By peterwilliams, Jul 5 2016 10:13AM
I went along to the Riverside Art & Glass gallery in Wroxham last night, for the private viewing of the current summer drawing exhibition. I usually dread these things and hardly ever attend them. To be perfectly honest I would rather stick pins in my eyes, given the choice. Chit chatting to posh, squawking, highly egotistical people in alarmingly flamboyant clothing whilst sipping unidentified fizzy stuff from awkwardly shaped receptacles, has never come easy to me. However, it wasn't like that at all. I think because I'd traveled in the opposite direction to London.
I felt that I ought to go along as they had been kind enough to choose 4 of my drawings to display, and I've been thinking of re-entering the world of high street galleries again, even if only in a small way, so wanted to stick a toe in the water. Jenny wanted to attend too, although she had to pull out at the last minute, so I went on my own.
Refreshingly I found The Riverside to be a beautiful gallery populated with some stunning art, glass, ceramics and woodwork. The lovely team of people that run it are all friendly and welcoming. They made me feel completely relaxed and at home. Even the fellow artists I met last night appeared to be almost normal, just enough eccentricity and passion about what they do to be interesting and entertaining but unaffected and not a single drama queen in sight.
The exhibition prize was judged by the well known, highly successful Norwich based artist Colin Self, a contemporary and good chum of Peter Blake and that Hockney feller, who had a lot to say about a short-list of drawings he'd carefully chosen from the impressive display. I was rather pleased at what he had to say about my main contender, 'Shadow Falling', a pencil portrait of a wolf. He appeared to be quite taken by it and I dared to think that I was in with a shout but alas, after a lot of deliberation he plumped for a stunning little chalk and charcoal figurative work by my good friend Joanna Lawrence (well, I say friend..... I bloody hate her now) I'm claiming 2nd place on the basis of the judge's speech, even though there was just the one prize.
I thought I ought to go over and thank Mr. Self for his kind and encouraging words and we got chatting. I wasn't sure what to expect, the few 'celeb' artists I've met on my travels have all been so far up their own arses that they looked down on the world from behind their own gritted teeth. Do you know? he turned out to be an absolutely smashing bloke. Interesting and entertaining with a great sense of humour, we ended up in conversation for the best part of the rest of the evening. Now that is really unusual for this shy, lacking in confidence, under educated oik from a backwater 'ertfordshire town. I usually end up drinking too much and then drooling over the best looking bird I can find in the room until I'm chucked out. This time, as I had quite a long drive home, I couldn't have a drink and had a much more pleasant time. Does this mean that at age 64 I'm finally getting old?