An exclusive exhibition of works by Serena Searight has begun in the Gallery Bar and Circa Restaurant of Sandridge Barton Wines at Stoke Gabriel.

This exhibition includes works that capture the essence of the light, line, and colour of those reactions in the Var region in the south of France and in South Devon.

Serena uses unique tools like sticks and rags to create directly from life, reflecting her deep connection to her surroundings.

Serena lives and works near Ashburton on Dartmoor, having also spent time living in the Var.

Her surroundings have shaped her and the direction of her work.

This summer she is celebrating having her work selected for the Society of Women Artists 163rd Annual Open Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London with a month long exhibition in the Sandridge Barton Gallery Bar and in the restaurant,

Serena with her work
Serena with her work (Richard Harding)

Serena explained her background: “I’m a farmer’s daughter.

“My father ran a hill farm in County Durham and when I was a little girl I men a guy called Norman Cornish who was a pit miner and I observed him drawing the miners and at that time I was travelling to the farmers markets with my father and I started copying Norman but relating it to my farming world.

“It was very natural to draw the people around me.

“My father was also an artist so that enabled me to feel that it was doable and I’ve been exhibiting ever since.

“I’m dyslexic so I thrived in the art room and excelled doing textiles.”

Serena told us how it progressed:

“I exhibited at Darlington Arts Society as a teenager.

Later I went to York Technical College, I enjoyed three dimensional design and all the genres of art and I went in to have a career in London as an interior designer but carried on exhibiting so the two went hand-in-hand.”

Works by artist Serena Searight
Works by artist Serena Searight (Richard Harding)

Then romance came into her life when she met her future husband:

“I met Mark when I was at university and he became a Royal Marine so we were sent to different postings; America, Brussels and my favourite posting was the South of France.

“There are drawings of women in the Var chatting as they were visiting the farmer’s market on a Sunday morning.

“It also influenced my wild swimming paintings that you see here today.

“The lighting on the water and the colours that you can see in the South of France, I drew in the vineyards and because the weather was so amazing I could literally paint with the canvas propped up under an olive tree.

“I used olive branches to scratch into the work and even poured olive oil on the paintings.”

In the Circa are most of the drawings including a former Royal (Marine), a Devon farmer in a work called ‘Where’s it to?’ and a lady gossiping in Bandol.

The theme of the paintings in the Gallery Bar include wild swimming and Dartmoor.

It continues until July 7 and is open between 10am and 5pm Sunday to Friday and 10am to 6pm on Saturdays.