No York Open Studios in April, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY FOUR

Vasilisa the Wise, by Sarah K Jackson

YORK Open Studios 2020, the chance to meet 144 artists at 100 locations over two April weekends, has had to be cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, with doors sadly shut for the April 17 to 19 and April 25 to 26 event, CharlesHutchPress wants to champion the creativity of York’s artists and makers, who would have been showcasing their ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, sculpture and textiles skills.

Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios will be given a pen portrait on these pages, because so much art will have been created for the event and still needs a new home. Home addresses will not be included at this time.

Sarah K Jackson: Love of Russian design

Sarah K Jackson, textiles

SARAH specialises in transforming aged fabrics and precious items into original “keepsake” artworks. For York Open Studios 2020, she assembled Headstrong, a series of new pieces inspired by old photographs of Russian women in national dress.

Why Russian women? Sarah has a special affinity for Russian design from studying the language and literature at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and she both lived and travelled there extensively during the 1990s.

After completing a City & Guilds’ qualification in creative techniques in 2013, she set up her vintage and handmade textile art business, Winifred Taylor, named after her grandmother, who taught her to sew.

Sarah presents workshops and is a member of York Art Workers’ Association and two textile and mixed media groups, exhibiting with them regularly. Find out more at winifredtaylor.com.

Kate Pettitt: Painting en plein air. Picture: Olivia Brabbs

Kate Pettitt, painting

KATE’S paintings and drawings on paper explore the natural environment and the human form and are often elemental, instinctive and textural.

She works from life and en plein air, then referencing her sketches, studies, notes and collected objects when back in the studio, where she uses oils, graphite, acrylic and watercolour.

Inspired by movement, emotion, shifting light and changing weather conditions, her work aims to capture the character and uniqueness of people and place.

Rain Over Littendale, by Kate Pettitt

Kate’s background and training is in graphic design and illustration, and she has worked as a designer for more than 20 years, running her design practice, Bivouac, for 12 years.

This year’s York Open Studios would have been Kate’s chance to introduce visitors to her new studio in Holtby. Instead, in the Coronavirus lockdown, she is now working from home. Take a look at her work at katepettitt.co.uk.

Reg Walker: Yorkshire Sculpture Park played its part in his artistic development

Reg Walker, sculpture

REG crafts abstract sculptures, sometimes contemplative, sometimes playful, mostly in Corten steel, together with small pieces for the hand in bamboo and distinctive collages in natural materials.

He took up sculpture when inspired by volunteering at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, where he then took part in hot and cold metal courses.

Originally from Ireland, Reg settled in Yorkshire in 1988, working in social research and organisation development. He had a studio at Kildale on the North York Moors before moving last year to a studio in Holtby, where he would have been making his York Open Studios debut. Seek him out at reg@elliottwalker.co.uk.

Connie Howarth, Constance Isobel jewellery maker

Constance Isobel, jewellery

CONNIE Howarth, of Constance Isobel, uses gold, silver and high-quality gemstones, sourced from ethical UK retailers, in her handmade jewellery. Traditional techniques are applied to create her exclusive precious metal work, also informed by her interest in ancient adornments and artefacts. 

Connie had formal, workshop-based training in traditional jewellery-making techniques. Earlier she studied fine art, which now seeps into her metalwork with use of colour drawing on her love of the natural world. Delicate pattern work and organic shapes decorate her jewellery throughout each collection. Her jewel of a website is at constanceisobel.com

Chris Utley, ceramics

CHRIS creates hand-built pots, carved, scraped and polished, then painted with slips and underglaze colours. The finished work is fired several times to achieve a strong depth of colour.

One of Chris Utley’s ceramics

She studied ceramics for three years in college and has been making pots in her stable workshop for many years. She has taught adults, been artist-in-residence in primary schools and run many workshops, as well as exhibiting widely in both Britain and Norway.

Look at chrisutleyceramics.portfoliobox.me for more details.

TOMORROW’S FIVE: Tim Pearce; Linda Harvey; John Watts; Wilf Williams and Jerry Scott.

No York Open Studios in April, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY THREE

Insect art by Anna Vialle

YORK Open Studios 2020, the chance to meet 144 artists at 100 locations over two April weekends, has had to be cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, with doors sadly shut for the April 17 to 19 and April 25 to 26 event, CharlesHutchPress wants to champion the creativity of York’s artists and makers, who would have been showcasing ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, sculpture and textiles.

Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios will be given a pen portrait on these pages, because so much art will have been created for the event and still needs a new home. Addresses will not be included at this time.

Dee Thwaite: painting with hands, not brushes

Dee Thwaite, painting

YORK Open Studios newcomer Dee uses acrylic paint, inks, graphite and charcoal in her sea and landscape paintings and drawings, marked by expressive skies, storms and the changing seasons.

Mainly self-taught, this contemporary abstract artist expresses her love of the North Yorkshire coastline on canvas, board and paper in works that combine both a physical and emotional response when she paints, predominantly with her hands, as opposed to brushes. Contact Dee via deethwaite@hotmail.com.

Anna Vialle at work with a pen

Anna Vialle, drawing

INSPIRED by the style and colours of both Japanese woodblock and Victorian prints, Anna limits herself to drawing insects, birds, landscapes, anatomy and trees.

Anna had trained in art education in 1997. Twenty-two years later, when trying
to relax after working difficult shifts as a mental-health nurse, she started a pen and watercolour illustration of 24 individually drawn moths.

Exploring the connection between repetition and focus, she began using dots to create her artwork, whereupon a stress-free style of art emerged. Cue a “more relaxed” mental-health nurse! Visit annavialle.co.uk for more info.

Rosie Bramley surrounded by her art

Rosie Bramley, painting

ROSIE’S colourful paintings explore her devotion and connection to the land and sea.  Gestural marks dance around the surface of each painting as she creates abstract works inspired by nature.

Rosie studied fine art painting and printmaking, graduating from Bretton Hall College, University of Leeds, in 1996.  Now head of art at Driffield Secondary School and Sixth Form in East Yorkshire, where she teaches both fine art and photography, she has exhibited regularly in York, latterly at Fossgate Social, City Screen and Angel on the Green.

Her first Open Studios show since 2011 would have featured new works inspired by the landscape. Her website, rosiebramley.com, divides her work into Abstracts, The Cruel Sea and Mountains.

A nude by Tabitha Grove

Tabitha Grove, painting

SELECTED for York Open Studios for the first time, Tabitha uses bold colour, contrast, ink, watercolour, gold leaf and collage on handmade paper to explore perceptions of the body and how they can be challenged and celebrated. 

Her career as an actor and costume designer for film and theatre has informed Tabitha’s passion for storytelling and her fascination with the way our bodies interact with our environments.

Tabitha Grove: actor, costume designer, piano restorer….and artist

Tabitha’s career portfolio career extends to having co-managed Look Gallery, in Helmsley, and now working in piano restoration, where she learns rare skills that influence her art.

Each experience has informed Tabitha’s style, she says, leading to her “bringing diverse technique to a new perspective”. Find her work via tabithamayg@gmail.com.

Peter Heaton: “images that need careful time and observation”

Peter Heaton, photography

PETER specialises in black and white limited-edition photographic prints of woodlands and dark landscapes: images that need careful time and observation as the space they inhabit is full of visual surprises, he says.

Before the camera lens and digital imaging took precedence, Peter studied fine art at Nottingham Trent University and later gained an MA in fine art from Leeds Metropolitan University.

A dark woodland, by Peter Heaton

Over the past few years, Peter’s work has revolved around the complexities of layering visual information and our interpretations of the resulting images. In 2010, he set up Vale of York Darkrooms, where he teaches courses in both traditional chemical-based black-and-white photography and digital imaging. Take a look at his photographs at peterheaton.co.uk.

Tomorrow: Sarah K Jackson; Kate Pettitt; Reg Walker; Constance Isobel and Chris Utley.

No York Open Studios in April, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY TWO

Earthbound, by Sally Clarke

YORK Open Studios 2020, the chance to meet 144 artists at 100 locations over two April weekends, has had to be cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, with doors sadly shut for the April 17 to 19 and April 25 to 26 event, CharlesHutchPress wants to champion the creativity of York’s artists and makers, who would have been showcasing ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, sculpture and textiles.

Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios will be given a pen portrait on these pages, because so much art and craft will have been created for the event and still needs a new home. Addresses will not be included at this time.

