Artist opens own home as gallery as part of Northamptonshire Open Studios

Kardi Somerfield at her "pop-up" gallery

Kardi Somerfield at her "pop-up" gallery

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It takes a brave woman to open up her home for visits by random members of the public, but that is what Kardi Somerfield has done...all for the love of art. Artist Kardi is opening a floor of her house, at 8 St Giles Terrace, Northampton, at certain times, so art-lovers can wander in and enjoy the array of paintings which decorate the white walls.

Almost 100 pieces of work by three artists have been put on display.

The paintings have been created by Kardi herself, along with fellow artists Sarah Hyde, from Kingsthorpe, and Jacky Smith, from Weston Favell.

The ambitious project forms part of this year’s Northamptonshire Open Studios in which artists across the county open up their galleries and studios for public visits.

Kardi said: “I was worried as I wondered what sort of people would come along. It is my home, after all, but people have been lovely. Everyone has been interested and really nice. One visitor said to me that today people are so fearful of strangers, we are forever locking things up and shutting things down, but actually 99 per cent of the population are perfectly nice.”

Opening up a home environment also allows the artists to sell their work without the overheads often imposed by professional galleries.

The art itself is varied. Walking into the main room opened at the No 8 Gallery, visitors are greeted with the sight of Sarah’s striking paintings of nude figures and landscapes, Kardi’s appealing portraits of different canine characters, and Jacky’s mixed media work, some of which are inspired by France.

Sarah, who is a full-time artist, said: “I do figurework mainly and studied under my father, David Hyde, who is a painter. I love the interaction of human nature, people fascinate me and that is my natural bent. I do landscapes but people really know me for my figure work.”

Kardi, who also works as a lecturer, said: “I would say I’m an enthusiastic amateur. I discovered oils about a year ago and now I paint almost every day. The dog portraits I love doing, as people love their dogs and they are such a joy to paint. If I paint someone’s dog I make them so happy. People would put their dogs on Facebook, I would take the photo and paint it anyway, then I started taking commissions.”

To find out more, log on to www.no8gallery.com or www.openstudios.org.uk

Number 8 will be open for the final time as part of Open Studios on Saturday and Sunday (September 22 and 23) 11am –5pm or on weekdays and evenings by appointment on 07826 552989.

Art is on sale for between £5 and £1,500.