Solo Show Panic Attacks

amanda-rackowe-exhibitions-2017A year ahead is a long time. But I did not think, ok; relax; chill. I did think; panic! Twelve months is not a long time. This is the amount of time in advance one needs when booking a solo show at the exhibition space of the Tourist office in the market town of Ribérac in SW France, not for organisational purposes you understand (twelve months is hardly enough), but because the space is much in demand.

For some time now I have been slightly obsessed by a large and rather imposing silo that sits high up on a ridge near where I live. Its construction some thirty odd years ago was not without controversy, being mainly considered an eyesore. But as time went on it became known as the cathedral on the hill. Certainly its proportions correspond with this rather affectionate name given by the locals and it appears very much to have a nave, with a tower at one end and various chapel like annexes to one side or another.

amanda-rackowe-painting-expoThe silo commands the landscape that surrounds it and can be seen from many angles and from various viewpoints north to south and east to west. It engorges all the produce of the fields that lie at its feet, from the golden wheat to the blackened seeds of the sunflowers as their stalks and leaves brown and shrivel in the Dordogne heat.

But despite its impressive mighty posture the silo is dwarfed by the ever-changing skies that linger over the ridge and ridicule the dimensions of the structure below. Here, the clouds hesitate, getting caught around the ridge, undecided in which direction to turn, in to which valley to descend. They dance in fluffy flat bottomed tufts, equally spaced in infinite blue skies; they run ragged in lines formed by passing planes, tearing soft runways into the sky. Pink and gold tinged beaches hover above the land and invite us to laze on their shores.

The enormity of the skies come and go in their various forms, but the silo remains solid, faithful to the land that feeds it; still always the star of the show.

And now panic is setting in…
amanda-rackowe-peintures-expo-2017The paintings are done. The age old question, are there enough? Will they look ok together? Have I put all the hooks and cord on? Oh no I haven’t put all the hooks and cords on. I HAVE forgotten to order more business cards, is it too late now?

Have we got enough wine (most important question)? That one isn’t even varnished yet, how did I miss it? Labels, mustn’t forget labels… prices, oh no, I hate pricing!

And so it goes on… but I think I am there, in a sort of organised chaotic sort of way. But then that is normal… I have an excuse… I am an artist!

The exhibition ‘Trois kilometers Autour d’un Silo’ opens at Ribérac Tourist Office (24600) at 6pm on Friday the 24th of February and runs until Thursday the 29th of March. Free entry. See poster for further details.

My first blog on my new website…A daunting task!

As titles go this could be considered a bit naff. But think about it… here I am laying myself wide open on the page trying to think how to present my art and myself to you for the very first time… in words!

For those of us that draw, paint, sculpt, photograph…create, this is no mean task. We are image driven; we see therefore we create. Our senses are heightened by the visual process and urge us to translate this into the task of making art.

Many of us have no choice in this. It is a necessary part of our well-being, like eating, drinking, even breathing.


I have drawn for as long as I can remember. I never wanted to do anything else. At playschool I hogged the easel and jam jars of paint and at primary school my painting of dead flowers in a vase won first prize in the art competition despite disapproving looks from many parents.

Even at secondary school the art teacher’s comments about a blue sky that was too Wedgewood did not deter my fervour to paint, especially as I won another school art prize at the same time; nor did a poor A level result due to ‘lack of technical accuracy’ dampen my resolve to soldier on regardless.

A spell working at the local theatre drew me to the wonderful effects created by lighting and I took a side step and studied this field in higher education, eventually moving over to architectural lighting design for many years. Painting with light was a thrilling experience where the 3 dimensional took over my painting abilities in 2D.

But still I painted as if my life depended on it. I began to realise after a while that I was indeed suffering from some kind of addiction and that in times when painting was not possible for one reason or another I began to have serious withdrawal symptoms!

For the sake of my own health (and those around me) I took up my brush with renewed regularity and the rest, as they say is history. You will note of course that despite there being a few words here, I could not help but put in a few scribbles: thus is the way of the artist.