Helen Whitehead at work in her studio

Helen Whitehead, glass

HELEN’S glass jewellery and sculpture is inspired by her deep connection with wild plants, herbs, the moon and the planets. In her intuitive work, glass is layered with precious metals, paint and images, then fired to produce colourful abstract compositions.

Helen loves experimenting with alchemic reactions in her glass kiln and layering different mediums within small pieces. “My pieces are little worlds, reflecting the inner and outer world,” she says.

As well as working in her York studio, Helen provides fun and friendly fused-glass workshops in the community. Follow her at facebook.com/HelenWhiteheadGlassArtist.

Printmaker Sally Clarke

Sally Clarke, printmaking

SALLY specialises in collagraph printmaking, using the human figure and composition to express atmospheric imagery.

Sally studied for a Fine Arts degree at Gloucestershire College of Arts as a mature student. She worked in various media before discovering printmaking more than 20 years ago, finding herself attracted particularly to its limitless opportunities for experimentation.

Sally is a founder member of York Printmakers, has exhibited in many Yorkshire venues and is a regular exhibitor in York Open Studios. Contact her via sallyclarkeprintmaker@yahoo.co.uk.

Adrienne French: interpreting colour and texture in her landscape paintings

Adrienne French, painting

IN her evocative paintings, collographs and monoprints, Adrienne interprets colour and texture of both local and foreign landscapes.

She pursued her love of art by completing an art and design degree at Leeds University in 2000 while continuing her work as a nurse. Until 2015, she was artist in residence at a hospice, alongside continuing to develop her own artwork, a process that is ongoing.

She has shown her work in northern galleries and takes part regularly in many annual arts events in Yorkshire. All roads lead to Adrienne at adifrench@gmail.com.

Caroline Lord: recycling pottery, wood and metal in mosaics and sculptures

Caroline Lord, mixed media

CAROLINE combines found items of pottery, wood and metal, recycling them into mosaics and quirky ceramic sculptures. 

She studied stained glass and tapestry weaving in the 1960s at Edinburgh College of Art, where she was awarded a scholarship for a further year’s study, specialising in tapestry weaving.

One of Caroline Lord’s quirky sculptures

Ten years ago, after completing a mosaics workshop led by Emma Biggs, Caroline changed artistic direction, starting to work with re-cycled ceramics. 

She has exhibited in York Open Studios, at the Zillah Bell Gallery, Thirsk, with the York Art Workers Association and in the Great North Art Show. Contact her at carolinelord42@hotmail.com. 

Peter Park: textile designer turned painter

Peter Park, painting

PETER would have been making his York Open Studios debut with his expressive and gestural abstract paintings of the Yorkshire landscape and coast in acrylic paint on canvas.

After a foundation course at York School of Art, he studied printed textile design in Manchester (BA) and Birmingham (MA), then worked as a textile designer and lecturer in design in Manchester.

One of Peter Park’s abstract paintings of a Yorkshire landscape

Returning to York in 2013, he began painting, predominantly landscapes that he has exhibited at fellow York Open Studios exhibitor Kay Dower’s Corner Gallery and with Little Van Gogh in London. Seek him out via peter.park500@virginmedia.com.

Tomorrow: Dee Thwaite; Anna Vialle; Rosie Bramley; Tabitha Grove and Peter Heaton.

Squid’s in as Scarborough Museums Trust’s magic lantern slides prove popular online

Washed up: a giant squad on Scarborough’s North Bay beach on January 14 1933, pictured in a magic lantern slide. Picture: Scarborough Museums Trust

HISTORIC magic lantern slides from the Scarborough Collections are an online hit in these dark days. 

As part of Scarborough Museums Trust’s response to the Coronavirus shutdown,  collections manager Jim Middleton is posting regular images from the stock of slides and glass-plate negatives on Twitter, using the hashtag #lockdownlanternslides.

The North Bay Pier, after the storm damage in 1905

The response has been “remarkable”, he says: “We’re getting comments and queries from other museums, historians and the public nationwide. This includes an interaction the other day with the Natural History Museum in London, who contacted us during a series of posts themed around cephalopods, the family of marine animals that includes octopus and squid.”

Middleton had posted an image of a 5.3m-long giant squid that had been washed up on the North Bay beach on January 14 1933, pictured surrounded by curious Scarborough locals.

