<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Hampshire Life today click here

Meeting some artists taking part in Hampshire Open Studios 2017

PUBLISHED: 10:48 22 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:49 22 August 2017

Meditation by Sara Barnes

Meditation by Sara Barnes


August brings us a feast of art, with painters, potters, sculptors and other creatives throwing open their doors for Hampshire Open Studios. Sandra Smith spoke to just some of the hundreds taking part this year

Free exhibitions, hands on activities and the opportunity to meet a diverse range of artists – what’s not to like in this year’s Hampshire Open Studios from August 19-28? Just follow the pink direction arrows and take your pick of 250 venues where more than 500 artists are exhibiting their work. 

Sara Barnes

Romsey artist Sara couldn’t wait to give up a business career. Nevertheless she acknowledges the influence of her early working years on her development as an artist.

“There are a lot of painters better than me, but probably my strength is trying to get my work out and about. I’m quite happy to knock on doors.”

Her captivating images cleverly mix light, colour and atmosphere. The result? Canvases overflowing with depth and ambiance. During the arts fortnight Sara will open up the ground floor of her home to visitors with a range of canvases (£350 upwards) for sale as well as £35 prints.

“I’ve got braver about not needing a photograph to copy and I’m now confident in mixing colours. My subjects are based on colour and reflections while my work is becoming more abstract.”


Penny Spooner

“As soon as I threw a pot on the wheel I was completely hooked. What an amazing feeling to take a ball of clay and within a few minutes you have a bowl.”

Penny Spooner discovered ceramics at an adult education class. Soon she bought her own wheel, created a studio space (originally a tiny worker’s cottage) in Whitchurch and now sells all manner of tableware. But her ceramics are more than objects to admire.

“Everything I make is functional. For a new range I sit down with lots of clay and throw shapes, just experiment. It’s like drawing with clay.”

Penny, no stranger to Hampshire’s annual arts fest, appreciates the opportunities the event offers. “People like to see where and how work is made. HOS is a lovely thing to do. In fact, I’ll also go out and meet other artists.”


Wendy Bramall

Place Wendy Bramall’s painted pebbles or driftwood in your garden and before long you’ll be convinced exotic species have set up home. Not surprisingly, this Winchester illustrator is passionate about nature. Indeed, as a child she harboured ambitions to be a farmer. “But I couldn’t; I love animals too much. I like dinosaurs and geology too and enjoyed working with scientists at the Natural History Museum.”

For driftwood designs – kick started when a friend brought her a piece from the Isle of Wight – Wendy first sands the wood. egg white is then ground in with sandpaper before oil or acrylic figures are added. Gouache is favoured for pebbles which are varnished with a glaze. Wendy’s subjects also include wading birds and these, along with painted horseshoes, linocuts and cards will be displayed at her Winchester home where prices range from £10 upwards.


Andy Crowe

“Most of us walk around without noticing the world. Hampshire has such diverse building styles, particularly in market squares, and my mission is to draw people’s attention to the incredible range of building materials and colours.”

Andy Crowe’s background in developing and managing social housing, both in Hampshire and the South Atlantic island of St Helena, are ongoing influences. Architectural detail shape his subjects whilst a nod to naivety make them delightfully accessible. “There’s a lot of judgement comes into simplifying paintings,” he continues. “You have to decide whether to flatten out the perspective or edge the building in black. My style is continuing to evolve but I’m getting more adventurous.”

Andy, whose preference for oils he links to a sense of mortality, will be exhibiting daily (10am–2pm) in the dining room of his Bishop’s Waltham home.


Donna Stacey

At Donna’s Damerham barn studio there’s not only a selection of appealing animal images but also a menagerie of horses, dogs, goats and Shetland ponies. “The characters of animals inspire me,” she enthuses. “I love their softness, something that makes you smile. I don’t paint like a photograph; I get a certain expression and know what I want to work with. I like to put a cheekiness in there.”

Donna is a regular exhibitor at county shows and art markets throughout the New Forest, selling her acrylic images which are painted onto natural wood or reclaimed slate. “I like the idea of upcycling something. Acrylics work so well on slate, giving almost a 3D effect and they can be left outside.”

