No York Open Studios this weekend, but all that art and craft still needs a new home… DAY 28

TODAY should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home, on weekend two of York Open Studios 2020.

From tomorrow, art will be on the nation’s TV sets as Grayson’s Art Club “battles the boredom of Coronavirus lockdown by taking viewers on a journey of art discovery” in a six-part Channel 4 series.

From his London workshop, anything-but-grey artist Grayson Perry will encourage the British public to create their own art while in isolation, built around six themed shows that will climax with an exhibition of viewers’ art.

Been there, done that, will continue to do all that art-making, might well be the resourceful attitude of the 144 artists and makers at 100 York locations after the Covid-19 pandemic strictures turned York Open Studios into York Shut Studios.

Over the past four weeks, CharlesHutchPress has determinedly championed the creativity of York’s artists and makers. Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios have been 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.

The last five are being profiled today, when you also can visit yorkopenstudios.co.uk to take your own Virtual Open Studios tour, wherein artists show their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answer your questions, and display pictures of their new work.

“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more,” advises the YOS website.

Anyway, time to discover more about…

Meg, oil on linen, winner of Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize 2018, by Marcus Callum

Marcus Callum, painting

MARCUS is a British-Australian contemporary figurative painter and digital artist who specialises in realist portraiture.

“Fusing traditional techniques with a contemporary aesthetic, my work conveys a sense of psychological insight and is designed to provoke an emotional response,” he says. “Buddhism, meditation, hypnosis and our understanding of the subconscious mind are influences on my process and subject matter.

“Characters reflect on increasing anxieties over impending global crises and wonder if, by each of us becoming more conscious, we may discover individual and collective hope.”

Self-portrait, by Marcus Callum

Trained in Sydney and New York, Marcus won the Dame Joan Sutherland Award in 2014; Australia’s third richest portrait prize, the Black Swan Portrait Prize, in 2015 and the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize, Australia’s premier award for realistic portraiture, in 2018, when he also was a finalist in the Sky Portrait Artist of the Year.

Marcus previously worked between Sydney and London; now York has come into his life. He was long-listed for the Aesthetica Art Prize, whose 2020 exhibition opened at York Art Gallery before the Coronavirus lockdown, and he would have been exhibiting in York Open Studios for the first time. Visit marcuscallum.com for more info.

Bratislavian Folk Memory, by Rob Burton

Rob Burton, textiles

ARTIST and academic Rob tells stories in textiles, fibres and cloth, utilising print and found objects in narratives of people, lives and things.

“I explore themes of memory, loss and transformation through fibre, fabric making, print techniques, drawing and broad approaches to image making,” he says.

“My artworks cross the threshold of disciplines in a conceptual dialogue between the innovative use of analogue, contemporary and emerging techniques.”

Rob Burton: Themes of memory, loss and transformation

Rob’s work has been shown all over the world in solo exhibitions, biennial and group exhibitions, whether in Britain, the United States or Eastern Europe. Last year, he exhibited in Ivano-Frankivs’k, Ukraine; Vilnius, Lithuania; Madrid, Spain, and Haachst, Belgium.

He regularly collaborates with the international screendance collective WECreate to produce costumes for video, dance and installations. Find out more at robertburton108.myportfolio.com.

Inspired by horizons: Jo Walton’s artwork

Jo Walton, painting

ARTIST, upholsterer and interior designer Jo’s paintings are abstract, inspired by horizons, whether rust-prints on paper and plaster, combining rusted metal with painting, or seascapes on gold-metal leaf.

Her artwork reflects her childhood in Australia and her days as a young woman spent sailing oceans, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean.

After many years of travelling, Jo returned to England, studying fine art at Bradford University and now exhibiting all year round from her York studios, Rogues Atelier, an old tannery in Franklins Yard, Fossgate, that she shares with jeweller and fellow York Open Studios exhibitor Emma Welsh and stained glass artist Elise Bikker.

Jo, whose work features regularly at Terry Brett’s Pyramid Gallery in Stonegate, would have been taking part in York Open Studios for a sixth successive year.  

Jo Walton: Artist, upholsterer and interior designer

In her “other life”, Jo is an upholsterer, initially learning her skills from making cushions and sail covers for yachts in her time living in Greece. She gained her City and Guilds qualification in modern and traditional upholstery and has taught the subject for many years for City of York Council.

“Occasionally, my skills have the opportunity to blend into a ‘huge blank canvas’: interior design,” says Jo, whose first public design commission was the Space 109 community arts centre in Walmgate.

