Light fantastic for artist

Ewan Mathers
Picture by Ewan Mathers

When Martin Sloman spotted that part of Howard’s old bakery on Cromford’s Market Place was empty he couldn’t resist checking it out as a potential studio.

When he saw the light airy space at the back of the shop he was smitten and within months he had moved himself and his work into the building.

That was almost two years ago and it was then that the watercolour artist decided to dedicate himself to being a full time professional artist and gallery owner.

“I had been painting for 14 years and going to as many festivals, shows and meet-the-artist events as I could but I was also still working as a manufacturing optician.

“With that behind me in 2013 I took the plunge to open the gallery and have my own studio space upstairs.

“The natural light was what really attracted me to this place and it is the perfect size for workshops,” he said.

Martin lives at Ireton Wood near Wirksworth so he doesn’t have far to commute to get to the studio and what he really loves about Cromford is that it is a thriving centre for independent businesses.

The Mill is just around the corner, Scarthin Books is up the hill and he has a chocolatier, vintage tearooms, gift shop and deli as his immediate neighbours.

In the gallery Martin now exhibits the work of about 70 different artists, potters and silversmiths while upstairs his own work can be seen ‘in progress’.

He mostly works in bold vibrant colours as can be seen from his mixing palette but he says more recently he has been experimenting with more muted greys and blues.

“Having my own studio instead of working from home has given me the incentive to look at new ways of working and I am really enjoying developing my paintings,” he said.

He is currently working on 20 large pieces for an exhibition for the Nottingham Society of Artists later in the year.

To find out more about Martin and his work or the gallery go to