In the 17th and 18th Centuries, young ladies and gentlemen would set off on once-in-a-lifetime grand tours of Europe to expand their cultural experiences. But if you prefer to get your fix of art and culture a bit closer to home and more conveniently, then Herts Open Studios 2014 is, quite literally, right up your street.
“There are 154 artists exhibiting in 94 exhibitions across Hertfordshire,” says Herts Open Studios project manager, Linda Warminger. “There’s a mix of regular exhibitors and news artists and craftmakers, all showing their latest pieces, and keen for you to see what they’re doing.”
This annual autumn show, organised by Herts Visual Arts, takes place in artists’ studios, local galleries and homes and there are plenty of places nearby for you to meet them and browse their work.
By Sue Wookey
By Heather Burwell
Visit Gerry Wilmer in St Albans and learn how he creates wonderful celebrations of trees, sea and landscapes in the form of colourful paintings, limited edition giclee prints and cards. Or check out Jonathan Higgins’ sculpted figures, Rachel Jeffrey’s jewellery, Flea Cooke’s striking stitched textile collages or Marshall Colman’s tin glazed earthenware bowls and dishes.
If you are looking for carefully crafted figurative drawing, sculpture and painting then visit Paul Diggins’ studio in Harpenden to see his inspirational works. Down the road see Fiona Gaskell’s vibrant still life oil paintings or go along to Artscape Arts to discover Sue Wookey’s dream-inspired watercolours and fine and precious Raku porcelain by Pauline Ashley.
If you love animals, stroll down to Sue Patient’s exhibition near Welwyn and see her work in oils, acrylic and graphite pencil, which cleverly bring out the personality and soft textural characteristics of her subjects or have a look at Ruth Goodman’s contemporary animal portraits. Nature-lovers will enjoy Jane Sleator’s perfect ceramic pieces and those who prefer purely figurative works will appreciate Heather Burwell’s confident use of colour in vibrant nude and portrait paintings, plus clay figurative sculptures.
By Michael Cull
By Rachel Jeffrey
There are many more talented artists on show in the area and just beyond our doorstep, so why not make a day of it and do a little Grand Tour of your own? Just pick up a brochure and plan your route.
Various venues across Hertfordshire from September 6 to 28. Details: 07813 100651, hvaf.org.uk