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Hampshire Open Studios

It is always a pleasure to return to GAF. As I was present at its inception, living in Bursledon at the time and able to contribute to this venture. I consider it was a great day when, having seen Mrs Shawe Storey’s Catholic Chapel deconsecrated and dismantled of its intricate Flemish wood, and been put up for sale, a group of artistic and entrepreneurial Bursledon people decided to buy it. Thus we have this historic venue, right in the heart of the village; it is spacious with more light, and hugely improved now thanks to the hard work of many GAF members. It has gone from strength to strength, and now a great variety of artistic and friendly functions take place here, bringing like-minded people together.

So, returning again I was delighted to be invited by the Editor to write a few words about this exhibition. What an opportunity Hants Open Studios gives people-both to exhibit and to visit such varied exhibitions as this.

Through the old doorway from the road we are met by Glyn Foulkes’ brightly coloured life size wood sculpted Nelson greeting us, inviting us down the steps into the chapel; and inside several of Glyn’s immediately recognisable clay modelled heads of local people.  I have reason to be grateful to him too, as he it was who organised a young tutor to lead some sculpture classes some years ago-giving myself and others the opportunity to model  in this way that I had never had before – and I loved it. Inside, this year’s creations seemed more eclectic than usual. Each artist with their own ‘eye’ attracted us in very different ways. I admire most creativity, so much enjoyed the found pieces of driftwood ingeniously fashioned into 3D miniatures of rocks and sea scenes by Nicola James. On one side hung Sally Nixon’s coastal paintings, depicting dramatic light in sunsets and impending storm.

Round the corner were Stephen Foulkes’ cards created from his photography; another talented Foulkes family member here, who cleverly depicts the Hamble river he knows so well in all its guises, with the addition of some cleverly caught possibly posing birds! 

Along one wall, mounted very effectively on large white boards reaching from floor to ceiling were Colin Bowler’s large paintings. A retired draughtsman he has now turned his talents to oils and acrylics. Bold and bright with great observation of seashore, lapping foaming waves – and Bursledon views with unusual perspectives.

Last but not least, was Ray Manley’s beautiful photography which I enjoyed hugely.  Glorious landscapes – such an eye he has – and all naturally enhanced without any evident over manipulation.

Janet Matthews                                                             

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