Pier-less: The North Bay Pier destroyed by the 1905 storm

“We’d always known that they had the beak of the squid, but they got in touch to say they had the whole animal preserved in their archive,” says Middleton. “We’ll be hoping to get a better look at it when we can.”

Among other themes being explored are historic local buildings, some of them no longer in existence, such as the North Bay pleasure pier, destroyed in a storm in 1905, and vintage seaside scenes of children rock pooling and bathing-beauty contests.

The North Bay Pier, pictured from the other side, in one of the magic lantern slides

Magic lanterns were early image projectors that applied a light source to magnify and project images on glass and they were used for both education and entertainment, particularly during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Scarborough Collections – the name given to all the museum objects owned by the Borough of Scarborough – contains more than 7,000 slides and glass plates, in the care of Scarborough Museums Trust.

Storm damage: the collapsed North Bay Pier in Scarborough in 1905

The images posted daily by Middleton can be seen by following @SMT_Collections on Twitter. To view existing posts, search #lockdownlanternslides.

The Rotunda Museum, Scarborough Art Gallery and Woodend, all run by Scarborugh Museums Trust, are closed until further notice.

All quiet in the library but Explore York encourages Libraries from Home online opportunities. Here’s what you can do…

York Explore Library and Archive, the York hub of Explore York in Museum Street, York

THIS is the time to explore Explore York online, providing the Libraries from Home service during the Coronavirus lockdown.

“If you are confused or overwhelmed by the huge amount of information on offer, Explore can help,” says executive assistant Gillian Holmes, encouraging visits to the website, exploreyork.org.uk, “where it is simple to find what you need”.

This encouragement comes after all Explore York library buildings, reading cafes and the City Archives were closed to the public from 12 noon on March 21, in response to Government strictures.

“We are making it easy for people to find information and advice, as well as inspiration, as we all deal with the Coronavirus crisis.”

The Explore website has assorted useful links to help people cope during the coming weeks. “Some sites have always been part of our online offer and some are brand new,” says Gillian.

“We are also working with City of York Council and our many partners in York, so that our communities can join together and we continue to support their initiatives, just as we will when our buildings open again. 

“Organisations across the country are developing their online services in this challenging time. We are using our expertise to gather together the best offers and add them to the lists of sites we recommend.” 

Explore York will be developing online activities of its own, such as a Virtual Book Group. “We will be updating the website regularly as these new things come on stream and sharing on social media using #LibrariesFromHome,” says Gillian.

The York Explore building: Quiet in the library but still seeking to be busy online

What’s available online from Explore York:

Updates on how Explore is responding during the pandemic and updates about what’s new at https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/coronavirus/ 

Information and support during the Coronavirus crisis from official sources at exploreyork.org.uk/recommended-websites/coronavirus-resources/ 

5000 Ebooks and audio books for adults and children free to borrow from the online library at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/e-books/ 

The chance to visit the new York Images site to explore the history of the city through photographs, illustrations, maps and archival documents at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/york-images/ 

The opportunity to start your family tree using Ancestry and Find My Past. The library editions are both free to use from home at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/online-reference/

Reliable information about everything can be found on the Online Reference pages at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/online-reference/ 

“Everything is free to access,” says Gillian. “All you need is a library card. You can get a card online and start using it immediately at exploreyork.org.uk/getting-a-library-card-or-yorkcard/.” 

No York Open Studios in April, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY ONE

Dapper Fox, by York Open Studios 2020 debutante Joanna Lisowiec

YORK Open Studios 2020, the chance to meet 144 artists at 100 locations over two April weekends, has had to be cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, with doors sadly shut for the April 17 to 19 and April 25 to 26 event, CharlesHutchPress wants to champion the creativity of York’s artists and makers, who would have been showcasing ceramic, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, sculpture and textile skills.

Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios will be given a pen portrait on these pages because so much art and craft will have been created for the event and still needs a new home. Addresses will not be included at this time.

One of Quercki Design’s cork fabric designs

Quercki Design, mixed media

MARGARET Bradley, who would have been a new participant in York Open Studios, specialises in eco-friendly and carbon-neutral cork fabric designs, drawn on a computer, cut on a laser, backed with colours, glued and sewn to make pictures, notebooks and sketchbooks.

