A glimpse into the world of artists

Photographer Vivienne Whiffen's studio always attracts numerous visitors.
Photographer Vivienne Whiffen's studio always attracts numerous visitors. / SUR
  • The popular Open Studios event in the village of Gaucín continues this weekend

Anyone who likes art should take note that the second part of the annual Open Studios event is taking place in the pretty village of Gaucín, in the Serranía de Ronda, this weekend. It is well worth a visit.

One of the joys of this event is that it has something to interest everybody. If, like me, you are someone who “knows nothing about art but knows what they like”, it is a fascinating voyage of discovery, into painting, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, photographs and jewellery. For those who are already knowledgeable, it is intriguing to see new works and how the artists evolve.

It is equally as interesting for other professionals: an artist friend who accompanied me last weekend immediately got stuck into very enjoyable discussions with the creators about the materials they used, and their techniques.

The Open Studios concept is a novel way for everybody to enjoy art: touring the artists' studios, seeing them at work, chatting to them and having the opportunity to buy or commission unique works from local creators, which makes them even more special.

There are 18 studios this year, and they are clearly indicated. There are also maps showing the layout of Gaucín and the location of the studios, most of which are in the village centre.

Some of the studios are in the artists' own homes, so this event also gives a fascinating glimpse inside traditional village houses, and in other cases the artists rent the studios as places to work and exhibit their creations.

Possibly the most surprising and effective studio this year is number 8, in Calle Convento, which is being used by painter and sculptor Jim Rattenbury: the unusually shaped space is beneath a swiming pool and it has proven an atmospheric setting for his varied works.

Unfortunately, space precludes a description of all the studios here but the participating artists this year, in the order the studios are numbered, are Rosie Venables , Silvia Franco, Chris Klees, Sarah Webb, Sian Feber, Gerrit Oppelland-Hampel, Vivienne Whiffen, Jim Rattenbury, Nozomi Hatano, Michael Roschlau, Lesley Riddihough, Jennifer Waterhouse, Paddy Robinson, Emma Cornish, Sebastian Fisher, J. Sánchez Zabaleta, Ana Pellón, Juan Antonio Sangil, Javier Machimbarrena, Stephanie Thompson and Anna McGrane.

Further details of these artists, their biographies and their work can be found on the website

The Open Studios event can be visited today (1 June), tomorrow and Sunday, from 11am to 7pm. There is a great deal to see, but Gaucín really lends itself to an event of this type, with plenty of places for refreshments or a meal, and stunning views over the countryside to enjoy in-between the studio visits. This makes a really good day out; if you miss it this weekend, make a note in the diary for next year. It goes from strength to strength.