There are few things, for me, that are as engaging as talking to creative people about their passion for art or crafts and so it was, with much excitement and anticipation, that I headed towards Lee, a small village in Hampshire. http://ow.ly/5y0AV . I had been invited to attend by Janet Langford an extremely gifted lady whose miniatures defy belief in their detail. Janet is the wife of Alan Langford a respected member of the society of equestrian artists. Janet is a lady who is accustomed to “life in miniature” having been a biological researcher for thirteen years. I had met the couple at a similar exhibition in an equally unobtrusive location near Lyndhurst, Hampshire some months before.
English summers are renowned for being unreliable in delivering consistency when it comes to perfect weather. Saturday however was an exception and as I fastened my crash helmet and fired up my cruiser I decided that this would be one of those rare and perfect days. My home is only ten minutes from a main artery which feeds the east bound traffic onto the A31 and into the morning sun and towards Lee and an unknown group of artists.
After a short and very pleasant trip up the A31 to junction 3 I geared down and slowed sufficiently to negotiate the narrower secondary roads of the Hampshire countryside. The route to the exhibition hall was well signposted, a welcome asset as the small parish church hall is very well hidden.For those who are used to, and indeed prefer glitzy high street exhibitions, the sight which greeted me may have screamed “amateur exhibition” but while the exhibition was held in modest surroundings, the quality of the work was anything but amateur.
A friendly and sincere greeting at the door, where a cover charge of £1 was suggested, ushered me into a hive of creativity activity. The exhibition was very much focused on “working artists” which meant that each artist sat at an easel or table working at an unfinished canvas, board, paper or work with a display of their work behind them.
I walked from stand to stand within the exhibition chatting to each artist and enjoying watching them, each pouring their skill and passion into their work. The magic of visiting live working exhibitions is that you have the opportunity to view the artists alongside their work and techniques, a rare privilege. One is also able to talk to the artists about their work, their techniques and their dreams and to hear, first hand, their reasons for allowing creativity to control their lives.
I really want to showcase the artists which time allowed me to meet and chat to. Let me introduce those who I did meet and who were only too happy to chat about their art and their creative inspiration. First up was Alan Langford who I introduced with his associated link in the beginning of this post. Next was Jenny Morgan who had some lovely portraits to show. After a nice long chat I wandered over to David Pritchard a man of extreme detail and patience. His work is, well, amazing; judge for yourself.
One reason for visiting exhibitions where there are artists in res is so that one can connect with the art through a personal narrative given by the artist, Marina Stuart is no exception. Marina is a deeply spiritual lady who loves to talk about her faith and the way is affects her work and life.
Tony Clegg was so busy talking to other people who I only had a brief time to chat during his lunch break. As you would expect from a confident artist, he was willing to talk about some of the amazing washes he creates in his work, thanks for the tips Tony.
Next was Barbara Rousseau a pastel artist who is also only too happy to share tips and ideas about where to start when contemplating pastels as a medium. I was very inspired by her work and the strong way in which she used her colours, especially a particular work with a strong sky (I love sky’s).
As someone who has always avoided pastels, talking to Barbara Rousseau and Colin Courtice made me want to rush out and buy my first set of pastels. Colin offers classes and judging from his relaxed manner, I may just consider a class in the New Year.
On the “craft” side I met Janice Fry a designer and maker of pottery. Janice displayed a number of lovely pieces and after talking to her I was convinced that she was well placed to assist the creative students, who attend her courses, to discover the adventure which awaits all those who “touch the clay and potter’s wheel”.
If time had allowed I would have gladly spent more time with the other great artists at the exhibition but the English summer outside the hall was proving it’s self an unreliable travelling companion. I did not pack a rain suit and wanted to get back to Bournemouth before getting drenched. I left the exhibition inspired and encouraged with the knowledge that “creativity demands expression” and I was en route back to my own studio and the canvas on my easel which awaited my attention.
I look forward to the next invitation and another opportunity to indulge my love of mixing with creativity at its best.