Seeing the work of over 300 artists on one day was a salutary experience. There were hundreds of other visitors. But hardly any 'red dots' were to be seen at either venue. While the skill level was high in many cases, there was little work of genuine originality. There were plenty of 'decorative' pieces, but very few which were thought-provoking.
It looks like there's an over-supply of artists. There are many reasons for this. A strong urge amongst many people to create something. A massive increase in the media coverage given to the arts. Low barriers to entry in terms of the cost of materials. Enough better off people who can finance studio rental in pursuing their dream. Despite the economics the average price charged by artists exhibiting at these open studios for an A4 image is rarely below £100, and many larger prints and paintings are in the £00s if not £'000s. This confirmed to me the importance of striving for work that is novel while being both attractive and meaningful - and priced realistically for the particular market and target audience.