Although it was *communications* that has taken up the majority of my work for the last few days, culminating in last night when I did my talk for the lovely WI ladies of Long Whatton in rural Leicestershire. They had booked me some months ago to talk about being an erotic artist, and I know that on the whole women tend to go quiet when I talk about it, and men tend to light up, so I wasn’t quite sure what the reaction would be. Having said that, they had booked me, wanted me to talk about my career as the erotic artist, and we had agreed my fee, so all in all, I presumed it would go ok!
The instructions were for me to talk for between one and one and a half hours. And that is actually a long time, to talk solidly about one thing, and make it interesting, and not to run out of steam half way through. But then, when I looked at the last talk I did for the WI, a few years ago, it made sense to use that one as my basis but just slot in the new stuff I’ve done since then. And then it became a whole lot easier. I decided to split it up in a logical manner, to have a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning to say who I was, and say that I’d been an artist all my life, had my first commission at 13, had exhibited all over the East Midlands, and in Hertfordshire and London, had sold my artwork to buyers in the UK, USA and Canada. And then to go on to what sort of mediums I paint in, and what subjects I paint. And at the end to sum up saying that I hope that I am an inspiration, that I love it when someone is brought to tears by a painting I’ve done of them, and that the thing I think is most important is communication, and depicting it in my art.
Ok, what’s important….. oh yes…… how I interpret erotic art….how I got into doing erotic art….. how people get into modelling for artists…. what sort of pictures they want doing….. how colour makes a difference…. how people choose pictures at an exhibition…. what sort of people have commisioned pictures from me…. the important highlights of paintings I’ve done so far…. how really complicated some of my artwork is………….. the conversations I have with my friends about erotic art….. what people say when they hear I am an erotic artist….. the impact my website … and blog have had on people….. that I’ve had my artwork published in erotic books…… how unusual I am as a woman doing erotic art…. how I differ from a man doing erotic art….how erotic art differs from life drawing…. how painting goddesses has inspired me to paint all women in the same way…..how people view my job…. what difference music makes to me when I draw… how my job involves naked people… how I’ve changed some peoples lives for the better from the experience of being drawn by me…. how doing the Fantasy Fanny paintings has had a wonderfully therapeutic effect…. making posing for erotic art a positive experience…. how innocent eyes only seen innocence in my artwork… how erotic landscapes work as a concept and the variations in ways of doing them.. my favourite erotic picture that always gets a smile…. and oh yes… why someone once thought I was a neurotic artist….
I practiced my talk at home, talking outloud to the kitchen clock, so that I could time how long it took and knew it was around an hour and ten minutes. I knew I wouldn’t remember all of it verbatum, but I printed out my “Mind map” notes so that I knew what was coming up next in the subject matter. And I knew which of my many pictures I was taking with me to illustrate the talk, and the order that they would appear. Ok. All sorted!
My friend Stuart Haywood who is well practiced in doing lots of talks about many subjects told me last week that it doesn’t matter how many times you do a talk, the nerves and concerns don’t get any better. So I thought that the best possible thing I could do would be to plan it as much as I could, and then just see how it went on the night.
My man told me ten minutes before I left the house that the most important thing was……. “Remember to enjoy it!” and I went with that positive and most helpful thought in my head.
And arrived with it in my head too. I was greeted my the woman who had booked me, and set my stuff up as the other women arrived, and was able to observe them as they started the business aspect of their meeting, and then, it was over to me. I asked as I started what time they wanted me to finish and was told that 9.15 would be great, if I could. I noticed that it was 7.45 and started with a smile and a “Hello, I’m Jackie Adshead and I’ve been an artist all my life…” and just kept talking, and talking, and it was about half an hour after that that I thought to myself “Er, what time am I supposed to stop talking?” but kept on, until I came to the natural ending of the talk, looked at the clock opposite me, and found to my amazement, that the time said “9.15”. Phew. Exactly on time. And I hadn’t planned it, I had just said all I wanted to say, in the order I wanted to, skipped over a few bits in one sentence instead of four, added in extra bits as and when they needed clarifying, and came to the end. And was delighted to hear a “That was interesting” comment from one of the women, and was gratified to note that I’d had nodding heads, interested faces looking at me, and they had kept quiet. You know its gone ok when an audience keeps quiet. Its when they start chatting you know that they’re not engaged, or worse, are bored!
Thankyou, yes, I will have a cup of tea. And two of the women wandered over to tell me their educational connections with art as arty types tend to do.
I left feeling that I’ve achieved all I wanted to, not feeling elated, or deflated. But certainly ready for a nice glass of chilled white wine when I got home!
And this morning, I had two phone calls in quick succession, one from Stuart, and one from my man, to see how I’ve got on. Awww.. how lovely of both of them, to ask and want to know. And I knew that in my voice I was happy at my achievement, and that it certainly seemed a good success 🙂