painful experience… especially a website!

If you are an author, or have a friend who is one, you will either know – or have been told – that getting anything ready for publication is a painful exercise. Getting something ready for a website is no less painful – in fact, I think it is even more painful as you have to engage in combat with an electronic entity that only exists in the ether. And then there is the language that is entirely invented and has no roots anywhere. On top of that, those who claim to be experts use a jargon only known to the in-crowd.

jargon

Another by-product is acquiring square eyes… not to mention the painful neck and back!                        Sitting-Giving-Man-Neck-Stiffness-Downtown-Chiropractor

 

Yes, I have been through the mill since January, the learning curve almost impossible to navigate as it was so steep. I have learned though! I’m quite proud for someone of my seniority to have accomplished the feat of preparing the Cyprus Open Studios website.

No, I didn’t do it alone – Daniel Economou prepared the ground and I am grateful.  Curling_pictogram_lip Especially sometimes when I felt like ‘curling’ up and dying…Without his help I would still be at the bottom of the hill… And next year, it will take on a whole new life – we have plans!

I would also like to say a huge THANK YOU to my two partners, Nora Hadjisotiriou and Marina Emphietzi-Harris for the translations and the work they have put in so far. We have a long way to go before we can sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labours in the form of watching visitors arriving at the artists’ studios in October.

visitors-waiting-queuing-at-centre-georges-pompidou-beaubourg-museum-fd5afk We can dream, can’t we?

Right now, we are excited and fairly happy with the response we have had for this year’s event – you can view all the participants on the website in both English and Greek: www.cyprusopenstudios.com

There are still people out there who have no idea what we are about. This is now your job: tell people about us and what we do! Word of mouth is a wonderful advertising tool. We would like Cyprus to be abuzz with art talk, especially during the month of October. We want lots and lots of visitors to stream through our studios and work spaces and other venues where we are set up and working – we want to tell the world just how marvellous we are!

 

 Tell the world! Tell-The-World Tell the world!

A few technical points need to be covered:

1. Have you studied the COS Participant Handbook? Please do – there are numerous tips and tricks to help you make your event a better one.

2. Have you printed out the forms (advertising and sponsorship) and started approaching people who are interested in becoming involved in the largest art happening-to-be in Cyprus? If not, why not? The forms and in Greek and English and so is the handbook!

3. Have you checked your entry on the website to see if it is correct? If you find any errors in the text, you need to let us know as soon as possible, please! There are still a few bits that need translating and an intro to be written on the participants’ page.

I have been told that people’s attentions spans these days are becoming shorter and shorter which means that I will love and leave you now to get on with what you need to get on with.

Right now… tired-woman-300x229  we are ready for a break!

When the next post goes out, this old artist will have had a good rest and be ready for more!

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Enjoy the summer weather!

If you are considering sponsorship or advertising, please contact us on info@cyprusopenstudios.com – we would welcome you with open arms! If you jump on this bandwagon now, you will grow with us in the years to come… and there will be a lot of growth!

Keep on creating! See you next time.

~Maria Etheridge~

DEADLINE EXTENDED!

Registration for participation in the Cyprus Open Studios event in October has been extended until

15 May 2016!

If you haven’t already registered, now is the time to get going – the website is

www.cyprusopenstudios.com

Click on MEMBERSHIP and complete the form. Please note that the fee scale varies with the number of participants working in one venue: a single artist pays €95,00 and it comes down by €5,00 for every extra participant up to 5 or more, €75,00 being the lowest. Just click on the drop down menu next to “Membership plan” to see the scale.

You may also pay offline if you don’t like using the internet for financial transactions. Simply click on “Cash/Cheque” under the Payment button and we will supply you with an alternative method.

You will receive a notification that your form has been sent and after that you will receive an email, asking you to attach your images. Don’t forget to tick the box(es) to show which weekend(s) you will be open to the public.

There is still misunderstanding regarding the purpose and process of opening one’s studio/workshop – or kitchen table – to the public. The sole purpose is not (necessarily) to sell your work; the aim is to engage with the public on your home ground and make the viewers understand better what artists and artisans actually do. We, the organisers, will do everything in our power to bring those visitors to you and your work. To better understand how others do it, please Google open studios in other countries, for instance look at the fabulous Surrey artists here :  and also this one:  The networking possibilities are endless when you are a member of an open studios organisation.

We still have a long way to go to before we are that brilliant but, believe me, we are working on it!

 

FINAL LOGO

 

COLOURS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN

When I went to Italy for lessons in Impressionism, Jerry Fresia, my tutor, used a palette of rainbow colours starting from the left with ultramarine blue and ending on the right with purple, covering all his chosen blues, greens, yellows, oranges and reds in between. Of course, white takes centre stage as it mixes with almost everything. Never use black! He teaches at Lake Como in Italy and his palette is perfect for the colours you see there.

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However, around the Med the colours seem to be more vibrant; not that his aren’t – they are just different. On the Med, we are influenced by the spicy colours of North Arica, the ochres and burnt orange, limestone and burnt sienna, mixed with azure blues of all hues of the Middle East, and verdant greens and colourful coastlines of southern Europe. It makes for a heady mix!

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I have come to the conclusion that Jerry is absolutely correct in that it is well-nigh impossible to put these colours on a painting surface using photographic images; you need to paint en plein air to do justice to Nature. One other thing I learned from Jerry was that one should never ‘paint like’ someone else; by all means use the role model’s methods, but paint like YOU. There is only one of you and you are unique; no one else in the Universe can do it quite like you. He said: “When you paint, you enter the zone where you do not see objects – you see shapes and colours. When you paint, you become more of who you are.” And that goes for any creative process, be it painting or sculpture or wood carving or whatever means you choose to express yourself in.

Now here’s the thing. All over the world there are people who cannot do what you do, the way you do it. Those people are interested in seeing the magic happening in front of their eyes. Yes, it comes back to that: an open studio is where you invite the world in to see how you make your magic. It’s like a visit to the circus or a magic show where things appear and disappear in puffs of smoke and people do amazing tricks. Do you remember how enchanted you were watching that? That’s what the visitor comes to look for in your studio! Magic!

Let’s give it to them – make them happy. In the process, you will be a much happier person as well.

 

For further information or any questions, please make contact on info@cyprusopenstudios.com, Facebook’s Cyprus Open Studios or give us a tweet or two on @COS_Promotor – we are here for you!

Remember, 15 May will come around in a flash – register now!