17th Burnham Art Trail
Saturday 19th June to Sunday 27th June 2021

Day 9 Sunday

Before we head off to Art on the Quay, we chat with Yvonne and other Burnham artists about their studios…

Yvonne McDermott

So why have a studio?

Well, as you probably know, art and the acquisition of art materials are addictive. A small box of watercolours and a couple of brushes can grow into tubes of acrylics, pencils, charcoal, pads of paper, glass jars, rags etc etc.

Where do you put it all?

After a while, cramming things into a cupboard and having to clear the kitchen table becomes tiresome and may even lead you to not doing much. So, a dedicated space is a really good idea and can range from a shed with an easel, to a cabin at the end of the garden, to a spare bedroom, or even a purpose built studio at the back of the garage…

So, how does having a studio help?

The most obvious advantage is to have somewhere to store your ever evolving stock of art materials – did I mention pastels, ink, pencil sharpener, specialist erasers, frames…?

But what else can you do?

Well, as Tracy Saunders says:
“Work can be left out, half finished, to be continued, rather than having to pack it away every night and you can make as much mess as you like.”

Or, as Pat Calver says:
“I play my favourite music , making a mess and trying out styles and new art media all seem to go hand in hand.”

Diane Roberts adds:
“My space allows me to paint, view my work from a distance and leave my materials in an organised mess!”

So, there are the first practical advantages but there are other, less obvious advantages as well. It gives me a place where I can concentrate and get away from the day-to-day.

Perhaps this is the most important advantage of all – the ability to cut yourself off from the washing up and hoovering. Leave your mobile on the kitchen table and just retreat to your studio for a couple of hours where your biggest decision are probably going to be about tone or shape or materials and you don’t have to think about Covid 19, utility bills or replying to your emails. Bliss!


So, down to basics –what do you need (and not need) in a studio.

Jeremy Hogben’s beautiful studio shows how important light is and having good access. However, he tells me that the spiral stairs are a bit of a nuisance.

Access is a term that can be applied to other aspects of a studio eg how you finance it. Most of the studios in this article are built at home but sometimes you may need to rent a studio. You should be very clear about the practicalities eg insurance, utility bills and lease.

Space is an obvious need. A room no bigger than a cupboard ie really not too helpful – it’s so good to spread out.

Water and electricity. You are going to need somewhere close at hand to clean up. Good lighting with several sources are really handy – you might want to paint a still life with shadows and highlights so a spotlight or table light is useful.

Good ventilation is another ‘must.’ Some materials can be a bit pungent eg turpentine which some artists use with oils. Even media which are supposed to be odourless can combine to produce a bit of a pong.

Practical furniture and storage are a real necessity. Stuff which won’t matter if you spill paint all over it.

Flooring is important too, especially if you are using a spare bedroom. Do you really want to be desperately trying to clean acrylic out of a carpet, or scraping oil paint off a rug? A bare wood or lino floor is probably best.

So, what I am saying is – think about what you need in your studio?

Diane Roberts said that her studio was either the spare bedroom or ‘the riverbank’. But it is really difficult to do some types of work when you are sitting on grass with the wind blowing, the rain falling and a friendly dog is snuffling his way through your carefully laid out paints. This is when a studio is so valuable.

Tracy’s Saunders beautifully organised studio
“… I usually listen to the radio 4 or music, I particularly like Trevor Nelson’s – Rhythm Nation and go out sketching as often as possible to fire up my enthusiasm.”

Thank you to:
Pat Calver, Diane Roberts, John Green, Tracy Saunders, Jeremy Hogben, George Winder & David Kench

My studio

I have a studio in the Burnham Station House where I, and three other sets of artists have individual studios.

I had only just acquired it last September and it was heaven. Here is a picture of what it looked like then:

Burnham Town Council decided to temporarily close the building due to Covid-19 and have now informed the artists that it may be shut for another six months.

Susan Hodgson

Sue is a self-taught artist and has painted all her life! She teaches small groups every week. She loves experimenting with different subjects and mediums. She loves to paint animals and give them character.


Burnham Creative Collective

We were due to participate with a community project in this years trail, alas this was not to be…

We are a group of likeminded adults who come together once a month at the Station House to spend creative time together, showing the artwork we have been working on, sharing skills and, of course, having a chat over biscuits and tea in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere.

We all use art as a medium for relaxation and experimentation whether we are beginners or accomplished artists, or at any level in between.  The group has a diverse range of specialisms, ranging from drawing still life and portraits, felting, knitting, collage, sewing and painting to name but a few.

We use our time to explore new media, allowing every participant to volunteer to take the lead in a group activity whether this might be fine art or craft.

Examples of our work are regularly displayed on the boards outside the Station House.

Sharon Chan

Sharon works in mixed media with a special interest in lino cutting. She takes inspiration from the natural world, wool, fleece, soft textiles and recycled objects. Much of her work focusses on the sea.


Triss Norman

At the start of this year, my travels abroad inspired mixed media collage, created from the throwaway items collected as I moved through other cultures and places so different from home.


Stuck in the Middle were due to join us at Art on the Quay so it’s time for a musical break…

Before we go, we are already think ahead to BAT 2021…

As we wind down we often get enquiries from people who would like to enter the Art Trail or return to exhibiting their artworks after a break. So here are some who we look forward to welcoming in 2021.

Although distracted by the current Lockdown, both Diane Roberts and her daughter, Sarah are looking to show their paintings; seascapes, landscapes and mixed media artworks by Sarah.



Jon Greaves, locally known as ‘Greavesey’ is not only creative as a musician but paints too. He is also hoping to join art trail artists in 2021 to share his art with the the many visitors to Burnham during our next trail.

Happy Memories from 2018 & 2019 Art on the Quay Events

Today we see the end of the Armchair Art Trail – which we hope you have enjoyed. Hopefully next year we will be back to the ‘new normal’ and we look forward to seeing you at the wonderful venues and at Art on the Quay 2021.