Warwickshire Open Studios

Walking in this morning I was a little earlier than my usual Wednesday because of setting out the coffee morning. I was meeting Helen Ballantyne at East Lodge who was helping with the morning whilst Soolie was on holiday. The walk in was very calm and quiet in comparison to later in the day. I felt as though the canal was settling down for a new day resigned to the fact that it was going to be hot and that nothing would get done today! The ducks were hiding in the shade under the low branches, making no sound, a seagull flew straight down the middle of the canal with barely a sound of its wings and no crazy calling out. The surface of the water was still with a haze of fluff from seed heads and lazy crowds of gnats. The sheep were sat silently watching each other, and even the morning joggers and dog walkers just nodded or smiled. Two people on bicycles surprised me as they came up behind, because they were so soundless and I stepped aside to let them pass.

River Leam in the morning.

Continuing my walk along the river even the weir seemed far off and there were the swans, mute of course, swimming elegantly in the still water above the weir. As I grew closer the river was in a hurry, rushing down and was much louder, but the continuous stream of gushing in a constant rhythmic fashion seemed to create its own soft background noise.

Swans at the weir

So arriving at East Lodge Helen already had the windows open as the weather was definitely hotting up and Jephson Gardens and Leamington Spa were coming to life. We set about arranging the cakes and biscuits, tea and coffee and some delicious still lemonade, and sat back to wait for our visitors.

Coffee morning

Pip Balfe and Sue Southorn are exhibiting at East Lodge as part of Warwickshire Open Studios. Pip’s enthusiasm is bright and fresh as she has only recently taken up painting and was delighted when one of her paintings reached the shortlist for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. This unexpected appreciation of her work has made her realise a future in painting and was thrilled at the opportunity to join Warwickshire Open Studios in East Lodge. Please come and see her work.


Pip Balfe, Bryan B Kelly, and Tony Dobson

Pip Balfe “Betsy’s Birthday” acrylic 36 x 36

Sue Southorn’s abstracts and seascapes in acrylic are uplifting and invigorating. Her crashing waves, her blend of colour and variety of techniques bring the Cornish coast to life. Finding a chance, on retirement to rediscover her talent for art after many years of teaching infants in Primary School, Sue has enjoyed taking classes in Cornwall recently where she has been encouraged to explore abstraction.

Sue Southorn

Meanwhile at South Lodge yesterday where Hilary Roberts is exhibiting LSA member Bryan B Kelly had a long chat with the Mayor of Leamington Spa, Caroline Evetts. She showed great interest in local art and admired Hilary’s work. Bryan spoke of the LSA project here at East Lodge and was encouraged by her positive response.

Mayor Cllr Caroline Evetts and husband with Bryan B Kelly