When I gave up my 'normal' career a year ago to become an artist it wasn't all about taking it easy for a while, wandering the hills and painting as as a form of therapy. Sure, I needed a break but having made such a momentous decision (one that I never thought I'd be brave enough to make), I wanted to take full advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that now lay before me.
I'd spoken to too many artists to think I'd ever become rich from my paintings alone. So, as a family we made a decision even before I quit that we'd embark on a grander venture. We'd open an art gallery, not only as an outlet for my own work but also that of other artists.
This, in turn, led to another decision. We liked the idea of a home-based gallery, a domestic setting that would create be a more familiar and intimate customer experience than your archetypal art gallery. It would also mean we didn't have to pay rent!
Lovely though it is, our 400 year old farmhouse simply doesn't cut the mustard. Apart from anything else, its in the middle of nowhere and no customer would ever find it.
We considered our options. We researched all corners of the UK and even explored a move overseas. Would Italy or France offer better value for money? Snowdonia, an hour or more away, seemed sensible, given that's currently the focus of my paintings. Then, last Autumn, we found the perfect place...
...four miles away in the small town of Caerwys, Flintshire. We can almost see it from where we are now.
Glasfryn Hall is a fine country house, just two minutes walk from the town square. We move there in May and the plan is to convert and extend outbuildings to create a permanent gallery space selling fine Welsh art and craft, while opening up the hall and gardens for temporary special exhibitions throughout the year.
The business plan is written and the planning application goes in soon. And I've got a stockpile of work ready to go on the walls.
The 'only' thing that's really holding us back is that the capital we need is tied up in our lovely old farmhouse, which no-one seems to want to buy. Unfortunately, the permanent gallery space will be on hold until someone does, which is frustrating.
However, we're are fortunate enough to have the hall; this will become a fantastic temporary space to display my work until the gallery opens.
I'll be posting further updates as we progress, so if you want to find out when the doors of Oriel Glasfryn Gallery will be opening, keep checking back here. Or you can subscribe to my newsletter (below) or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
Oh, and if you like old Flintshire farmhouses, I know a really nice one that's up for sale. Take a look here on Rightmove.