Belinda's Bash

Belinda Naylor-Stables

To cap it all…

Herts Open Studios must be the biggest creative collaborative event in the county. So I think it's right to take stock. I invite you to take a look at what you’ve gained and what you’ve learned and come to some conclusions about what to do differently next time round…

The White Hat

In his book "Six Thinking Hats" (1985) Edward de Bono came up with metaphorical hats for creative thinking. I’m putting on the White Hat first for some database thinking. This might prompt counting the number of visitors, the number of works sold, what sold best, where people travelled from, a list of contacts for the next exhibition you’re doing and more. And what additional data are you going to collect next year? Have you filled in the participant’s feedback sheet so that HVA can give you some meaningful county-wide insight?

The Red Hat

The Red Hat is for intuitive thinking. It’s more about the feelings your Open Studios generated this year. How did you feel about the layout of your exhibition and how you involved or inspired visitors? Also, how did visitors react emotionally to your work? One visitor burst into tears standing in front of my ‘Drummers’. My African themes brought out amazing stories from people who have travelled and lived there. Last year local pictures brought out a love of nature and landscapes. How do people connect with your works?

The Black Hat

The Black Hat is for critical thinking. If I’m being really critical of myself I should have put even more time into marketing: sent Preview invites weeks earlier, dropped more leaflets further afield and found time to add my works to the HVA gallery. If I look critically at my work, one piece didn’t feel like me, and one was a bit weaker than the rest. I’ll have to think how to ensure my pictures are equally strong for next year – my conclusion is to paint more than I need so I have a choice of what to show. What are you going to change about your approach for next year?

The Green Hat

The Green Hat is for generative thinking. Talking to supporters and visitors has generated ideas for activities that are going to change other people’s lives - for the better I hope – over the months to come! I’ve decided to change some of my work habits to give me more ‘creative space’ in my schedule and my mind. It’s going to be very exciting. What about you? How are you going to shift creative gears?

The Yellow Hat

The Yellow Hat is for optimistic response. With this hat on my question is what are you going to do to celebrate that you not only made an exhibition happen, but that alongside several other artists you created a spectacular Hertfordshire-wide event? We deserve recognition and a pat on the back. Here are three possible optimistic responses – and no doubt you’ll invent some others…

One: I’ve set a date for a dinner with people that supported my painting activities over the past year. Two: now would be a good time to get that 2013 diary as a present for yourself to enter the essential countdown dates and reminders you’ve thought about for next Open Studios. Three: is a cost-effective feel-good idea in Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” (1992). She suggests writing a letter to yourself. You could say what a good show you put on and appreciate all the effort that went into it, including a list of what you achieved in your exhibition. She guarantees you’ll feel great when it arrives on your doormat and you actually open it up and read it! 

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