SHAF Arts Trail: 14-29 October

The SHAF Arts Trail starts next Saturday. Two weeks of open-house …

On the opening day – Saturday 14 October – the 10 artists in the Salcombe/Soar area, invite you – the public – to come along and enjoy our art, and a warm welcome … including light refreshments.

Anytime – 10am until 5pm.

SHAF Arts Trail, open-house, Private party, Beacon House, evening,

Private party on 14 October

At Beacon House, we are also having a private by-invitation party that evening.

Partly, we are continuing the Opening Day celebration but also we feel the need to mark the completion of works to our home which includes a platform lift, making our location wheelchair freindly.

If you haven’t received an invitation, and would like to come along in the evening, please contact me!


Where are the Salcombe/Soar artists?



Visit the SHAF website for more details.

SHAF Arts Trail: Elen Claire Williams

Elen Claire WilliamsFine Artist, Elen Claire Williams MA is one of 60 artists opening their studios for the SHAF Arts Trail.



This year, the SHAF Arts Trail runs from October 14th to October 29th. Two whole weeks, including half-term week.

The South Hams Arts Forum (SHAF) is a lively, actively engaged association of artists and craftspeople from across the region.

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 – as is the case for Elen – 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.

Elen is exhibiting at Art Space, with two other SHAF artists: Cherry Lyons and Lee Pover.

Art Space


Sunday Sailing off Westcombe Pinnacles

Meet Elen Claire Williams

Elen is a Walking Artist, recording and interpreting her local South Devon landscape, principally between the moor and the sea, using a variety of mediums and visual languages. Beginning with rural walks ‘The Art of Slow Walking’ is where the content is more important than duration. The artist commonly selects popular places at those solitary times where isolation from modern life encourages imagination, self-discovery and inner peace.

“I have succeeded in my aim when the glory of creation encourages people to engage to celebrate and conserve the vanishing natural world on our personal doorsteps.”

Beyond the decorative aspect of making art, the key issues of our times, i.e. environmental issues and spiritual poverty, have become essential deeper elements in the artist’s work. The artist seeks to raise the audiences’ awareness of the fragility of the environment and the need to actively become a participant in its conservation. An interest in local history, local tradition, and personal faith are reflected in the narrative of specific series of artwork.


More about Elen Claire Williams

Erme out-going tide

Elen Claire Williams’ creative training began at Exeter College of Art and Design in 1967, continuing at Falmouth School of Art, Plymouth College of Art and Design, and Cornwall College. Elen has  Bachelor of Arts degrees in (2 & 3D) Design (1995) and Fine Art (2010) at the University of Plymouth; Open University Master of Arts degree (2012).

“I believe that the outcome of Fine Art creativity becomes authenticated by all of life’s experiences that enrich the deeper purpose of my practice.”

Elen Claire Williams’ emergent career as an independent artist follows a portfolio of employment that enabled the artist to develop transferable skills and creativity in differing circumstances, from business applications to applying creativity to most aspects of the National Curriculum. A believer in life-long learning, the artist sacrificially continued to undertake art classes and workshops led by professional artists that enhanced and continues to enhance her visual languages and technical skills.

Elen Claire Williams is a qualified Early Years Teacher with 10 years of experience teaching children aged from 3 to 11 years.

“As a member of Devon Artist Network, Devon Artists, South Hams Art Forum, Kingsbridge and South Hams Art Club and Salcombe Art Club, I have found a platform for professional development and exhibition opportunities”.



Elen Claire Williams SHAFSHAF Arts Trail brochures are available in libraries, information centres and many other places in the South Hams. There are 18 SHAF Arts Trail venues, each with one or more artists displaying their work and available for you to see them at work, and to answer your questions.

In case you can’t get you hands on a copy, here are the details for Elen’s venue in Art Space, Aveton Gifford – and her opening times.



You can contact Elen Claire Williams by email at or call her on 01548 559396 or visit her website or her Facebook page.



Visit the SHAF website for more details.

Postcard from Oxford: Ashmolean Museum


Joseph Mallord William Turner (1175-1851): Walton Bridges

This was my fourth visit to the wonderful Ashmolean Museum.

