Spring Fling Artist Hope Paints, Eats, Shoots and Leaves

Spring Fling Artist Hope

Wigtown painter creates sixteen fruit and vegetable portraits and a recipe booklet to encourage people to enjoy excellent food

A Spring Fling artist is painting 16 one-foot square portraits before cutting up her subjects, cooking them and writing a recipe booklet.

Hope London, from Wigtown, will exhibit her pictures of fruit, vegetables and herbs at the Shoots and Leaves vegetarian and vegan café during the annual open studios weekend from 25 to 27 May.

Her aim is to encourage people to take an interest in growing and cooking their own high quality and tasty foods.

The project is called 16 Square Feet– after the work of Mel Bartholomew which showed that it only takes a small area of soil to grow enough to feed a human.

Hope, who was a gallery director in Manchester and a lawyer in her native USA before coming to Scotland, said:It’s really been fun going into shops and looking round friends’ gardens to find fruit and vegetables of character for these portraits.  There have been bunches of dirty carrots, onions of all colours, turnips, pumpkins and sprouts. The carrots ended up as a lovely soup.
“I’m not a vegetarian myself, but it’s been a wonderful experience to try out all sorts of new recipes and to write them down for other people to enjoy. I think it’s really valuable for us to think about where our food comes from, about issues like sustainability, and about how we can grow some of our own food. 
“The project has even inspired me to try gardening again – even though the last time I tried it the slugs ate my carrots and they turned iridescent orange, which was an interesting phenomenon but discouraging.
“On a conceptual level, I wanted to create a bold, physical representation of 16 square feet so people can see what can be achieved in such a small space.”

Visitors can drop into Hope’s workshop (which is close to the café) to see her other artwork and also check out how her latest attempt at gardening is faring.

Hope (Studio 07) is on the Spring Fling Blue Route, which has around 15 studios from the Mull of Galloway, at the southernmost tip of Scotland, up to Glentrool in the Galloway Dark Sky Park.

This year Spring Fling sees 94 specially selected studios throw open their doors to the public.

It’s a chance to meet painters, original printmakers, jewellers, glassmakers, wood and metal workers and photographers in the cottages, farms, galleries, mills, converted churches and other places where they work and live.

Joanna Macaulay, Events and Exhibitions Manager for Upland which runs Spring Fling, said: “Hope is just one example of the many imaginative, unusual and inspiring visual artists and craft makers in every part of Dumfries and Galloway who are taking part in Spring Fling.
“There’s a huge amount to see and do – and we are really looking forward to welcoming visitors to enjoy a bank holiday break in Dumfries and Galloway.”