A language degree first took Margaret to Lisbon as a university assistant where she acquired a deep affection for Portugal.  This was followed by 30 years of work in educational aid to developing countries, where different cultures, art and music were a constant source of interest and delight. 

On retirement, a return visit to Portugal brought her into contact with cork fabric, a perfect material for making things inspired by her travels, she says.

More details can be found at quercki.com, although Quercki Design is taking a short break, with the artist in self-isolation.

Wood carver Dave Atkin

Dave Atkin, wood

USING traditional techniques, Dave carves locally sourced green wood. Influenced by the natural world, folklore and history, he experiments with form and design to create functional and individual pieces.

A professional model maker by trade, he took up wood carving as a hobby, now making spoons, kuksas and bowls, often inspired by the Green Man myth.

He now offers spoon carving courses and demonstrates at events and fairs. For more details, go to woodwyrm.co.uk.

Taking shape: Catherine Boyne-Whitelegg making one of her earthenware pieces

Catherine Boyne-Whitelegg, ceramics

CATHERINE has been working as a potter for 16 years, both throwing and hand-building, creating colourful slipware pottery to be used and enjoyed, as well as raku and smoke-fired clay animals, ranging from foxes and pigs to horses and unicorns. Her work often reflects her wry humour.

Go, figure! Seaside Belle, by Catherine Boyne-Whitelegg

She is a potter, teacher and community artist who set up her own pottery workshop at her home near York after graduating from Sunderland University with a BA (Hons) in ceramics.

Catherine’s work can be found in a number of galleries, complementing her regular exhibitions, and wedding or special occasion pieces can be commissioned.  More details at boyne-whiteleggpottery.co.uk.

Mo Burrows at work in her studio

Mo Burrows, jewellery

MO’S contemporary jewellery embraces the elaborate and the colourful, the dainty and the quiet, in her necklaces, earrings and brooches.

Predominately favouring copper, braiding and beadwork, she draws inspiration from the colour, form and texture of the materials she uses.  Frustrated by an inability to draw, she produces designs straight from a head full of ideas. Find Mo at facebook.com/MoBurrowsJewellery.

Falling in love with quaint English countryside: Polish-born printmaker and illustrator Joanna Lisowiec

Joanna Lisowiec, printmaking

NEW to York Open Studios this year, Joanna’s prints and illustrations look to nature and folklore for inspiration, as she focuses on birds and animals in her bold, clean and distinctive work.

Originally from Poland and brought up in the United States and Switzerland, she first came to Britain to study illustration at Edinburgh College of Art, falling in love with the wild Highlands and later with the “quaint English countryside” when she moved to Yorkshire for her MA in advertising and design from the University of Leeds.

“I would love to illustrate a classic novel one day,” she says at joanna-draws.com, where you can find free printable worksheets to “keep your children or indeed yourself entertained during the Coronavirus pandemic”.

Tomorrow: Helen Whitehead; Sally Clarke; Adrienne French; Caroline Lord and Peter Park.

Nothing happening in these long lock-down days. Everything off. Here are 10 Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. Week two.

Nothing happening full stop. Now, with time on your frequently washed hands, home is where the art is and plenty else besides

EXIT 10 Things To See Next Week in York and beyond for the unforeseeable future. Enter home entertainment, wherever you may be, whether still together or in isolation, in the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic. From behind his closed door, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these further suggestions.

Compiling lists of best songs by favourite artists

THE Beatles, The Rolling Stones, solo Beatles, Van Morrison, Velvet Underground, solo Velvets, Bob Dylan, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, The Smiths, The Fall, whoever. Make a Top Ten or even Top 20, then send to friends to ask for their suggestions for the list and why they disagree with you.

You could also set up arguments: Kylie’s Top Ten versus Madonna; The Specials versus Madness; Holland Dozier Holland versus Bacharach and David; Rod Stewart versus Elton John; Abba versus Queen; U2 versus Coldplay. Any others?

Madness: More special than The Specials or is that utter madness?

Desert Island Slipped Discs

IF past editions of the BBC Radio 4 Sunday morning staple have slipped your attention, it is never too late to discover the back catalogue at the Beeb online. You could pick a running theme, such as artists, musicians, poets, scientists, entrepreneurs, comedians, sportsmen, film stars, pioneers and church leaders.

