Doors open for Pittenweem Arts Festival

Some of the crowds at the festival.
Some of the crowds at the festival.

Thousands of people have explored Pittenweem over the last few days, as the village hosts its annual arts festival.

More than 120 artists are exhibiting their work at makeshift galleries throughout the village – from the harbour buildings and homes, to garages and sheds.

Lynn McGregor

Lynn McGregor

The Pittenweem Arts Festival gives visitors the chance to see various forms of art, sometimes in the same small gallery.

Stunning paintings of the East Neuk can be found next door to sculptures based on the natural world.

This variety is appreciated not just by the visitors to the festival, but by the artists themselves, who can often be found sitting in the galleries, happy to chat about their work.

But what is the attraction of the Pittenweem Arts Festival for the artists, and why are so many keen to exhibit their work at the festival?

Deborah Phillips.

Deborah Phillips.

Lynn McGregor, based at gallery 76, is celebrating her 20th anniversary at the festival.

Originally from Pittenweem, Lynn now lives at Loch Awe and is inspired by the landscape of Argyll.

“I keep coming back because I feel it’s exciting to be in amongst such a variety of artists in such a beautiful part of the world,” she said.

“Everyone is hugely interested in seeing the art and where people live. It’s unique to see art in the artist’s home – to see where they work, where their inspiration comes from.

“For me, being born in Pittenweem, a lot of my family also still live here, so I also get to catch up with them.”

For Forbes Ridland, based at gallery 34, the festival gives him a chance to interact with the visitors and discuss his work.

Forbes took up art after retiring, creating photo-realism and atmospheric pieces of work.

He’s now asking visitors for their thoughts.

“I ask the people who come in, do I go more towards the atmospheric or realist,” he said.

“At the moment it’s four to one in favour of atmosphere.

“So if I can get my paintings 80 per cent atmosphere and 20 per cent real, I might be on to something.”

This interaction is also appreciated by local artist Deborah Phillips, based at gallery 63.

“As a professional artist, you sit at home every day at the easel, with only my husband, dogs and cats to speak to,” she said. “There’s something nice about coming here and interacting with people who follow your work and get their take on what I’m doing.

“It’s nice to have that interaction.”

Deborah also describes the proximity of the galleries as one of the festival’s unique aspects.

With around 25 galleries just along the harbour road, visitors don’t have to travel far to take in a wide variety of work.