Personable, artistic and an animal lover – there’s no better combination for HOS supporters.


Russell Bignold

Kempshott portrait artist Russell has been painting for a mere five years. Nevertheless, his knowledge, achievements and ability to reflect the character of a subject suggest a maturity that exceeds his experience. Art enthusiasts will be fascinated to learn about techniques such as using garlic in the preparation of copper. He’s also planning demonstrations in this, his first Hampshire Open Studios.

“I have a great interest in art and art history. I spent a long time in business but decided enough is enough. I’ve had reasonable success in competitions and I’m determined to make this my career.”

Russell is articulate in manner and meticulous in his approach, sometimes taking up to 40 hours to produce a portrait, all the while absorbing his subject’s gestures and idiosyncrasies. “I’m looking to capture character rather than photo realism, but there has to be a likeness.”


Michael Peacock

In a Hayling Island studio Michael, creator of Portsmouth’s The Mudlarks, explains the origins of his work with clay. “From a small child I was attracted to mud and I’m a natural modeller. I went to art school and have been in art ever since, this was a foregone conclusion ever since my schooldays. My work is an extension of me. If you’re writing something you have the idea; when making a three dimensional shape you don’t have to, the thought is the thing in front of you.”

Michael uses a vast selection of modelling tools, some of which he’s owned since he was a student, others he has made.

Those wishing to meet this fascinating artist, who enjoys archaeology programmes and the notion of “something appearing out of the ground,” may also catch a glimpse of him sculpting during HOS.



Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampshire visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampshire staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampshire account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Mon, 16:23

Every day life at Highclere Castle isn’t all lights, camera, action. Viv Micklefield meets the real Downton mistress and asks, what keeps her grounded?

Read more
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Some of Hampshire’s best known personalities have revealed what they most love about the county. Here, we compile some quotes from our interviews over the years

Read more
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Still not bought those Christmas cards yet? Then look no further. Daphne Vaughan’s vivid seasonal watercolours of Winchester are just the ticket and proceeds go to charity too

Read more
Monday, December 11, 2017

As much a part of Christmas as presents under the tree, mince pies, turkey and sprouts, Emma Caulton asks what makes the traditional panto so special

Read more
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

We announce our 2017 winner of 2017 Hampshire Food Hero at the Hampshire Life Food & Drink Awards

Read more
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

When the Hon Ralph Montagu inherited the country’s most famous family estate and motor museum two years ago, he already felt right at home. Viv Micklefield meets the man destined to be the driving force behind Beaulieu’s future

Read more
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Writer Kathy Lette promises full frontal frankness in her show Girls Night Out, as Faith Eckersall explains

Read more
Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Once a familiar face on local news bulletins, former journalist Caroline Hall now stands in front of a canvas instead of a camera. Sandra Smith met the woman who has sweeping ambitions for her art

Read more
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The harvest is almost at an end and in Hampshire that means an abundance of food and drink to enjoy from local producers. Claire Pitcher meets a few of them

Read more
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Faith Eckersall meets two siblings attempting to row 3,000 miles unsupported across the Atlantic to highlight the deadly effects of skin cancer and raise £100,000 in memory of a very special man who lost his life to the disease

Read more
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How a shepherds hut helped master cabinet maker Terry Lynch fight his way back to health and launch a business that’s now booming

Read more
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Art is a passion and a business for Emma Dunbar, whose colourful and vibrant work is in demand from private clients and galleries. As Sandra Smith discovers, this is an artist who really delivers the goods

Read more
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The detective writer who chose Southampton as the setting for his dark novels tells Faith Eckersall why the city - and the New Forest beyond - are a perfect fit with his ‘fractured’ heroine, Detective Inspector Helen Grace

Read more
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Events to mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death reached a peak in Basingstoke with a statue of the author being unveiled. A colourful art trail also gives visitors a tour of an area she knew well, says Simon O’Neill

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link
Pure Weddings advert link
South West Life advert link
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Hampshire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Hampshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search