Artist Janine Baldwin has been a volunteer with the North York Moors National Park for 17 years and it has played a large part in my creativity over that time. Here Janine discusses her new solo exhibition, which is now open at Watermark Gallery in Harrogate.
As a landscape artist for over 20 years, my environmental inspiration has derived from a diverse range of sources, but one of the most important has been from volunteering with the North York Moors National Park. I’m about to celebrate that inspiration in my largest ever solo exhibition, which will take place at Watermark Gallery in Harrogate, from the 15-30 September.
All the works can now be viewed on the Watermark Gallery website, and are available to purchase.
I’m proud to have been a volunteer with the North York Moors for 17 years - it’s played a huge part in my creativity over that time, and I take every opportunity to tell people what an amazing National Park we have! The locations we’ve worked in and the tasks themselves, people I’ve met and their stories of the park - this has all contributed to my experience of this beautiful area and found its way onto my paper and canvas.
To give just a brief background about me and my work - I was born in Leeds in 1979, and later moved with my family to Scarborough. After graduating with an art degree, I’ve built my career as an artist for over 20 years, working in oil, acrylic, pastel, charcoal, graphite and collage. I’ve been very fortunate to win several awards, mostly in London, and my work is included in art collections worldwide.
This new body of work explores the wild ruggedness of our North Yorkshire landscape, from my hometown of Scarborough on the coast to the moors and higher ground, in which fast changing weather conditions bring about interesting combinations of light and mood.
Particularly memorable conservation tasks have led to the creation of specific works in this show, for example the hedge laying I took part in at Bilsdale inspired me to revisit that landscape numerous times with my sketchbook, and then to paint ‘Higher Ground, Bilsdale’ (oil, acrylic, charcoal, graphite and watercolour pencil on panel, 56 x 70cm). I’m fascinated by the feeling of expansiveness in those open dales - fresh air, views for miles into the distance, the visual strata of fields and boundary lines... the inspiration is endless!
There is something so primal about working with the land and it reminds me that our ancestors were far more connected to the earth than we generally are today. Technology has distracted us, creating false priorities and a fast pace of life, when really our attention should be on taking time to enjoy the beauty that nature has gifted us. I’ve always been a fan of mindfulness (long before it was trendy!) and I love spotting the elements of nature which often go unnoticed, particularly the diversity of incredible wildlife that we’re so lucky to have here in the National Park.
I’m very passionate about the protection of wildlife and many of my favourite tasks have been to create or maintain habitats for water voles, or rare butterflies such as the Duke of Burgundy and pearl-bordered fritillary. Climate change is always in my thoughts and so I also love the tree and hedgerow planting / maintenance tasks as that is so vital and I feel I am contributing to a wider effort of climate action.
At the heart of my work is the message that nature is so incredibly precious – if I can try to convey its beauty and encourage someone to love it and protect it for the future then I have achieved something with my art.
For more info please visit www.janinebaldwin.co.uk (feel free to join my mailing list if you’d like updates on forthcoming exhibitions).
Wild Nature is a solo exhibition open at the Watermark Gallery, 8 Royal Parade, Harrogate, HG1 2SZ from 15-30 September 2023