IT’S been a year since we launched our Picture of the Week series – and what a year it’s been.
Inspired by the open studios events staged across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire each year, the series was launched at a time when months of lockdown had prevented artists from getting out and meeting potential customers face to face.
Such events offer a great opportunity for artists and makers to throw open their doors and showcase their work, but if the lockdown put paid to such intimate contact, it certainly did not the cramp the enthusiasm and ingenuity of creative souls from all over the Chilterns.
Some turned to local walks near their homes for inspiration, while others took the opportunity to go back through old sketchbooks, sort out old photographs and revisit settings which had never quite made it on to canvas.
And many seized the chance to improve their virtual galleries and reach out to customers through blogs, instagram posts and online shops.
Of course that’s not quite the same as getting to meet your customers in person, but as lockdown restrictions started to ease, those exhibitions, pop-up displays and working studio visits soon began to emerge again.
For wildlife and nature lovers, highlights of the weekly series have included many works inspired by or reflecting the natural world, including animal portraits and sculptures, and paintings rooted in the local Chilterns landscape, from the Ridgeway views of Anna Dillon and Christine Bass to the colourful Oxfordshire scenes captured by Alice Walker, Jane Peart and Sue Side.
A score of those local artists can be accessed through our Local Landscapes page, and their subject matter ranges from portraits to seascapes and abstract works.
Photographers have featured too, patiently waiting for the perfect wildlife shot, whether otter or kingfisher, red kite or dragonfly.
Over 52 weeks, the collection has grown into a formidable showcase of local talent, punctuated by occasional more unusual contributions, ranging from the fairground art of Joby Carter and family to a step back in time to enjoy the 1930s art of Eric Ravilious, the “happy little trees” of TV art legend Bob Ross or the stunning works of Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon.
Do you have a nomination for an artist who should be featured in our weekly series? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining the reasons behind your choice.