Or, given the very necessary daily Covid-19 briefings from Number 10, how about politicians? Margaret Thatcher (1978); Edward Heath (1988); Enoch Powell (1989); Alan Clark (1995); Tony Blair (1996); Gordon Brown (1996); David Cameron (2006)…or, for a satirical variation, Spitting Image’s Peter Fluck and Roger Law (1987)?  

Picking his eight before making it to Number 10: Tony Blair on Desert Island Discs in 1996

Follow the advice of Stephen Fry

FOLLOWING up last Thursday’s 10 Things advice to make a timetable for the day, Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning interview on the Beeb with national treasure and former Cundall Manor prep school teacher Stephen Fry elicited one gem of a suggestion. Take time, take longer, to do things, whether cooking a dish from a recipe book, or even when brushing your teeth.

Fry, the president of MIND, also advocated taking up a new hobby, or re-discovering a craft, in his case, calligraphy. Further suggestions: learn a language; learn sign language; test yourself on road signs (when did you last do that?).

Meanwhile, Fry’s partner in comedy since Cambridge Footlights days, House doctor Hugh Laurie, says of Coronavirus: “We solve it together by staying apart.”  Couldn’t have put it better.

Time to take time: Stephen Fry’s philosophy for these Coronavirus clampdown days

Administer a spring clean

STUCK at home, as you really should be by now, key workers excepted, this is the chance to gut rooms; to go through files, drawers, cupboards; to work out what clothes to keep and which to donate to charity shops. Likewise, games; books; kitchen utensils. Update Christmas card lists and address books.

Make time for nostalgia

DIG out old scrapbooks (Leeds United, League Champions, 1973-1974; the Cardiff Candlewits revue show, The Rantings Of A Raw Prawn, at the 1982 Edinburgh Fringe; cookery crush Nigella Lawson’s recipes – more pictures than recipes, to be truthful – to give three Hutch examples). Ah, those were the days.

Likewise, take a look through old photo albums, sure to trigger memories and promote family discussions… and maybe even lead you to research your family ancestry in the manner of BBC One’s Who Do You Think You Are?.

Scrapbook memories: Leeds United, champions, 1973-1974

Try to find good news

GREAT Yorkshire Show off. Ryedale Festival off. York Pride off. The Olympic Games off. The list of cancellations keeps growing. Against that backdrop, however, theatres, music venues and festivals are busy re-booking acts and shows for later in the year or next year.

Keep visiting websites for updates, whether York Barbican, York Theatre Royal, the Grand Opera House, wherever.

Look out too for the streaming of past shows. More and more theatres and arts companies are doing this.

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett, on Stonegate, York, with a Piers Browne painting, before the Coronavirus shutdown

Online exhibitions

GALLERIES in York are going online to keep the art (and hopefully sales) going. Step forward Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, where owner Terry Brett has launched Strange Days.

This service is not only a website portal for works from this season’s Full Sunlight show, featuring Askrigg artist Piers Browne and Holtby sculptor Hannah Arnup, but Terry also is inviting the 144 artists from next month’s cancelled York Open Studios to show their work on there too.

One of Tom Wood’s paintings from The Abstract Crow, Lotte Inch Gallery’s first online-only exhibition

Anywhere else?

LOTTE Inch Gallery, at Fourteen Bootham, will host its first online-only exhibition, Yorkshire artist Tom Wood’s The Abstract Crow, from April 17 to May 16.

“Known for his imaginative and allusive abstract approach to painting, Tom will pay homage to his love for the natural world in his new paintings,” says Lotte.

Venturing outdoors 

AMID the stricter Government strictures, aside from walking the dog and one burst of exercise a day, gardening looks the most fruitful way to spend time outdoors. The first mow of the season; buds coming through; plants to plant; garden furniture to varnish: ready, steady, grow. 

One to follow on Twitter: Reasons To Stay Alive author Matt Haig. Picture: MIke Tipping

And what about…

Podcasts. Books. More podcasts. More books. Season two of Liar on Monday nights on ITV. Noughts + Crosses on BBC One on Thursdays. Writing a 10 Things like this one. Reading the regular Tweets from Matt Haig, the Reasons To Stay Alive author with the York past. Drinking hot drinks, gargling regularly, and building up your zinc levels, as well as all that hand-washing.

