Issue #30: March, 2023

A Great Leap Forward by Ann Richmond - An artwork of an armoured Tiger pulling a box kite. Painted in the artist's unique style... Framing available.

Dear Subscriber…

It seems I say this every time, but I can’t believe where the time goes, can you? March already and our THIRTIETH Newsletter! It’ll be July and the Open Studios before we know it…

But it’s been worth the wait, I promise! ‘A Great Leap Forward…’ is Ann’s largest piece for some time and brings together a few ideas that’ve been simmering away in the background.

Ever had a grand idea for something, that you could never quite get to fly? Then this one’s for you!

Right now, Ann’s already close to being half-way through our next piece (featuring an animal we think MANY of you will love) and the pace will only quicken, at least for the next few months, as she’s decided to work her way through a stack of smaller panels: so watch this space…

Okay: let’s get on with it!

A Great Leap Forward…

A Great Leap Forward…

So you’ve had a bright idea? Perhaps it’s launching a new business? Or writing that novel you’ve always been putting off? Or waking up in the dead of night, with an idea for that forgotten corner of the garden?

My commiserations!

For that’s the end of the good news… Because now you have to park those daydreams and GET ON WITH MAKING THEM A REALITY.

Trouble is, if you’re anything like Ann or I, then Procrastination is your best friend when it comes to turning dreams into reality! There’s ALWAYS something better to do, than starting on a new painting. We’re all the same. We suddenly develop an irrational love of housework. Of baking. Of taking long walks. Of landscape photography.

ANYTHING in fact, which feels better than what we originally set out to do. Launching a business? Nah, I’ll do it tomorrow. Writing a novel? I’ll start when I’ve got that minor character’s role sorted out, but not before. And by then, I’ve discovered a minor plot twist, more promising than anything I’ve already written… And as for that corner of the garden? Ooh, I’ve suddenly got a bad back…

As I said: we’re all the same… Which is where ‘A Great Leap Forward…’ comes in.

With a picture this ambitious, it’d be too easy to start with the BIGGEST thing in it, but that would be to miss the story. So, never being one to follow convention, let’s start with the bottom left corner instead… For what do we see there? A blueprint, laid out over a rock and weighed down with a few pebbles. And what is it showing? A design for a Box Kite…

Incidentally, the kite design Ann chose for the painting, is actually based on a real design, that was first used by observers in the American Civil War: rather them than me!

And hovering over it, is one of our Luna Moths, casting a little magical glow over this idea-made-real. For in-truth, that’s the key of the picture: someone has had the idea for something new. Not only that, as we shall see, they’ve actually BUILT IT!

‘A Great Leap Forward…’ celebrates the pursuit of bringing new ideas to life…

And way up in the sky, almost hidden from view, is our madcap pioneer! As you can just about see, our brave little Hare wears a Fez; regular collectors will know that only the most important characters get to wear those…

And so we come to the star of the show: our Tiger!

Ann wanted to paint one of these for YEARS, but when it came to thinking of a subject for ‘The Carnival of Wonders’, we could never find an idea that worked. That is, until the idea for ‘Great Leap’ arrived and it all clicked into place, as these things often do.

There’s a lot going on here..! I love the Tiger’s fierce look; so different from the placid expressions seen in much of Ann’s work. He has reason to be angry, too, but we’ll cover that later.

I should also mention the fur texture. Given the painting’s size, the three layers of paint that went into the tiger’s fur took Ann over two weeks of solid effort to lay down, thanks to the drying times of each layer. I’m happy to report that the results look spectacular! On the flipside, I’m sad to report that, superb though they are, the prints don’t do this artwork justice. The craftsmanship that Ann has deployed here is remarkable.

This close-up will give you a better view of both the Tiger’s fur and the symbolic headdress he wears.

A beautiful Owl motif, with sparkling amber eyes, keen-eyed collectors will recognise the importance of the Owl throughout the Carnival’, for their presence symbolises ‘care’. The notion that someone (or something) watches over us at all times; guiding us towards safer harbours. Trouble only ever comes, when we stop listening…

But the Tiger’s here, not to frolic in the surf, but to help get the Hare’s idea ‘off the ground’: literally!

To hoist the impressively bulky kite aloft needs a hefty length of rope… Luckily, the one used here and tied-off to the tiger’s beautifully-crafted saddle, looks up to the job!

This is also a good point to mention the bubbles… Keen-eyed collectors will be sure to have spotted these symbols of ‘magic’; the very ‘stuff’ that makes this whole Carnival of Wonders keep rolling.

Where would we be without it?

And the Butterflies?

So here we come to it…! For it’s not enough that the Hare’s had the idea. No. For it’s nothing but a blueprint – an engineer’s noodling – if he never gets to see it fly!

That much he has achieved, thanks to the Tiger, but even THAT’S NOT ENOUGH! Because NOW, he has to see it through and keep it aloft. He has to avoid crashing…

And to do THAT, the tiger has to forge ahead and ignore all those petty distractions, symbolised by the Monarch Butterflies! All those negative voices both in – and outside – your head, that place doubts & excuses in your path that, in-turn, stop you from doing what it is that you were born to do! Things that only YOU could have imagined and brought into reality.

The tragedy for so many of us, is that the world is tough and getting tougher. There are so many demands on our time, that even if we have the odd, fleeting idea, we seldom have the time – or the energy – to see them through.

That’s why we feel this painting is so important and will resonate with so many of you: because for so many of us, this represents life today…

Among final details to savour, I thought to give a special mention to the splash from the tiger’s paw… Looking at it now, I think it was worth hearing Ann’s cries of frustration drift down to my office!

We’ll close with this chunk of the foreground. Originally, this was planned as just a sandy berm, that would form part of the main beach stretching out from the cliff. But, as tends to happen, things changed once Ann got deeper into the painting.

Something about it wasn’t working, but neither of us could pin it down. We struggled with it for over a week, before we had the idea of turning it into a little stepped pathway, with its own vegetation. The tiger is now dropping down from a slightly higher plane, and the picture’s dynamism is restored…!

We’ll still be attending the Cirencester Craft Fair in 2023, but we’re going to try something a little different…

We’re going to see if we can attend on the THIRD and FOURTH Saturdays each and every month. For those who don’t know, the Fair’s charter prevents it from running if there’s a Fifth Saturday in a month, so don’t be caught out if you’re planning on coming at the last-minute…

We’re there on March 18th & 25th, April 15th & 22nd with more dates to be announced… We’ll be seeing you!


Dinner For One..?

Well, that’s it for now: we hope you enjoyed this month’s Newsletter. I’ll be sending out something ELSE quite soon: Stay Tuned!

If you find yourself at a loose end and you’re able to visit us in Cirencester’s Corn Hall one Saturday, we’d love to see you!

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Ann paints animals wearing ornate armour & Gary unearths wonders with AI. We ship both Original Artworks and our superb Fine-Art Prints worldwide, from the Otherwurlde Studio, here in Wiltshire, Southern England.
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