Anne wanted to attend a literary lunch at Denman College – meeting Clare Mackintosh, author of I See You, a brilliant psychological thriller – so we decided to share the driving from Devon, and I got to spend the day enjoying once more this amazing trove of art.

With so many works of art on display, it’s difficult to pick out just a few favourites, but here are my five from this particular excursion.


At the Ashmolean: Turner’s Walton Bridges

These bridges were mentioned in a previous postcard, way back in February when Anne and I were in Australia. We were enjoying a stroll around NGV (National Gallery of Victoria). As I mentioned back then: it was a lovely surprise to see ‘Walton Bridges’.

The Walton Bridges were erected in the 1780s and were painted by Turner (twice) in 1805 for exhibitions in 1806-7.


Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875): Montfermeuil, the Brook in the Wood, 1867

Turner used his artistic licence to create this idyllic pastoral landscape, minus the various houses that would have been visible to anyone present at that time.

This painting – like the one is Melbourne – brought back into sharp focus the many times in my life when, forty plus years ago, I drove from my home in Shepperton and crossed a more modern version of these bridges en route to Walton Station for my daily commute to London.

How time flies?


At the Ashmolean: Corot’s Montfermeuil, the Brook in the Wood

This oil-on-canvas painting is an example of Corot’s later work.

His palette is more monochromatic and the overall effect more blurred.

I see similar skies over Salcombe. The challenge is to capture the atmosphere before the clouds move on.


At the Ashmolean:  Etty’s  The Repentant Prodigal’s Return to his Father

Willian Etty (1787-1849): The Repentant Prodigal’s Return to his Father

This painting combines two scenes from the story of the Prodigal son: centre stage, the embrace between father and son; and, to the left, the return of the elder brother from working in the fields.

Etty was unique in his ability to make a successful career out of combining history painting – such as this one – with his love for Venetian colours.

He was especially keen on life drawings and studied life at the Royal Academy schools – and this painting includes four lovely ladies, in various classic poses, in the background!

I’m very much looking forward to getting back into class. The Salcombe Art Club Main exhibition ended on Saturday, and I’ll be back ‘in harness’ on Tuesdays (with Michael Hill) and Fridays (with Ian Carr).

On the occasional Monday, there’s a life drawing class too …


At the Ashmolean: two paintings by Walter Richard Sickert’s

Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942): The Piazzetta do San Marco, Venice, 1900

Although Walter Richard Sickert was born in 1860, in Germany, the son on Oswald Sickert, a Danish-German artist, the family relocated to Britain in 1868 where they obtained British nationality.

Sickert visited Venice in the Spring of 1900.

This first painting, The Piazzetta do San Marco, Venice, with the Campanile on the left and the basilica of San Marco on the right, was dedicated to a Mrs May (Polly) Price. Polly was the daughter of one of Sickert’s closest friends, a Mrs Middleton.

I fully intend to visit Venice again soon. Wherever you look. there is a composition with perfect light, just waiting to be painted.

Sickert, as a painter and printmaker, was a member of the Camden Town Group in London – a small group of English Post-Impressionist artists active 1911-13 and influenced by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.


Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942): The Brighton Pierrots, 1915

This second painting, an oil-on-canvas, depicts members of the troupe of Pierrots who performed on stage in Brighton in 1915.

Sickert visited his patron and friend Walter Taylor and studied these Pierrots, making many sketches before returning to London and creating this image.

His Pierrots perform in front of rows of empty deck chairs, and presents a depressing insight into life in Brighton at that time.

However, the painting was sold very quickly and then Sickert was commissioned to paint a second version. You can see that one at the Tate.

Apparently, Sickert rarely commissions. Neither do I!


Lunch at the Ashmolean

I thoroughly enjoyed my day at the Ashmolean, not least because the rooftop restaurant is first class, albeit with a first class price tag!

I’m very much looking forward to seeing Anne browse through the new Denman catalogue. I’m sure she’ll find something she will enjoy, and that I can disappearing into Oxford again soon.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling.