Magic on the Henley Art Trail

Saturday 4th May 2019, England

Three of us exploring the work of local artists.
Houses and studios are open to the public.
Art in all forms is on display.
This is one section of the 14th Henley Arts Trail for 2019.

A magical, wonderful day.
With wonder and curiosity, we look at the art to work out the artists process and materials. We ask the artists questions where possible.
We notice.
We pay attention to colour, texture, materials, techniques, composition, presentation.
We are inspired.
We marvel at the abundance of creativity in this small village.

There are two things that stay with me from this magical day.


One: Gardens

Signs, quotes, ancient furniture, colourful pots, rusted metal stands, banners, bunting, statues, arches, flowers, cats and inviting places to sit and contemplate.
An expression of who the artist is.
Their artistic style and flair flows out of their studios as is it is an energy that cannot be contained.
Their gardens are an extension of their creativity, an additional showcase for it.
A peak into the nature of the artist.

We even stop for a cuppa and a sweet treat in one of the gardens.



Two: A non-commercial vibe

Early in the day, one of my companions sighed as she plonked herself into a wicker chair. We were in a tiny gallery in the form of a delightful, pale blue wooden shed at the bottom of a garden.

“What’s up”, we asked
This makes me feel empty inside.
“But why?”

We were flabbergasted, surrounded as we were by a profusion of art in all media and styles, creativity in abundance.

My companion is not alone in feeling like this. It can be overwhelming to see how creative people are and what treasures they create.

And of course, our highly competitive world conditions us to feel pressure in situations like this, just as my companion did. Our conditioning makes us feel as if there is not enough for everyone. That we were right at the back of the queue when creativity was being handed out.

I feel like this myself sometimes, when Mergatroid is at her noisiest and most insistent (Mergatroid is my Inner Critic).
I often think “what’s the point, someone has already done it all” or “you could never produce anything nearly as engaging as that“.
You know the kind of thing.
I’m sure you hear this voice too.

Yet, I know, deep down that competition is not the answer. Competitiveness leaves us feeling on edge, incapable and empty. Small and insignificant. Useless.

Julia Cameron, Brenda Ueland, Elizabeth Gilbert, Anne Lamott and many, many others urge us to create anyway, in spite of this conditioning and our unkind, hurtful Inner Critics. Creating is more about the process than the product. It’s about listening for and heeding the call of inspiration when it comes. Taking action, rather than yearning and wishing to be creative.

Create, create, create.
Do it for yourself and no one else.
Celebrate your own creativity.
Show others how YOU see the world.
There is NO ONE RIGHT way to make art.


In fact, one of the artists we chatted to yesterday said the same thing.
Experiment, explore, see what works for you.
Put paint on the brush and apply it to the paper.
Make bold marks and shapes.
Represent how you see the subject.
Enjoy the process.

He was not encouraging us to buy his art, but to be creative ourselves. He was enormously generous with his time and encouragement. Thank you! He was not alone, there were others who shared his views.

For me, that was what the day was about. Not feeling pressured to buy anything. A non-commercial feeling.
Rather, we were allowed time to look, really see the art and learn from each other. To get inspired and motivated to create for ourselves, in whatever form.

The art trail.

Debbie blog sign off 2019

This post is part of my Experiences series.


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