Open Studios is nearly on us and to get into the mood I popped along to what turned out to be a hidden gem literally just along the road ( or more strictly footpath) from me.
So, I think I told you about this chap.
Actually, I don't think I did. I think I only posted this on Instagram.
Well, I met him one morning on my dog walk. This is literally about 15 minutes walk from my new 'home from home' here in central Milton Keynes.
Yes, you're correct. He is a monk.
Because here, right in the middle of Milton Keynes, is Bradwell Abbey. This is an ancient priory used by the Benedictines, they of the black hoods.
Bradwell Abbey, or Priory, seems to have had a bit of a chequered history, and in no way can be described as one of the great priory churches of England. It seems, from reading it's history' to have been very small with hardly enough monks to keep it going properly.
But it did have an Abbey Fishpond which is still there today.
At one point it fell into the ownership of Cardinal Wolsey and after that was never really loved and cherished as a dwelling as other former priories have been.
Anyway, that is history for now it belongs to Milton Keynes and is the site of the Milton Keynes Discovery Centre. Here you go, straight from the website.
"Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre informs visitors about urban geography and new city planning - as well as the historical and natural heritage of Milton Keynes. Since 1992 Milton Keynes Discovery Centre has been based at the beautiful and important medieval scheduled Ancient Monument site of Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes."
Now this is all fascinating stuff, but I don't think you pop by my blog for the local history of MK. So, to cut to the chase!
Well, today, it turns out, Bradwell Abbey has two resident artists. They rent a room as a studio there and, in preparation for Open Studios, they welcomed friends into their space on Friday and Saturday.
So I popped along.
Jane does some wonderful work using pastels. She has an amazing ability to capture wet urban people scares. Not the best photos below, but you get the gist.
Liisa was showing some large, abstract canvasses but is now moving to more figurative work.
One of Liisa's birds.
And Jane also paints using Watercolours and oils. She is a bit of an all rounder. These two floral watercolours rather blew me away (that bottom one uses tissue too, a bit of a lady after my own heart!)
And her sketch book studies were amazing.
Less than a week to go and I have my own Open Studios. Got to crack on with the presentation etc.