Thursday April 30th
We picked up Fiveways Artists’ very smart glossy trail magazine today; it’s a pleasure to read.
Our AOH 2015 has started early with red wine and nibbles at the first of many private views this weekend.
Fiveways 9: Polly Raynes and Friends
This is a beautifully presented show in a fabulous Victorian house and water garden.
Chris Brooks’ metalworks; characterful sculpted fish, whales and crustaceans in rusted, copper and gleaming silvery tones
Polly Raynes’ vibrant watercolour and acrylic paintings of Pompeii, Venice, animals, woodlands and sea
Helen Hodson’s enigmatic little ceramic Bods
Harry Venning’s laugh-out-loud cartoons.
And Chris and Polly’s fourteen year old son Rafe’s accomplished collection of metal leaf-shaped outdoor candle holders – great to see this ancient skill continuing from father to son, and several sold while we visited.
Also showing textiles, embroidery, wildlife illustrations, fused glass, ceramics and jewellery, with talks and workshops over the Festival. There really is something for everyone, here.
A great start to our first weekend – highly recommended.
Five more private views tomorrow.
Friday May 1st
Private View Marathon
This evening we walked the rounds of five different private view parties in three hours.
Thank you to all the artists for your hospitality and our apologies to all those we couldn’t get to – we’d have needed Hermione’s Time Turner to visit them all! Meanwhile, our first impressions as the wine flowed …
Seven Dials 10: Cecil Rice
Rice is one of the best established artists in the festival. He’s well known as a painter of glowy watercolours celebrating light, sea and architecture of the world, especially Venice, France, India and Brighton. As ever, a busy show with a real buzz.
The light and airy ‘Mother of Pearl Sea’ and ‘Bridge of Sighs’
Brunswick 1: Naked Eye
The scent of flames from a firepit welcomes you into Farm Mews, a former stable converted into studios and a gallery.
Lesley Jones’ tranquil oil on canvas landscapes
Mark Thompson’s curvy and sensual platters
Ian Hodgson’s graphite on paper work; Leonardoesque architectural fragments in shadow and mist
Dion Salvador Lloyd
Hove 5: Dion Salvador Lloyd
Lloyd must be one of the most successful professionals on the circuit today, and is highly exhibited and collected. His evening private view is the place to be, and probably the only Open House to feature a doorman at the front gate. Profoundly inspired by the natural world in shape, colour and texture, his works are complemented by displays of shells, feathers and skulls. Some epic and powerful works as ever, with smaller more intimate pieces for contrast, and now painted ceramic work to add to his portfolio.
Hove 4: Wolf at the Door
A relaxed and welcoming show featuring Jill Tattersall’s mixed media pieces on handmade paper, rich inks and metallics, Campoli and Nelson’s collaborative glass and silver jewellery, Judith Berrill’s landscapes and Richard Sharland’s paintings and poetry. Andrew Jones kinetic garden sculptures to be visited later! Then finally to nearly-next-door-neighbours …
Hove 3: Collectors’ Selection
… for a late-night last party of the evening. An elegant show truly harmonising art and home. Many painters and sculptors exhibiting here, and an enticing candlelit sculpture garden. Alberto Martinez’ homage to Lady Penelope and Parker for Thunderbirds’ fiftieth anniversary.
We’ll be back to the Wolf and the Collectors soon to visit the garden sculptures in daylight!
We hope to spend more time at the houses over the next month, when we’ll expand our reviews.
And so to bed …
Saturday May 2nd
Today we stopped off first to enjoy the Children’s Parade, announcing the beginning of the Festival. Next up …
Our Brighton Hippodrome Exhibition
Independent [and not in brochure] Hippodrome Past, Present and Future at 13 Powis Square
A one-weekend-only exhibition celebrating the history of the Brighton Hippodrome Theatre and raising awareness of the Theatre’s potential as a major centre for live performance for the city and beyond in the future. Playbills, programmes, souvenirs and a fabulous miniature model of the theatre.
