Sunday, 28 June 2009

Breaking the cycle in the cause of art

Setting out for a bike ride last Sunday we spotted a notice advertising a two-day art show in Knowle Village Hall. It was 21 June, the final day, and the show was going to close in two hours. We were still on the outskirts of Budleigh, heading north. “The aim of every artist is to arrest motion,” wrote the novelist William Faulkner, and this seemed pretty apt advice. So a quick decision was taken: a turn off the main road through the pretty hamlet of Kersbrook, then back towards Budleigh and in a few minutes we were in Knowle.

Left: Budleigh beach huts, by Janie Heyde

Five artists and their work were on display. All were local, and all very different from each other. Budleigh-based Janie Heyde sells her work as World's End Originals. She spent much of her childhood in Cornwall and was influenced by the St Ives School of Artists.

The coast and scenes in small Devon coastal towns like Budleigh and Clovelly inspire much of her work, which is often, as she says, “quirky, with a liberal use of colour.” Her late husband described her work as “sunny pictures to make you smile” and she thinks that is not a bad description. Right: Beside the Seaside, Janie Heyde's current favourite piece

Left: Anticipation by Gail Jensen

Exmouth artist Gail Jensen told me “I'm into people... I don't do landscapes” although she was painting Blackberry Camp, near Beer, famous for its bluebells when we met. She specializes in nudes, but finds that landscapes sell better.

Gail Jensen started an art college course but did not complete it; painting for her is an enjoyable hobby. She sells her work through exhibitions with Exmouth Art Group, which has its 63rd Annual Exhibition on 30 July 2009
Right: Tea for Two

Keith Beaney has lived in Devon for 13 years but came originally from Kent. He told me that he has “always made things” and aims to convey the energy of the natural landscape in his work. His Nexus was inspired by crop circles.

His mirrors are unique designs which will not be replicated. This one was made with Douglas fir flowers, sorrell seed, birch catkins, stinking iris berries, oak and beech leaf, oak acorns, and mud from South Farm.

Budleigh artist Bridgee Malone has lived in the town for 18 years and is a fan of the Heritage Crafts Association Her work Eden which was on display (pictured left) is clearly inspired by the Italian artist Lucio Fontana (1899-1968)

Another influence on her as seen in her Spot the Dog has been the abstract expressionist painter Lee Krasner (1908-1984), wife of the artist Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), who similarly played a part in the Abstract Expressionism movement.

Frances Margaret was the only sculptor exhibiting. Growing up on the family farm in Devon left her with a lifelong passion for horses. She has been sculpting commercially for the last ten years, creating original equine pieces in bronze or bronze resin.

Left: Grace, by Frances Margaret

Right: Spirit of Desert Orchid
Frances Margaret’s work has been shown widely at events including the Society of Equestrian Artists’ annual exhibition at Christie’s and the Horse of the Year Show. Her equine sculptures are seen in the homes of horse lovers worldwide, including celebrities like Olympic rider Mary King and opera legend Luciano Pavarotti.
Our visit proved to be fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable break from our ride, all the more so for being unexpected. If you would like further details about the artists, drop me an email at

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