Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Non-members varnishing day

I went to London yesterday for Non-Member's Varnishing Day at the RA.  It is a day for exhibitors to get together over a glass (or four) of champagne and some canapés and savour the pleasure of being on the walls of such an illustrious gallery.

There are also speeches and prizes, but I was so busy talking in a distant room of the exhibition that I missed them completely.  I also totally forgot to pick up the painting that did not get in, so I will have to com back at a later date.

It was a lovely sunny day in London and the Royal Academy looks its best on days like that, with natural daylight streaming in from above.  The show looked very good, I thought.  There were lots of things I liked and very few I hated.  The sculpture rooms were perhaps the most disappointing.  I was not sure about the quality of the exhibits, but it was hard to tell as they were gathered together and packed so closely that it was hard to tell where one piece ended and the next began.  By contrast, the paintings and prints were given a lot of room to breath.

I did not make straight for my painting when I arrived.  I wanted to happen across it naturally.  I walked round the show, enjoying that fact that it was possible to actually see all the work quite easily.  The last time I was in the RA it was to see the Hockney show and that was packed.  This was much more civilised.  And it was great to turn a corner and see my painting taking its place with all the others.

I was astonished at the prices of work in the show.  I always think of the Summer Exhibition as being at the affordable end of the spectrum, but there were very few paintings I liked that I could have afforded to buy.  The last time I was in the show, I used the money I made from the sale of my painting to buy another painting in the show.  That would be difficult to do this time.

Having felt preposterously over-priced at the Cambridge Drawing Society Exhibition, I now find myself something of a bargain in the RA.


  1. I was going to say, it must be really exciting to be in the Summer Exhibition - but if you've done it before, perhaps you've become blasé about it!

  2. That's more than amazing, Chris. If I was in London, the RA would be one of the first places I'd visit. Or at least the third. As it is, I rarely get the opportunity to visit a gallery of any kind, though I was able to make my way to LACMA last year where I visited the Tim Burton exhibit, among others. Once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing.

  3. I am beyond impressed, you are too disgustingly talented for your own good ;o)

  4. Thanks all. Mary - not blasé at all. There are some things you never get blasé about and this is definitely one of them. Dracula - I'd like to see a Tim Burton show. I bet that was great. Kathryn - I wish.