Saturday 10 February to Monday 16 April
The Dark Skies Exhibition is a collection of outstanding works inspired by the dramatic skies of the North York Moors featuring the following artists:
Len Tabner, Joe Cornish, Peter Hicks, Beveley Ann Hicks, Ian MacDonald, Kane Cunningham, Jo Barry, Kate Lycett, Rebecca Vincent, Jill Ray, Heather Burton, John Creighton, Robert Brindley, Andrew Broderick, Mike Shaw, John Freeman, Emma Stothard, Patrick Smith, Adrian Wright, Peter Heaton, David Owen and some pieces from Leeds Fine Arts and East Anglian Marine Artists and inkylinky.
Occasionally, artists release small pieces, sketches and studies at very accessible prices to encourage new collectors. The Inspired by… gallery has a range of these works available during the Dark Skies exhibition. We would like to thank the artists who have worked with us to make available these pieces of affordable art.
The Inspired by... gallery can be found at The Moors National Park Centre, Danby. See Planning your visit for further information on how to get here and opening times.
Jo Barry studied at Ravensbourne College of Art and Design. After graduating, she taught in a boy’s comprehensive school, rented a flat on the edge of Battersea Park and kept a horse in Kent.
Inspired by her riding in Kent, Jo produced very detailed pencil drawings and exhibited three of these a year at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition – until she had so many galleries showing her work that she could give up teaching and become a full-time artist, producing pencil drawings, etchings and watercolours.
In 1994, with her husband and small son, Jo moved to the New Forest where she continues to live and work. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers.
Robert Brindley is a painter who lives in Whitby. He works in watercolour, oil and pastel, inspired by the challenge of capturing light and atmosphere in a contemporary, impressionistic style. Although primarily a landscape artist, he occasionally paints interiors and figurative subjects, and always strives to reproduce the quality of light in the chosen subject.
He had held an annual exhibition in Whitby at the end of May for 25 years, and puts on workshops and demonstrations for art societies and painting groups at home and abroad. In 1997, Robert was elected a member of the prestigious Royal Society of Marine Artists and hold the position of Archivist for the Society. He is also a member of the Fylingdales Group of Artists.
Originally from Kilkenny in the Republic of Ireland, Andy Broderick arrived in the UK in 1997 to study Fine Art at Teesside University. Since graduating in 2000, he has been working as an artist from his studio
in Saltburn on the North Yorkshire coast, exhibiting widely throughout the country and internationally.
Andy draws from living objects within nature – plants, animals and human figures – and is very interested in the sense of life and animation that lines and marks can convey.
His recent interest in watercolour has allowed Andy to explore the nature of colour and light. It’s a medium that has the potential to express energy and life, and which can present both sensitivity and unpredictability.
Heather Burton is an award-winning Yorkshire-based artist specialising in palette-knife work. Self-taught, she paints from the heart and has developed her ownstyle. Heather also writes about beautiful homes for national homes and interiors magazines, and about rural and artisan producers for countryside magazines.
Heather is inspired by the ever-changing moods of our dramatic coastlines and countryside, and the communities that have evolved within these landscapes over the centuries. She encapsulates the energy and drama of this scenery by working almost exclusively with palette knives, applying many layers of acrylic or oils on canvas in a process which often takes on a life of its own.
Landscape photographer Joe Cornish lives on the western edge of the North York Moors, close to the local landmark of Roseberry Topping. For Joe, this is no pristine wilderness, or manicured park, but rather a working upland covered by great carpets of heather that can be a forbidding, bristling black, or an opulent purple haze, depending on the conditions and time of year.
Joe says: “The years of walking, of standing in the teeth of a gale, or clambering through snowdrifts, of marvelling at spring wildflowers in the gritty, peaty soils, of watching the sun sinking over the blanket of August heather, or of climbing up through mist onto high ridges on an autumn morning
… these years have helped me understand the moods and beauty of the moors.”
