SHAF Arts Trail Update

Taking part in the SHAF Arts Trail is a huge undertaking, and hugely rewarding. We’ve met some interesting people – some artists, some visitors to the South Hams, and some locals. Wonderful!

SHAF Arts Trail Update: the preview evening

After several days of setting up the gallery with works by Michael Hill and Chris Pring alongside my own, we had our preview evening on Friday 11 October. A crowd of 30+ spent the evening in the company of Michael, Chris and myself. We had wine and nibbles and our guests had first choice on the material on display.

If you’d like to be invited to this event next year and, meanwhile, kept up to date with news of forthcoming events, contact me.

SHAF Arts Trail Update: Chris Pring

Several of Chris Pring’s pottery items were sold on the preview evening, including one of his three muses and a hare plate. There’s still much to see though. Most of his work is in the sunroom (AKA our dining room).

Chris Pring display in the sun room | SHAF Arts Trail Update

There’s another display of his work in the entrance hall providing an excellent welcome to our visitors. Chris Pring display in the entrance hall | SHAF Arts Trail Update

The grey vase on the top shelf (Grasses) was sold just after I took this photograph. Come soon, if you want to be sure of a piece of Chris’ pottery.

SHAF Arts Trail Update: Michael Hill

Michael Hill’s new style of painting – focusing on people rather than places – has drawn lots of interest. Michael Hill display | SHAF Arts Trail Update

Which do you prefer?

We also have several of Michael’s unframed original works in the browser, very reasonably priced. To date, we’ve sold five of these, but there are more. Come quick?

SHAF Arts Trail Update: Stephen Thomas

My affordable art is proving very popular. Costing from as little as £3.75 (for a keyring or fridge magnet) – many of these items are perfect for Christmas gifts.

Affordable art display

On the preview evening, I sold all my stock of glass chopping boards, including one showing Dappled Light, and more – in both A4 and A3 sizes – are on order, due in later this week.

During the past week, the Dappled Light design has been the most popular and lots of cards, wooden placemats and coasters, two wall plaques and two pills boxes have been sold. Again, more are on order!Dappled Light

SHAF Arts Trail Update: the weather?

The weather has been variable. Some sunshine. Some heavy rain. But visitors have arrived come rain or shine and have been made very welcome. Tea/coffee and biscuits, and a wonderful view are available for all comers.

There’s still time to visit. We are open 10am-5pm daily until Sunday 27 October.

Closed on Tuesday!

What’s SHAF?

Click here to learn more!

SHAF Arts Trail 11-27 October 2019

The SHAF (South Hams Arts Forum) Arts Trail starts on Saturday 12 October – two weeks of public access to artists’ studios and gallery spaces to see their work, talk with the artists and enjoy their hospitality. This includes half-term week so we may have lots of visitors in town.

Before the SHAF Trail starts, we have our preview party on the Friday evening. 11 October, 6-9pm.

WHAT’S HAPPENING AT BEACON HOUSE?

At Beacon House, the preparation for the SHAF Trail has started.

  • Invitations to the preview party have been sent. If you’ve not received one, contact me. invite | SHAF Arts Trail 11-27 October 2019
  • Food has been ordered – canapés for Friday eveningWaitrose order
    … and cakes from Samphire Foods for the daytime visitors during the rest of the fortnight.Samphire order
  • We have restocked the the beer fridge and the wine racks …
  • My paintings are being hung … Beacon house Gallery | SHAF Arts Trail 11-27 October 2019
  • Later today, Chris Pring will be bringing his collection of ceramics. These will be on display in the hallway, and in the sunroom.Chris Pring | SHAF Arts Trail 11-27 October 2019
  • Tomorrow, we will have received all of Michael Hill’s paintings to hang. These will be on the mezzanine floor.Michael Hill | SHAF Arts Trail 11-27 October 2019
  • Directions and opening times | SHAF Arts Trail 11-27 October 2019Wednesday, work starts on creating the brochure … and I have the SHAF signs to put up at the top of Bonfire Hill.
  • Thursday, we will be setting out my affordable art: cushions, mugs, table mats and coasters, glass coasters and chopping boards, pill boxes, key rings and fridge magnets.Bone china mugs | SHAF Arts Trail 11-27 October 2019
  • Friday, it’s time to set up the house for the preview party: plates, serviettes, glasses …

So much to do!

