Art Sale…

harp recital - 16 Jan 18 (2)

My exhibition is over.

It was so sad taking it down.  It looked so perfect displayed together in that beautiful bright white box with loads of natural light shining in.

It wasn’t just me who thought so.  I can report that the exhibition was really well received.  There were five whole pages of comments in the visitor book and they were all so lovely I’ve photographed them and am sharing them here.

Out of the Darkness Comes the Light – SALE catalogue

There are three paintings that need returning having been brought back to me on loan, two more need sending to their new forever homes.

I’m now looking for a venue that might like to display the remaining collection –

three glass sculptures and twelve acrylic paintings. …

“Out of the Darkness, Comes the Light”

When I began this body of work in 2014 it was as a result of the awe and emotion evoked when I looked out at the huge expanse of the dark night sky from my home in rural Mid Wales.  There were so many more points of light and smudges in that darkness than I had ever seen before, having previously lived inner city. I would look up, with wonder at the prospect of the infinite new beginnings and endings; the energy that must be existing, living, dying and flowing beyond beyond.

Then I started looking at images taken from space telescopes and felt a spiritual connection to all that light and energy exploding out of the darkness.  These energetic outpourings millions/billions of years ago still shine bright today; still impact on the here and now.  For every action, no matter how large or small has an impact.  A smile, a frown, a wave, which road we take, which path we walk.  Everything makes a difference.

They say that something as a small as the flutter of a butterfly wing may ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world…

Also, all items are available for sale, if anyone is interested.  (I need to sell a few more to make space for the next collection. )

Out of the Darkness Comes the Light – SALE catalogue

What My Fridge Says

 

My first solo exhibition…..eek

On Wednesday I finally set up my long-planned (I booked the space a year ago) , first ever solo art exhibition.

DSC_0657[1]

I did what I always do when out of my comfort zone. I wear ALL the colours and blag it. So here I am heading out to the gallery (via the hairdresser) to meet the curator and set up my show.

And here I am with talented illustrator and wonderful friend Amanda Rose , post hair transformation (thank you Sadie of Meraki Salon, Llandrindod Wells ), and somewhat more relaxed , having nearly finished the set up .

So that was Wednesday.

Friday evening was Preview night. The venue, Amgueddfa Sir Faesyfed (Radnorshire Museum), in Llandrindod Wells, county town of Powys.

It’s a weird thing exhibiting your own work , well certainly so the first time, I can’t speak beyond that. The overwhelming feeling for me is embarrassment. I’m an untrained artist, other than some local community lessons both in art and in glass, I didn’t study it at school or university. Part of me thinks I’m going to be unveiled as a fraud or laughed at. Another part of me, the biggest, feels typically British… one does not invite ones friends around and layout their stuff and ask them to publicly say nice things about you and your things “Come on people, praise me!”. My fear that my lovely friends would come along and feel they had to be nice because I needed some positive affirmation (which I did/do) but which might not be genuine. I’m transported back to being a child and handing a picture to a parent with great pride, and as it’s blue tacked to the fridge door them saying “that’s lovely dear, what is it?!”.

all glammed up (all the colours!) ready to face the crowds

But the other feelings I had by Friday evening other than fear and embarrassment, were excitement and pride. I was desperate for Hubby to walk into the room for the first time. He was genuinely emotional and very proud. I knew then that I’d done OK. Actually, I think I knew on Wednesday. The gallery space at the museum is fantastic, well-lit, good proportions, nice feeling. The curator, Will Adams, is fabulous, both in his skills and in his reassuring nature. My friend Sue helped me with pricing and then offered so generously to cater the event with some of her amazing canapes had provided oodles of encouragement and reassurance. Sues catering is second to none. She founded the business Tea ad Sympathy, which continues to offer excellent services in the Wiltshire areas even since she retired to Wales. Her and husband Paul arrived early too with said canapes and it was reassuring to get feedback on the exhibition from them before the arrival of others. Paul is an amazing wildlife artist in his own right (despite what he may say himself), his skills are incredible.

The evening was fabulous. I received so much support and it wasn’t just friends and people I knew . I’m going to leave you with a gallery of images from the night and you can decide for yourself. If you are in Mid Wales between now and 17th March, please do pop in and take a look. If you let me know you’re coming I will try to come and meet you for coffee and cake. The local Herb Garden Cafe is excellent for that sort of thing.

Pictures courtesy of Hubby, the museum, and good friend Craig….

