Behind the scenes in Larbert studios

Forth Valley Open Studio's 'Susan Smith working on her piece
Forth Valley Open Studio's 'Susan Smith working on her piece

From remote farms and cottages to urban hideaways, artists are famed for seeking solitude and privacy to complete their work.

But that’s all set to change for one week only when local artists throw open their doors with a rare opportunity to see their work in progress.

Forth Valley Open Studios, which runs from June 6-14, is an annual event – now in its sixth year – and it offers the chance to meet artists and see them working in the places that inspire them.

The idea is not only to encourage people to appreciate the huge wealth of talent that is right here on our doorstep, but also to encourage others to take up brushes, chalks or, well, whatever materials take their fancy.

“A lot of the artists involved also run classes in their studios, so this is a great chance for people to find out what’s on offer locally,” said organiser Avril Nicol.

Over the course of the week, people can follow one (or more) of four trails that run across Forth Valley.

The Falkirk one takes in around 20 artists – there are 140 over Forth Valley – and their studios with an amazing array of styles and skills being showcased.

Also this year, for the first time, the annual exhibition of the work of patients attending the day care unit at Strathcarron hospice is a part of the trail.

And there are also three pop-up exhibitions, including one in Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert, while the Tolbooth, Stirling and The Makers Gallery and Bistro in Alloa will also have work on display.

Forth Valley Open Studios has also joined forces with NHS Forth Valley to commission visual artist Sarah Calmus to create a large temporary work for the main public thoroughfare in Falkirk Community Hospital. Visitors can meet the artist and see the work in progress on the first weekend of open studios.

For anyone who really wants to make the most of what’s on offer, this year there is a special incentive. Artist Marjorie Sime, who has supported FVOS since it started explained that this year there is a fun quiz with clues in every venue on the trail - so you have to visit them all to win.

She explained: “All the artists in the Falkirk trail have ‘clubbed together’ to get a gift voucher for art lessons to offer as a prize to the winner.”

For full information on the artists and the trails, visit www.forthvalleyopenstudios.com