'The Tanglewood' by Amber Caspian

'The Tanglewood' by Amber Caspian

Saturday 4 May 2013

Open Studios 2013

Last weekend was the second of two weekends of the Saffron Walden Open Studios.  My first ever event of this kind, as I haven't had a proper 'studio' until last year, I was very curious to see if anyone would venture out into the wilds of my little hamlet to see me.

I decided that it was time to paint the inside a light colour as it is a bit dark in there, so the week before the event saw me frantically painting the walls with cream wood paint...

Inside unpainted and messy studio - Sarah Turpin
Inside unpainted and messy studio

Problem was I didn't have a tin big enough, I realised in the middle of it, to paint all four walls with the required two coats...

Bare walls - Sarah Turpin
Bare walls

The solution was to paint the main back wall with two and the side walls with one, the doors and surrounding wall remain natural wood for the time being...

Painted back wall hung with pictures - Sarah Turpin
Painted back wall hung with pictures

Once I'd finished and let the paint dry, I put all the furniture back in and put up my framed pictures...

I also wanted to make it into the home of The Spinney Witch, so in the corner sits her besom, hat...

The Spinney Witch's besom, hat and cat - Sarah Turpin

...and a witch's cat!

The Spinney studio - Sarah Turpin

So the first day dawned and I was out putting up signs along my road, hoping that at least a few people would find me...and happily they did!

Flossie Stands Guard! - Sarah Turpin
Flossie stands guard!

Despite wild winds and rain showers I was visited by 30 lovely people, many I hadn't met before, all of whom were wonderfully encouraging and enthusiastic. I was asked several times if my illustrations were in books, sadly no but I feel inspired to try!

Dancing Dragons by Sarah TurpinDragon Compass by Sarah Turpin

One of my favourite times was with a family who piled into the studio, 7 of us in all, and spent ages looking for Red Riding Hood's wolf and listening to the fairy tales and stories behind the paintings. 

Fairytale Wall - Sarah Turpin

They had some fantastic ideas for things I should do, such as a button for people to press next to each picture so they can hear the story :-) I wish I'd thought to take a photo of them all there!

In between visitors I painted...three finished and one nearly.  It was wonderful to feel that I could be in the studio all day and not have to be anywhere else. I had time to think and plan where to go with all of this. My feeling is that the period of 'giving it a go' is now over, I've had a great response to my work and I know that people like it so perhaps it's time to take the next step...


  1. hello,
    it sounds like a wonderful day that gave you energy and joy. plus your creative muse.

    i wish i could see your art in person, i would have come to visit if i lived closer.

    1. Hi there! Yes it was a very special experience and am looking forward to the next time.

      It would be amazing to see you if you ever are this way :-)