Her second was to convert three empty shops on Bishopthorpe Road into Angel on The Green, a bar and café and home to comedy nights and exhibitions that had to “flow with a solid theme throughout”. “It was quite a step to move on to a bar from a community bar,” she says.

In between, Jo created the Rogues Atelier studios, where she takes on upholstery commissions and runs upholstery and cushion-making workshops. Her latest design was for the interior of the Bluebird Bakery, in Kirkgate Market, Leeds. Complete the picture at whatjodidnext.com.

Handmade Bismark Chain, by Emma Welsh

Emma Welsh, jewellery

EMMA, a professional jewellery designer with 11 years’ experience, is now a resident artist at the Rogues Atelier studios.

She designs traditionally made silver, gold and platinum pieces, her latest work exploring jewellery with a practical use in the form of vessels with various purposes.

Emma has a keen interest in developing her skills, embracing ancient principles as a means of deepening her relationship with the materials and tools she works with.

She completes bespoke commissions, repairs and re-modelling of existing jewellery into new designs and offers bespoke tuition in York, most notably her  wedding-ring workshops. Head to emmawelshjewellery.uk for more details.

Deranged Poetesses, by Northern Electric’s Peter Roman

Northern Electric, multi-media

NORTHERN Electric received a York Open Studios 2020 multi-media bursary to present a tale of loss at the Arts Barge, Foss Basin, York, over the two weekends.

The bursary “enables artists to create experiences such as digital works, installations, films or performances as part of the Open Studios”.

Presented by York storyteller, performance poet and theatre-maker Katie Greenbrown and artist Peter Roman, with a score by Christian Topman and Chris Moore, their latest multi-media presentation “takes us back to when the Ouse teemed with working barges, you knew your place or else – and jazz was the devil itself”.

Artist Peter Roman and storyteller, performance poet and theatre-maker Katie Greenbrown

“We specialise in creating and delivering multi-media storytelling pieces that combine spoken-word poetry, art and live music,” says Katie. “Our recent work includes Magpie Bridge for Apples & Snakes to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing in July 1969; Green In Our Memory, for City of York Council’s First World War commemorations, and Rust for the 2019 Great Yorkshire Fringe, in collaboration with Arts Barge and York Theatre Royal.”

After the cancellation of York Open Studios 2020, what will happen next to the new Northern Electric piece? “We’ve completed it, so we’re thinking of trying to do a digital screening,” says Katie. “We just need to chat with Hannah [West] and Christian [Topman] from the Arts Barge about the possibility of doing that.” To keep on track, visit facebook.com/northernelectric.

TOMORROW: After York Open Studios/York Shut Studios 2020, the CharlesHutchPress art focus switches to the Blue Tree Gallery, in Bootham, York, now hosting an online exhibition in aid of the NHS.

Looking ahead, York Open Studios 2021 will run on April 17 and 18 and 24 and 25, with a preview evening on April 16.

No York Open Studios this weekend, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY 27

Shambles At Night, by Greg Winrow

TODAY and tomorrow should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home, for weekend two of York Open Studios 2020.

On Monday, art attention will turn to episode one of Grayson’s Art Club, a six-part Channel 4 series wherein artist Grayson Perry promises to battle the boredom of Coronavirus lockdown by taking viewers on a journey of art discovery.

From his London workshop, Perry will encourage the British public to create their own art while in isolation, built around six themed shows that will climax with an exhibition of viewers’ art.

Grayson Perry: Launching Grayson’s Art Club series on Channel 4 on Monday

Been there, done that, will continue to do that, might well be the resourceful attitude of the 144 artists and makers at 100 York locations after the Covid-19 pandemic strictures turned York Open Studios into York Shut Studios.

Over the past four weeks, CharlesHutchPress has determinedly championed 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 this month.

Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios have been 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. The last ten are being profiled over this weekend, and again home and studio addresses will not be included at this lockdown time.

York Open Studios 2020: The lost weekends that found diverse alternative ways to reach out beyond the closed doors

York Open Studios artists have responded to the shutdown by filling their windows for #openwindowsyork2020, while plenty are showcasing their work over the York Open Studios period online via their websites.

This weekend, you can visit yorkopenstudios.co.uk to take your own virtual tour. The YOS website says: “We’re doing a Virtual Open Studios, with artists posting based on a daily theme for the ten days spanning our two weekends.They’ll be showing you their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answering your questions, and of course lots of pictures of their new work.