“Out of the Darkness, Comes the Light”

When I began this body of work in 2014 it was as a result of the awe and emotion evoked when I looked out at the huge expanse of the dark night sky from my home in rural Mid Wales. There were so many more points of light and smudges in that darkness than I had ever seen before, having previously lived inner city. I would look up, with wonder at the prospect of the infinite new beginnings and endings; the energy that must be existing, living, dying and flowing beyond beyond.

Then I started looking at images taken from space telescopes and felt a spiritual connection to all that light and energy exploding out of the darkness. These energetic outpourings millions/billions of years ago still shine bright today; still impact on the here and now. For every action, no matter how large or small has an impact. A smile, a frown, a wave, which road we take, which path we walk. Everything makes a difference.

They say that something as a small as the flutter of a butterfly wing may ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world…

Bernice Benton – acrylic and stained glass artist

Before moving to Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, Mid Wales I felt there was ‘an artist within’. It wasn’t until I moved here with my partner and our son in 2005 that I felt I had the opportunity to explore and develop my creativity. We all say that our landscape inspires our art and creativity and it definitely does. By finding the time to connect to the earth and the sky, I also began to tune into my own inner rhythm; was more able to connect to those around me; and to follow my own energy patterns, which has enabled me to find a balance, joy and a vision I did not find before.

I attended some art classes and stained glass sessions, and for those tutors I am truly grateful for their enthusiasm, inspiration and guidance. They gave me the basic tools, confidence and energy to explore and develop. The journey is far from over and for that I not only thank my surroundings, but the amazing people whose souls and personality have guided and enhanced my vision. If you are reading this you are probably one of them.

Every chapter of my life to date has led to this one. Those beyond will evolve from these now. Each moment that has been experienced, guides me through the here and now and forward into the light of my future.

Everything is connected.

My Random Musings
What My Fridge Says

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Lucy At Home

Monday Stumble Linky

 

Focus Aspire Inspire – How Did I Do In 2017?

 


It wasn’t until late February of 2017 that I set my ‘goals’ for the year. One of them being, ‘get more organised’! I was INSPIRED at the time by Debbie of My Random Musings to write down measurable, realistic yet Aspiring goals to FOCUS my mind on my art and my social media. My plan was to review my own progress and tweak my activity throughout the year to meet or even succeed my targets (arbitary numbers that I liked the sound of).

In the original post which you can read in full by following the link I set myself targets relating to Twitter, blogging, teaching, making stock items, obtaining art commissions,, obtaining exhibitions, vlogging and setting up retreats and events at our B&B, Cerdyn Villa.

In August I did my first quarterly review. Seemingly I still had more work to do on the ‘get more organised’ resolution! I was pretty pleased with my progress, some targets had been exceeded, others were in my sights; but a couple had lost direction completely. I resolved to resolve these issues. Four months left to get full marks in my end of year review. In October I blogged an update and sadly the same weak spots remained.

So all in all how did 2017 go for me?

Aside from the goals set. 2017 can best be described as BLOODY FANTASTIC.

A year full of joy and laughter, friendship and parties. I had a massive celebration on reaching my half century in tact; Hubby and I became grandparents.

But lets focus on the 2017 challenges I set myself

1. Twitter – 500 followers : as of today I have 574… I notice that I picked a realistic 500 but had a wild dream of 1000. I think to achieve that I need a course. I need to know how to use lists and analyse my stats. I suspect in 2018 the important thing should be concentrating on engagement and interaction rather than followers. No point in getting 1000 likes if only 6 people ever ‘speak’ to me. Any tips and recommendations people?

2. Sort out my twitter lists. – well I did, but now feel like I need to split them and review them. I also need to know how to make use of them because I’m sure twitter would be a more useful tool if I had some more skills knowledge. I suspect there are loads more I can do with it than I can do now.. so 2018 is about LEARNING and APPLYING that learning to achieve more meaningful INTERACTION

3 & 4. Blog – 150 followers / 20,000 views… well I have 143 followers and 17796 views – I need to work harder at the blog … problem is I don’t know what I want to achieve with it. I write for my sanity. As I have said many times it’s my place to ‘brain dump’, sometimes posts never get published. Would I want blogging to be a money spinner for me rather than a social and mental outlet? I am a little reticent, I generally scan over or don’t read sponsored blog posts. I’m a skeptic, I don’t watch adverts. If someone is being paid to like a product, how do I know they really like it, or really like it more than any similar product. In an ideal world I’d like to continue to write what wanted about anything I wanted to AND earn money from it…hey, wouldn’t we all. It would make me feel less guilty about the amount of time I spend writing and reading blogs. At the moment as we edge into 2018, it remains my guilty pleasure. I have a feeling it may stay that way