WHEN ARE WE OPEN?

We are open 10am until 5pm, daily from Saturday 12 October until Sunday 27 – apart from Tuesdays.

WHERE SHOULD YOU PARK?

There is parking on our private drive for about five cars.

You might also park in Bonfire Hill, alongside the allotments, or in the Park’n’Ride.  Please don’t park on the shared driveway!

Any questions?

Ring us on 01548 844020.

 

 

 

Chris Pring at Beacon House Gallery

Chris Pring is a potter who makes functional domestic stoneware and delicate porcelain pieces for the home as well as garden sculptures in stoneware and terracotta.

I bought one of Chris’s pieces – a gift for Anne, who was struck by the beauty of his work – so, it’s a great joy to have Chris exhibiting at Beacon House for the SHAF (South Hams Arts Forum) Arts Trail in October this year.

Chris Pring: Garden sculpture

Chris Pring: Garden sculpture

Chris’ work is strongly influenced by the creations of Andy Goldsworthy and the simple forms of Barbara Hepworth and his thrown vessels show his appreciation of works by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada.

Chris Pring: Garden sculpture - Hepworth inspired

Chris Pring: Garden sculpture – Hepworth inspired

I’m sure you will love his work as much as we do!

Chris Pring: The Wheel

Chris Pring: The Wheel

WHAT IS THE SHAF ARTS TRAIL?

This year, the SHAF Arts Trail runs from October 12th to October 27th. Two whole weeks, including half-term week, in which you can enjoy art in the South Hams!

SHAF membership is extremely diverse so, while some artists create in purpose-built studios, others produce their work at the kitchen table.

Consequently, the Arts Trail will lead visitors to some artists working in their home studios and to others exhibiting in galleries and exhibition halls.

At each venue, visitors will find artists happy to discuss their art-form, explain the processes involved and provide the opportunity to view, appreciate and buy unique pieces of work.

SHAF programme

Following the Arts Trail also gives visitors an unusual opportunity to explore the glorious South Hams as they map their route and discover more and more artists’ venues (as well as cream tea venues).

Beacon House is one of 27 venues at which, in total, 67 artists are showing their work.

BEACON HOUSE GALLERY ON THE SHAF ARTS TRAIL

I’ve lost count of the number of years we’ve been involved in the SHAF Arts Trail. As ever, we are open every day from 10am until 5pm, apart from the two Tuesdays.

This year, we are the only venue in Salcombe and you will find a warm welcome awaits you. Tea/coffee and cake is available throughout the day.

There is also preview evening on Friday 11 September. Invitations will be sent out by email to all those who have previously purchased my art, plus the gallery owners and shops who exhibit my work – and friends who enjoy seeing my art.

Invitations will also go out via Michael Hill who is exhibiting at Beacon House again this year, and via Chris Pring for whom this is a first visit to Beacon House.

If you don’t receive an invitation, and would like to enjoy an evening with wine and nibbles and good company, surrounded by wonderful art, contact me!

More about Chris Pring

Chris trained in ceramic design with Ian Wallace in Derbyshire and has been teaching pottery to children and adults for many years. He is a strong believer in working with clay as therapy and put this to good use helping vulnerable children in the Yeovil area.

Chris Pring: Porcelain plates

Chris Pring: Porcelain plates

In 2012, he moved his pottery business from Dorset to Devon.

His work has been exhibited in galleries in Dorset and South Devon and he is a member of the West Country Potters Association and the South Hams Arts Forum ‘SHAF’.

Chris Pring: Blue vase

Chris Pring: Blue vase

Chris offers pottery lessons for both beginners and the more experienced and is always happy to take commissions.  His studio, in Kellaton, a rural hamlet in deepest South Devon, is open to visitors by appointment.

Further examples of Chris’ work can be seen on his website: www.kellatonpottery.co.uk and www.craftcourses.com.

Chris Pring: Trees

Chris Pring: Trees

079 At Ditch End

SOLD! At Ditch End

At Ditch End was painted in 2013, prior to us moving into Beacon House and setting up the gallery within our home.

