The East Neuk’s biggest annual arts festival is in full swing until Sunday 13th August 2017! The Pittenweem Arts Festival has been running every August since 1982. The 2017 event has around 100 artists exhibiting, many in unconventional venues such as garages, sheds and living rooms and just a few in conventional galleries. This includes 3 invited artists: Graham Rich, Anna S. King and Paul Ferneaux and 1 bursary award winner, Nicola Wiltshire.
I had a very jam-packed but highly enjoyable afternoon at the festival earlier in the week. As ever the star of the show is Pittenweem itself, looking picture-postcard fishing village perfect in the Summer sunshine, enhanced by the buzz of all the visitors enjoying the wonderful art or taking a break to enjoy a relaxed coffee or ice cream outdoors and children and doggies playing happily on the beach.
For me the festival is at its best when there are outdoor sculptures as well as the indoor venues and this year did not disappoint with Kev Paxton Blacksmiths’ adorable metal Highland coos (cows) and majestic stag dotted around the village. They are very much the results of a collaborative approach and you can even be part of building the next one down by the harbour!
Another artist I loved discovering was Ian Ledward and his innovative and highly successful approach of abstracting and painting on photos. Also Keny Drew (aka East Neuk Glass) is a true original – and I would highly recommend his evening classes too. We have one of his striking photo-on-glass pieces in the kitchen in Rose Cottage. I also took home a business card for Joe Murphy, who does commissions as I was struck by his beautiful portraits of children and pets.
If you find something you like, the Pittenweem Arts Festival is a very affordable place to buy art. What did I bring home? Cards from Michelle Hewitt, a local artist who does wonderful wildlife portraits and from Pauline Austin‘s series of colourful forest paintings were both too pretty to resist. My walls were needing some decoration and I could not resist buying a limited edition etching print from Pittenweem-based Kirstie Behrens and a beautifully vibrant oil painting by Ann Watson, who lives in nearby St Monans. Both are beautiful landscapes of familiar East Neuk scenes, something I am a sucker for! I even purchased a lovely colourful puffin print for a bargain £5 at an anonymous mini stall down at the shore! It was just at a small table with a few prints and an honesty box. I think this artist should not be so shy next year! The one that got away was an original mixed media piece of an elegant swan from award-winning Paul Barlett, a festival regular. I am a huge fan and have one of his prints from a previous festival but sadly I’d already blown my budget.
The event itself is free with a suggested donation of £2 for the car park (a large field). Event brochures cost £3 and include a full map of all the venues.
Sara Scott, 2017