If you’d like to know more about Our Brighton Hippodrome’s campaign to bring the Theatre back to life, please visit www.ourhippodrome.org.uk
Next to a cluster of three houses in the nearby Seven Dials trail:
Seven Dials 2: 3 Victoria Street
This charmingly pink house on the lovely Victoria Street features Hilary Stewart’s delicately observed nudes in watercolour, oils and solar etchings, inspired by Greek mythology.
Seven Dials 3: House of Animal Consciousness
In a friendly house packed with paintings and print, the highlights were Tiffany Lynch’s pastel paintings of animals in woodland.
Seven Dials 4: The Iona House
Edinburgh-resident Claire Arbuthnott is showing a collection of paintings of sea, sky and rock; powerful bold landscapes with energy and verve in enriched colour spiced with black.
Seven Dials 9: The Walled Garden
You may have often passed this gate, overgrown with ivy most of the year, and not realised that behind it is a welcoming walled garden leading to this Open House. Colour therapy and personality translates into silk abstract art and I loved Theresa Sundt’s textured jewel-coloured scarves.
Seven Dials 13: Art at Belmont
Always good to welcome new Houses to the festival. A deceptively spacious lower ground floor flat with a refreshing mix of glitter and gleam, paintings, drawings, textiles and print.
Seven Dials 17: The Magic Lamp
A friendly flat with good conversation and an eclectic mixture of work. Kristin Lundgren’s iridescent Italian leather bags and cases and Caroline Jones’ unusual little painted folding camping tables really caught my eye. News: Handmadebyhippo will be making mosaics in the front garden on sunny days.
Fiveways 19: 2 Knoyle
A popular private view to round off our day at this extensive family show, featuring the ceramics shed in the garden – I usually suffer from severe shed envy each year! I hope to visit again soon and have a more leisurely look around.
Sunday May 3rd
Beyond the Level 9: 30 Gerard Street
A glass of Bucks Fizz kicked off an early start at another private view this morning, celebrating 3D art.
Frances Bloomfield – mixed media boxed pieces. reminiscent of storytelling theatrical, opera and film sets. Her work features trees, writing, architecture and music. Look out for ‘Prelude Inspirale’ especially.
Julie Kirk – delicate coral, lime and silver-toned jewellery pieces
Rhoda Baker – geometric paperscapes, where shadow and light are as important as shape and line
Beyond the Level 10: Glass in Fusion
Stephanie Else is artist in residence at this working glass studio, transformed each Festival into a smart exhibition of her work. Consistently one of my favourite Open Studios, she shows a great range from little fridge magnets, earrings and dishes to epic wall pieces and platters. Iridescent gleam and rich colour in distinctive designs.
Highlights: turquoise abstract ocean-inspired pictures in glass.
Note – Caia Matheson has now moved away from this studio space
Beyond the Level 8: 99
With last year’s memory of one of the best cakes I’ve ever tasted strong in my mind, tea and cake from the glamorous shed in the tea garden was my first stop at this welcoming house of making and craft. I was right – their coconut and lime cake really is fabulous.
An immaculate display and a total lfestyle, offering wreaths, fairies, jewellery, throws, pickles and 40s vintage style frocks.
Highlights: Nikki Ward’s boxed paper butterfly clouds
Beyond the Level 7: Jennifer Beresford
Huge paintings and prints in a domestic setting, offering vibrant colour, a funfair theme and bags of energy and oomph.
Jennifer Beresford – spectacular city clusters and the Dungeness triptych
Andy Walters – exotic tropical mirrors
Walking away from the town centre now, up to Dyke Road trail…
Dyke Road 6: Nine By Nine
This house specialises in print, especially featuring letters, numbers and words, and I noticed quite a 50s vibe in colour and design throughout. Engrossing paper and textile print works, and Emma Sutherland’s gilded free-form blue and gold bowls in delicate contrast.
Dyke Road 7: Milton House
A few doors along now to an intriguing house, built into the side of the hill – pop upstairs to the garden and look down through the skylight to the kitchen. Really reminds you that Brighton is almost entirely hill! A great variety and a friendly welcome from owners and cat.