John Creighton comes from a family with a strong artistic tradition going back several generations. After a degree in Fine Art Painting in Manchester, John was inspired and encouraged by the landscape painter Keith Grant and, following his return home to Ryedale, John established his studio where he continues to develop his artistic vision.
John’s charcoal landscape drawing is part of a series titled ‘The Call of the Land’. To John, these works represent doorways to a dimension of mystery, to a source that has no name, which lives and breathes through all things. The charcoal touches the paper like a bow on the strings of a violin. The spirit responds to the sweep of the land and the heart is transfigured with the light on the fields.
Landscape painter Kane Cunningham was born in Manchester in 1961 to an Irish working-class family and went to Leeds Met in 1979 to study Fine Art. He ascribes this background to his belief in the importance of education and his struggles as an artist in finding subject matter that resonates with meaning and social significance.
Kane’s work explores the historical and contemporary narratives that exist within a contested location and space.
His current work investigates the perfect view, or ‘stations’ of the picturesque, as first described by Thomas West in his ‘Guide to the Lakes’ published in 1778.
East Anglian Marine Artists
The East Anglian Group of Marine Artists is a small group of artists with a shared enthusiasm for depicting marine subjects. The group came into being in 1979 when six marine painters met at the famous 'Butt and Oyster' pub on the banks of the River Orwell in Suffolk. Following an inaugural exhibition in 1980, the group has subsequently expanded. It still meets socially and members take part in outdoor painting days several times a year, including an annual trip to the North York Moors.
Sue Williams studied at St. Martins School of Art in London. She has taught watercolour for almost forty years, writes regularly for art magazines and exhibits in London. She works in inks, watercolour or oils, and paints on location as much as possible in all weathers to capture light, mood and atmosphere. Sue won the SAA Artist of the Year award in 2013.
John Shave is a modern impressionist painter whose aim is to capture a sense of place in his work. He lives in Norfolk although has spent much of his life in Australia, winning many awards for his paintings, both there and abroad, and writing for Australian arts magazines. He exhibits at various regional galleries in the UK and at a number of the London Art Society exhibitions at the Mall Galleries, including the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the Royal Society of Marine Artists. John also teaches, lectures and demonstrates to individuals, groups and societies.
The North York Moors have long been a great source of inspiration to artist John Freeman, yielding a tremendous variety of subject matter.
His early oil paintings used heavy impasto and focused on the rugged moors and the rustic buildings set into the landscape. As his love of watercolour developed, so John’s subjects evolved and changed, although echoes of that early stark interpretation have remained.
The local villages – both coastal and rural – and the changing seasons have always provided John with a wealth of subjects. Many of the villages, along with their farm buildings, have been the inspiration for his nocturne studies.
Peter Heaton has a B.A. in Fine Art from Nottingham Trent University and an M.A. in Fine Art from Leeds Metropolitan University.
He tries to translate ideas into images via the medium of photography, and his work has been described as atmospheric, melancholy, dark, poetic and thoughtful.
He is currently working on a children’s book about two goldfish called Dob and Dad.
Beverley Ann Hicks
Beverley Ann Hicks was born in North Yorkshire and studied at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, where she was awarded a B.A. Hons in Fine Art and, later, an M.A. in Painting/Sculpture. In 1998 she was shortlisted for the Nat West Art Prize, and in 2000 she was shortlisted for the Pizza Express Art Prize. Beverley now lives in the Yorkshire Dales where she teaches art at Skipton Girls’ High School.
Beverley’s work tends to reflect her experiences and memories. Her intention is to recreate a specific atmosphere, predominantly through the careful juxtaposition of tactile paint application, colour and composition.
She only feels happy with what she has produced when, as Howard Hodgkin so succinctly puts it: “You keep on balancing and balancing and balancing until the picture wins.”
Peter Hicks has achieved national and international status with his atmospheric and expressive paintings. The Esk Valley and the surrounding moorland have had a deep and lasting influence on his life and work, as he explains:
“I am aware that not everyone will feel an affinity with the way I see and interpret the visual world. There are, however, enough of those who, seeing what I do, feel a strong pull towards my work, sensing a shared experience.