5. Teaching – I spent the first 6 months of 2017 co-teaching a fantastic community stained glass project in Myddfai. As a result of that I had the opportunity to co-run three one day stained glass workshops. Incentivised by this I have ‘tidied’ (inverted commas as it’s already messy again) my home studio with a view to running private and small group workshops in 2018. Problem is I can’t work out the structure, format and how to promote them. I’d like to offer bespoke sessions to 1-4 people; tailored to the level and desires of the individuals attending. How do you price that? A one day workshop could include lunch. Maybe somehow I can incorporate our B&B business; that is, to offer stained glass breaks or artistic retreats. So a 2 night package with a day and a half of workshops including lunches. Our B&B can take a max of 8 people. Perhaps I should engage with other creatives so there is a choice of activities, eg photography safaris, watercolour / knitting /needle felting workshops. A build your own break type scenario. I feel I need find another course to teach me how to progress with this idea. Is there a course out there to teach me how to package, price and promote?

6. I got caught out in 2016 by promoting my stained glass light catcher designs but not making any ahead of time. Orders normally trickle in and I make to order. As an artist I prefer the one offs and commissions; on a commercial basis (I suck at being commercially viable) I should have a number of units of each of my own designs already made for times like say, Christmas, especially if I plan to shout about it. Anyway my challenge was to start making Christmas stock in August. Did I? Did I heck!!! So this year I simply didn’t advertise either, so as a result hardly sold anything too.

7. I wanted to have new stained glass standard designs in my portfolio so I set my sights on creating two new designs. I didn’t do it. Full stop. No comment

8. I aimed  to get 3 commissions in 2017. Interesting one this. I did get asked for more than three but none of them came to fruition. Problem is with 3 of them I spent a lot of time doing the design work and getting it approved without charging for the design phase. I do however suspect that at least one of the three might well happen in 2018. In addition I was commissioned to make 3 other much smaller bespoke stained glass items. Two were for before Christmas, one is for sometime in the first quarter of 2018. I also had a painting commission I thought had fallen by the wayside. I’d written it off but in December they confirmed with me. I have until November 2018 to do it and the recipient is paying a deposit before I start and making monthly payments towards the finished painting throughout the year. So what have I learned? Again, I need to be more business like in my approach. I need a charge card and I need to take some money up front. If I am going to spend time doing designs I need to charge for them. They take a lot of time. Plus if they invest in the process from the beginning they are more likely to be genuine and more likely to follow through. The other issue I have is under charging / undervaluing my services. One commission, were I to be asked to do similar again, would definitely be three times the price I charged. How does one value oneself? Especially when the items being made are one offs , made to order. Perhaps there’s a course I can go on for this too ?

9. Run a retreat at our B&B – didn’t happen. Not been forgotten. I refer back to 5. and 8.

10. Complete 2 more paintings in my sky-scape series and exhibit. Job done. Four more paintings, three glass installations and an exhibition with the preview set for 12th January 2018. My first ever solo exhibition. Despite it being in a small, local venue I am bricking it. Thank goodness for supportive friends.

11. Facebook. I wanted to increase likes/following of our combined B&B and my arts page to 1000. In the end I decided to split the two back up. It was all getting too confusing. So this is where you find Cerdyn Villa B&B with its 375 followers and Berni Benton Art and Glass with its 753 followers. I do suspect however that whilst followers may be important, I should be concentrating more on understanding my stats and looking at interaction and engagement. I should also be trying to actively generate commissions and bookings from these pages, particularly as my websites are redundant/none existent. Yet again, there must be a course that I can attend to improve and develop these skills.

12. start Vlogging. ….well….. I did one. better add it to my 2018 list.

So for 2017 three key doing words to work by: focus, aspire, inspire

They’re good valid words that helped me move forward and progress

My work mantra for 2018…

LEARNING, APPLICATION, INTERACTION

… Meanwhile I shall carry along my life with LOVE, LAUGH, LIVE

What words are you living and working by in the coming year?

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE

May your futures be full of love, peace, happiness, laughter and prosperity xxxxx

Letters to my Daughter