Creative Encounters: Sophie Harding

Creative Encounters: Sophie Harding

Luminous white sand, stunning sunsets, rhubarb gin and Sophie Harding paintings: the top four things I remember from my first trip to the Isles of Scilly in 2018.  I already knew of Sophie’s work but hadn’t seen her beautiful coastal works before - sadly my favourite was already sold - but I checked that I followed her on Instagram and made a mental note to keep an eye on her.  So I was hugely delighted - and really flattered - when couple of months after the trip Sophie got in touch to ask if I might consider her work for the Byre Gallery. There was no question, it was resounding yes, please.

Sophie showed with us for the first time in spring 2019 and has been a regular ever since. Her use of colour and her seemingly effortless ability to capture both tropical gardens and still life (from flowers and fruit to fish) has won her many fans and collectors amongst our clients - I will confess to being one of them. As well as occasionally treating myself to a piece from one of our exhibitions, I sometimes spot something on her Insta posts that I can’t resist - especially if it has pears in it. My late Dad’s favourite fruit, I have a weakness for paintings of them even though I’m not a huge fan of eating them, and I love seeing them in Sophie’s elegant and colourful style.

We’ll have new work from Sophie in our July exhibition ‘Homes and Gardens’ and I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s created. I always enjoy heading down to her gorgeous studio in Penzance to see her and her lovely Whippet, Tess (a contender for the world’s best behaved dog, and I speak as the owner of one who will never aspire to that title!) to choose pieces for the show.  It is always such an elegant riot of colourful temptation and I find it very difficult to restrict myself to the number of pieces I’d decided on. Perhaps this time I’ll try and resist the pears but I don’t think I’ve ever suggested rhubarb gin as a still life subject to her!

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