For the first time as an artist, I decided to stick through a full month of January prompts as part of the 64 Millions Artists January Challenge.
For many of the daily prompts, I stuck inside of my comfort zone, suing my sketchbooks and my fine liners to create against the sentence, or word that was given. I was introduced to the challenge by the Swindon Hub, where local people in Swindon are given a space to use, be creative, meet each other, or try something new.
The 64 Million Artists challenge itself is described as ‘an invitation to use creativity to spark confidence, conversation and connection’. The groups’ values spoke to me ans an artist and as someone who studied psychology a a degree level. They work with people – and artists – from all walks of life, to create and bridge the gaps that creativity can conquer. It is worth seeing what else they get up to, and if you’re able to join in, in person, in your area – 64 Million Artists.
Back to the challenge at hand though, and quite literally! I thought I would share a round up of some of my favourite days in the challenge, and how a couple of them led me down a different path to usual. I really enjoyed creating something a little different, and looking at the world in a new way each day. I would often see the prompts each morning, and create something in the evening to allow the daily flow to seep in to the little piece of artwork that I produced. There was even a tidy party somewhere in there.
Date: December 2023 Size: 42 cm x 59.4 cm Medium: Prismacolour Pencils
This drawing was the second pet portrait commission that Charlotte accepted, and the most difficult piece of artwork that Charlotte created in 2023. Elsa was a family pet, who Charlotte loved dearly, and it was an honour to be commissioned to create this work.
Date: December 2023 Size: 30 cm x 30 cm Medium: Acrylic paint
This painting is part of a smaller series that concentrates on elements of the face in the style that Charlotte is becoming known for. With vivid red lips and light shadows, this painting shows the danger of seduction.
The Bath Art Open Prize is one of those exhibitions that I entered without expectation, however I knew that my entry fee would be going to produce a fantastic series of events at the Bath Fringe 2024. It was therefore completely unexpected that I received an email stating that my piece Lines had been chosen to be exhibited alongside 104 other artists.
We had just finished for the day at the last weekend of Swindon Open Studios 2023. I was lucky that the piece was not only with me, but also in this case that it had not sold so that I could prepare it for display in bath.
The Friday of the private launch was one that a few will remember for the weather. There was a moment that we thought that we wouldn’t make it, however I was very happy when we arrive in Bath and made our way to 44AD Gallery, just next to the Bath Cathedral courtyard.
Despite arriving in the last half an hour of the launch evening, the exhibition was still packed with visitors, fellow displaying artists, and those who have assisted throughout the set up of the exhibition. It was very surreal to walk in the door and see my piece hanging in the center of the first wall you see. It was accompanied by several other works that complemented each other, while also standing out as individual pieces.
The exhibition spanned 4 rooms, including a basement and split corridor, and showcased photography, painting, sculpture and performance. The coordination of the pieces complemented the space of the gallery, and allowed the pieces to flow between each other. I was, and I still am, proud to be part of such an exhibition.
The exhibition will be open at 44AD ArtSpace, 4 Abbey St, Bath (BA1 1NN), from the 12th to the 28th of October 2023. The exhibition is free to visit and you can vote for the winner of the People’s Choice award, where the artist with the most votes will receive a £50 art voucher donated by Minerva Art Supplies.
Instagram is one of those places where I have been able to find lots of local open calls for artwork in the past year. There have been countless opportunities local to my area, as well as open calls for London, online and across the waters in the States.
I decided to keep the majority of my submissions into open calls local this year and signed up to the Calne Music and Arts Festival art exhibition with three of my pieces – Falloch, Reach, and 50 Shades of Blue Mini Me.
With it being a local affair, when queuing with my submissions I bumped into fellow local artist Rhianon Beardsall, of whom I visited during the Marlborough Open Studios earlier this year. During the launch evening of the exhibition, Rhianon’s piece ‘Lobster Party’ was awarded best in show for bringing such bold colour and movement to the room.
It was a pleasure to attend the exhibition launch evening to celebrate the almost 300 artworks that were on display. The volunteers did a fantastic job in curating the exhibition, partnering up works well to display them throughout the building. It was also great to hear from the organisers of the event, and to learn more about the arts festival itself.
Swindon Open Studios is an annual community exhibition during which artists invite members of the public into their studios and homes for a chance to see where and how their art is made during two consecutive weekends with a chance to buy original pieces of art. – Swindon Open Studios
As part of my aim in 2023 to get myself and my artwork out into the public, I signed up to Swindon Open Studios. I believed that exhibiting in a group exhibition space as part of the two weekend event would allow me to mix with local artists, as well as have the in depth conversations about my art that I felt as though I needed.
On the run up to Open Studios, I had my first solo exhibition. I was therefore able to do a lot of the preparation of the artworks before hand, which meant that I only had to organise myself and the works to get to the venue on time. Being prepared for this kind of event was key to a quick and smooth set up process. At home, I was able to prepare the sketchbooks that I wanted to showcase a wider range of my works and doodles, as well as additional greetings cards I had for sale.
