A week today – Come on over and see what we have been up to at Langley End Studio

We are delighted to invite you to visit our studios – 9 artists have joined together across 2 locations.

Please note, our studio at Langley End is only open on Saturday 9th June. However it is only 10 minutes drive between the 2 locations so we hope you will come and visit both.

Open Saturday 9 only 11am – 4pm
Artists: Gill Ayre, Karen Picton, Jo Howe, Thornhill Jewellery
Hill End Farm, Langley End, Herts, SG4 7PT – entrance to farm take no through road 2 miles north of Langley village on B656. Free onsite parking.

Open Both Days 9 + 10 June 11am -4pm
Artists: Alex McIntyre, Aneta Wiorek, Graham Matthews, Miriam Fraser, Sally Tyrie
Emily’s Teashop Open both days 10 – 4
Waterhall Farm, Whitwell, Herts, SG4 8AF – entrance to the farm via the B651 on the Whitwell to Hitchin Road. Free parking opposite paddock.


We look forward  to welcoming you to our studios.


Come along and meet Gill Ayre

Come along and meet Gill Ayre alongside her work at Mudlarks Cafe in Hertford on Saturday 8th April 3pm -4pm, Map here. Gill is exhibiting as part of Hertford Arts festival this year, showcasing local artists and would be more than happy to chat about her work and answer any questions you may have.


Gill to exhibit in Hertford Art Trail 2017

Gill has been selected for this years Hertford Art Trail, part of Hertford Arts Festival , which runs from Friday 7th April to Sunday 7th May 2017, showcasing the work of local artists.

Featured artists are each allocated a prime town centre location to exhibit and sell work during the month-long event. This year’s pop up venues located around Hertford town centre will include retailers, bars and cafes, beauty salons and gift shops, and Gill’s work will be showing in Mudlarks Garden Cafe, Railway Street. Gill will be in the café for a Meet the Artist event from 3pm on Saturday 8th April – pop in and say hello!

The Trail runs from Saturday 8th April to Sunday 7th May with free entry at all venues.

The Art Trail launches on Friday 7th April at Hertford Castle with artists previewing one work from their pop up exhibition. Tickets for the Launch event are £5 available by phoning 01992 584322

Courtyard Arts is partnering with Hertford Town Council to run the Arts Trail.

In conversation with… Karen Picton


How would you describe your creative practice?

I would say that everything begins with the landscape, or more accurately, the land, the great diversity of land in Britain. For the last five years I’ve been painting with the mud that I find in different areas of the country, I think it’s the most honest way to explore the essential nature of the land. I begin by making work that is about the land, it’s colours, it’s geology and it’s history but then I use the mud from various places to make more abstract works, paintings of my interior landscape, my mind in the land. I think the outside landscape and the one in my mind are inseparable so my practice is really about both. I’ve always been really interested in how ideas and materials work together, so my process and practice are always connected. Using mud is part of understanding a material and how it works but I also use raw pigments to make up historic paints like egg tempera or experiment with new and contemporary materials. There is always something to learn so maybe my creative practice is about a process of finding out.

Mud II - Karen Picton

Mud II – Karen Picton

What are you working on at the moment?

I went to the Isle of Mull during the Summer and collected some really interesting mud as well as some tiny coloured stones from Iona, so I’m working with these materials at the moment. The landscape of Mull made me think about geological strata, the layers inside the hills and cliffs of the island. I’m making work about the character of this land and am using the idea of the layers inside to make some more personal and abstract work.

What is the most asked question about your work and your answer?

How on earth can you paint with mud? I usually say ‘it’s quite easy’ and then go on about the amazing colours from the different places I’ve been.

From mud to mind - Karen Picton

From mud to mind Karen Picton

Who or What inspires you?

Apart from the land itself, I love the work of Michael Porter and Hughie O’Donoghue. Both artists in their different ways are experimental with their materials and make work that is truly mesmerising.

Hidden earth - Karen Picton

Hidden earth – Karen Picton

What are the benefits and/or pitfalls of working in a group studio space?

I really can’t think of any pitfalls but the benefits are huge. As a group we exchange ideas, support each other and talk through issues that we each have with our work. We are all keen to push our practices professionally and being part of a group makes this a very active and positive goal. Maybe sometimes we chat too long over coffee but that’s not really a pitfall is it.

Salt marsh - Karen Picton

Salt marsh – Karen Picton

What do you hope to gain from showing at Art Fair East?

Art Fair East is going to be a great opportunity to hopefully sell some work but I see it more as a chance to show my practice to a wider audience and hopefully get the attention of a gallery. I think we will gain a lot from using this opportunity to publicise ourselves and I’m looking forward to meeting people at the fair or maybe in the pub afterwards!

One studio, well and truly warmed!

A huge thank you to each and every 100 or so visitors who came along to share our opening event. We were so delighted with the day and very thankful that the weather enabled us to warm the studio from the outside in.

Want to know when we have other events either individually or as a studio group, sign up to our mailing list here.

Johanna & Michael “Very meaningful and absorbing. Well worth the trip”.
Caryl & Tony “Fab – fab – fab”.
Hazel. ” Fabulous work, so glad to have been invited”.

Our next outing together will be 1st- 4th December at St Andrews Hall, Norwich, for Art Fair East, showcasing respected galleries, dealers and artists to an Eastern region audience of art collectors and businesses.

Other news…

From Earth to Enigma – May 26th – June 19th

The Stone Space Gallery, 6 Church Lane, Leytonstone, London Ell 1HG.

A solo show of paintings by Karen Picton tracing transitions from earth as a painting material to thoughts and ideas.

Ayot St Lawrence Art Show – June 11th – June 13th

Karen Picton

Turn the Page 2016 – Friday 24th and Saturday 25th June 2016

Turn the Page. The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1TF.

Turn the page artists’ book fair is a UK and International exhibiting and selling platform for artists who are creating work that is inspired by the structural and conceptual properties of the book form.

Held over 2 days ttp has established its place among the top UK BookArt events. Sculptural books, Altered Books, Limited Editions, Zines & Installations.

Jo Howe has been fortunate to have been selected for the fourth time in a row to exhibit alongside national and international artists.

Jo Howe