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Changing times for Open Studios artists

This year finds many Open Studios artists showing their work in new surroundings

Trish Lee

Reporter:

Trish Lee

A printer, a potter and a painter have come together for the first time in the Bowls Pavilion at Stockcross House, a beautiful venue enhanced by a lovely range of work, from wooden letterpress printing, tactile ceramics, some inspired by the venue, to intriguing abstracts. Arty Pumpkin, Martin Eastabrook and Chris Tebble are enjoying sharing their passion for their work with visitors. 

Another regular Open Studios artist, Julia Bowes, has ventured away from her own studio near Marlborough to join Sharon Perris, Jan Nethercot and Katie Penlington at Rookery Farm, Woolton Hill.  Having worked in oil up to now, it isn’t just the exhibition space that has changed for Julia.  “Over the last year I’ve been developing my own technique for producing handmade paper and creating delicate ink and pastel drawings on it, as well as unique handmade notecards”. 

Robert Fitzmaurice has been part of Open Studios since 2011 but this is his first year opening his main studio at OpenHand OpenSpace in Reading. “Moving into a much larger space has been very positive for me and I am really enjoying making large-scale paintings again after many years of working on a smaller scale.  My home studio remains my space for smaller works and printmaking.”

Artist Caroline R K Brown and photographer Rebecca Hedges join the Artists at Adbury Holt.  Rebecca’s ‘walking pictures’ capture altering views of a subject as she moves through the landscape. Alongside traditional photographic techniques, her experiments in minimalism and abstraction capture the spirit of place and moment by stripping away all but the essential.  Caroline R K Brown’s tree painting is featured on the front cover of this year’s Open Studios directory.  Trees are a major theme in Caroline’s work so Adbury Holt, in its woodland surroundings, is the perfect setting for her.

Tom Cartmill has developed a large and exciting new body of drawings and is showing them this year in a peaceful 17th century converted barn at Amners Farm, Burghfield.  He is delighted to have just sold one of his drawings from his Fragment Series at the Royal West of England Academy’s Drawn exhibition of contemporary drawings.

Bonni Southey feels blessed to be exhibiting at City Arts, Newbury with Lorna Goldsmith and Benjamin Hônisett.  Bonni’s paintings continue her Divine Feminine and Goddess theme.  Each Goddess expresses a feeling or captured moment, evoking deep responses. “The juxtaposition of the yet-to-be-renovated walls of City Arts and the Goddesses” says Bonni “is almost like an elegant Venetian courtesan parading in crumbling, but beautiful Venice.”

Sculptor Marie Ackers has a large new studio at the back of her garden in Upper Basildon.  “The studio is amazing.  Before I was working from a very small shed.  Now I have I great place to produce in, and move my work to the next level.  I’ve now also got the right space in which to show my work. In my new work, I deconstruct movement , simplify shapes and identify the rhythm and dynamic of the lines to find the inner strength of the piece.”

Sarah Scott, known for her equine sculptures and prints, had been working in her kitchen studio in Tilehurst, but now has a spacious and modern log cabin in which to work.  The space is clear as everything is stored in the shed next door so the atmosphere in the new studio is calm and creative.

Amanda Bates has moved from her studio in a historic building in the centre of Kingsclere to a cabin in her back garden at the other end of the village.  Its striking sky-blue walls, built over the winter, hint at colourful treats within. “There will be a painting on the easel and plenty on display. Will my new studio change how I work? I've been making this space to suit me, so I think we will change together, this place and I.”

Open Studios continues until May 21. For details of all the artists and opening times, visit www.open-studios.org.uk 

Arty Pumpkin, Martin Eastabrook and Chris Tebble at Bowls Pavilion at Stockcross House

Robert Fitzmaurice at OpenHand OpenSpace

Tom Cartmill at Amners Farm, Burghfield

Amanda Bates new studio in Kingsclere

Mary Ackers sculpture in Upper Basildon

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