Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vernissage, Seneffe

The opening at Le Centre de l'Eau was a wonderful night. Large numbers of very enthusiastic and knowledgable art lovers began arriving 30 minutes early, apparently a Belgian trait(!). I've never experienced a crowd that displayed this kind of interest in watercolor, it was surprising to me...but probably shouldn't have been, considering the artists I was exhibiting with, and the person who organized the event, Janine Gallizia.

This was the first chance I've had to see Janine's paintings in person, and they are truly exquisite. As are, of course, Joseph's and the others'. You'll see from the photos that mine were too large to ship framed, so we did what has become a trend in some NY galleries with sizable works on paper, and simply attached them to the panels. Not ideal, but it's better than staying home!

The catalog that Janine put together is breathtaking -- it looks like something a major musuem would publish. The reproductions are outstanding, and each artist wrote about the others, which makes for very interesting reading. A nice touch. There is a dedication from one of the sponsors, Winsor & Newton, and a history of the exhibition and its connection with Seneffe. An excerpt from "A word from the town":

Thanks to the initiative and persistance of the creator of the show, Janine Gallizia, a second exhibition of the highest quality is now taking place. More international in style than the first one, as revealed by its title, "On The Water's Edge," it exhibits the work of six major internationally recognised artists of very different origins -- two Australians, one American, one French and two Belgians -- with a common passion for the infinitely subtle, delicate and at the same time fiery, art of watercolour painting. A wonderful invitation to the discovery of a major art, all too often neglected on the european continent.

I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of people standing in line to speak with me, some with interpreters. They asked all kinds of detailed questions about what I'm doing, and told me they have not seen this approach to watercolor in Europe. I received very kind workshop invitations for France and Belgium, among other opportunities. I also signed a lot of autographs -- that hasn't happened too many times at shows back home, makes you feel appreciated!

The only disappointment is that I had to postpone my subsequent plans, and how weird is this -- I'm in Belgium and cancelled my visit to Spain; Joseph Zbukvic was in Spain and cancelled his visit to Belgium (family emergency). C'est la vie! I fly home tomorrow.

Artist websites:
Marc Folly
Janine Gallizia
Stéphane Heurion
Nicholas Simmons
Xavier Swolfs
Joseph Zbukvic


David Burge said...

Looks like a pretty successful night. You made good use of your space
I think the unframed approach was brutally cool!
Your work looks fantastic!

Anders Andersson said...

Very good work from all of you. Like the way you show your pieces, unframed.

Nancy Lee Galloway said...

Wow! What a great night. Your work does look good unframed and the white background still gives an impression of being framed - shows the paintings off better than I would have expected. Shame about Joseph not being there but great to see Janine and to hear how beautifully she put together the show and catalogue. Congrats on the workshop offers too - an even more successful time for you appears to be blasting in from the horizon. Good on 'ya!

Angela said...

Soooo many fun pictures! Thanks for sharing!

It sounds like it was wonderful and I'm glad you had such a good time. Sorry to hear the rest of your trip had to be cancelled though!

Anonymous said...


Nick, I'm truly happy for you:) looks unbelievably amazing, had to be even more exhilarating in person,and your work is eye catching even with those distant photos.

Sorry you missed Z but nothing should put a downer on that experience, besides sounds like you might have some new avenues opening up soon.

Nancy Lee Galloway said...

Sorry - don't mean to hog the board really is noticeable the difference in the sizes of work. When you see the various paintings on the web you really don't have an idea of scale - and your work is unusually large and impresses by the scale as well as by subject and technique.

William K. Moore said...

Great Nicholas - This is enough to make the grass painter and Mountain Bear cry tears all over their Arches. No need to add more to that - have a hassle free trip home and it's ok to take the shampoo, rinse and shower cap as souvenirs.

Tóbal said...

A successfull expo I see here!!! Congratulations , Nick!!!
I wish I had time to travel and visit it , but... I´ll follow news throught your blog.
Cheers from Spain!

masmoulin said...

I think coming in Seneffe in the week. But you'll probably come at home.
I am very sorry, but I have been an impediment to the opening

lupus said...

I feel very happy with your success. ¡Congratulations, Nick!

A very,very big hug.


RH Carpenter said...

I like the unframed look, too, Nick. You can get right up to the art and look closely without the interference of the frame. I assume they were still beneath plexi? Maybe you'll start a new trend with this way of showing larger works. Your work stood well with the others and it looks like a fantastic night - all those people!!! Autographs? Well, I'll have to remember that next time you come to my area - to ask for your autograph :) Sorry your trip to Spain was cancelled :(

Anonymous said...

A well-deserved honor, Nick, you are so blessed.

