When the Brighton Art Fair was over I was feeling very flat and disheartened by my progress in the world of so-called "Fine Art". I really wasn't sure what to do next - I didn't see the point in painting any more of what I had already done, whether it was Plein Air, still life, Brighton, urban etc etc. It was all covered by a plethora of artists and I didn't want to add more pictures to the Unsold Paintings Mountain.....or at least the Unwanted Paintings Mountain. Fortunately I was called away from my home and studio to deal with family concerns while my father was in hospital and was happy to stop thinking about all of this while other issues took priority. After about a month I received a commission for a Pre Raphaelite influenced painting from a good friend and his wife which I was happy to accept as it provided me with an interesting subject that I could get on with in the mean time particularly as they want it in the style of Waterhouse which would be a nice painterly approach. I then attended the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton initially just to meet up with some old friends from illustration days where I was approached by Michael Pfifer who wanted me to contribute a painting to a book project called The Fantasy Illustration Library, mine being for the "Lands And Legends" book; I chose Angkor Wat as the subject as I had been there two years previously and had always wanted to do a painting of it anyway.
During the course of a very pleasant evening some of my artist friends suggested that I show my work at the Illuxcon convention in the USA next year although they felt that I was probably too late to enter the selection process. I mulled this over and decided to contact Patrick Wilshire who curates the show just on the off chance through Facebook. I was amazed when he replied and offered me a guest spot in the Main Show without having to go through the selection process! All this threw me into a state of mild confusion as this was a direction I had never previously contemplated and I was concerned that I had no desire or intention to go back to the world of pure Fantasy Illustration as such and decided to make him aware that I was not going to show paintings of Dragons, Castles, Maidens in Distress etc if I decided to accept his kind invitation. I would be painting pictures specifically for the show as I had very little here that would fit the show as such and wanted to make this clear to him.
He replied to say that he liked my current work and would be very happy to see the work that I would produce as it could be a different approach to the specific theme of the show, Imaginative Realism. As you can see from the flyer I have accepted and am looking forward to painting some larger pictures that will combine my current painterly approach with subject matter of a more imaginative content that I hope will be distinctive and could perhaps be a bridge between the worlds of Fine Art and Imaginative Realism, a land less populated with artists and where perhaps I can make more of a mark! I will however still continue to paint pictures for exhibition in galleries when the inspiration takes me.