Don’t let them pass you by

•July 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment



The last blog post I wrote earlier this week The Spaces In Between wasn’t an easy post to write, I wanted to get back to writing freely again, that was all.

However it resulted in something pretty great happening and someone getting in touch with me explaining that they would like to meetup and discuss the possibility of working with me: providing money mentoring and profit coaching to help me realise my goal/dream.

Well today I met with them and they have offered to coach me for 12 months. Needless to say I’m feeling very positive. As time goes on I’ll write some updates: I plan to get my blog back on track, as I do my life.

The title of this post is a reference to opportunities, my blog had over 200 hits the day that I posted ‘The Spaces In Between’ and some of the hits were people reading some of my old posts: which in turn led me to read some of them as well, many of them I had completely forgotten about and I found a few little gems.

I came across one that I wrote in 2011 And so the year is almost over where I wrote about opportunities and how they can quite easily pass us by, completely unnoticed. If you click on the link above it’ll take you to the post: the links there are well worth following/reading etc if you are interested in seeing and grasping opportunities as they arise. 

I just want to also say thanks to all you lovely people that have liked my post on FB, retweeted it, read it and got in touch with me this week: very kind and greatly appreciated!

‘The Little reed, bending to the force of the wind soon stood upright again when the storm passed over.’ ~ Aesop

The Spaces In Between

•July 14, 2014 • 3 Comments


I began writing my blog just over 3 years ago: one morning at 4am ish when I’d had another sleepless night worrying about my forthcoming redundancy: of course then I had no real idea of what was ahead of me. I had no real idea of how to write a blog or what I’d actually write about and my blog has really continued that way. I’ve written about my redundancy, about leasing a studio and the struggle it’s been, about crowdfunding, about aspects of my life that have been difficult, about artists whose work I love, about my work, about the ups and downs of my life.

I’ve had people thanking me for being frank, I’ve had people tell me that some of my blogs have helped them and inspired them, I’ve had people tell me that some of my blogs have made them cry and I’ve had people tell me to stop writing about such things as being broke or being depressed: because it’s just not the done thing,

The last few months have been incredibly difficult for many reasons: I finally sold my house in March 2014 and everything connected to that house was finally settled: no more solicitors letters going back/forth. Then the struggle financially that followed: paying my rent and bills on a care workers wage, keeping the lease paid for on the studio at one point was almost impossible. During May I had to sit down and work out how many days I had left before I needed to give notice on the studio: the prospect of giving notice quite honestly filled me with dread. Then with just 7 days left it all fell into place: now there are 5 of us sharing the studio and with the profits from the life drawing class the studio is sustainable. Things financially are still incredibly tight, but in fact it’s been a great lesson. I’ve realised, even though I’m already very thrifty, that there was still room to tighten my belt even further. 

Then something happened that pulled the rug from right under my feet: I’m a firm believer in crying when sadness hits: in the last couple of months there have only been a handful of days where I haven’t.

And I’m now at the point where I’ve picked myself up and I’m back on my feet, apart from the odd day when I have a glitch.

But the aftermath that the last few months of my life has left me with is going to take me a while to catch up on: endless piles of paperwork and forms to fill in, emails that I haven’t had the will or the strength to reply to and other such stuff. 

And through it all I’ve always had painting on my mind, I have work to do and ideas to try out. That in itself is enough for me right now.


Salon 6 ~ Co Curator Needed.

•June 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Salon is an exhibition of regional and International contemporary art, for one night only held at The Old Lock Up Studio in Cromford.
Salon was founded in August 2012 by Rachael Pinks with the aim to show work of Contemporary Artists, primarily from the East Midlands area but not exclusively.
The exhibitions are held every 3-4  months & always for one night only.
The Salon shows continue to be a great success & offer art enthusiasts, artists & collectors an opportunity to view contemporary art, socialise & network.
The Old Lock Up Studio readily  transforms into a unique gallery space.
Rachael Pinks is currently looking for a co curator for the next salon exhibition ~ Salon 6. Which will be held in late August/early September, date to be confirmed.
If you are interested in this opportunity please contact Rachael in writing via email with a covering letter, CV and a brief outline of why you are interested in co-curating the next Salon show.
Emails to:

The good, the bad and the ugly

•May 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment


The photograph above was taken at the Nottingham Contemporary’s current show ‘Somewhat Abstract’. I’m stood in front of Peter Lanyon’s ‘Soaring Flight’. This was a real treat for me as I admire and enjoy Lanyon’s work: first seeing it in St Ives in 2000, having not heard of him or seen his work prior to this. I also enjoyed the piece of work by Zebedee Jones and the work by Prunella Clough at ‘Somewhat Abstract’.

The show really is worth a visit and I’ll be back for a second helping in the next few weeks.

Myself and Clay are heading off to Birmingham tomorrow to see Grayson Perry’s tapestries. A conscious decision to see as much good art as we can and as often as we can.

I find myself increasingly busy and life is a bit of a juggling act right now: having just worked a ten day stretch at work finding time for everything else is often incredibly hard. I’ve missed two great PV’s due to being so tired that I’ve had to just sleep.

I miss the studio and having the freedom to head down there as and when I need and want to: although I have managed a fair bit of painting in the last 2 weeks, no where near as much as I need to or want to though.

