Perthshire Open Studios, 3-11 September 2011

I had never heard of Perthshire Open Studios until this year when we received an invitation from one of the participants, but it has been going for 4 years. It’s a lovely idea – just as it sounds, local artists open up their studios to visitors – and the website and brochure are really well produced. You can search for specific artists or type of art or you can follow one of six colour-coded routes.

Christine Ironside, an old friend from Glasgow who moved to Mid Tullybannocher near Comrie a few years ago, is number 69 on the Plum Route. The drive over was lovely, once we left the A9. The B827 from Braco to Comrie rises along the side of a beautiful valley and the hills looked amazing – what a place to live. Christine’s instructions were to park at the Tullybannocher Cafe so we thought it was only polite to have lunch there:

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It was well worth a stop with the best display of home-baking I’ve seen for a long time. John succumbed to a slice of Victoria sponge but I stopped after my mezzaluna, a sort of folded flatbread which was absolutely delicious.

It was great to see Christine and her partner, Bas, again and good to see the studio busy with lots of people flitting in and out – a couple of cyclists were on their eighth studio – and many paintings already marked with red dots. The studio is in the former byre of the cottage which is surrounded by a large garden with the River Earn running just below it.

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I always have fantasies about living in a place like this but the city girl in me wins out every time!

Anyway, we stayed so long we didn’t have time to visit anywhere else. Did we buy a painting? Yes, we did – time for a rehang at home!

The last open studios event we went to was in the Briggait in Glasgow where there are many artists working under the same roof, so this was quite different. The combination of art and nature in Perthshire is irresistible and there are still several days to take advantage of it. Perhaps another time we’ll manage to visit more than one artist.

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