The H Art festival – Even more artists of the Hereford Open Exhibition

Heya everybody!

A big thank you to our fantastic readers! Yesterday, our blog was visited so many times that it was mentioned in WordPress statistics on a list of hot blogs of the day! We are delighted to know that we are reaching so many people!  Rita wished she could grab a screen shot of this honourable mention, but it disappeared before she thought of it. If she finds out how to dig that information out, she will post it here to brag about. Rita is very meticulous and collects our every claim to fame in form of screens and scans.  She also likes cards, cats and expensive chocolates. It was her birthday not-so-long-ago, so if you want to make her day, now you know what to do!

As usual, if you have missed the previous entries about Hereford Open Exhibition, please take a look at the links below:
Our review of  the opening day:

Introduction to the artist exhibiting their works:

A screenshot of the official website for the Hereford Open exhibition.

The increased traffic to our blog brought many interesting questions. We have been asked for example, how the works were chosen for the exhibition, who was the judge and when the artists should submit their works to be considered for next edition of the h.Art festival. The last question is very easy to answer. New submissions are being accepted just a month after the last edition ended. If you’d like to take part in h.Art 2013, please prepare a short presentation about yourself. Make sure you include a bio that mentions your education (if art related) and lists all previous exhibitions/awards or achievements you have. A personal letter to organizers is also advised. It should contain explanation of what you do and how do you imagine yourself being presented at the festival. Don’t forget to add scans or pictures of your works and voila! You are ready to go. All submissions can be sent electronically to: There is one condition, however: your works must be fairy new (created in the last 12 months) and they can’t be previously exhibited anywhere else.

Gallery workers at the main entrance encouraged the audience to sign the impressively big guest book. By the end of the evening, it was completely filled by comments from the visitors!

The judging panel sorting through the submitted works usually consists of 5 to 7 people chosen among the library workers, museum officers, council members and Herefordshire artists.  This year, the committee has been led by Clare Woods and Andrea McLean, both well known artists residing in the city. We have spoken to Clare at the opening and she said that the selecting process was very long as many great artists submitted their works. To be exact: the judges received exactly 159 pieces of art from 79 creators, ultimately only 92 pieces by 50 artists were selected.
If you’d like to know the names of all artists or learn more about the exhibition and selection process, please visit the official website at:

Selection and judges are not everything. What truly matters the most, is the art. We are still very impressed by the quality of the artworks and the diversity of the whole project. We cannot write about each artist (they all deserve a mention anyway!) but we did a choosing of our own. The following artists, in our humble opinion of course, are something to look out for. We are sure that in the next few years their names will be a household brands in the world of contemporary art! Remember, we wrote about them first!

Lily Giles – acrylics and nature
Official website: in preparation

Lily Giles is a painter extraordinaire. She is probably the only artist in Hereford with a patented painting technique. Her works are very easily identified: semi abstract (mostly) flowery compositions on canvas, created with an incredibly smart fusion of mixed media, acrylics and digital photography.  Lily paints with bright and vibrant colours that capture the wild spirit of rural countryside and typical English gardens. During the h.Art week, Lily and Ted St George exhibited their paintings on Widgeon Hill Estate near Leominster (Venue Number 61).

The glory of Herefordshire gardens on canvas by Lily Giles

Caro Sweet – born to be a sculptor!
Official website:

Caro Sweet has not only a brilliant name, but also a biography that could be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. Before becoming an internationally recognized artist, Caro worked in every possible profession, (including being a scuba diver!) and had a close brush with death. Luckily for the world, Caro recovered and now graces us with her enormous talent and killer technical skills. Mrs Sweet spends half a year in the UK and half a year behind the big pond, where she designs and teaches a new generation of artists. Her sculptures have been exhibited numerous times and several of them are in private and museum collections on few continents. Caro is also a member of The Royal British Society of Sculptors (ARBS).

“Holy cow” by Caro Sweet. This iron cast sculpture became one of the most popular pieces of art during the exhibition

Lexi Strauss – painting prodigy
Official website: in preparation
More information: and

Another young artist from Herefordshire, Lexi Strauss is considered a true prodigy. Her talent was obvious from the very beginning and allowed her to study fine arts at Hereford College of Art. Lexi graduated this year at the top of her class and immediately has been accepted to Royal College of Art in London. Despite her young age, Miss Strauss has exhibited her paintings all over Europe and won several prestigious awards, including scholarships from Windsor and Newton (London) and Universitat der Kunste in Berlin. Lexi is now preparing for a solo exhibition in Birmingham, set for the Summer 2013. Two large paintings entitled “Ozymandias” and “Debutants” from her ” Empty chair” series have been displayed during Hereford Open Exhibition and received rave reviews from critics and general public.

Lexi Strauss created a whole series of pictures insired by the empty chairs. Here you can see painting entitled “Debutants”

Polly Miller – watercolour wizard
Official website:

Kington resident Polly Miller is one of the best watercolourists in the county and a senior artist associated with the h.Art festival. Her symbolic works have been displayed since the early editions and have always been singled out for praise. Polly knows that her art might be a little hard to understand for an untrained viewer, but she likes the idea of playing with her audience. Hidden objects, ambiguity and mystery are her trademarks and leading motifs in her art. Outside of artistic career, Polly is also a successful business woman and proud owner of unique bed and breakfast nicknamed The Brick House. Her guests can visit her studio located in beautifully designed garden and purchase her paintings and hand-made cards.

One-of-its kind artwork by Polly Miller entitled “Cuckmere Heaven”. The watercolour masterpiece took its unusual name after the flood plains in Sussex, where the river Cuckmere meets the English Channel between Eastbourne and Seaford.

Maggie Banks – contemporary landscape
Official website:

Margaret Banks, known better as Maggie, belongs to a group of popular contemporary landscape artists living and creating in Herefordshire. With more than 20 years of professional experience (and a decade as an artist in residence at Cape Cornwall), Mrs Banks’ serene and atmospheric paintings are the public’s favourite. Maggie has always been mesmerized by the ocean, the changing colours of water, colourful sunsets and the salty breeze. Her mastery lies in the ability of portraying the scenery so vividly, you nearly feel the cold ocean wind on your face! Oil and acrylics paintings have been displayed in the UK and abroad. Maggie is represented by several art agencies and currently prepares herself for two solo exhibitions scheduled for the Spring of 2013 and 2014.

Two contemporary landscapes by Maggie Banks: “Summer morning, tide in” (left) and “Early misty morning” (right)

Special mention: Ellen Tremayne Exton
Official website: unknown

This review could not be complete without mentioning Ellen Tremayne Exton. Sadly, we have had no luck finding any information about her. Please take a look at the picture below and you will understand why we needed to include her too. Rita is a big fan of abstract art and she was very happy to see a fully abstract work among semi and half-abstract paintings. As an expert herself, Rita swears that Ellen’s skill with acryl and oil paints are to die for. The triptych painted on thick wooden panels was entitled “Carn Calver”, possibly after the Neolithic settlement and mine, Carn Galver.

“Carn Calver Triptych”, oil and acrylics on wood by Ellen Tremayne Exton

Well our friends, this is the end of the ride. We hope you have enjoyed this (a bit long) review but there was so much we wanted to share with you all. The h.Art festival will be back next year in early September and we shall be there, ready to report again.  
Stay tuned as coming up next we have a new, exciting Kat-A-log issue and  a very delicious report from Flavours of Hereford food festival.

Stay beautiful,

Rita and Mal Dabrowicz

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