Introduction by Kim Wilde

Some people have an art for living, some for dancing and singing, and some have an art for always being in the right place at the right time! Creative skill in whatever guise is the stuff of life. As essential on the shopping list as baked beans, but all too often treated as a selfish indulgence. Frequently ridiculed, ‘Arty Farty’ springs to mind, or ‘Avant Garde a clue’. Art is a celebration of being alive in our beautiful though troubled world. Creative approaches to dealing with life have always been encouraged by my parents, and now I take delight in encouraging our own children to do the same, their paintings proudly crowding the kitchen wall.

When I was eight, our family moved to Hertfordshire, next-door to an artist called Mrs Puddifoot. Beautiful paintings and sculptures filled her house and garden, and I loved the mixture of the smell of paint and yeast, for Mrs Puddifoot had an art for cooking, as well as being a gifted painter and sculptor! Her home and way of life left a deep impression on me. So it is not surprising that ART became my favourite subject at school, and when I left, I attended St Albans Art College to do a Foundation Course. Then my life changed with a song called ‘Kids in America ’, and now 22 years later I’m back to dealing with colour and composition again, though this time with plants.

Through the Open Studio I have been introduced to the talented artist Dennis Heath, and several of his stunning chainsaw sculptures grace our garden, as well as many I have been involved in designing. I salute all those in this booklet for interpreting our world for us in so many beautiful and varied ways.

To me the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

William Wordsworth wrote those lines just 200 years ago. You could say that therein lies the spring of all Art-whether that Art is visual, poetic or other. The simplest spark can provoke the deepest emotions in the medium of his or her choosing.

This poem, written by my father-in law Bob Fowler for his artist lover (my mother-in law Penny) expresses beautifully the ability of ART to transform, and is itself a wonderful work of ART.

You, beloved, whose beautiful eyes
Take in the world, turn and transmute
Mountains, meadows, streams
To new images of creation;
You, beloved, whose beautiful eyes
Roam a room, take a lamp, table, chair,
Reshape them in a new design to give delight;
You, beloved, whose beautiful eyes
Find new colours, shapes and tones,
Repainting nature, making old shades fresh;
You, beloved, whose beautiful eyes
Long ago roaming lit on me,
Reshape me now, paint out my faults,
Give me the stance and tones
Of what I was or what I ought to be,
So when you give me back myself
In the reflection, beloved, of your eyes,
I see us always as we were,
Together, beautiful, and blessed.

Kim Fowler (Wilde)
April 2003