The festival lasts for two weeks, bookended with weekends, and on the evidence of my two short stints I'm pretty sure I could turn up for most of every day and always see something new, engaging and quite likely challenging in one way or another. There's just so much on. Take the Time Machine, downstairs in the 44AD gallery. I turned up when Pat Jamieson and Carol Laidler's Ten Thousand Years of Rain was on, but it was only there for that day! A new event/exhibition/etc will be set up every single day, which I find mind boggling enough. Ten Thousand Years of Rain was a beautiful set, all light and bright and greens, with the sound of dropping water and a film of ripples and watery movement - it felt vibrantly alive, cool, fresh, and to think that in less than a mayfly span it would be stripped out ready for the next thing was difficult to accept. I might have missed it. As it is, I'll miss all the other shows in that space.
It was a green day, that first day. I've never considered that the weather might influence what I choose to like on any given occasion, but I think it did. It was humid (as Bath so often is in the warmer months) and I'm convinced that green works told me they were refreshing. A theory to test, maybe? Do I like warming shades on cold days? Cheerful shades to combat the grey and dreary days? Whatever, upstairs from the Time Machine was the Bath Open Art Prize, where nearly all my favourite pieces were variations on green (one of which was a giclee reproduction, which I struggled with, but I liked the image enough to stamp down on my natural disapproval). Apologies for not noting down the fourth artist while I was there - hopefully people will go see the show for themselves.
Among other things I liked the yellow wallpaper prints (which I've definitely seen before somewhere), the heads, and particularly Ruaraidh Monies' Invisible People - not an original idea, I know, but I loved his book of photos and a particularly scrappy frame. After the basement I went up to the first floor and took a nice deep breath of light. The contrast in atmosphere was quite something, but although there was plenty to like on this floor, I wasn't quite convinced that the theme shone through. Click for larger images, and hover for more artists and/or info. Where lacking, more apologies to the artists, and to anyone else, go see the real thing.
And that was it for this year; when I get back it'll all be over except (fortuitously) the exhibition The Man who Bought Stonehenge and Other Stories with my artist book Guilty in. That's on for an extra fortnight. But really, I'd recommend anyone to dip into the enormous spread of exhibitions, performances, events that go to form FaB - I've barely scratched the surface even of the exhibitions I did see. One week left, and far too long till the next one. Don't miss it.