This stretch of beach – just below the Venus Cafe – is well used, and it’s a shame it doesn’t have a more attractive name. Ditch End indeed!

I was on rescue duty for Salcombe Yacht Club when I saw the boat, the one nearer to shore and was struck by its beauty. I took a photo!

I think it’s a Roxane, a retro lugger designed by Nigel Irens. I only say that as I recall Richard Stilgoe having a similar boat in the Salcombe Estuary, and that’s how he describes it on his website. (If I’m mistaken, do let me know!)

One-man exhibition in the Little Studio

The two-week exhibition in the Little Studio has been one of my most successful. Three sales. The prices were rock-bottom because I need the wall space and clearly that appealed to purchasers.

I was stewarding on several days (Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday) and met so many people. A joy to share time with them.

Coming up soon: charity event at Burton Farm in aid of the Triangle Centre

TOMORROW, Tuesday 10 September, I will be supporting a charity event at Burton Farm, Galmpton in aid of the Triangle Centre. On sale will be my full range of affordable art.Burton Farm map

SHAF Aarts Trail

Coming up soon: SHAF Arts Trail

Friday 11 October marks the start of the SHAF (South Hams Arts Forum) Arts Trail and I will be hosting a preview evening (6-9pm) at Beacon House Gallery. Pop in for wine and nibbles and a chance to mingle with others who enjoy my art.

Personal invitations to attend will be sent by email a couple of weeks beforehand, but put this date in your diary now.

(If you don’t receive an invitation, contact me!)

The Arts Trail lasts for two weeks, including the half-term week and we are open every day apart from Tuesdays, from 10am until 5pm.

Wonderful views, wheelchair access and plenty of parking … and tea and cake. What more could you want? Oh, art!

Coming up soon: Christmas gift sale at the Hen House

On Thursday 31 October (7.30-9.30pm) and Friday 1 November (10am-1pm), my affordable art will be on sale at the Hen House. Just in time to buy your Christmas gifts!

SOLD! Sunlight Across the Bar

Soon after 11am on Sunday 18 August, the official opening time for the exhibition, I made a sale. Sunlight across the Bar, an oil painting was sold to a couple who have been visiting Salcombe ‘forever’.

I arrange to have all of my original paintings professionally photographed before they are varnished or framed, so I stil have the digital image and own the copyright. From this image, I can create a giclée print, and any of the affordable art range.  It’s very popular as a fine art greetings card too.

A boxed canvas – unusual for Stephen Thomas

It’s rare for me to offer a painting unframed. Sunlight across the Bar was on a box canvas and had spent much of its life on our lounge wall, above the TV.

In its place, I have hung a much larger painting. It’s a print by Terrence Cuneo, who is best known for his studies of trains and railway stations. However, this one depicts Lloyds of London, my place of work for decades. It was a gift to me from work colleagues on my retirement in 2000.

Terence Cuneo - Lloyds of London | Sold! Sunlight Across the Bar

The feather?

The feather symbolises the quill pen, and was intended as a joke by my colleagues to remind me that I started work, aged 17, before the invention of computers. It was after the invention of pens, however.

The waiters (those in red jackets) would, each morning, visit every box and refill the inkwells. This tradition has obviously fallen by the wayside and Lloyds is full of modern technology.

Nowadays, many use a mouse. In my day, the mice were real and one is visible in this painting.

Can you see this painting?

My Terence Cuneo painting will be on display, but not for sale, during the SHAF (South Hams Arts Forum) Arts Trail. Make a note of  the dates: 12-27 October.

Setting up day: Sunday 18 August

Anne and I had a very early start on setting up day. I’d already loaded the car the night before, with fifteen paintings, individually wrapped and ready to hang.

The parking fairy had reserved a place for us alongside the bakery and I moved the paintings bag by bag to the Art Club, while Anne guarded the car and the remaining paintings.

Then, I left Anne at the Gallery while I moved the car to my boat parking space in Shadycombe car park. By the time I’d returned, Anne had unpacked and hung nearly all the paintings, not in their final positions, but close.

There then followed an hour or so of moving each painting left a bit, right a bit, up a bit, down a bit, and attaching labels. Imagine, me on a ladder, and Anne directing operations!

