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Derbyshire Open Arts Weekend – local artists

It never rains but it pours, and it’s not exactly pouring – now but two blog posts in two days…and it is certainly wet. It’s not too wet to walk, nor to plan a lovely Sunday lunch in a cosy local pub (which could include a walk) but it could be a heaven sent opportunity to view some local art, as John and I did all yesterday.

Throughout Derbyshire this weekend local artists open their studio doors to anyone who would like to see their work. You can buy, usually, but that is not essential: you will find them all very happy simply to discuss their work with you.

Gill Radclffe's Studio in Parwich

Gill Radcliffe’s Open Arts 2014

We have a number of very talented artists in our village of Parwich. Lewis Noble is a professional contemporary landscape artist, and now works from his studio in the St John Street Gallery Ashbourne. Those of you who have stayed in Douglas’s Barn may recognise his paining above the fireplace. I very much doubt we’d be able to afford one now as he is becoming very sought after.

Another successful and extremely talented artist is Esther Tyson RCA. Not surprisingly, we particularly love her bird paintings – those of you on Facebook can see some here. She exhibits all over the place but doesn’t seem to have her own website (probably far too busy painting to do that as well).

Ruby Hickmott is a very inspirational Parwich Artist

Ruby Hickmott’s Studio in Parwich

Neither Lewis nor Esther took part in the Open Arts weekend, but fortunately for us Ruby Hickmott (Church Walk – look out for the balloons by her gate) and Gill Radcliffe have both opened up their studios. We have bought pictures from both of them and if we had more walls (and a fatter purse) would happily buy more from all the Parwich contingent!

After a bowl of soup in their tea room and a chat with our friend Clare at Ilam Hallwe set off for Beechenhill Farm where Sue Prince, who lives there, was exhibiting with several Derbyshire/Staffordshire colleagues.

Artistically, Sue is a wonderfully talented ‘narrative folk artist and map maker’ but she has many other skills and accomplishments.

Derbyshire Open Arts Beechenhill Display May 2014

Derbyshire Open Arts at Beechenhill Farm

There was the work of three or four other artists on display, but when we visited the only artist – other than Sue – that was obviously present was Michela Griffiths, a ‘photographic artist’ (my expression.) Do look at her website. At first I thought her photographs were wonderfully delicate water colours but in fact they are very clever photographs, often of water – reflections and movement, which really got John thinking.

He even threatened to abandon his attempt to catch swallows as they dive into the water, and just concentrate on the water…

Anyway, that is the local Derbyshire Open Arts scene – well worth a visit if you are about: today (Sunday 25th May) and tomorrow (Monday 26th May) from 10-5.

Preening Peacocks and A Taste of Devon in Derbyshire

The gap since I last wrote is so embarrassingly long there is nothing I can do but gloss over it. I am sorry. We seem to have been rushing over all over the place, very happily and socially most of the time, but it leaves little time for the pleasures of blogging.

Blogging you see, for me, comes under the category of pleasure, not chore, so tends to come last on the list of ‘things to do’ each day…

Percy the Peacock is very vain

I can’t get over how beautiful I am!

Anyway, we spent the inside of this last week in Devon, staying with my brother, which is always a great, relaxing pleasure. He has a lovely garden with the Mardle, a small tributary of the Dart, running alongside it.

Sharing my brother’s garden, using it merely as a necessary backdrop for all his narcisstic preenings, is Percy the Peacock who claimed ownership to it abut ten years ago. My brother tried, hard, to return him to his rightful owners, but Percy knew better and just kept returning. He is amazingly beautiful, and knows it. He also makes the most terrible screeching noise.

We met up with old friends, visited my parents’ grave in Ringmore (overlooking Burgh Island) and had a truly wonderful lunch at the Riverford Field Kitchen which fortunately for all of us is very close to my brother.

Refections on the River Dart in Devon IMG_0422

The waters of the Dart were very clear and peaceful

One afternoon we walked through words along the Dart, hoping to see all the bluebells before they finally vanish and perhaps a kingfisher. The bluebells were definitely on the way out and of a Kingfisher there was never a glimpse but the Dart was looking very beautiful with clear calm waters and no hint of the storms of a month or two ago.

I bought some Devon lamb in Ashburton to bring back and in the lovely little deli in Modbury I bought a kilo (!) of the most heavenly clotted cream to share with everyone, and not least our guests who were arriving on Friday.

Cream tea for Tom’s and Douglas’s Barn guests on Friday[/caption]So instead of a cake yesterday, they had freshly baked scones – harder work than a cake, with all that rubbing in of the butter by hand – oodles of raspberry jam and lashings of clotted cream (to paraphrase Enid Blyton).

Clotted cream tea for our guests! IMG_6978 By coincidence our Douglas’s Barn guests were from Cornwall so the cream tea may have felt more of a ‘coals to Newcastle’ gesture than an exciting novelty but if that were the case they were far too polite to let on. And, fortunately, the way we prefer a cream tea, that is, cream on top of the jam, is the approved Cornish method…

Today, truly back in Derbyshire, we have spent most the day enjoying the Derbyshire Open Arts studios, Ruby Hickmott and Gill Radcliffe in Parwich, and Sue Prince at Beechenhill, near Ilam…


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