Painting, ceramics, textiles and glass on two levels.
Helen Shaw – satisfyingly hefty silver rings
Hoity Toity – delicate little silver jewellery pieces, quite Roman
Dyke Road 1: Trojan House
Regular visitors to artist Troy Ohlson’s open house will be intrigued – a whirl of building and decorating works has transformed the house. See the artist’s new downstairs studio and visit two smart new upstairs rooms for Troy’s painting and print, with work by guest artists in ceramics, textiles, jewellery, stone and wood. Aromatic candles and soaps scent the air.
Dyke Road 5: Art at the Good Shepherd
An eclectic show by local artists at this Dyke Road Victorian church.
Helen Rawlings – traditional watercolour paintings of animals and birds
It’s the Festival’s third weekend but our second, having taken a break last weekend. We have guests so we’re exploring our local houses:
Dyke Road 1: The Trojan House
A return visit, a warm welcome and a glass of Pete’s Pimms at Troy Ohlson’s Trojan House, where we bought a little carved pebble – a found object beautified by stone carver Howard Young.
Dyke Road 2: 56 Tivoli Cresceont
This fresh, airy house always surprises, built on four levels on the side of a hill with the most spectacular views.
Chris Hill – ethereal flower painting
Keith Pettitt – monochrome wood engraved studies of Sussex, in 18th century style
Riz Wallis – smoky blue ceramics with gilded frilly edges (quite a thing this year)
Down an epic set of urban steps now, proving Brighton really is carved out of the South Downs!
Dyke Road 3: The Dog House
Owner Karen Barratt’s architectural photographic collages blend with an extensive, elegant and eclectic show throughout three storeys.
Painting, glass, jewellery, furniture, ceramics, textiles and a fascinating photographic exhibition on the Stead family and the Raj.
Upstairs to the studio for refreshments in aid of Whoopsadaisy and a chat about Brighton’s Hippodrome and BOAT theatres.
Rosamund Fowler – I absolutely loved her wildlife wood engravings, and the greetings cards are little works of art in themselves.
Hove 2: The Wolf at the Door
A return visit to see Andrew Jones’ twisty turny kinetic sculptures in daylight, displayed in the garden.
Campoli and Nelson – collaboration in silver and glass; especially the heavy pleated silver pendant with dark glass jewel, and the rough silver cuff with pale green glass insets.
Jill Tattersall – night sky paintings in glowing blue and gold on handmade paper. Jill tells stories with her work.
To Hove to begin with.
Hove 12: Cameron Contemporary Art
This busy gallery in the heart of Hove is specialising in the work of Sussex artists throughout the Festival. Painting and print, ceramics and sculpture.
Kevin Hendley – oil on panel; a collection of darkly challenging stares – hipster Vettriano through a mediaeval lens
Harriet Porter – silvery serene still lives, studies in simplicity
Mike Dean – burr oak turned wooden bowls, where holes are part of the life of the original tree
Hove 11: The Claremont
A real feature on this trail now. A gorgeous Victorian villa now five star guest accommodation. Host exhibitions throughout the year with work throughout the building during the festival. Pick up their own little brochure for details of the many artists showing this month.
Refreshments in the study and the garden for donations in aid of the earthquake appeal.
Independent: Albert Mews Studios
Always a buzz here in one of Hove’s many atmospheric Mews, now converted into artists’ studios. Resident artists and guests transform their usual workspace into a gallery each May. Print, hats, hose, wood and lots of desirable things to wear, use and eat!
Refreshments for a donation.
Hove 6: Eve Poland
Stylish glamour girls and naughty kitties, Japanese sensibility and a sense of fun – Eve’s paintings and hand printed silkscreen prints are definitely for grown ups only!
Three venues specialising in ceramics, next:
Hove 7: Biscuit Studio Mary Penley Ceramics
A new exhibitor in Kellie’s mews studios. Wacky working teapots, Golden Snitch style winged ceramic spheres and popular birdy cane toppers.