We were just about done when the purchaser arrived. He was earlier than our usual opening time, but we welcomed him in. We then settled ourselves down to a well-earned cup of coffee.

After studying all the paintings, he departed but returned with his wife some time later, to make the purchase. I am always happy when I meet the purchaser, and know my painting is going to a good home!

When does the exhibition end?

There’s another week … 11am-5pm every day until Saturday 31 August. Do pop in. I’m stewarding on Wednesday 28 August 11am-5pm and Saturday 31 August 2-5pm.

ONE-MAN EXHIBITION: LITTLE STUDIO AT THE LOFT GALLERY

As a full member of Salcombe Art Club, I have the option for a one-man exhibition in the corner of the Loft Gallery that some of us still call the Little Studio.

This year, my exhibition spans two consecutive weeks: 18-31 August. Fifteen original paintings … and the gallery is open every day 11am until 5pm

A RETROSPECTIVE OF MY WORK 

For this one-man exhibition, I’ve chosen paintings which span the past decade or so, while I have been a member of Salcombe Art Club.

The Club rules don’t allow a painting to be exhibited in the Main Exhibition for three years after it is first exhibited. Each year, I’ve been exhibiting 5 new paintings; consequently, these older ones have been somewhat neglected.

I need to free up space on the walls in my gallery! So, I have discounted all of the paintings on show for this fortnight. Come along. There are some bargains!

From 2011: Slapton Ley 

Slapton Ley | one-man exhibition

Slapton Ley: watercolour: £100

Deliah 

Deliah | one-man exhibition

Deliah: acrylic: £150

High and Dry in the Creek 

High and Dry in the Creek: acrylic £150

From 2012: Fishing Boats in the Barbican 

Fishing Boats in the Barbican: watercolour: £150

From 2013: At Ditch End 

079 At Ditch End

At Ditch End: acrylic: £100

Evening Row 

Evening Row: acrylic: £100

Storm at Start Bay 

Storm at Start Bay: acrylic: £100

and Calypso 

Calypso watercolour: £150

From 2014: Hope Cove Fishing Gear 

Hope Cove Fishing Gear

Hope Cove Fishing Gear: watercolour: £125

From 2015: Sunlight Across the Ba

Sunlight across the Bar: oil; £175

 Salcombe Dawn II  

Salcombe Dawn II: watercolour: £375

From 2018: Sunset at Start Point II  

Sunset at Start Point

Sunset at Start Point: oil: £325

In the main exhibition, I have FIVE paintings. Can you find them all? 

WHERE IS THE LOFT GALLERY?

The Loft Gallery is situated behind the Fortescue Inn, and above a popular shoe shop, on a delightful footpath called Victoria Quay, which overlooks one of the best views in the UK including the mooring berth of the RNLI lifeboat Baltic Exchange III.

AFFORDABLE ART: Fine art greetings cards

Out of 140+ completed paintings to date, 70 of these are also available as fine art greetings cards.

You cannot buy my cards at the Salcombe Art Club, but they are stocked at Bonningtons (the newsagents) and Salcombe Information Centre (both a short walk from the Loft Studio).

Further afield, my cards are stocked by Malborough Post Office, Ashby’s, The Gallery Project at Avon Mill and at Noss Mayo.

Worthy causes: Salcombe Town Regatta & Hope Cove Lifeboat

Last week was twice as busy as usual with Anne and I supporting two local worthy causes. At both events, one of my latest images, Walking Back to Hope Cove, the featured image above, proved very popular.

Salcombe Town Regatta logo | Worthy causesBank Holiday Monday, 5 August

On Monday, we were in Whitestrand, taking part in the Art Day of Salcombe Town Regatta, and had a very early start.

At 8am, the Regatta organisers were on top form, marshalling us to our respective spots and making sure everyone was safe, what with cars and vans delivering materials for sale.

We were selling my affordable art in support of Salcombe Regatta: cards and cushions, coasters and place mats, purses and pill boxes, and fine bone china mugs …

Anne and our stand at the Salcombe Regatta Art Day

Anne and our stand at the Salcombe Regatta Art Day

We lost count of the number of people who visited the stall, and bought something or took my business card.

