An artist is transforming an old wash house in his garden into a pop-up gallery.

Dave Watts, a former BBC radio journalist whose work was previously selected by the Pastel Society for their annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London, is making his exhibition debut at Oxfordshire Artweeks.

Mr Watts, of 102 Freehold Street, Lower Heyford, said: “The studio in our house where I paint is like a shoe box.

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“There is only space for one other person apart from me. So it would be impossible to exhibit there.”

He then had the idea of using the wash house in his garden.

“The old part of our cottage dates from around 1800, and the wash house must have been built sometime in the nineteenth century.

“It’s semi-detached, with a fireplace.”

He normally stores logs and wood for DIY in there, but he has now put up hanging rails for his artwork.

He added: “I like the atmosphere you get from the old brick walls. Every available bit of wall will be packed with pictures.

“There will still be some logs in there, but they will have pictures tucked in among them.”

The 66-year-old has sketched regularly since he was nine, but began painting pictures on a larger scale after retiring as a BBC radio journalist.

He will be exhibiting pictures of Oxford and his local area, but also elsewhere in the UK, and from his travels to places such as Greece, Venice and New York.

This will be the first time Mr Watts has staged an exhibition of his own work, aside from his one piece that was selected for the Mall Galleries exhibition.

He recently found out that another of his paintings has been selected for this year’s Pastel Society exhibition.

He said: “That is quite a boost. Because the society is made up of the top pastel artists in the country.”

His wash house gallery will be open from May 13 to 21 between 10.30am and 5.30pm.

You can view Mr watts’ paintings on the Oxfordshire Artweeks website, and on his Instagram @davewattsstudio.

Also in Lower Heyford is a collection of artists who are exhibiting at Heyford House in Church Lane, under the title, Art More Lovely.

The artist collective is made up of Tony Davis, Geny early, Sue Abbiss-Stubbs, Frederica Craig, Rani Rai, Edmund Blok, Merlin Brooke-Little and Kath Fotheringham.

They produce a wide variety of art including metal work, sculpture, ceramics, etchings, paintings, prints, linocuts, photographs, collage, charcoal drawings and digital art.

They will be open on May 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 between 11am and 5pm.

You can find their work here


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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