IT’S typical isn’t it? We get a glorious bank holiday Monday and – unless we’re the Prime Minister’s closest advisor – we’re not allowed to go anywhere.

The lockdown may have been slightly eased, but we’re still a long way from the point where we can just pack up the car and head to the beach for the day. For one thing, nothing’s open, and what’s a trip to the coast without fish & chips or ice cream?

So this bank holiday why not pull on your swim suit at home, head into the garden or a local park, sprinkle sand in your sandwiches and enjoy the next best thing.

To help spread a bit of bank holiday cheer, Oxfordshire artists have been sharing their own impressions of the seaside – both from here in the UK and further afield.

It’s all part of Oxfordshire Artweeks – the county wide month-long art festival which traditionally sees hundreds of county creative souls opening up their homes, studios, gardens and galleries to the public.

Banbury Cake:

Simone Bonnett in Wantage

This year, because of coronavirus, they’ve had to adapt and move online, but that has made it more accessible than ever. Now we can all soak up fabulous locally-created work without seeking out tiny studios in the midst of the countryside. And the work is all for sale, so we can still grab an original piece of art for a good price.

While today was supposed to mark the last day of the festival, the work will remain online, so we still have plenty of time to explore the wealth of creative talent right under our noses.

“Each day of the festival we have been presenting a different themed art trail on the website giving visitors a chance to escape the lockdown with a trip to the sea, for example, where they can ‘stroll’ along craggy coastlines, see the splash of the waves, watching bobbing boats and even enjoy fish and chips and an ice-cream at the end of the day!” says Esther Lafferty, Festival Director.

“On different days, Artweeks painters, potters, jewellers, textile and glass artists, furniture-makers and sculptors have explored the country’s rivers and lakes and forests.

Banbury Cake:

Charlotte Houlihan from Blewbury

“With thousands of pieces of art showcased, and the work staying online, we hope people who are missing their annual Artweeks days out can still explore the local countryside and wildlife through the eyes of Oxfordshire artists, can take a mini-break in places from the Mediterranean to the poles and back again or find a treasure to catch their eye.

“It’s a very green way to explore: people anywhere can travel back and forth across the county – and around the world – in a moment, visiting artists whose studios are on the far side of Oxfordshire without filling the car to seek out the colourful, the precious and the unusual to bring colour and interest to each day.”

  • Visitors can still enjoy footage of artists at work and delve deeper with interviews with artists who use different materials to create art both big and small, by going to artweeks.org