Hospitalfield Open Weekend

Hospitalfield is a centre for contemporary art located in the Angus coastal town of Arbroath. It’s somewhere that I’d been wanting to visit for ages. My opportunity presented itself during the Summer Festival Open Weekend in 2018.

I was attracted to the Free Drawing School and the free garden and house tours. I also wanted to see the two pieces of work commissioned for the event.

I decided to go to Arbroath on the Friday, as there was a free drawing workshop from 2-4pm, and then the Opening Reception from 5.30-8pm.

Hospitalfield is a grand building, perhaps even a little more imposing on a rather grey day.

There were a couple of carved seats by white climbing roses.


As soon as I walked into Hospitalfield, I was impressed by the grandeur of the entrance hall and the lovely flower arrangement.

The drawing workshop was led by Fergus Tibbs. It was really good, we made collages with dried flowers and leaves from the garden which had been pressed by Fergus. The class took place in a converted shed in the garden.

At the Reception, I had a good look around the garden and the recent art works.

The garden was really beautiful.  Although, I believe it is going to be redesigned in the near future.

The installation ;The Venny, the Jumps’ in the garden by Mary Redmond, which had been commissioned for an Open Weekend earlier in the year, didn’t appeal to me.

The polished silver corrugated steel, orange and yellow blocks and purple painted bamboo sticks, looked alien in the garden.

I wasn’t that keen on the ‘Extensa suite’ mural by France-Lise McGurn either.

But I did love Zoe Paul’s ‘wild work, man and fish’ installation in the Studio. The first room was laid out in restaurant style, with lots of floral arrangements. The walls were adorned with drawings of figures and ceramics plates.

The second room had a head fountain, two black ceramic whippets and various ceramics pots, which, to me, appeared more like sculptures than pots.

The following day, I went on a house tour, which was really interesting. My favourite room was the one with various botanic wood carvings on the ceiling.

In the afternoon, I attended another of Fergus’ art workshops. As it was a better day weather wise, it took place in the garden. The workshop was again on a botanic theme. Fergus had brought home made charcoal, which was like lumps of coal. It was very different to draw with, compared to commercial sticks of charcoal. There’s a photo of Fergus below.

I really enjoyed my visit to Hospitalfield. I found the garden enchanting and the free art workshops were great.

There are several open weekends at Hospitalfield throughout the year, so if you’d like to visit check out the next one on their website.