My youngest daughter Beverley says my paintings are not abstract but abstracted – that they are a metaphor for what I experience in life. A painting becomes mine as I make choices that shape the way it looks. It becomes an amalgam of things seen, now and in the past; shot through with a way of perceiving that has evolved over many years. The image becomes as much about me, as it is concerned with things actually seen.”
Leeds Fine Artists
Leeds Fine Artists (LFA) is one of the oldest and most prestigious regional arts organisations in the north of England. There are over fifty exhibiting members who work in a wide variety of media in two and three-dimensional visual arts. Here, selected members show a direct personal response to North Yorkshire landscapes – whether abstract, figurative or sensory.
Sharron’s work is characterised by experimentation and a combining of media to better explore different themes, interweaving disciplines to create a singular and evolving reality. Largely figurative and rich in symbolism, her recurrent subjects are nature, woman, time and im/mortality.
Trevor is a painter who works in oil, acrylic, watercolour and egg tempera. He is also a printmaker, producing etchings, mono-prints and digital prints. Trevor’s work is a contemporary comment on the timeless beauty of the natural landscape and the built environment, and his inspiration ranges from the historic architecture of Venice to the English country landscape.
Painting is Sue’s meditation, with en plein air painting a particular pleasure, especially on the beach. In the studio Sue adjusts, enlarges and embellishes from on-site sketches or photos. Or she just paints from her imagination.
Jill is inspired by the wild and beautiful scenery of the north. She is fascinated by the strange, other-worldly, abstract shapes defined by morning shadows and framed by big dramatic skies. Jill decides which shapes and colours to play with, then draws and applies layers of paint until she finds balance, whereupon a lyrical, painterly world emerges which celebrates the landscape.
Colour, pattern, and draughtsmanship are the three elements that define Kate Lycett's work. She grew up in Suffolk and was inspired, and taught to draw, by her architect Grandfather. She came North over 20 years ago to study fine art, specialising in textile design. After an MSC, also in textiles, she worked in the textile industry for 8 years. Kate moved to the Calder Valley 11 years ago and, struck as she was by its wild beauty and unique architecture, began to produce work inspired by the landscape. Her paintings are held in public and private collections all over the world.
Photographer Ian Macdonald was born in Middlesbrough to a family steeped in the town’s iron and steel industry.Ian left Teesside in 1968 to study at art colleges in Middlesbrough and Sheffield before gaining a Master of Arts degree from Birmingham School of Art in 1975. He later moved with his family to Grosmont and taught part-time in schools in East Cleveland for 28 years, continuing to build up a photographic archive of Teesside’s heavy industries as well as the traditional industries and pastimes of the North York Moors.
Ian is a firm believer in the craft of traditional photography. His work is held in many public and private collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Danish Royal Library, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, and The Navigator Foundation in Boston, Massachusetts.
David Owen is a graphic artist, who likes old-fashioned ‘cut and paste’ techniques, although he uses digital processes too. He makes cheerfully subversive Pop Art using collage, assemblage, screen print, stencil and spray paint.
Much of his work features images of folk song, folk dance and folklore, and he’s inspired by the work of Peter Blake, Joseph Cornell and Shepard Fairey. He’s also a professional musician, making records and videos and performing live, which both interacts with and informs his work.
Jill Ray has been a practising artist and designer for over 30 years. She trained first in Fine Art then followed a career as a Landscape Architect until 2012 when she launched Jill Ray Landscapes to combine her design and fine art skills in her unique style of digital printmaking.
She builds up her images digitally with fragments of shapes overlapping and overlaying often working on 70 or 80 layers to create the impact she strives for. Her work is driven by exploration of patterns and drama of the landscape and her main concerns are colour and rhythm and particularly the way sunlight interacts with the landscape taking an active role in the composition.
Jill is a member of both the Sheffield Printmakers and also Peak District Artisans and regularly exhibits with both.
Jeweller Liz Samways (inkylinky) has a degree in Art History, a career background in sales and marketing, and later trained in garden design alongside developing her jewellery and printmaking through self-teaching, workshops and classes.
