Thursday, 28 November 2013

My Dicky Ticker, An Art Exhibition and a Pheasant Called Henry

Well, another exhibition comes to an end. This one was quite disappointing in terms of visitors. I had the usual smattering of fellow artists dropping in for a chat, and a few of my Facebook friends came in too which was nice. Only a few sales though, just a couple of original paintings, a dozen or so prints and about 20 odd greetings cards. Not to be sniffed at but less than I was hoping for, given that it nearly killed me setting up the exhibition in the first place. I'm not as fit as I thought I was after my heart surgery and had to come home early the first day as I was totally exhausted by about 3 o'clock.

Footfall wasn't too bad, there were a lot of elderly people coming to Snape on coach trips from afar, they're always quite amusing but rarely buy much. The first decent sale came from a man who wanted to surprise his wife after she'd expressed how much she liked my little zebra painting.

Let's Face It, We're Lost
He sneaked back while she went for a coffee. I wrapped up the painting as fast as I could and he handed me his Visa card. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the PDQ card machine to work. Over and again I tried until, up to my knees in discarded void receipts I had to give up. Buggeration!  The customer was very understanding, jogging over to the main shop and getting a 'cash-back' payment to cover it. Phew! but my dicky-ticker shouldn't be put through this kind of stress should it.

The weekend came and went and I was getting bored. I'm not sure which question I was being asked the most.... 'How long did that take?' or 'Have you been to Africa to see all this wildlife?' Followed by 'Where did you train?' I have my stock answers ready for these questions now, as well as how I politely refuse the request to paint someone's cat, without causing offence and decline the offer of giving a talk or a demonstration at some local institution.

One day an old lady, well into her 70's, came over to me and we got chatting about pets. After telling her about my dogs I asked if she had any pets.
"I've got a pheasant called Henry" she said.
"Really!" I exclaimed, secretly thinking I've got another right one here.....
"How come you have a pet pheasant?" I tentatively asked, realising as the words came out of my mouth that I really shouldn't go there.... but it was too late.
"Well, I've had him for about 9 months. I come in to Snape about 3 times a week and he just appeared one morning as I was getting into my car. When I drove down my road, which is really just a rough track, he ran along behind me until I got to the end and pulled out onto the main road. When I got home that afternoon he was back there in my garden, so I gave him some stale cake I had in a tin which he seemed to enjoy.
Ever since then I've seen him every day and whenever I go out he runs behind the car until I reach the main road. He never flies, just runs. Well, last Monday I got to the end of the lane but this time he didn't stop and started chasing me down the main road. I could see him in my rear view mirror, belting along behind me. I was so worried he might get run over so I pulled into a layby and let him catch up. I was wondering what to do when this man came walking along and said to me 'Are you alright love?'
I asked him if he could do me a big, big favour. 'Sure, what's the problem?' he said.
'Could you talk to Henry for a while to distract him while I drive off. I'm worried he may get run over otherwise'
'Henry? Who's Henry?' he asked, looking up and down the road. Just then Henry attacked his trouser leg from behind. 'Jesus Christ!' the man said.
'That's Henry! If you could just talk to him and keep him busy while I drive off, I'm hoping he'll just go home again'
'OK' he said.
So off I went and in my rear view mirror I could see the man bending forward and talking to Henry. It made me laugh. As I reached the bend, before I was out of sight I looked back again and I could see him bending right over and wagging his finger at Henry, giving him a good talking to. Henry was just stood looking up at him. It made me laugh so much I had to pull into the next layby as I couldn't see to drive properly.
When I got home that afternoon there was no Henry to be seen, nor did I see him over the next few days. I was so worried what might have happened to him, whether he had been run over or got lost. I put food out for him and kept looking but didn't see him anywhere. Then this morning on my way here I saw the same man walking down the main road and there, right behind him was Henry! walking along without a care in the world. I'm so glad he's OK"

With that, she said goodbye and walked out of the gallery, leaving me quite bemused. I don't know why, perhaps it's my manner but I seem to get them all I do. Not that I mind, it was quite amusing really and I won't be looking at pheasants in quite the same way ever again.

Well, that's it as far as exhibitions go for me until next Spring. I've booked Snape twice for 2014 and I'm also going to be setting up in a 'pop-up shop' in Halesworth several times throughout the Summer with a few of my crafty friends, as well as my usual craft fairs in Southwold.

A happy Christmas and New Year to all of my friends who have been following my blog, my Facebook pages and especially to my customers who have kept me going this year.


heather said...

That made me laugh Peter! I can really see it!!! :)

Kathryn Hansen said...

I'm so sorry for your slow sales...that's always disappointing! Altho for me that would have been a great show!!!;) But that story was priceless!!!

Corn Dena said...

nice zebra painting!