See you later, self-isolator.

Copyright of The Press, York

Lotte Inch Gallery goes online for Mick Leach and Tom Wood exhibitions

York abstract painter Mick Leach at work

LOTTE Inch Gallery, in Bootham, York, is going online only “for the time being”.

“While the Covid-19 situation poses a threat to us all, we want to ensure that everyone stays well and healthy and, as such, have closed the doors at Fourteen Bootham until we are advised by the Government that we can re-open,” says Lotte.

“However, just because the doors are closed, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still look at some of the beautiful work that features in our current exhibition, York artist Mick Leach’s Urban Abstraction. All Mick’s paintings are now on our online shop at lotteinch.co.uk, along with Katie Timson’s beautifully delicate ceramics and Evie Leach’s refined silver and semi-precious stone jewellery.”

Running until April 11, Leach’s debut solo show of sophisticated abstract work endeavours to recreate the textures, colours, layers and shapes of York’s decaying urban landscape.

One of Mick Leach’s Urban Abstraction paintings

Working mainly with acrylics mixed with French chalk powder, Leach applies paint with palette knives to gain his textured, layered effect. Various colours and media are then added to enhance the layers and textures to evoke the memory and feeling of the places that most inspire him.

“As a self-taught artist and full-time worker, Mick’s ‘side-career’ (sic) in painting has been steadily and successfully taking shape since early 2016,” says Lotte. “This new exhibition highlights his striking talent and his sympathetic and considered manipulation of materials.

“His work is never subjective, but produced instead from memory, in an attempt to recreate the feel of a location while simultaneously allowing his work to find its own course.” 

Inspiration behind this series, being shown in York for the first time, is drawn from the many large cities that Leach has visited or lived in, in particular from the city of York; the place he calls home.

“We look forward to re-opening soon, but in the meantime, we encourage you to browse online,” says Lotte Inch Gallery curator Lotte Inch

“In this new body of paintings, Mick attempts to recreate the colours and feel of the ancient stonework, the dark alleyways, sunken windows, and the contrast of the modern world against this ancient city, a place rich with contradictions,” says Lotte.

Coming next will be Lotte Inch Gallery’s first online-only exhibition, Tom Wood’s The Abstract Crow, running from 10am on April 17 to May 16.

“Keep an eye out for more details coming soon and follow Lotte Inch Gallery on Instagram for sneak previews of the new works that Tom will be including in his show,” says Lotte.

“This will be a solo show of new paintings by this internationally recognised and technically brilliant Yorkshire artist. Known for his imaginative and allusive abstract approach to painting, Tom will pay homage to his love for the natural world in The Abstract Crow.” 

One of Tom Wood’s paintings for The Abstract Crow, his upcoming online-only exhibition at Lotte Inch Gallery, Bootham, York

Since graduating from Sheffield School of Art in 1978, Wood has exhibited his work worldwide. For example, his celebrated portraits of Professor Lord Robert Winston and Leeds playwright Alan Bennett, both commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, London, have been on display at the Australian National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.

Wood has held solo shows at the Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, and Schloss Cappenberg, Kreiss Unna, Germany. Among his commissions are portraits for the National Trust, Warwick University and the Harewood Trust, for whom his large double portrait of the late 7th Earl and Countess of Harewood is on permanent display at Harewood House, near Leeds.

“We look forward to re-opening soon, but in the meantime, we encourage you to browse online,” says Lotte. “Do note that if you live in the York area, we are pleased to be able to offer a free and safe delivery service. Just select ‘Collect In Store’ and we’ll be in touch to arrange delivery of your items.

“Take care of yourselves and your loved ones,” she signs off.

WHAT’S STILL ON: Katherine-of-Yorkshire’s phone photos to bring peace to Village Gallery in York

York In Flood, 2019, taken by the York Museum Gardens, by Katherine-of-Yorkshire

VILLAGE Gallery, in Colliergate, York, will be “doing something a little different to our normal show” for its next exhibition, opening on March 31.

On display and for sale will be photographers by Instagrammer Katherine-of-Yorkshire, who uses only her phone camera to take her photos.

“Apart from occasional cropping, and selecting which filter to use, there’s no other manipulation or photoshopping of the images,” says gallery owner Simon Main.

