I love that September feeling when the children are back at school, and everything goes a little quieter. This week I have been enjoying Herts Open Studios, a wonderful collection of mini art exhibitions across St Albans and Hertfordshire, now in its 30th year.
The first gallery on my list is Nude Tin Can Gallery. I open the door, step onto a dark wooden floor and into a white studio. I look up at the contrasting artwork neatly displayed on the walls, from oil paintings on large canvases to small watercolour portraits and framed original prints
A small portrait catches my eye. I gaze into it. The artist is setting up and notices me lingering so we start chatting; he explains the inspiration behind it.
I then wander around; I peer into a glass cabinet and observe some limited edition sculptures cast in bronze smooth feminine shapes reminiscent of Henry Moore.
Afterwards I head to another local gallery, a ten minute walk in the other direction. I climb the stairs and step into an attic. I start chatting with an artist who shows me around. I can’t take my eyes off a large acrylic on canvas of abstract dolphins, an oceanic piece that instantly transports me to a far away place. I enter the seascape and feel absorbed by it while managing to sustain a conversation.
In the other room, I fall in love with a collection of miniature linocuts of sunflowers. I’m fascinated by the way the artist has honed in on sections of the flower and added fluorescent colours to her detailed composition. The artist has succeeded in conveying the flower’s captivating beauty. I’ve often felt that when sunflowers are in full bloom they have an otherworldly feel about them that never fails to capture my attention.
It’s fun being around so much art and taking in the vibrant colours and textures. I’m amazed by the wealth of talent to be found just meandering along these few streets and as I walk home, ponder on the fact that this has been an education; I now feel as if I know more about art mediums, methods and materials that artists adopt to express their imaginations. Fortunately these exhibitions continue until the end of the month, so there’s time to see plenty more.
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