Watlington and southern Oxfordshire Artweeks

On a day of some sunshine and big showers I set off to explore some of the Artweeks events in Southern Oxfordshire. For me, this is largely a matter of trying to be more organized, as with dozens of different exhibitions in different parts of the county at different times it is easy to miss out on seeing everything you might want to.

Starting at Watlington was a good idea as the town seems to have really embraced this event. There are apparently something like 62 different artists taking part in events around the town and it seems like a great idea for both artists and local businesses.

It can be a bit daunting to visit galleries or even people’s houses thrown open for the Artweeks although in practice I found everyone to be friendly and welcoming.

After about an hour going around various shops and venues it was time for a sit down and a rest. I decided to also do a small sketch of one of the many characterful local houses – in this case Black Horse House with its thatched roof and cruck timbers.

Here’s a view of the house and my sketch in-situ.

Overhead the clouds were gathering up to form an impressive sky – with rain to follow?

Travelling onwards my next couple of stops were at Christmas Common and Turville, a few miles to the south, so I drove up to Watlington Hill to take in the view before heading on. Between Christmas Common and Turville the lanes are narrow with steep hedged sides, following old routes here across the rolling countryside. As I drove I could see dark rain clouds up ahead but luckily I was following rather than driving into these; the valley roads were awash with run-off from the passing rains.

Turville is perhaps best known as the location for ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ though it is a pretty place in its own right, with a pub, a windmill and several fine old buildings. It surprisingly also has a row of modern artists studios tucked in just off the main road – well worth a visit during Artweeks. When I arrived several of the artists were outside, having lunch after the passing rain – not a bad place for a lunch!

Between more showers I settled down to do a sketch of Turville Church from across the small Green there. I think the cottage to the left of my sketch is also Geraldine’s Cottage from ‘Dibley’ ?

Here’s my view, sketch in-situ and a scan of my drawing.

Turville Church and cottage

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