Many, many moons ago, before I had met J, when I still lived in York, I took myself off to Whitby for the day. Whilst there, I chanced to walk by the window of an art gallery, and in the window was an oil painting that stopped me in my tracks. It was of a shopping street in a city, in winter, the rain was falling, the lights from the shops were shining, people had umbrellas in glorious colours. It totally mesmerized me. I looked at the price tag and walked on, I could have afforded it, but I was supposed to be travelling to New Zealand to see a friend, and so needed the money for that. But that picture drew me like a Magnet, and I walked past it many times that afternoon, procrastinating over whether I should buy it or not, I even got so far as walking into the shop. Then stopped and turned around and walked out again. I didn’t buy it. And I regret it. The trip never happened, the money just ended up being wasted on life, and the memory of that picture has never left me.
I love pictures, be they paintings, prints or even cards (we have a few that I’ve found and framed, hanging on our walls). I love the way that they can make a difference to, not only the look of our homes, but also the way we feel about our homes; I like the fact that when I look at the walls of my home, the pictures make me feel something, whether it is memories of places or times in my life, or whether it is just an appreciation of the picture. For me it’s so much better than a blank wall looking back.
A few years ago, on the trip where the whole idea for our move to Cumbria was born, we had a week stay in a holiday cottage in Threlkeld. On the wall of the living room were two large original paintings which J and I fell in love with. Before we left, we deciphered the signature of the artist and once home, we did a bit of Googling, and it turned out the artist was called MJ Forster and had a gallery in Hexham, less than 30 minutes from where we lived. We eventually made the trip to the gallery and fell in love with two pictures there – we got chatting to Matt and eventually he cut us an amazing deal and we ended up buying both of them. Since then we’ve added another couple of his original artworks to our collection.
So when I saw him putting out a call for bloggers to give him a bit of PR for his newest project, I thought it’d be rude not too. I’ve enjoyed his work for years, the amazing pictures he has painted, and which now hang on our walls, make me smile every day, and so it’s only decent to lend a hand. Well, what is the point of all this you wonder? Matt has a new Kickstarter project (it’s a form of Crowdfunding from what I understand), the project will culminate in a limited edition colour contrast watercolour book, which itself will be a piece of art, each of the books will contain an original piece of art, making each totally unique. If this project (which he expects will run for about a year) is a success, it’s something he’ll be looking to do every couple of years, building up a unique collection of books / artwork.
The project is being broken down into phases, phase 1 has now ended but this was about getting the funding together for the original artwork to be photographed by a fine art photographer. This link gives you further information about this, and a little video of Matt explaining the project in his own words (far better than I ever could), https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2113628983/colour-contrast-watercolour-book it also gives the details of the rewards received if you did decide to make a pledge to the project –
Phase 2 of the project has just gone live and includes another video from Matt, this phase is about funding the printing of the first set of books, as with phase 1 pledges made will receive a reward – these vary from small watercolours of cubes to large original paintings, dependent on the amount pledged – and are totally unique to this campaign. The rewards offered for phase 2 are also different to those that were offered in phase 1 – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2113628983/colour-contrast-book-phase-2.
So go, take a look and maybe you’ll like what you see and make a pledge, spread the word amongst your friends and maybe not. But have a look and give it a chance, because, as Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of every day life”.
If you’d like to have a look at some of Matt’s other work, here’s a link to his gallery: http://mjforster.com/ and if you’d like to follow him on Twitter to be kept up to date with the project you can find him at @Matt_Forster.
All images within this post are the property of MJ Forster.