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  • Writer's pictureRichard Atkinson - Willes

Gallery Garden Painting with Valérie Pirlot


So much sculpture finds its final home in a garden it seems almost like its natural habitat; whether it’s a small piece acting as a feature amongst planting, or a huge statement creating a grand vista in parkland, sculpture has been placed in landscapes small and large for millennia. Fortunately, the latter application is well demonstrated by the gallery’s spectacular view of Oldbury Hillfort, the Cherhill White Horse and the stately Lansdowne Monument. Once inside, however, the scale changes and sculptures can be found in the intimate seclusion of the gallery garden, which reaches into quiet woodland behind the old farmhouse. The garden has been laid out and planted to combine nature and art as a whole experience, with each showing off the other to its best effect. Nature has, of course, taken this as a challenge and each year seems intent upon upstaging the artwork that we place in it, but that’s a conflict we are happy to encourage: despite the indignant, aesthetic stand-off occurring around them, few of the visitors who sit in our courtyard café among the wildflowers show much concern over who’s winning. 



Sara and I designed and planted the garden at Broads Green Farm from scratch and we’ve enjoyed nurturing and watching it grow into the oasis of colour and controlled chaos that gallery visitors love. We’re so proud of the results that we decided to have our garden’s portrait painted, and we asked Bath based artist Valerie Pirlot to come to the gallery during the summer to make a group of paintings celebrating our creation and the wonderful sculptures on display within it.

Wine lovers will understand when I say that Valerie’s paintings are like a brimming glass of Beaujolais – like bottled sunshine. Like a garden, her paintings are a profusion of simple colours arranged with an informality which belies the expertise required to make them actually all work together, and we are delighted that she accepted our challenge.


We are very pleased to be able to share with you Valerie's wonderful works of our gallery gardens. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. All the paintings will be on display in our Summer Exhibition 2024 (from 25 May to 21 July) where we invite you once again to get up close to and be inspired by art in all its forms.   


Valérie Pirlot (b. 1982) is a belgian self-taught artist who moved to The UK in 2004. After graduating in Communications, she started her career as a Graphic Designer before becoming a full time artist in 2018.

Valérie is a founding member of The British Plein Air Painters group created in 2018. She was elected member of the Bath Society of Artists the same year. She also joined in 2020 ‘Art for Charity Collective’ (a collective of artists founded by Artist Lucy Kent raising money for charity). In 2022, she was elected Associate Member at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Beside her practice as an oil painter, she has been teaching painting and writing for various Art magazines (Paint& Draw, Leisure Painter, Pratique des Arts).

Valérie works predominately in the great outdoors and gets much joy from capturing the beauty of her surroundings with freshness and passion - usually in one session ‘alla prima’. In the recent years, she has been inspired to paint live events such weddings, parties, fairs (Carter’s Steam Fair), circus shows (Gifford Circus) and music festivals. In 2022, Glastonbury festival invited Valérie as one of their four official painters to come and capture the spirit of the festival.


"Painting makes me feel alive. Life goes fast, and we are only catching glimpses of it. This is what I try to depict with paint: an emotion, an impression, a moment, a feeling of light that will be gone in just a few minutes. Whenever I witness something that moves me, I get the instant urge to express it in paint and only feel at peace when the painting is done, somehow reassured that the fleeting moment is now captured on canvas. I love painting en plein air, in front of the subject; all the senses are stimulated, and I feel like I’m becoming part of the subject. Light is at the centre of my work and remains an endless fascination. I don’t see people, landscapes, or still lives; all I see are shapes, colours, and light begging to be captured with paint. I aim to depict the essence of a subject in a few brushstrokes, but making every single one count. Not including every detail means the viewer can fill the gaps and add his/her own story and emotions to the painting, hopefully elevating it to a whole new meaning."


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