But as it happens I have annual leave fast approaching me and much of that will also be spent in the studio. I need to have quite a bit of work finished for several reasons. The studio will be opening for the annual village festival, that very same weekend I am one of 6 invited artists showing their work at the Ashbourne Festival and I need new pieces of work for galleries too.

Oh yes and during the village festival I shall be throwing the front door of my humble abode open to the general public: for the open gardens, it just so happens that you have to trapse through my house to get to my garden. Gardening is something that I love and I’ve also been busy getting it tidied and looking reasonably presentable. I’m planning to have mine and some of Clays work on show, during the open gardens, in my living room on the Sunday of the festival. So pop in and say hi if you’re in Derbyshire on 21st/22nd June.

I’m also busy looking for 2 people to rent spaces at the studio, I’ve had a fair bit of interest, but I have to ensure that prospective artists/makers plans and activities for/in the studio don’t conflict with what is already provided. I’m still not sure how someone could visit the studio, as they did this weekend, tell me that they are interested in renting the spaces and that they intended to run life drawing classes during weekends: even though they knew full well that we already provide this at the studio…

So the search continues and as far as I can see it’s just a case of the word being spread: there are creative people out there looking for affordable studio spaces. Unfortunately the reality is that if I don’t fill at least one space in 25 days time I shall have to give notice on the lease: something that I can’t even consider or contemplate at this stage. I just don’t earn the kind of money, as a care worker, to enable me to pay the shortfall that we currently have. And of course the knock on effect will be a huge one as I would no longer be able to purchase the studio.

Life continues. And I continue to be optimistic.

Over the last few weeks I’ve made a  very hefty decision that will change my life again, I’m pretty sure it will be for the good: not the bad or the ugly!




Studio space at The Old Lock Up Studio

•April 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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We currently have 2 studio spaces available at The Old Lock Up Studio in Cromford, Derbyshire. Suitable for artists, designers/illustrators and crafts people etc.

Each space costs £60 per month or just £100 to combine the 2 spaces if you are looking for a large studio space.

The rental cost above covers water rates, business rates and the alarm system. Each artist is issued with their own set of keys and has access to the studio 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The studio has it’s own small kitchen, toilet/washing facilities and is set back from the main road running through Cromford village: which offers a quiet location to work in which is also close to local amenities: post office, cafes, village shops etc.

If you would like more information please email:

To see further photographs of the studio and some of the events we have organised at the studio please follow this link: The Old Lock Up Studio

Salon 5

•February 27, 2014 • 2 Comments


The next Salon show at The Old Lock Up Studio will be on Saturday 15th March for one night only.

You are warmly invited to join us, Please find the address for the Old Lock Up on the flyer above.

The contemporary art shows have become a great success and show the work of both international and regional artists in a beautiful grade 2 listed building, built in the 1700’s, in Cromford Derbyshire.

Salon 5 has some interesting and exciting work on show from 15 artists. Please click on the names below to find out about the Salon 5 artists.

Tracey Kershaw

Aly Jackson

Tim Ball

Caroline Lowe

Jane Pepper

Steve Gresham

Nicola Rae

Carol Pairaudeau

Rob Sawer

Anthony Hall

Heather Duncan

Clay Smith

Nicki Dennett

David William Sampson

Grayson Perry  (Private Collection)

We look forward to seeing some of you at the show.

If you need any further information please email us at:

Brick Walls

•February 11, 2014 • 2 Comments



“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ~ Randy Pausch

I’m currently spending my time researching, thinking, scratching my head, making telephone calls, sending emails and coming up against brick walls….

At each wall that I’ve encountered, and there have been a fair few, I’ve had to ask myself is this possible? Shall I just give up?

I’m carrying on…

I’ve leased The Old Lock Up Studio for almost 3 years now, which coincides with the 3 years since I took voluntary redundancy,  and I need to find a way to purchase the building so as it can become sustainable. Leasing the studio is expensive and the out of date heating system makes it even more unsustainable. The Electricity bill for last Winter was over £700. One of the priorities will be to update the heating system and insulate the building.

I’ve contacted the Heritage Lottery Fund and they have said that it ‘could’ be something that they could fund the renovation of once I have secured the purchase of it. That in itself is exciting, it appears that sometimes leaving a building untouched is a good thing. Downstairs has been pretty much left untouched and has the original fireplace and possibly bread oven from the 1700’s.

I’ve also spoken to the Arts Council and they have encouraged me to contact them again once the studio has been bought. Many of the activities that we run and provide at the studio are eligible for Arts Council funding.

I’d hoped that buying the studio would have been relatively straightforward, but it’s not. I don’t have a big (well it’s not actually that big) lump of money in my back pocket: if I did it would be a done deal! And I’ve found out that Banks and Building Societies aren’t willing to provide a commercial mortgage for it because the amount that I want to borrow isn’t big enough: not enough profit to be had apparently…

So when I found out this news I threw my hands in the air and said that’s it: I can’t do it!

That feeling lasted a few hours and then I was off again: looking, researching, scratching my and asking for advice…

Just by chance I’ve come across a good looking bank, yes they really do exist! For those of you who live in Derbyshire they helped to finance the Ritz cinema in Belper. I hadn’t heard of them: Triodos ~ a sustainable bank it seems.

I’m at home at the moment nursing a particularly nasty cold, surrounded by tissues and beginning a business plan…


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