Sarah Hough 

“I continue to seek ways to present my work which will alter the audience experience, improve health and wellbeing, and I am not afraid to challenge convention if appropriate.”

Sarah Hough, featured on the front of the DAW magazine, encourages you to ‘immerse yourself’ in her working studio this year in Brockhampton. 

“…see old work and new; experience the physicality of using huge easels; see raw pigments in reagent jars; discuss process and projects; leaf through sketchbooks, and listen to found sound.”


Describe your artistic practice…

At the core of my work is the experience of the here and now in partnership with the landscape. For me, it’s about slowing down, finding space, noticing and absorbing moments in the wild that aren’t humanly orchestrated. A feeling perhaps of solitude, but not loneliness.

In terms of medium, I am interested in the partnership of old and new, drawing on tradition in terms of the materials used but not necessarily in the way the work is presented. I look beyond my own practice for ways to slow us down and provide a calming experience. My work begins with the disciplines of drawing and painting, using charcoal; Indian ink; graphite and pigment.

I continue to seek ways to present my work which will alter the audience experience, improve health and wellbeing, and I am not afraid to challenge convention if appropriate. I am particularly interested in the work of other artists in other disciplines and the potential of collaborations that can create rich audience experiences. This also contributes to taking creative risks. Risk is important to me and, I believe, fundamental to creative growth. 

Alongside undertaking my own speculative work I also enjoy working on commissions whether that be a drawing of a favourite place or walk; a charity Christmas Card; a pub sign; book illustration; a design for a canvas bag and other products. I love a challenge!


Where did your art journey start?

Born in Devon, UK in 1970, I studied Visual Studies and Publishing as an honour’s degree at Oxford Polytechnic between 1988-1991 where I was taught and mentored by Ivor Robinson MBE, Chairman of the Visual Studies Field degree. The Visual Studies elements combined the disciplines of painting, drawing, 3D studies, printmaking, photography, graphics, typographics and book works, and was the first course of its kind in Britain.  

Prior to becoming a full-time artist in 2003, I was fortunate to enjoy a fulfilling and varied career in a number of non-arts related, and client facing roles.


What are your inspirations? Is there something about Dorset in particular that inspires you? 

I continue to be inspired by being out in the elements, often on the edge of a coast path looking out, or in the midst of a wood or heathland. Dorset has a special place in my heart with its valleys, frost pockets, heathland, chalk streams, flint fields, Jurassic coast and elemental nature. I am also inspired by Pembrokeshire where I return each year, often along with the swallows, to attempt to capture that wild and rugged coastal scape.

Landscape painting has a fine and honourable tradition and I could give a long list of painters whose craft I greatly admire and to whom I owe a deep gratitude for the invaluable education they have provided and continue to do so. 

When asked who my greatest influences are however, my mind goes to a number of contemporary artists in different disciplines whose work has made a great impact upon me. The common thread is that their work enables me to really feel something and stays with me long after the experience itself. I constantly seek to understand how they have achieved this and what I can learn from them in how I approach my drawing and painting. I would like to acknowledge the important impact and value of their work.


Ragnar Kjartansson | The Visitors |

Simon McBurney | Complicité - The Encounter |

Steve Messam | Paper Bridge |


How has this pandemic affected or influenced your practice? This can be positive or negative. Has it taken you anywhere new? 

When the pandemic struck my practice had to change. Workshops were cancelled and with Art Weeks postponed I put aside all best laid plans and sought to see what new opportunities I could find so that I could work within the challenges of Covid restrictions and lockdown. I was fortunate to be asked to undertake a number of pub sign designs and it has opened my mind to new possibilities. Nevertheless it has been a tough year and I’m really looking forward to opening my studio for Dorset Art Weeks this year and safely welcoming visitors to my studio.


What are you most looking forward to at Dorset Art Weeks this year? Are there any projects that you are particularly excited to showcase?

What I am most looking forward to at Dorset Art Weeks this year is having a chance to take the time to share my practice and process with visitors, and discuss current projects which I always find helpful to guide and shape future work.

Janet Rand - ‘RISK' 

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool, 

To weep is to risk being called sentimental. 

To reach out to another is to risk involvement. 

To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self. 

To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naive. 

To love is to risk not being loved in return. 

To live is to risk dying. 

To hope is to risk despair, To try is to risk failure. 

But risks must be taken, because the greatest risk in life is to risk nothing. 

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. 

He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love. 

Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom. 

Only the person who risks is truly free.   

Often attributed to the poet and thinker, Leo Buscaglia, the real author of this inspirational verse is Janet Rand

You can visit Sarah’s venue 12 noon - 5:30pm on selected days of Dorset Art Weeks this year.

Visit Sarah’s venue page on the DAW Directory for more information on times and location | Here 

Visit Sarah’s website | Here