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Open Studios First Timer

By Sean Marsh



The 2023 Open Studios was my first time participating. After various pushing and prompting from my family and a chat with local artist Steve Sewell, I took the plunge and entered.


I began drawing in 2017 and enjoyed it as a hobby. As a self-taught artist, I had not had many conversations with other artists before I met Steve.


I attended one of the Open Studio artist information meetings and was welcomed by a very friendly bunch of encouraging people, which put me at ease. There was lots of valuable information available about social media, and promoting yourself and the event was useful when hearing about other artists’ experiences.


On heading home, a plan was created, and I was lucky enough to have a close family around me who supported me in all aspects.


As it was my first time, I had an idea to have the theme as my art journey so far. With a lot of my early work laid out on the table and sketches for everyone to look at, it proved to be a great boost in confidence as visitors were very complimentary of what I had done so far. We had recent paintings out on display and my main aim for this event was to have a member of the public visit me and to see my work, which I thought would be the icing on the cake.


The morning of the first weekend with everything in place, coffee, and tea at the ready with a lovely selection of cakes, we waited an hour with no visitors. I did start to think it would be unsuccessful but then out of nowhere, cars started to appear and within the blink of an eye 11:00 turned to 15:00. It went by in a flash.




We had a fantastic range of visitors from family, friends and even some local artists who were full of praise and encouragement, which was a great feeling. Over the two weekends, I had several members of the public who visited to see my artwork, and this was a great achievement for me. Speaking face-to-face with like-minded people rather than on social media made a pleasant change.


Both weekends were extremely positive and from the beginning, I was never bothered about selling a painting. For me, it was all about taking part.


The second weekend went a bit mad. Red dots, used to mark sold items, started to appear on my paintings and my daughter oversaw selling. I found it amazing that my paintings had been bought. We even received gifts from some visitors such as cakes and plants for the garden, which added to the community experience.


I hope this gives you a little insight into my first time participating and if you are thinking of entering, I would go for it. The whole experience was incredibly positive, and it is great to be part of the Swindon Art Community, which I have found is full of friendly and encouraging like-minded people.


I am always happy to meet for a chat if you are thinking of entering as this helped me immensely.


Sean Marsh.

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