• Karen Thomas

Devon Open Studios

September rolls around, and artists from all over Devon throw open their studios, share some of their creative processes, and (usually) bake to offer their visitors refreshments.

What's not to love?  

Entertaining visitors in your own studio feels special.  Unlike group shows or exhibitions, visitors have usually made the trek because they're intrigued by your work.  I've been squirrelling away art in my studio for the event, which includes a selection of gallery-standard pieces, framed work, mounted work, a sale browser, cards, prints and a 'make me an offer' pile!  

When you paint every day, you end up with quite a backlog of work, some of which may not represent your usual style, may not quite be what one of your galleries was looking for, or was perhaps a painting in which you were planning ready for a larger piece.  Then there are paintings I refer to as my 'portfolio' pieces.  Perhaps I've tackled a familiar subject at a show, or in front of an audience, but as a similar painting is currently in gallery, I won't market it.  These are the sort of finds you can expect when you come to Open Studios. Along with a warm welcome of course ... and hopefully not a paint splattering!

Also, there's something I'd like to make clear.  I've never been quite sure how to phrase this (or even whether I should say it, I might be landing myself in hot water with other artists) so I'll plough on in my usual style: not just foot, but entire leg, firmly in mouth.

Occasionally after an event like open studios, somebody has approached me and said they'd have loved to come, but weren't in a position to spend anything and therefore were worried they'd feel embarrassed and didn't.  I find this really sad, because artists like me (I should probably stick to speaking just for myself) paint to bring joy to people.  To inspire, to share what we saw on a particular day, how a scene made us feel.  To provoke thought!  To provoke a good discussion.  My personal goal is to re-awaken the viewers wonder in the natural world.  I'm like the small child tugging the hem of your T-Shirt ... "Look!  The sun on that cobweb!  That heron about to take off!"   To see somebody's eyes light up when they view one of my paintings makes me happy.  To have somebody make the trek, have a good chat and have enjoyed it ... it's a precious thing and just fine as it is. Hope to see you there x

Studio 5, Kigbeare Studios and Gallery, Southcott, Okehampton, Devon EX20 4NL.