“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more.”

First, however, here are five more artists and makers for you to discover. The final five will follow tomorrow.

Mim Robson: Exploring themes of memory, transition, loss, family, identity and womanhood

Mim Robson, printmaking

MIM is a multi-disciplinary artist now working primarily in printmaking and textiles, with a background in community arts engagement and land art.

“My current project uses mono-printing techniques, natural dyes, eco-printing and patchwork to explore themes of memory, transition, loss, family, identity and womanhood,” she says.

She also is working on a set of illustrated zines, small books and tiny stories, their subjects varied but “generally an expression of an idea, thought or small observations of people or notable moments”.

Mim Robson: a polymath who adds up to a multitude of artistic pursuits

Having grown up in the Yorkshire countryside, the natural world inspires her diverse artistic portfolio, whether land art and ephemeral artworks using materials from nature, such as delicate yet vibrant floral mandalas, or her short-lived beach artworks.

Inspired by sand artist Andres Amador, Mim began making large-scale sand art on the Yorkshire coast in 2016. “Using rakes to make patterns in the sand, these usually take at least three hours to complete…and a few miles of walking,” she says. “I use photography to capture these creations at their peak; they last for the rest of the day until the tide washes them away.”

Mim Robson with one of her out-with-the-tide beach artworks

Since completing a national diploma in 3D design craft at York College, she has taken assorted craft courses, learning wood carving, stained glass work and willow weaving; worked and studied in community and youth work and undertaken a degree in Creative Expressive Therapies from the University of Derby.

“This now underpins all of the creative events, Crafty Socials and art, craft and creative expressive workshops I run, as well as my art-making,” says Mim, whose making extends to darkroom and alternative photography techniques, stop-motion videos and henna tattooing at festivals and events. She even finds time for an environmental beach-clean project.

Head to mimrobson.com for more info on this PICA Studios artist.

Pickles Snoozing, drypoint mono, by Lesley Shaw

Lesley Shaw, printmaking

ARTIST and printmaker Lesley works primarily in charcoal, dip pen and ink and traditional printmaking techniques, such as linocut, mono and drypoint.

“Life drawings form the basis of all my work,” she says. “I work quickly and instinctively to capture the beauty and simplicity of the form, looking at the shape and line the body takes.”

Whether figurative or animals, her illustrative line drawings are bold, simplistic and striking, inspired by such artists as Egon Schiele, Toulouse Lautrec and Sybil Andrews of the Grosvenor School artists, who captured the spirit of 1930s’ Britain with iconic vibrant linocuts.

“I work quickly and instinctively to capture the beauty and simplicity of the form,” says Lesley Shaw

Lesley, who has a degree in illustration, lived and worked in London for more than 20 years before settling in York. She has sold work at the Mall Galleries, in London, and to the BBC and takes part in both York Open Studios and Art& in York, where she is a member of York Printmakers and the York Art Workers Association.

She works from PICA Studios, set within an 18th century printworks, now home to the workshops of around 25 artists and makers. Discover more at lesleyshaw.me.

“Suddenly everything made sense,” says Elena Skoreyko Wagner, after finding her way to illustration

Elena Skoreyko Wagner, collage

CANADIAN illustrator Elena makes bright, intimate, intricate, hand-cut paper collages.

“Using recycled bits of paper imbued with their own histories, I assemble poetic images to illustrate personal stories and emotional experiences,” she says. 

Elena completed a BFA in studio art from York University in Toronto, Canada, in 2006, then spent a decade winding her way through odd jobs, a masters in occupational therapy, a couple of overseas moves and motherhood times two en route to illustration.

“I found my way to illustration when some former professors asked me to illustrate a paediatric assessment and suddenly everything made sense,” she says.

Elena Skoreyko Wagner: “Touching gently on social issues, finding magic and uncovering meaning in the mundane”

“I now work as a freelance and make zines, as well as the colourful hand-cut collages pieced together from collected paper snippets. My work is often autobiographical, depicting women and children to touch gently on social issues, find magic and uncover meaning in the mundane.”

Elena lives in York with her economist husband and two children. “I can be found most days nestled in a nook, manifesting a rainbow tornado of paper snippets, or making equally impressive messes with my two small protégés,” she says.

Now working from PICA Studios, she would have been making her York Open Studios debut. Take a look at elenastreehouse.com.

