I visited Windsor Contemporary Art Fair on Saturday 10th November 2018. I had intended to apply to take part in it but had too much work on this year.
As I’ll be taking part in Surrey Contemporary Art Fair in March, I thought I’d take the opportunity to have a look around, and, having not visited before, I thoroughly recommend visiting an art fair, it was a great day out!
What was on display
I was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of different painting styles on display at the show, and it was definitely a fair showcasing painting rather than other forms of art.
Abstract, figurative, landscape, seascape and still life were all showing in a variety of media. The flyer said that prices ranged from £40 to £4000 and I saw plenty in the lower bracket and not too many at the top end, so I’d say it was an affordable place to get yourself some original art.
As I’ve written before, I’m a firm believer that you need to see art in real life to be able to appreciate it properly, and know if you get that ‘punch in the gut’ feeling when you know a painting is for you. I was happy that there was much more painting and drawing than print reproductions.
Whilst I was impressed with the paintings on show, my favourite part of the visit was leafing through the browsers that held the artists’ sketches and smaller works on paper. I really love how sketches give an insight into the artists’ working methods and their creative process and personality.
What the visitor experience was like
We visited mid-afternoon and the show was not as busy as similarly sized craft fairs I’ve been to, making it really easy and enjoyable to chat to the artists and view the work on display without feeling overwhelmed by stampeding crowds. I was pleased I didn’t feel too intimidated to talk to the artists, as you gain so much more insight from asking why and how they paint what they do.
The venue was well laid out and signposted, and it looked clean and professional. There was a bar and a live painting ‘theatre’ where artists were demonstrating their work, a great opportunity to see how paintings are made and the skill and time that goes into them.
I recommend having a figure in mind you are comfortable with spending if you visit an art fair. I regret not setting aside some money to buy some pieces, as although I walked round twice and knew what I loved, I felt a bit too much information overload to make a decision at the time and hadn’t given myself permission to spend. Given a budget I’d have bought a couple of abstract paintings, a flower watercolour, a line drawing and a monoprint.
I’d also recommend looking around your house and thinking about the spaces you have to hang paintings.
However, all the artists had information and cards available, and were there to speak to so it would be easy for me to follow up and go back and buy the paintings and drawings I liked.
Here are a few of my favourites from my visit:
With a large stand full of evocative abstract paintings recalling landscapes and seascapes beautifully toning together and framed in white, Alice Sheridan’s stand made me do a double take and I went back several times. I will own a painting at some point soon, I will!
Erica’s stand was a breathtakingly beautiful display of her delicate watercolour plant paintings. When I asked her about them she told me that she paints them outdoors from life in order to capture the light, delicacy and translucency. You could almost feel them blowing in the wind.
I nearly tripped over Lucy in one of the more crowded passages of the tent as I stopped to look at her striking paintings of food, flowers and still lifes. They were colourful, yet simple with beautiful composition, and I particularly loved her fish and seashell images.
Go visit some art
There are many art fairs happening throughout the year all over the country and I highly recommend you visit them and see what kind of paintings you fall in love with. It probably won’t be the ones you thought you’d like from looking online!
Here are a few to think about in the UK:
- Edinburgh Art Fair 23rd – 25th November 2018
- Art Fair East 30th November – 2nd December
- London Artrooms Fair 11th – 13th January 2019
- London Art Fair 16th January – 20th January
- Bath Art Fair 1st March – 2nd March
- Affordable Art Fair 7th March – 10th March
- The Other Art Fair London 14th – 17th March
- Surrey Contemporary Art Fair 15th – 17th March 2019
- Newbury Art Fair 11th – 12th May 2019
- West Sussex Art Fair 17th – 19th May