All for a worthy cause

Staying cool in the shade on a hot sunny Salcombe day

The wind was a bit of a trial! We were glad of our stock of water botttles and that we were on the shaded side of the car park.

Gazebo sae form the wind

The gazebo, held fast with water bottles

All in all, a fun day. We will be back next year …

Thursday 8 August

On Thursday, it was the turn of the Hope Cove Lifeboat.

Hope Cove Lifeboat | Worthy causesThis is another regular event for us and it’s always a joy to take part. The organising team, together with the staff of the Cottage Hotel couldn’t be more helpful.

We had our usual stall in the dining room of the Cottage Hotel, donated a prize for the raffle and sold our wares during their fundraising day, donating a percentage of our profits to the Lifeboat charity. In total, they raised a wonderful sum: £4,028.

Anne assures me I could have taken a better shot but, at least you can see, at closer range, the products now available (as well as our morning coffee pot), and she is smiling despite spending hours on her feet.

Our next outing: Tuesday 10 September

On Tuesday 10 September, we will be at Burton Farm for a coffee morning 10.30am-12.30pm in support of The Triangle Centre.

Can we support your charity?

Yes! We are keen to support local worthy causes.

Let us know when your event is, and I’ll check if that date is clear in our diary. Just contact me, and we will help as best we can.

SOLD! Dawn at New Bridge

Dawn at New Bridge shows the view from the bridge some think of as Bowcombe Bridge.

Dawn at New Bridge
Dawn at New Bridge

Sold!

Back in 2012/13, Anne and I rented a stunning house at Bickerton. It belonged to an artist and her husband and, for those twelve months, I worked in the best studio conditions I’ll ever have, for sure.

Work was being done on our Salcombe flat, ahead of putting it on the market, and we spent three years renting various houses in the South Hams.

During that particular tenancy, I would often drive from Bickerton back to Salcombe and, crossing New Bridge,  Bowcombe, I would enjoy the view across the estuary.

One morning, there was a mist, slowly clearing. I felt compelled to stop the car and, reaching for my camera, I captured this magical moment. I especially admired the reflections in the pink water.

Dawn at New Bridge was one of a number of studies that resulted from that pitstop and this original acrylic painting has spent the past five years hanging in the gallery at Beacon House with the occasional outing to an exhibition.

It is now sold and, from tomorrow, will be gracing the walls of a dear friend who used to live in Salcombe but has now moved ‘up country’. Like so many of our era, travel is becoming a challenge, so to have a painting of a treasured view has to suffice. I am honoured my painting was chosen.

This particular purchaser also bought three prints – because the originals of those images had already been sold.

Four paintings in one home

Four of my images in one home! It’s not a record …

One of my ‘collectors’ has amassed more than a dozen of my paintings and they hang in his office suite in the City of London.

Limited edition prints from £95

Tidal Gallery logo

Even if an original painting has not already sold, a limited edition print can be purchased. It’s a cheaper option, and because my prints are on the highest quality canvas, it’s made to last.

The cost of a print depends on the size of the image, and starts at £95. It can be posted to your home in a strong cardboard tube.

For those living in the South Hams, I recommend using Tidal Gallery for the mounting and framing. Anna Ventura provides a swift turnaround and a professional service.

For more details about purchasing prints, do contact me.

Contemporary Passions Exhibition: 16-28 July

I am one of the nine SHAF artists whose work will be on show at Harbour House for the Contemporary Passions exhibition.

Contemporary Passions poster
  • Teresa Barlow
  • Nick Cotter
  • Jane Davarian
  • Crystel Dauth
  • Brett Hornby
  • Cherry Lyons
  • Jane Mahood
  • Elaine Sibley
  • myself, Stephen Thomas

In this series of blogs, some of them share their process. You can read about Jane Mahood here, Elaine Sibley here and Cherry Lyons here.

What’s my process?

I like to sketch and, indeed, this year, the formation of the SOS (Salcombe Outdoors Sketchers) group by members of the Salcombe Art Club has encouraged me to do more than I usually would. To date, we have visited several local beauty spots: Kingsbridge creek, Dartmouth (although it rained most of the day and we had to retreat to the pub), Torcross and Beesands, and Shipley Bridge up on the moors. As a result of these days out, I’ve produced great source material for the winter time when I spend less time in the garden and more time in my studio.

