Yesterday I took the day off from manning The Cabin to take a tour round some North East Open Studios venues. I planned my route quite carefully, trying to take account of driving times and distances, and also to plan some refreshment stops. I still took a snack box with me, of course, in case of emergencies or paucity of coffee shops. When I got home at 7pm, the snack box was empty. More due to my lack of good planning than anything else.
I always underestimate travelling times and had also completely ignored the possibility that the northeast countryside would be at its most enticing on a sunny September afternoon. My first stop was at a venue nearby, with many talented artists all exhibiting together. I stopped to chat, making acquaintance, gleaning information about art classes and workshops. It is always interesting to hear how others have arrived where they are today. It would be lovely to meet up with some of these folk throughout the year, to continue these conversations. I even bought something. I may tell you later what it was.
Onwards to a village hall in the bowels of the country, to view paintings by a local art group. A range of work was on view, along with some fascinating scupltures, based mainly on boulders sifted from farmers' fields. This visit was followed by a hare northwards across the countryside to a wee place that I've only been to once before, to catch a friend's exhibition before closing. She had just sold a painting, and had sold several in the past few days, so was feeling happy. Luckily there was a tea shop next door with homebakes on offer and a very cheerful girl serving at the counter. She was doing so in between giving loving "bosies" to a tiny person who I assumed was her nearly-new niece.
Between these visits I stopped several times, once backtracking completely and parking at the edge of a stubble field. The sky was so entrancing, I'm surprised that no following vehicles reported me for erratic driving. On a day made for dawdling, I seemed to encounter more than my fair share of impatient drivers, who drove right up my backside (not literally). This meant that pulling over suddenly when I spotted a field or cloud or building that was of interest was completely impossible. So, I stopped a few times, in safe places, and took photographs. Here are a few of them.