Marcio Correa, CWS RRWS said...

Congratulations, Nick, I'm happy for you. It sounds and looks like a truly amazing show and experience. Sorry to hear your travel plans got changed, best of luck!

Unknown said...

Hi Nick !

It was really nice to meet you on Friday.
Your watercolors don't need to be framed, they are beautiful just as they are, your talent speaks for itself !

About the innovative approach : Indeed, in Europe, a lot of people consider watercolor as a medium and not as a technique. In other words, "watercolor" means watercolor pigment and water. The approach is purist and the use of bodypaint or acrylic to add some highlights to the painting is sometimes simply proscribed.
So, I am not surprised that a lot of people didn't know your great way of painting. You brought with you a wind of innovation to Belgium, thank you for that !

I hope that Joseph's emergency wasn't too bad ... and that you both encountered a great success during the exhibition in Spain.

Tonya Vollertsen said...

Hey Nick, congrats on such a wonderfully successful evening! So interesting to show unframed. All that careful taping of the edges came in handy here. I'm curious to read your reply to RHCarpenter about the plexi as well. Thanks so much for all the photos! Safe trip home! Cheers, Tonya said...

Nick , So Happy for you and what fun it must be to get appreciation in another country .
Yes ,your work needs no Frame !They look great !
Enjoy , Enjoy !!!

joel said...

what a great spave and a great night! i hope that the guests didn't waffle too much (get it???). sigh.

i, too, applaud the approach of showing the pieces unframed. frames are expensive and often people will have things re-framed anyway (in my experience). did you cover the pieces with plexiglass or plastic to protect them and give them that "under glass" sheen?

why were there two australians? who was the other? should australians be made to stay home instead of wandering aboutr the world causing a ruckus???

:) -- joel.

Nick said...

Dake - the paintings kept falling off the walls, but people seemed amused and intrigued. It became an installation work, heheh.

Anders - no choice, but next time I'll have to spend the big $ and frame

Nancy - if you can't join them, confound them!

Angela - the Spain trip became very complicated, too many people and cities in too few days. But I've just heard from another workshop there, maybe I'll return pretty soon

Paul - I've seen some good and knowledgable crowds here, but this was a different level of watercolorese

Bill - I stayed the last night at the Brussels Crowne Plaza, where they definitely did not make any money on me...and what a breakfast!!!!!

Tobal - I'll see you soon enough, and the other Hispas

Pierre - hope you make it, a wonderful exhibition space

Enrique - I'm happy and sad at the same time, but our meeting is imminent....soon querido amigo

Rhonda - nope, no plexi, just bare paper. Yikes! You either have to have huge huevos to do that, or be a complete fool. You decide. ;)

Fookie - very lucky...except for that $196 USD taxi from BRU to Senffe (53 km)

Marcio - I see you are a new proud parent!!! Felicidades!!!!!

Catherine - I wish you could have stayed around for Saturday while Janine was doing her workshop. We would have had a great day, maybe next time. Thanks again so much for the thoughtful gifts, I'll be back soon I think, au revoir for now.

Tonya - thanks for the good wishes. I noticed some yrs ago in NY galleries that large work on paper was simply being pinned to the wall, unframed. Then saw that in a few other places. Must be the guerilla gallery method, probably hip then, and now I'm hopelessly behind the times....

June - yes they do need a frame, badly! But... I'll call you soon. XX

Joel - ha, ha. Maybe you're not aware Janine is aussie? Been over there 15 yrs, speaks beautiful French, lives in a 15 C. house onto which she's building another wing so i can visit with my wife and daughter. Well, not just for us, of course, but we're going to take her up on it before it appears in the Michelin guide!

Sandy said...

Congratulations Nick! It sounds like a wonderful night! Plenty of interested and astute watercolour enthusiasts...and some wonderful offers for workshops etc. too!
Your paintings look fabulous ...and so sensible to transport them without the frames.

Unknown said...

How I wish I were there, Nick ! But I had a lot of work on that Saturday : lots of paintings that had to be framed, meetings to define some projects for next year ...
But the next time you come, I'll stay around, I promise !

David Lobenberg said...

What a great show and wonderful group of h2o artists. Your blog, work, and links keep me excited about water color painting!

Nick said...

Sandy - it wasn't really a matter of sensibility, just dollars, lots of 'em. However, next time I think I better spend the dough, I prefer frames!

Catherine - promise? ;)

David - we're all in the same boat, gotta just keep rowing. Great to talk with you, hope we get a chance to hang out one of these days.

cardesin said...

Congratulations!! a great job to all, great painters!
What would I give to be there and see it .....
A big hug!!

Nick said...

Juan - what we'd give to have you there, a guest of honor!