Saturday, 15 September 2012


h.Art has given us a week of galleryvanting around Herefordshire - Galleryvant definition: to go about in search of pleasure in many places where art is displayed (etymology 2012: combination of gallery and gallivant). This is the third year we've done this since moving to Herefordshire and has introduced us to new artists and off-the-beaten track venues and villages we might not have discovered without art as the incentive. Sometimes it was a great relief to find another h.Art sign when driving along a narrow lane with grass growing down the centre.

We also managed some more urban settings - Hereford, Leominster and, of course, Ledbury.

In Hereford we enjoyed the many stalls in High Town and a visit to the Apple Store Gallery and also the Open Exhibition at the City Museum & Art Gallery. Not so much that appealed in the Open this year but still some good pieces. I love Helen Crawford's work and when people were commenting on her entry this year I just had to recommend they visit her at Bromesberrow. We always go to see her, marvel at what she achieves in silk paper and stitch, and watercolour. Gilbert Crawford produces gorgeous hardwood furniture. Add in work by Rebecca Crawford, Rachel Padley and Claudia Petley, not to mention a garden that develops from year to year, and you have a perpetual winner when it comes to deciding where to visit.

I cannot write about everywhere we visited so let me pick out some highlights. Last time we saw Penny Vere she told us she was exhibiting at Westhide Church so that took us to a previously unknown village where her paintings and those of Robin Peers and Kristina Thimm were well displayed. The Barn at Court Farm Aylton was a superbly restored cruck framed barn built in 1502 which has made the final of English Heritage's Angel Awards. Jennifer Whiskerd's prints were good but John Whiskerd's pictures were superb and took my attention away from the magnificence of the barn. Glass by Rowan McOnegal at nearby Putley had all the design qualities I look for and this was at another interesting building - a green oak eco-built house. Leominster Library hosted Word on Water, calligraphy by Marches Scribes - a very high standard and if I lived nearer I think I'd want to sign up for some of their workshops. One more discovery and a place that we shall visit again was Wobage Makers Gallery at Upton Bishop - really good pottery, furniture and sculpture.

Catherine's comment on what we enjoyed "We have taste but no money". No major purchases this year but when we went to Nigel Street I did sign up for his Simply Watercolour course in October. I need to learn the basics if I'm ever going to be tempted away from acrylics and back to watercolour.

One final highlight. We visited Steve Brooks, a friend of a friend, at Fownhope and enjoyed not only his paintings but freshly brewed coffee and conversation sitting in the sun outside his garden studio. I would love to be able to combine watercolour and pastel like Steve.

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