Hove 8: Kellie Miller Studio
A long established feature of this trail, Kellie shows her distinctive blend of painting meets ceramic, creating peaceful woodlands and 3D landscapes.
Joined this year by Bruce Denny’s dynamic poised bronze nudes.
Hove 9: Tessa Wolf Murray and Guests
Our mini ceramics trail within a trail continues with Tessa’s popular show, now expanded into the garden studio. See the travel photographs that inspire the mood, textures and tones of her work. Vases and wall pieces in restrained, enigmatic natural colours and satisfying shape, together with practical buttons, brooches and pendants.
Linda Warwick – Sleeping Birds ceramics suggest just that, with the lightest touch
Mike Topham – witty wire art 3D sketches
Cliff Wright – Fantastic opportunity to see work by the Harry Potter cover artist, who illustrates stories with an eye for detail that draws you in
Walking east to Seven Dials trail now. Ocasionally you’ll find the more far flung or isolated houses will require a car or an all-day bus ticket, but most of our trailing is easily done on foot, and there are usually a lot of houses clustered together.
Seven Dials 11: The Colbourne Collection
An immaculate scented house with the kind of kitchen you might dream about! Jewellery, painting and photography and refreshments in the garden.
Louisa Boyd – sea and landscapes with a fantasy feel, especially ‘Here I Stand’ and ‘Morning Shallows’
Seven Dials 12: Family Art Line
The Ruffell and Slade family of artists at home and introducing the enviable new working studio in the garden. Enter the free weekly prize draw and maybe win a print.
Shyama Ruffell’s botanical and butterfly painting. Quite a butterfly theme thus year, along with a trend for theatrical storytelling with little pieces presented in boxes, tins, books and jars. Shyama’s butterfly boxes charm.
Seven Dials 15: Salon des Sources
A house of variety, showcasing painting and print, jewellery including the most delicate silver and gold, dynamic resin and world culture inspirations, ceramic, mosaics, textiles and fairies.
Caroline Smith’s unique statement jewellery pieces for the woman who means business.
The chance to meet Bernard Lodge, the artist who created the iconic opening credit sequences for some of the most famous sixties TV series, including Adam Adamant and Doctor Who. Today showing new prints, Bernard’s work is the cover of this year’s AOH brochure.
Seven Dials 14: The Snug
And now for something completely different! This new open house is all theatre and flair. Oil painting, jewellery, furniture and a glamorous red dressing room for accessories and capes.
Mary Grant – dreamlike impressionistic oils of night, forest and sky, especially ‘A Lover of the Night’
Jessica Christie-Miller – steampunk Victorian upholstered pinboards and hats, feathers, flowers and skulls
Central 8: Sussex County Arts Club
A long-established artists’ club in an atmospheric loft at the heart of Brighton’s North Laine. A costumed life drawing session is in progress as we visit. I’ve sat for a portrait series here, and you really get the sense that generations of artists have gathered here to exhibit and work.
The walls are closely hung with the results of these sessions – it’s fascinating to see different views of the same model; this time our very own Michael ‘Atters’ Attree in his very own louche style!
See the prizewinning paintings of the year and pick up details of sessions and events, too. We were here for quite a long time …
Hove Arts 1: Studio 55
If you look at the AOH map, you can see that the quarter of the city bounded by Dyke Road and Old Shoreham Road is a virtual open house desert. So – welcome to this new venue and looking forward to more appearing in the area.
If Apple Mac designed an Artists’ Open House, this would be it! This house has to be seen to appreciate how the house, garden and den have been completely reimagined in contemporary cool clean lines.
Perspex, acrylic and graphic design throughout.
Jana Solfronk – pinned turquoise droplets 3D piece ‘Liquid’
Pippa Leocadia – portrait painting on a huge scale, all energy and verve
Finally … Hove Arts are all open today, so a leisurely last afternoon finishes a rather pared down festival for us – next stop, Christmas!