As some of you may know I was born in South Africa and moved to the UK in my early childhood. It was then that my family re-established their routes in Yorkshire (my father is Cumbrian born and my mother was born in Halifax in Yorkshire).
My lifelong link with the Yorkshire countryside developed from an early age, when I would accompany my Grandparents on their walks in the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District. I also developed a keen interest in art and antiquities on outings with my Grandparents, at first collecting old coins and Art Nouveau. Now I tend to collect Art and ancient artefacts, with a treasured example (a limited-edition print created for an exhibition at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park) by one of my favourite artists, Bill Viola.If I hadn’t been an artist and educator, I’m sure I would have been an Art and Antiques dealer (perhaps there’s still time!).
My Grandparents were hillwalkers and avid cavers for many years before medical conditions got in the way and they found themselves unable to continue with this much-loved pass-time. It was their influence early in my childhood and later walking with my mother and her partner, mountaineering clubs and friends that shaped my passion for the outdoors today. So much so that I am working towards a Hill and Mooreland Leader Award and I am currently on the committee as Walking Coordinator for Leeds Mountaineering Club (2017).
My hillwalking developed into exploring the world of climbing and a continued love affair with international trekking in 2011. I trekked to Everest Basecamp in aid of Childreach International in 2012, ice climbed in Rjukan (Norway) in 2013, and more recently trekked the Tour Du Mont Blanc through France, Italy and Switzerland (2016), to name a few. Although I enjoy my international adventures for the outdoors, history and the art and culture too, I am always drawn ‘home’ to The Yorkshire Dales and their three iconic peaks, Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-Y-Ghent.
The Yorkshire Dales holds for me, a family history of adventures, stories and a spiritual connection to a landscape like none other I have felt on my adventures and that is why the ‘Three Yorkshire Peaks’ became a focus of a series of paintings of which a select few are showcased on this website. My artwork is best described as a spiritual practice as well as a physical artmaking or art creating practice. The works, ‘Icey Ingleborough’, ‘Wet Whernside’, ‘Ingleborough’ and ‘Pen-Y-Ghent in Purple’ are works that pay homage to this landscape that holds such history, inspiration and spiritual connection for me.
The works are colourful watercolour and ink paintings on Arches Aquarelle paper using Winsor and Newton paint and inks. Like my abstract watercolour works, I mainly use a vibrant colour palette, selecting colours that I am drawn to, reflecting the mood and my spiritual and emotional connection to the subject. I do not attempt to get accuracy in the work and mainly focus on a fluid synthesis of shapes, serendipity through wet on wet techniques, revealing the hidden and often changing position of elements within the landscape to enhance composition if needed. Technique is often unorthodox and experimental, but I believe this is the best way to be innovative and is in the essence of creativity.
I could go on and on about why The Yorkshire Dales are such a special landscape, but I hope this blog post gives you some insight into the motivations behind these works and why they are relevant examples of my work.
Now then, back to those mountains…