Last year I decided I would have a go at entering the world’s longest running open submission, the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. 19,800 entries were accepted, but only about 600 hundred would make it on to the hallowed walls in the final hang. My drawing made it, and not only was it selected by Grayson Perry for his stunning yellow gallery, it was exhibited at eye level.
The summer exhibition has been one of the most surreal moments in my life and I have enjoyed every minute from the celebratory varnishing day through to enjoying a cup of tea in the Academician’s room. The private view was a very special treat. I visited with my mother-in-law, who has continuously supported and encouraged my work throughout. Together we enjoyed meeting other artists and sharing a delicious lunch with a glass of champagne to celebrate.
I then visited with my sons. In 2009 their dad Carl had died and soon afterwards I started my Creative Arts Degree at Bath Spa University. The course had been really hard work because the boys were very young and life was very difficult. Often I had felt like giving up because art had seemed like an extravagance.
On 19th June we came to the Summer Exhibition and went straight into the yellow room – their joy and sense of pride in what we had achieved as a family was priceless. We spent the whole day at the exhibition, quite an exceptional treat.
Whilst I live in Bristol, I do have lots more visits planned with friends and probably one more with the boys. I feel so privileged – after all the help and support my friends and family have provided over the years since Carl died, we are now all sharing a very exciting and happy occasion. Thank you very much to the Summer Exhibition committee for selecting my free machine embroidered ‘Bristol 2 Litre Engine’ in the 250th year.