Most of my source material, though, is by way of photographs. I take thousands. Only this past weekend, the changing colours on Snapes as the sun sunk below the horizon were breathtaking – and captured for consideration at a later date.

I have a relatively expensive camera – a Nikon 7000 – with a zoom lens, but my smaller and more portable underwater camera, a Canon D10, is always to hand wherever we are. Even the iPad takes good enough photos.

Deciding what to paint

I’m always spoilt for choice. I have so much source material to hand: my sketch books and all my photographs. However, having already painted about 150 local scenes, I am keen to find new angles and new places of interest.

So, the question is more likely: what image will provide a fresh view of a place? Or, can I paint a new place altogether?

On top of this, I might be thinking about next year’s exhibitions. A group of SHAF artists, myself included, have just had our application for Contemporary Passions 2020 accepted. So, I need to be thinking how I can meet the brief we’ve agreed with the team at Harbour House.

Last, but not least, most of my paintings are destined to become fine art greetings cards, so I’m also aware of what ‘the market’ might want as a reminder of their visit to Devon.

Deciding which medium to use

I paint in oils, acrylics and watercolour.

Which one to use depends on my interpretation of the light and contrasting colours. If I choose acrylic, the colours will darken as they dry. With watercolours, as the painting dries, the colours fade somewhat. As for oil, colours are reasonably predictable but the medium can take forever to dry, so this is not a good option if I am up against deadlines!

I have been known to tackle an image three times, once in each of the media. Just for the fun of it, and to stretch myself …

When do I paint?

I paint most days of the year. Having had a long career in the city, my dream in retirement was to live in Salcombe and paint. I am living that dream, and painting is always one of my contemporary passions.

When the sun is shining, jobs in the garden do tempt me away. We are also a popular destination for visitors and my time is spent entertaining them.

However, particularly in the winter, the majority of my day is spent in the studio. If you’d like to see me at work, contact me to arrange a time to visit.

Pop-Up Sale at Salcombe Yacht Club

Along with lots of other stall holders, Anne and I will be selling my affordable art at a Pop-Up Sale in aid of Salcombe Yacht Club on Thursday 11 July.

It is Merlin Rocket week and the town has lots of visiting sailors and their friends and families, and the Salcombe Yacht Club is enjoying one of its busiest weeks in the sailing calendar.

Where is the Pop-Up Sale?

In the entrance to the dining room (on the ground floor) of Salcombe Yacht Club.

Summer in Salcombe | Pop-Up Sale
Summer in Salcombe

Cliff House
Cliff Rd
Salcombe 
Devon
TQ8 8JQ

01548 842593

Cliff House is the red brick building in this painting.

When is the Pop-Up Sale?

11am until 2pm on Thursday 11 July 2019

What’s on sale at the Pop-Up Sale?

I’ll have as much of my affordable art on show as possible.

Affordable Art | Pop-Up Sale
Affordable art
  • Cards
  • Cushions
  • Fridge magnets
  • Glass coasters
  • Glass chopping boards
  • Key rings
  • Pill boxes
  • Purses
  • Wooden coasters and place mats

New for this sale are my bone china mugs.

Bone china mugs | Pop-Up Sale
From left to right: Salcombe Dawn, Dawn at South Pool Creek, Dappled Light

If you can’t be there at the Pop-Up Sale on Thursday, and/or want to buy something we don’t have with us, you can place an order by phone on 01548 844020 or by email. Delivery is usually within two weeks.

What’s next?

Salcombe Dawn I | Pop-Up Sale
Salcombe Dawn I

I am supporting the Regatta with a stand in Whitestrand on Monday 5 August. The Regatta stall will also have a range of my affordable art – cards, mugs, fridge magnets, key rings, pill boxes – the ones with Salcombe Dawn I on them.

Then, I’ll be at the Cottage Hotel on Thursday 8 August raising funds for the Hope Cove Lifeboat.

And at Burton Farm for a coffee morning on support of the Triangle Centre on Tuesday 10 September.

So, you can support your local artist and worthy causes at the same time!