Taking a breath

Many years ago – 2011 actually – it was suggested by a then open studios member that, since the old one folded, I should take on the task of starting a new one. I shook my head in total denial – a little like Miranda and Homer combined.

After my husband passed away in 2012 and all the paperwork was done, I was twiddling my thumbs and wondering what I should do with the rest of my life.

Well, here we are in the third year of the CYPRUS OPEN STUDIOS (COS) operation! It was a bit of a struggle in 2017 with Pafos2017 grabbing the spotlight. This year, Larnaca is having their first Bienale and thus the eastern part of the island is otherwise occupied.

Nicosia region is, well… something else; a sort of separate entity. Are the artists and artisans so happy with their own marketing and promotion, and the way they do their own thing that they don’t need an extra string to their bow? Or is it because they are inland? Is it because they are the capital city? Is it because it is the only divided capital in the entire world?  I don’t know, but they seem to distance themselves from Cyprus Open Studios although there have been a couple of interested people who… eventually decided not to go for ahead.

I would be interested to know the answer, as I am as confused a Hillary. Dunno

We have come to the end of our exhibitions abroad for 2018 and it has been a giant learning curve! But, every lesson learned is valuable. The Royal Academy of Arts also seems to be on a different planet. If you don’t preserve lambs or sharks in formaldehyde or paint naked in a wooden cell where the public can glimpse you, or make outlandish installations, it seems that your goose is cooked. Is this showing cultural ignorance on my part? Probably. Again, I would love to know the answer. (No images because of copyright).

We shall continue to try and get our members into the RA summer exhibition. You can read all about it here.

Attempting to become an RA exhibitor is part of our agreement with the Salon des Refuses in London. They are responsible for exhibiting the refused RA art – very traditional since 1863 in France, by command of Napoleon III for those artists whose works had been refused by the jury of the official Salon; he did love a good painting!

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You can see the top 12 Salon des Refuses artists here – and we are delighted to say two of our COS/OGA members were amongst the top 12! Now that’s something for one’s CV.

Marina Emphietzi Harris is the person responsible for Open Galleries Abroad (OGA), the international division of Cyprus Open Studios (COS). Contact information is on our website.

We would like to invite you to have a look at our Facebook page and while you’re there, give us a LIKE, please – if you haven’t done so already!

Our website is also up and running where you will be able to see this year’s participants (and non-participants) – the latter do not open their studios to the public but are available to visit at any time, by appointment.

Oh yes!!!  – you can become a member of the COS community and have your very own listing on our website with up to 8 images of your work… WITHOUT opening your studio. Check out the website: “Register here > members only” at a very small subscription with big exposure and, there is no deadline for joining as a Member Only.

If you are looking for something to read, have a look at this blog post – you will find out why artists are important. And they are!

The COS Team wishes everyone an excellent summer break – stay cool!

Frog

Ed: Maria Etheridge

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The event of the year!

Way back in 2015 when there were rumblings about Pafos2017, we at COS were a little concerned about the effect it would have on our own preparations and our events.

We went ahead with our planning and groundwork anyway and, as you will no doubt know, the 2016 event was very satisfactory for a first-year attempt. And then, along came 2017 and we quivered and trembled as we discovered that there were numerous artists who felt they would be spreading themselves too thinly if they participated in both Pafos2017 and COS.

Of course, Pafos2017 was a once-in-a-lifetime happening and one would be rather thick-headed not to opt for the opportunities afforded by such an event.

What we found rather surprising were the numbers that did register for the Cyprus Open Studios event despite the stiff competition. It was unexpected, to say the least, and we in COS’s  virtual office were delighted! We wish to thank each and everyone who met the challenge head-on and helped us make COS 2017 the success that it turned out to be. It infused our resolve to make future years bigger and better!

In 2017, we have also introduced a further service to artists who are serious about their work: exhibitions abroad!

Work was duly submitted in digital format to the Royal Academy’s summer 2017 show but the competition proved just that little bit too tough. However, the artists then went on to be exhibited through the Salon des Refuses and, by a system of popular vote by the public, Aristi Hadjisavva came 8th out of the selected 12 artists. Well done, Aristi!

Marina Emphietzi Harris (left) with Aristi Hadjisavva at the Salon des Refuses show

In 2018, we will once again take participants to the Royal Academy’s selection – you never know when you might strike it lucky – and after that there is again the Salon des Refuses exhibition. Another exhibition is planned in May at the Hellenic Centre in London. Marina Emphietzi Harris is the person in charge of the

“Open Galleries Abroad” (OGA)

and if you are interested in getting your feet wet abroad, you need to contact her immediately! Judging for admission by the individual institutions is strict… and deadlines are very tight.

Marina can be reached on +357 99 341 726 or by email at marina@marinaharris.com

The 2017 Prize Draw proved very popular again and the winner was drawn out of the bag on 15 November 2017. Unfortunately we cannot upload the video but you may see it here.

The lucky winner is Meg Adamson and she will claim her prize when she returns to Cyprus in the new year. Congratulations, Meg! We are sure you will enjoy your lessons in sculpting enormously at Karen Betts’  Artemis Studios.

Here are a few images of this year’s event…

We have also introduced something exciting this year:  an ART BUS which, due to a shortage of funding, we could only utilise for one day. However, we must give a BIG thank you to Cyprus Tourism Organisation for the sponsorship of this bus for 2017. We are working on a greater, in-depth coverage of the art routes for 2018 with several buses and several weekends/days and hope that CTO will support us again. These images were taken at various stops along the way from Kato Paphos to Polis.