The two weekends that we hosted Swindon Open Studios was a huge success. I found that even in the quiet times, the other artists that I was displaying with kept up the conversations and we all welcomed people into the building, encouraging more people to see what was happening. Being at The Barn in Stanton Park, we had lots of dog walkers and dogs visiting us, so we were all able to get a cuddle in with a four legged friend throughout our days.
I had invaluable conversations with aspiring collectors, fellow artists, and those who had simply wondered in to see what was happening. We discussed everything from my inspirations to my process through the different mediums I use. There was lots of discussion around the sketchbooks I bought with me, as the drawings in them ranged from 2013-2023. My style has changed a lot in the past ten years, with drawings and exploration of materials from GCSE, college, university and as a part-time artist. I still find that I can look through each of my sketchbooks and my works on paper now and find something different, so it was wonderful to be able to share this with the wider public.
I also sold lots of my seconds greetings cards. These were ones that are slightly imperfect, or those that I had one print of to see how they came out. These were flying out the door at one point alongside the vehicle greetings cards – of which the originals I had displayed. I only sold one piece of artwork, however I know that some of my larger pieces would not have been suitable for every home. From the experience of the Open Studios, I would like to offer more prints and smaller works that people can purchase and take away with them from the event, and this is something that I might look into doing more for next year.
The experience of Swindon Open Studios as a whole is fantastic as I gained lots of experience as an artist on promotion, setting up my work in different spaces, as well as collaborating again with a collective of creatives. The engagement with the general public felt wonderful, and the conversations that I had I will hold close. I would recommend to any emerging or established artist to look into participating in an Open Studios event, and to anyone who is remotely interested in the arts to attend one local to you. Not only are you supporting a local artist or creative, but you can also pick up something you may not have thought before too.
Founded in 2022 by Artsite Ltd, Swindon Paint Fest is back again and about to turn the town into a creativity hub of all kinds ranging from large scale murals, live painting, art market, exhibitions, workshops, dance and music! – Swindon Paint Fest
I participated in the 2023 Swindon Paint Fest, celebrating local, national, and international talent for street art. I was humbled to be chosen as one of the artists to paint in Old Town, Swindon, an area known for its strong community and ties to the arts.
I wanted to paint something in my style, and I felt as though for my first mural and my first painting of such scale, alongside the tight deadline of two days, a portrait would be too complicated and I would get tied up with the detail. Instead I chose something that would resonate with the public more – two hands, coming together as though they are friends, lovers, or family. With the design I chose, the viewer can choose their own story. The colours of the purple and the green are also very neutral, showing that there is no us and them, no good and bad, just two people coming together.
The experience of painting outside was fantastic. We were incredibly lucky with the weather as previous paint festivals had to be cancelled or the artists were rained on for the majority of the time – we, on the other hand, were hiding away from the sun for much of the weekend. On the Sunday of the festival, the Old Town Food Festival was round the corner which bought lots of people down the street to watch us paint. It was great to hear the comments about the artwork as we were producing it, as well as the guess work of what each piece was going to be.
Through my experience of the Swindon Paint Fest, I would enjoy some larger-scale looser artwork that still resembles my style of painting. If I had the opportunity, I would invest the time into a larger scale bold portrait, so much like my current portraits, the works can stare people down as they walk by.
My first solo show was held at Mam’s Gallery, Swindon and showcased a variety of portraiture-based works from 2013 to 2023. The exhibition was also the first look at a new series of abstract portraits that I have begun this year, with a focus on the bold shapes and colours of the human body.
The exhibition as a whole bought together the studies of abstract art and portraiture through the use of limited pallets, exploration of material, and predetermined shape. Pieces ranging from large scale double portraits, through to the intimacy of hand studies, you are transported through the exploration of the subject.
You were also transported back to the year long project of Project 365, in which my aim was to complete a piece of artwork every day for an entire year. The Configuration series was born out of this project, and highlights the exploration of material throughout the exhibition.
For me, this exhibition was a goal for this year to really push myself out into the art world. Many of the pieces I decided to showcase were older pieces that have a piece of my heart, and artworks that I feel relate to my work now more than some of my more recent works. I was delighted with the response I had throughout the two weeks that my exhibition was at Mam’s Gallery, and it has spurred me on to continue putting both myself and my artwork out into the open.
Date: August 2023 Size: 1 m x 1.5 m Medium: Acrylic Paint
Zoe and Emma
Continuing the series of abstract artworks, Zoe and Emma bring attitude to the collection. The painting only uses the four colours of turquoise, purple, black and white, to create two individual personalities of portraits. By using more of the purple in one portrait, and more of the turquoise in the other, the colours allow for the differentiation of the two faces. The attitude between them both, stare you down from across the room.
Date: September 2023 Size: 2.4 m x 2.4 m Medium: Masonry paint on wooden board
This mural was painted as part of Swindon Paint Fest and the largest painting that Charlotte has produced to date. This was a design based on Reach and used opposing colours to create a large detailed design.