Bootham Bar from King’s Manor by Katherine-of-Yorkshire

“Katherine’s preference is to photograph in black and white because she finds the result more timeless than using colour.

“From our perspective though, in addition to this, we see that she has a seemingly natural talent and eye for composition, and she manages to convey a deep feeling of peace, even when documenting the floods in York that happen all too regularly.”

In response to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, Village Gallery will not be holding its customary preview on the evening before the opening. “Enhanced regular cleaning and disinfecting practices have been put in place to keep our customers and us as safe as we can,” says Simon.

York Minster At Night, 2020, by Katherine-of-Yorkshire

“Until we are forced to do otherwise, the gallery will remain open for its usual opening hours, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and we look forward to seeing everyone throughout the period of the exhibition run until May 9.”

Aside from its regularly changing 2D and 3D art exhibitions, each running for six weeks, Village Gallery is York’s official stockist of Lalique glass and crystal, also selling art, jewellery, ceramics, glass and sculpture, predominantly by Yorkshire artists.

WHAT’S STILL ON: Pyramid Gallery launches online exhibition for these Strange Days after York Open Studios cancelled

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett, on Stonegate, York, holding a work by Askrigg artist Piers Browne from the Full Sunlight exhibition

THE Coronavirus pandemic may have shut doors on next month’s York Open Studios, but Pyramid Gallery is stepping in to offer an online exhibition to York artists.

What’s more, gallery owner Terry Brett is calling this new service Strange Days, after the song of that title by The Doors. As rather more than one door closes, The Doors open new possibilities for a different form of Pyramid selling.

“This applies to artists who have sold through the gallery either recently or in the past, and we’re extending this invitation to any of 2020’s 144 York Open Studio artists,” says Terry.

“The artists will keep the work that they’re showing at their studio, and between them and the gallery, delivery will be arranged to the purchaser’s address if it is within a YO postcode.”

Terry has run Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, since 1994, says: “We need to survive in these Strange Days, and so do our artists. We noticed many posts on social media this week by worried artists who had heard that York Open Studios was cancelled.  We wanted to do something positive for them. It has given us an aim and lots of work to do, which is very useful for morale.”

Morale that he believes is under immediate threat from this week’s urgently announced Government financial policies in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. “I am disappointed by the ineffectiveness of government to make sensible and working decisions,” says Terry.

The brochure for the 2020 York Open Studios, adapted post-cancellation by participating York jewellery maker Jo Bagshaw

“While other European nations are protecting citizens and employees from economic crisis and worry, our Government seems unable to make the decision to support individuals and freelance workers or self-employed artists.

“These matters are being passed down to the community to resolve. It’s not a good approach. The Government should offer quickly to make payments to everyone, so that we know we can pay rents, employ people and buy essentials.”

Pyramid Gallery is reducing its normal commission to the artist for this event to 20 per cent plus VAT on each sale and is arranging the delivery free of charge to the customer.

“Some artists have already submitted work for the online show, and images are being placed on the website all the time,” says Terry. “The show will continue as long as there is a Coronavirus crisis.”

More details, and the Strange Days lyrics, can be found at https://www.pyramidgallery.com/strange-days-art-behind-the-doors-york-artists-online/.

Pyramid Gallery continues to open its doors, Monday to Saturday, between 10am and 5pm, but will be closed on Sundays. On show until April 26 is Full Sunlight, an exhibition of etchings and paintings by Piers Browne, studio ceramics by Hannah Arnup, figurative sculptures by Helen Martino and glass by Fiaz Elson.

The artwork for The Doors’ Strange Days

Oh, spoiler alert, here are Jim Morrison’s 1967 lyrics to The Doors’ Strange Days:

Strange days have found us

Strange days have tracked us down

They’re going to destroy

Our casual joys

We shall go on playing

Or find a new town

Yeah!

Strange eyes fill strange rooms

Voices will signal their tired end

The hostess is grinning

Her guests sleep from sinning

Hear me talk of sin

And you know this is it

Yeah!

Strange days have found us

And through their strange hours

We linger alone

Bodies confused

Memories misused

As we run from the day

To a strange night of stone

Let’s look forward to the day when Pyramid Gallery can host an exhibition with another of The Doors’ titles, The End, but in a good way, not an Apocalypse Now way.