Grease To The Wheels Of Exploratory Thinking
Inspiration often appears, or so they say, quite unexpectedly. A look, a word or simply a thought and there it is. From nothing to something. Direction and purpose.
But sometimes, it requires a little encouragement.
A plan to stimulate the creative mind.
Or grease to the wheels of exploratory thinking.
So I planned a weekend. A weekend of action in search of inspiration.
Day one. A day with artists. Admiring their work. Exploring their studios. Up close and personal with those talented enough to create and brave enough to share. And a workshop to try some of their techniques. In a garden shed. To the sounds of children birthday-partying and visitors visiting. Interesting and fun. And dirty hands have been known to inspire inquisitive minds.
Day two. A visit to a gallery. But not just any gallery. The only gallery in the UK dedicated to just one artist. Add history, commerce and some good old fashioned social values to the mix and you also have a fascinating story as well.
Victorian privilege pushes artistic boundaries in idyllic village setting.
An elegant old home and the most wonderful cemetery chapel, just a few minutes walks away down quiet country lanes. With a hint of arts and crafts, Romanesque revival and Eqyptian influences, this Art Nouveau sanctuary for the soul is small, breathtaking and unique. Victorian social improvement through creative enlightenment on an exquisite scale.
And then natural beauty. Cottage garden flowers. Woodland walks. The sound of birdsong over the fading footsteps of long-ago pilgrims.
Sculpture and art. Of unexpected size. With tracks, on rails, through custom-made windows, with pulley and trapdoor. For monumental expressions on epic themes.
History, art and culture collude on a trek towards inspiration.
One step at a time.
With an open mind.
The Surrey Artists Open Studios is on for three weekends in June. The Watts Artist Village, gallery and cemetery chapel is in Compton, Surrey and is the former home and studio of George Frederic Watts and his wife Mary.