I have just finished Somerset Art Weeks (mentioned in a previous blog). It was my first festival and lasted two weeks at Worthy Barn, Pilton so I thought I would post a small summary.
As I am a recent resident of the village of Pilton, I thought I would do mainly local work for my first outing at the art fair. ‘Local’ in Pilton however is not quite as simple as it seems.
Pilton is certainly a traditional Somerset village though Pilton possesses a curious duality in that it also hosts the Glastonbury Festival. A parish of 900 increases to 140,000 for just a week or so with Mick Jagger pacing fields normally reserved for cows.
With that in mind, I set myself the challenge of painting a mixed bag of the full Pilton experience and of representing both aspects of village life.
A watercolour of the Pilton Methodist Church
Not so ‘Private View’
We had our private view on the 21st September. I have experienced a fair few ‘Private views’ over the years including the Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal Society of British Artists and I can honestly say this was the one which I had the most pre show nerves.
In London you can get lost in the immensity of the place so at the private views you can drop into the background a bit and just natter to friends, then slink off up to China Town for bite to eat and a beer.
In Pilton there was no such thing. The venue is a modest barn with nowhere to run off to and a fair amount of those invited live in the same street as me.
Cocktail Bus at the Glastonbury Festival
Some of my fellow exhibiters work on the Glastonbury Festival and other related events around the country so they organised yurts, fire eaters, fire pits, great lighting and created the perfect atmosphere. We all pulled together supplying music, food and drink.
The big night
We were due to kick off at 7pm. About 6.30pm those invited, and those who were not invited began arriving and settling in with a glass of wine and a few nibbles keenly inspecting the paintings, jewellery, pottery, and all sorts on offer. By 8pm the barn, was packed to the gunnels with visitors of all generations, the music was going and quite a party ensued.
Outside the fire eaters were doing their thing and the waiters were feeding all and keeping the glasses topped up. A sort of micro-Glastonbury Festival. Fantastic.
As I mentioned earlier, I was a mite nervous about facing the neighbours with my version of their community. Thankfully it went swimmingly and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive supported with sales, also requests for limited edition prints and exhibition opportunities.
The private view was supposed to end at 9pm though no one seemed to want to go, so on it went. Our patient hosts eventually shooed the last out at 11pm to make their way home on the pitch dark lanes. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a private view so much.
A quick oil painting of Glastonbury Tor from the barn
The next day we visited a few outlying villages to see their exhibitions. I mentioned to one local that our private view was a blast. ‘Im not surprised’ he said ‘everyone knows Pilton knows how to party!’.