OUR picture choice this week provides a postscript to our recent article about Dorset artist Sam Cannon and her extraordinary wildlife paintings.
Last week we wrote about Sam’s art, and how her decision to include lettering in some of her paintings had prompted an explosion of interest in her work, which nowadays attracts a substantial and enthusiastic following on Facebook and Instagram.
Howver the artist, based near Lyme Regis in Dorset, still talks of herself as “just being a mum who also paints in between all the other things life throws at me”.
Despite her modesty, it’s clear that her paintings provide a source of solace and inspiration to many, not least her remarkable Shepherd’s Hut, a moonlit woodland scene which incorporates a quote from the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov.
The words are those of Sonya in Chekhov’s 1898 play Uncle Vanya: “We shall find peace. We shall hear angels. We shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.”
The words are beautifully juxtaposed against a peaceful woodland backdrop, the cool blues and greys of the moonlit shadows offset by the warmth emanating from the shepherd’s hut and the brown-and-white forms of two late-night visitors.
Like most of Sam’s paintings, the work combines her love of wildlife with an understanding of tyopgraphy honed during her years of study at Reading University.
When Sam referred to our original article in a post to her 43,000 followers on Facebook, along with her reflections about her week and current difficulties in selling original work, it prompted an outpouring of affection and support from her fans.
Despite the satisfaction of working as a full-time artist, setbacks range from a summer slump in the market for original pieces to export problems when dealing with customers in North America.
Sam stopped shipping to North America earlier in the year because of the hit-or-miss nature of dealings with customs and the US postal system.
She wrote: “Every time an item is severely delayed or lost, it all falls back on me. I lose customers and money. I’d rather offer no service than a hit-or-miss one.”
She has had similar doubts about spending 30 to 40 hours working on a painting just to see it sit in a folder, instead deciding to concentrate on smaller tasks. “I’ve been painting wooden hearts,” she posted. “And whilst things remain so quiet for me, I’ll be continuing to focus on small things like wooden hearts, slates and pebbles in the hope that my paintings will once again start to find homes.”
Her fans have been quick to offer their support, with hundreds of likes, shares and comments responding to her original post, many of which Sam has responded to in person. Among the words of encouragement are those who appreciate her honesty in talking about such matters on her site.
“Your words are beautiful and calming . . . just like your painting,” wrote one. And, with reference to Reflections, another wrote: “It’s a beautiful painting Sam, one which will help many people reflect on the last year or so.”