 

Planning the 2018 COS event has already started and it would be great if we could get more feedback from the 2017 participants so that we may improve the experience for members and the public alike – let’s hear your voice!

—oOo—

You may know the ‘other’ sister website which came into being when we were not able to use the ‘open studios’ words in a name. When that hurdle was out of the way, www.art-en-route-cyprus.com became a bit redundant and it suffered neglect. In the last few weeks we have been forced to take action as we were not going to be blackmailed into paying for something we did not need, e.g. a security upgrade. It was decided to phase out art-en-route and link it to COS where members enjoy far greater exposure.

In addition to that, in 2018 we are offering an alternative membership to those who, for any reason, wish not to open their own studios to the public. Often studios are inside homes, which artists prefer to keep private. If you wish to register for COS 2018 but feel reluctant to open your private dwelling, please contact us and we will inform you of the alternative membership we offer.

And here is another little gem:  we are considering offering “alternative spaces” whereby artists may get even bigger exposure than ever before.  This is in the planning stages and we will keep you updated as plans progress. However, as exciting as that may sound, we must stress that the main objective of Cyprus Open Studios is to introduce the public to the creative process of each artist; they love it! That is why the events – worldwide – are called OPEN STUDIOS.

We are also considering offering venues where artists and artisans will be able to offer workshops and demonstrations – again something very popular with the public. And… we will get you in the loop as soon as the Festive Season is in the past.

And speaking of which… may we take this opportunity to wish you and yours a joyful Festive Season and the best ever year for 2018!

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Merry  Christmas!

Finally, for those of you who like to keep a finger on the global pulse, here is some reading matter which we found informative! There are some really good points here:

http://www.lot-art.com/auction-blog/The-Art-of-Appraising-Art-Answers-to-the-most-wanted-FAQ/41?mktname=blog_41_li

Thank you, Lot-Art.com!

Until 2018 – stay safe, happy and healthy!

balloonsThe COS Team.

Stepping up

Stepping up to the plate is a baseball term and in essence means: Throw me that ball so that I can hit it for six!   baseball-player-clipart-tumundografico-2-baseball-player-clip-art-1000_823

Life has a way of throwing curve-balls at one. If you know anything about cricket, there are more ways to throw a ball than batsmen would like,  especially Shane Warne’s googly. the googlyWe are all batters or batsmen, constantly stopping those balls ending our innings.

Now that had absolutely nothing to do with art or artists! Just felt like having a bit of fun…

Sometimes that canvas sits on the easel and you look at it with suspicion; it could at any moment throw you a ball you were not expecting. It could go either way, causing you to have a brilliant end product or… binning it. I’ve had one on my easel now for the best part of five or six weeks which started off really well. Then came the ‘leave it for a bit’ period and let it talk to you. Well, this one spoke loud and clear and said it was all wrong. Scraped off lots of the oils in certain places and let it rest… and that’s where it still sits. I honestly feel like binning it, as the only way I could rescue the thing would be to use my electric sander and get rid of all the impasto oil paint – and start again. Time will tell…

The time I spent learning from Jerry Fresia at Lake Como in Italy resonates within when a painting doesn’t work. His lesson was simple: When you paint, become more of yourself. He was so right!    Jerry painting

This makes me wonder how I could wander so far away from myself when I painted that painting – or attempted to paint that painting! Where did I take the wrong turning? Time to retrace my steps and look again.

So it is with the creation of all art; we need to keep on track, stay focused and aim for self-satisfaction. There is nothing Narcissistic about that; you simply do what you were put on this earth for in the first place: to create. Reach for that place within that makes your Being sing with joy!

I guess that is one of the reasons – if not the main one – why we love doing what we do with Cyprus Open Studios. It is almost as good as going to an art gallery or museum, familiarising oneself with the work of the wonderful creators who live and work in Cyprus. We feel as if we are getting to know each one rather intimately when they share their reasons for creating their art, even though we have never met.

The good news is that we do have the opportunity to  meet these creators of beauty and joy – each October during Cyprus Open Studios month. We are still accepting registrations until the end of May!

More good news is that we will be hosting, in collaboration with Paphos2017, a one-day open studios event in Makarios Street in the old town, between the market and Kennedy Square.

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Several of the shops selling arts and crafts will also be participating, with artists working on the spot and ever ready to tell you more about their techniques, passions and inspirations. Pafos2017 will be creating a route map and COS will be in one of the shops currently awaiting a new tenant, where visitors will get a taste of what’s in store in October. We would love to see you there – watch the press for further details and we will also keep you updated on progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Last, but most certainly not least – in case you have not seen it before, COS actively assist artists to exhibit in London at prime venues. Six COS members tried their luck with the Royal Academy of Arts and, following on, can be seen at the Salon des Refuses venue in Islington from 1 June 2017.

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We are preparing to follow on to another venue later  – more information will follow once available.

Opportunities arise all the time and it is heart-warming when someone from abroad, planning a visit to Cyprus, contacts us to ask for information about workshops. That is where we want to be! It is not all about October; it is all about the entire year of your membership!

In closing, this quote from the Dalai Lama caught my eye: 

“The intelligent way to be selfish is to work for the welfare of others”

— The Dalai Lama

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Wishing you days of great creativity!

The COS Team

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