Artists open their homes again to the public

Artists at Home, a fixture in the calendar for five decades, lets visitors meet and chat to artists.

Painter and printmaker Isobel Johnstone at home in her Hammersmith Grove studio

Where better to view works by leading contemporary artists in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush than in their own homes and studios? You are not expected to buy anything, although many of the artworks on display will be for sale.

For more than 90 local artists it’s an opportunity to connect with the public, talk about their works and get honest feedback. Studios will be open from Friday 14 June to Sunday 16 June, while there is also an all-year-round online exhibition to browse.

The variety is rich and inspiring. From paintings on wood to watercolours, pencil sketches to statues, acrylic and oil paintings to one-off designer scarves, jewellery to ceramics, stained glass to 3D printed sculptures... it’s all on display.

Silver and pink linocut of Hammersmith Bridge by Isobel Johnstone

Some of the artists with open doors

Once again, renowned Shepherds Bush optical illusion artist Helga Stentzel is showing her playful pictures of animals made from fruit, and washing lines which look like cows and horses. There’s also a topical image of Donald Trump, made of odd socks, to view at her studio in Westville Road, Shepherds Bush!

But dig a little deeper, and you will discover plenty of other talents at work in the area.

Painter and printmaker Isobel Johnstone’s studio in Hammersmith Grove is also on the trail. “I’m very lucky having a studio in the garden, and I can spend hours there,” said the artist, who studied in Edinburgh and for many years ran the Arts Council collection at London’s Hayward Gallery.

She works principally in oils, but is exploring watercolours too. Subjects range from nature (she has recently been inspired by poppies) to dramatic depictions of Hammersmith Bridge.

“Artists at Home has given me a chance to show my work, and it’s fascinating to hear the reaction of people who visit. I love the fact that people come here over a whole weekend,” she said. Limited-edition prints are on sale from £40.

Artist Julien Hipeau with a shark sculpture
Julien Hipeau's elephant head sculpture

Julien Hipeau became hooked on the resin and wood sculptures he creates after taking a string of art courses. Hampered by the lack of a kiln in his studio in Vespan Road, Shepherds Bush, he moved on from working in clay to exploring an alternative world of plaster and jesmonite resin.

“Some pieces were commissioned by friends and family, and my realm expanded to include giraffes, elephants, whale sharks, eagle rays and seahorses,” he explained. “Each piece, whether in clay or wood, carries stories and emotions from my artistic exploration.” He can be emailed here.

For 20 years, Sophie Newnham has focused on large-scale botanical paintings; in fact she was recently made a Fellow of the Society of Botanical Artists.

Working in oils, ink, watercolour and pencil, she has a first-floor studio in Hazlitt Road, close to Olympia, where a large range of her paintings and drawings will be on display.

“The detailed flowers that I paint highlight the beauty and intricacy of nature I observe and admire around me,” she said. “My inspiration is often found in the parks and gardens of west London, and I often find myself drawn to a beautiful flower that I feel compelled to draw or paint.”

She also loves life drawing and portraiture, and runs workshops to encourage adults and children to take up art. Her original watercolours start at £45.

Carol Greenaway fires all her stoneware and porcelain designs on a wheel at her studio in Ashchurch Grove, Shepherds Bush, drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as Italy and Japan.

From distinctive milk jugs to butter dishes, ceramic sieves to teapots, her works are either created on a wheel, or are hand-built. Carol’s mugs start at around £20, with teapots at around £70. You can email Carol here.

Hammersmith Bridge linocut in blue and green by Isobel Johnstone
Julien Hipeau's gorilla sculpture

Bumper event

The Artists at Home group has around 100 members, with 92 participating in this year’s bumper event.

The event was founded in Chiswick by artists Mary Fedden and Julian Trevelyan in 1973, but now spans Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush and Chiswick.

It starts on Friday 14 June, from 6-9pm, then runs all day on Saturday 15 June and Sunday 16 June between 11am and 6pm.

You can plan a tour of studios near you using an interactive map, or check out the Artists at Home website for more details.

The event is being sponsored by Hammersmith-based independent estate agent Horton and Garton, and each studio has a board outside to guide visitors. Founder John Horton said: “I’ve always enjoyed getting to know the artists and understanding their creative processes.”

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