My Fave Places: Sarah Graham
One of the best things about living in Herts is that there are interesting people doing amazing things just around pretty much every corner. I was lucky enough to meet the painter Sarah Graham last week in Hitchin — having been admiring her stunningly detailed and gorgeously colourful work from afar for a while — and before she could say ‘er, who are you?’ I got her telling me all about her favourite places so that I could share them you all.
Sarah’s work has been shown all over the UK and further afield, as well as being snapped up for private collections (oh, to have one of those…) in Europe, the USA, Australia, the Middle East, China and South Africa. Seriously, she’s everywhere.
Kaiser Chiefs fan? You’ll know her work already — she was commissioned to paint the album cover of their singles collection ‘Souvenir.’ Later, the original was auctioned and raised over £10,000 for The Garden House Hospice in Letchworth.
Now, you’ll catch Sarah working at The Art Nest in Hitchin, winner of Best Art Gallery in the Muddy Herts Awards 2016, when she’s not in her studio working on new projects. But where else does she like to hang out….?
Oughtonhead Common and Nature Reserve
I live in the market town of Hitchin, Herts, and am so fortunate to have this on my doorstep. Oughtonhead Common and nature reserve is a place I’ve been walking around since I could walk! My dear Dad, who passed away in 2004, adored it, and would take my sister and I for walks there all through our childhood. I now live very close to it, and regularly go running or walking with my husband, it is so good for the soul and I love watching it change through the seasons.
Even closer to home is the little haven that is my garden, and the place I spend my downtime away from the studio and the sometimes bonkers world of an artist. I love gardening, and although I’m not an expert by any means, I just enjoy the process of planting and nurturing things. I have a little space for vegetables, courgettes can be found growing out of old tyres, so through the summer months we have very fresh salad to eat.
I think of Brighton as my second home, mainly due to the fact my mum comes from there and I still have lots of family living down there. One of my closest artist friends, Louise Dear, also has a studio/gallery in the North Laines, so I have plenty of reasons to visit regularly. I just love the vibrancy of the place, it’s so diverse and has a great art scene. My husband and I often daydream about one day living there, I love Hitchin, but I would really love to be by the sea.
Maison Bertaux, Soho
Whenever I’m in London I always try to visit Maison Bertaux, a bohemian patisserie that has been serving tea and cake to the people of Soho for over one hundred years! Not only are the cakes and pastries delicious, but one of the owners, Tania Wade, runs it as a contemporary gallery space too; and in 2014 I was lucky enough to have a joint exhibition there with my artist friend Kim Haskins. We called the show ‘Alright, Sweetart?’ and both painted sweet treats especially. The café is frequented by lots of creative types, and the upstairs is a great place to hide from the madness of London’s West End.
Finally… My studio
My studio has got to be one of my favourite places, especially the one I am currently in. Situated on Letchworth industrial estate, it is such a fantastic space, flooded with natural light, high ceilings, and ample room for me to create my work. Over the years I’ve had all sorts of studios, from rooms above pubs, to a barn, to occupying an empty florist; but I can safely say where I am now is my dream space, and I am very happy painting there.