Inspired by the landscape and the materials and techniques she uses, Liz works in etched, engraved and enamelled silver and copper, along with other metals as the inspiration takes her. In addition, on some pieces, layers of vitreous enamels are used in a painterly way to add elements of colour.
Metal is also used in her printmaking, along with spontaneous marks and ‘happy accidents’ combined using monoprint and collage. Jewellery and printmaking inspire each other and Liz is constantly experimenting with new materials and techniques.
Photographer Mike Shaw has run The Sutcliffe Gallery in Whitby for the last forty years, publishing the work of the great Victorian photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe.
Photography runs in the family – both Mike’s late father and his son have been professional photographers – and the images taken by Sutcliffe have been a constant inspiration over the years. Landscape photography gives Mike the most pleasure, and he’s a particular admirer of Joe Cornish and Ansel Adams.
Mike has exhibited in the Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby; The Coliseum, Whitby; Sneaton Castle, Whitby; and the Maritime Museum, Hull.
Patrick Smith initially trained as an engineer, but had a ‘Billy Elliot’ moment in his late twenties and trained at Leeds Met – gaining a B.A. in Fine Art. He won a scholarship to train in painting and printmaking in Utrecht in Holland, and went on to hold various academic posts, teaching roles and headships in North Yorkshire.
Patrick now teaches in the private sector and has been running painting, drawing, and life classes for ten years.
His visual language is realised through printmaking and painting, particularly relating to the sublime in landscape. Patrick’s paintings relate to an observed world and, by painting on location, they become translated to landscapes of the mind, inspired by music and poetry. He is currently working on seascapes to disappear into.
Willow sculptor Emma Stothard exhibits widely in the UK and abroad, and her sculptures grace the grounds of stately homes, galleries and private houses and gardens around the country.
The mudflats, reed-beds and coastal dunes around Spurn Point sparked an interest in working with sand, soil and straw to create flowing, architectural patterns, and Emma later went on to complete a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Southampton.
After learning traditional willow-weaving and basket-making, Emma began making geese, hares and other animals from willow. She has fulfilled many commissions, including for the Louis C Tiffany Museum and Water Gardens in Matsue, Japan. She has also exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the Prince of Wales’ Highgrove estate, and Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.
I was born in South Bank, close to the River Tees, which was a wonderfully rich environment in terms of things to see and explore. We were surrounded by the iron works, shipbuilding yards, old brickworks and railway sidings, flooded clay pits, the remnants of marshland, several farms and allotment gardens and pigeon sheds – all within a few hundred yards of where I grew up.
My work is concerned with the experience of being in, rather than merely looking at, the landscape. In many of the landscapes, I am trying to draw the wind and the weather as much as the forms of the land itself. I hope that some of the work will eventually have a small amount of the vitality and strength that I see and feel in the things around me and, that through the work, these things will be shared.
Text taken from ‘Inspired Landscape’, a North York Moors National Park publication for the Park’s 60th anniversary in 2012.
Rebecca Vincent is from the Ribble Valley in Lancashire. Art has been her interest and occupation from an early age and, after completing an art degree at Oxford, she has worked as a self-employed artist in Newcastle upon Tyne since 1993.
Rebecca’s monotypes use several layers of coloured ink printed from a smooth plastic board. The rolled-out ink can be manipulated in many different ways, using cloths, cotton buds, sticks and pieces of card to lift the ink away. Each layer of ink is printed onto paper using an etching press. On the final layer Rebecca often adds patterned areas by using pieces of textured paper and fabric, applying ink and printing them. She makes the crisp edges and horizons using paper stencils that are cut or torn to shape.
Since moving into the village of Glaisdale, in the North York Moors National Park, artist Adrian Wright has created a selection of paintings known as ‘Moors Moments’.
Adrian uses a limited palette of colours, typical of the moorland landscape, and portrays the area’s moody and dramatic skies. He concentrates on the coast, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and the Esk Valley as his subject matter.
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