The Birdwood House Gallery will re-open 27th September

A Thousand Names for Joy 2

Josie Gould


Sunday 27th September to Saturday 3rd October ~ 10am - 5pm daily.


I love to paint outdoors, immersing myself in the fleeting, sensory qualities of light and colour, to capture the pulse and poetics of the Devon land, coast & sea. Catching the mystical exuberance abundant in these wild places, I aim to evoke these often subtle sometimes powerful qualities, the vitality and zest of life, in my oil and mixed media paintings.


In my Vipassana meditation practice, on retreat many years ago, I experienced total immersion into an all encompassing joy, a dissolution into the nature of being, which has remained with me ever since. Like being inside an explosion of particles eternally unfolding in an exquisite dance, going beyond thoughts to experience simply what is.


How is it possible to find this joy and delight in the everyday especially when life is as challenging as now? Byron Katie, author, puts it well, ’reality is simple... it's whatever's in front of you, whatever is happening. When you argue with it you lose. It hurts not to be a lover of what is.” Actively opening up to joy using a meditative process such as Vipassana as a discipline, is one way I have found of doing this. Joy and delight are linked to training your curiosity and sense of not knowing about whatever arises until you are completely okay with not knowing. Actually not only okay but welcoming of not knowing and letting go. This means adult joy is also made up of our sorrow too, just as it is made up of what pleases us. It’s all in there. Life arises in the moment and once interpretations and attachments to meaning are let go of then there is freedom to enjoy life as it is. So this quality of presence, simply being with whatever is emerging, from the most simple and mundane moment to the most dramatic, whether sorrowful, beautiful or exquisite, may be the key to experiencing joy. And, what’s more, joy may well be an invitation to more joy; by loving something we allow other people an opportunity to love it too.

Sophie Astrum, Catherine Greenwood, Mary Boreham


Sunday 4th October to Saturday 10th October  ~ 10am - 5pm daily except 11am - 4pm Sunday


The intelligence of colour is a theme for three artists exhibiting together for the first time. Each artist apprehends the natural world and brings an interpretation that is fresh and invigorating yet evokes timelessness. Through multi layered and evocative etchings, half imagined fairy tale landscapes and saturated botanicals filled with illumined details, each artist brings a vision and resonance to their work. Please come and visit us at the Birdwood Gallery in Totnes for a socially distanced visual treat.


Sophie Astrum works from memory and imagination to create landscapes that evoke experience and atmosphere. Sophie draws on a rich inner life born out of devoting many years of her late teens and early twenties to a reclusive meditation retreat. Understanding that the eye works outwardly as well as inwardly has been a key feature in her work, highlighting the area where the senses and the imagination meet. She is also strongly influenced by her Swedish heritage and the myths and fairy stories embedded in the Nordic traditions as well as her response to the Devon landscape where she resides. Sophie trained in art at Maharishi International University in the USA.

Visit her website to purchase either prints or original artworks


Catherine Greenwood is a Printmaker creating etchings monoprints and ink drawings which express the energy of the natural world, reflect the awe and wonder it inspires. Fused with her passion for making music, Catherine is collaborating with composer Matt Gooderson @playinthesystem in a series of work ‘Wave Scape with ‘Mobius wave’ etching is sampled and digitised and transformed to sound’.

Catherine lives in West Sussex and works in the Green Print Studio which uses contemporary printmaking materials and techniques. She is also a Fellow at City & Guilds in London and is a Print Tutor at Putney Art School. Catherine enjoys leading people on Art Walks drawing and painting along coastal paths, valleys and forest views. Visit her website to book onto a course and to view and purchase her work.




I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember, if I was not drawing or painting I would be observing the World around me with interest and fascination.

I guess that is how I arrived at Botanical painting, although it took me more than thirty years to realise this was the way I saw the Natural World and this was the style in which I wanted to record it.

I went to an extraordinary exhibition of Rory McEwan's work in London in 1989, which was the initial inspiration that set me off on the path which has continued to entrance and challenge me ever since.

Botanical paintings progress very slowly - a day spent observing and painting a tulip petal, a week or two to complete a work, but it is totally absorbing and meditative and I never feel I stop learning.

I use watercolour paints in their purest form with as little water as possible and build up endless layers (never mixing colours) to obtain the subtleties and complexities of Nature.

I am astounded by the beauty of a lemon or a berry or a leaf and hope I can communicate that by recording them as accurately and lovingly as I am able.

I have degrees in Art and Design and Fine Art and have exhibited my paintings at the Royal Horticultural Society in London, as well as having regular exhibitions around the UK. My paintings are held in national and international collections.

On the Edge

Vicki Archer


Monday 12th October to Sunday 18th October  ~ 10am - 5pm daily


On The Edge is an exhibition which explores my response to the local landscape.

Inspiration and emotion are the key to creating an exciting painting. Standing on the edge of a plummeting cliff, at the tail end of a storm, or watching the sky develop on the edge of dusk are awe inspiring moments which motivate me to rush home to my studio and start working.

Most of my paintings are created using a unique mixed media technique I developed over many years. From my roots as an Acrylic painter, then a pastel artist, I have now combined the two in order to utilise the vibrancy and texture naturally occurring in those mediums.

For me mixed media is a spontaneous and liberating way of expressing my experiences.



Facebook page- Facebook @ vickiarcherart


‘Isolation’ 2020


Monday 26 October to Saturday 31 October  ~ 10am - 4.45pm daily


Two groups from Dartington Print Workshop originally booked Birdwood House to show work on the theme of ‘Abundance’ , Covid19 arrived and everything changed.

Since lockdown we have not been able to attend the printmaking classes run by Louise Scammell, but have maintained close contact with each other whilst working independently from home.

‘Isolation’ is a creative exploration of our response to the experience of lockdown.

Many of us have been shielding on our own and others have been surrounded by family. Whether under ‘house arrest’ or being immersed in nature it has certainly been a strange time for us all.  We all agree that being able to create Artwork has been a good thing, even when it has been a struggle for some who have had limited access to equipment.

We hope to be able to work together again soon, realising the importance of helping each other and sharing thoughts and ideas in our practice.

We are showing mainly Prints, but also some Paintings, Ceramics and Textiles at the exhibition, some of which will be for sale.

Print Print | Sitemap
© The Gallery at Birdwood House               Contact and Hire

44, High Street Totnes Devon TQ9 5SG