I find this hard to believe, but apparently it's correct - and Warwickshire Open Studios 2018 begins four weeks on Saturday. Just take a moment to let that sink in - four weeks. Yes, on June 16th at 10.30 am St Gregory's at Offchurch along with 137 other venues across Coventry and Warwickshire, will open their doors to welcome visitors. Before then, between us all, we have 25,000 brochures to give away, yes, twenty-five thousand, that's 6.5 tonnes of them apparently, and the exciting news is that this year they have undergone a redesign to allow more room for images. The proof looked brilliant, and I for one can't wait to get my hands on the real thing!
These little beauties are on their way and should be available from an artist, library, café, gallery, pub, bar, visitor centre and any number of other convenient locations very, very shortly. If for any reason you struggle to get hold of one, do let us know at warwickshireopenstudios.org and we'll add you to the mailing list. And, of course, at the same website link, you will also find lots of lovely extra information and tips for planning your visit. Invaluable.
For the next four weeks though, those artists' studios, however grand or modest they may be, whether it's a custom-built garden retreat or a hard-fought-for space on the kitchen table, they will all be hives of activity - painters, sculptors, printmakers, jewellers, textile artists, furniture makers, ceramicists, glassmakers and all the others will be beavering away creating all the things that go into making these 16 days so magical. And that's not to mention all the printers and framers, the supportive partners and spouses, the encouraging long-suffering friends who put up with last-minute cancelled plans (or is that just me?!) plus, of course, our brilliant team of volunteers.
Personally, I have several new paintings ready to be scanned and framed, others that still need some much needed attention and yet more that are still fermenting away inside my ever-so-nearly panicky head and are yet to take any physical form whatsoever. Part of the problem is, that in my head, they are perfect, as soon as I start to put brush to paper however, I have to face the reality. Happily though, sometimes the unexpected limitations of our creative ability can surprise and delight our imaginations. Here's hoping for a few happy accidents! In the meantime, here's a peek at a current work in progress - almost there, but still a little work to do.
At this stage in the year, even after four extremely happy, successful years of exhibiting at Open Studios, I constantly worry that I won't have enough new work to show, that my paintings aren't really good enough, and worst of all, that people simply won't come. Happily, so far, I've been proved wrong, with increasing numbers of people discovering the delights of our beautiful village venue, and long may it continue.
You can find details of our opening times at Offchurch and follow our progress as we countdown to June 16th on our Facebook page at WOSOffchurch, on my own Facebook page here and on the Warwickshire Open Studios main website linked above. Or, you could just get your hands on one of those gorgeous brochures of course, with 25,000 of them, there should be plenty to go around! I for one can't wait to start welcoming people through the door at St Gregory's, but first, back to the easel...