THIS year’s Henley Arts Trail got off to a winning start on Friday — when the award for the best piece of work in the organisers’ spring exhibition was presented.
The Mollie Staley Award went to Henley Art and Crafts Guild member Judith Fletcher for her intriguing mixed media artwork, entitled Once Upon a Time.
The judges’ citation said: “This picture exudes a mysterious light, inviting us to experience another time, another place, another world.”
It was something of a fairytale result for Judith, who was one of the three original co-founders of the annual arts trail, which is now in its 11th year.
She said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. The award has only been going for three years and I was on the guild when this was thought up. The daughter of Mollie Staley, Jane Grant, created this award — it’s a memorial.”
Mrs Fletcher revealed that she had drawn inspiration for her picture — and its title — from a recent holiday to St Petersburg, Russia, where she took a number of reference photographs.
She described the wintry scene with snow on the ground as “just like a fairy story”.
Making the presentation was Nettlebed-based film, TV and radio actor Simon Williams, who was on hand to officially open the Henley Art and Crafts Guild’s spring exhibition at the Old Fire Station Gallery in Upper Market Place — venue number one of 25 in the Henley Arts Trail, which runs from tomorrow till Monday.
Speaking to cheers and laughter as he declared the exhibition open, Mr Williams urged visitors to take a chance on the “fantastic works of art” on display.
He said: “With zero interest in the bank, we might as well buy a painting. Some day, when you’re long gone, someone’s going to say ‘They bought that one at the Henley Art and Crafts Guild’s spring show...’ and it’s going to mean something. So don’t keep the money in the bank!”
For more on the arts trail, visit www.henleyartstrail.com