A sculptural textile by Ealish Wilson

Ealish Wilson, textiles

EALISH has lived and worked in many places around the world, spending the past 15 years in the USA before making her way to York and now joining the PICA Studios arts hub.

However, Japan was where her work was transformed. “Japan taught me that art exploration and practice is a lifelong journey from which we constantly learn,” she says.

“Experience informs the creative process over time, enhancing and developing an artist’s expression. It’s about seeing creativity in the everyday.”

She brings this philosophy to making her sculptural textiles, using a variety of substrates and techniques, including print, drawing, photography and stitching.

Goodbye USA, hello York: Ealish Wilson after her move to Yorkshire

“I repeat this process to create multiple iterations and layers to my designs,” she says. “Much of my process investigates pattern and its transformation through surface manipulation. I use many traditional hand methods of stitching such as pleating and smocking to physically alter my original designs.

“Frequently my work starts in the digital realm: whether photographing an object or one of my own paintings, it serves as inspiration for new work. Many of my images are everyday scenes or objects of purpose that appear mundane but feature a beautiful shape or colour that’s a perfect jumping-off point to create a textile.”

2020 would have been the first year in York Open Studios for a textile designer who sees the craft of making as “my form or meditation”. Visit ealishwilson.com to see her work.

A window to Winrow ….

Greg Winrow, printmaking

GREG splits his time 50/50 producing silk screen and linocut prints covering a variety of topics in his York studio, where he uses a Hawthorne press for his lino work.

Earlier, he studied art and design in York and photography and design in Harrogate before acquiring his interest in printing techniques.

Greg Winrow at the York River Art Market

Now a keen member of the York Printmakers, taking part in their annual fair, he has exhibited too at the York River Art Market and York galleries. 2020 was to have been his second year in York Open Studios.

And finally, tomorrow: Marcus Callum; Robert Burton; Jo Walton; Emma Walsh and Northern Electric (Katie Greenbrown).

No York Open Studios this weekend, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY 26

York Theatre Royal, illustration, by Ric Liptrot

LAST weekend should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home. This weekend too.

This is not a cabin-fevered call for a foolhardy Trumpian dropping of the guard on Covid-19, but a forlorn wish that York Open Studios 2020 could have been just that: York Open Studios. Instead, they will be York Shut Studios.

Nevertheless, in the absence of the opportunity to meet 144 artists at 100 locations, banished by the  Coronavirus lockdown, CharlesHutchPress is determinedly championing 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, a handful of artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios are being 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. Home and studio addresses will not be included at this lockdown time.

Meanwhile, York Open Studios artists are finding their own way to respond to the shutdown by filling their windows for #openwindowsyork2020, while plenty are showcasing their work over the York Open Studios period online. Visit yorkopenstudios.co.uk to take your own virtual tour.

The website says: “We’re doing a Virtual Open Studios, with artists posting based on a daily theme for the ten days spanning our two weekends. They’ll be showing you their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answering your questions, and of course lots of pictures of their new work.

“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more.”

First, however, here are six more artists and makers for you to discover…

Birds Heart, by Sarah Raphael-Balme

Sarah Raphael-Balme, painting

SARAH makes figurative work spanning interiors, gardens, portraits and decorative motifs usually involving figures or creatures, painted mainly in oil, sometimes in gouache.

Sarah Raphael-Balme: Painting in oil and gouache

A graduate of Chelsea College of Art, Sarah has shown her work widely in the UK and USA. Her illustrations are published by IPC magazines, BBC publications, Heinneman and countless others.

She is exhibiting solo with House of Hackney concurrently in New York and London. Go to instagram.com/raphael_balme for more.

The Enchanted Forest, depicting the sacred and spiritual nature of trees, from Lesley Seeger’s 2020 series, Whispers Of Spring

Lesley Seeger, painting

INSPIRED by the natural world, Lesley paints landscapes and abstract florals, her lyrical work marked by an exploration of the emotional impact of colour.

“Although all my work begins ‘in the field’ with observation, ‘painting what I see’, I realise that it quickly becomes, ‘how what I see makes me feel’. How trees and hills and furrow sit together in the language of light and dark,” she says.

“I’m interested in the significance of place. This might be somewhere well known, such as Ripon Cathedral or the White Horse at Kilburn, or a random field or view in which the way things are placed in the landscape makes it out of the ordinary.”

“I like to think of my paintings as talismans,” says Lesley Seeger

Lesley is a self-taught artist, whose work over 23 years now has been inspired by sculpture studies at York College, as much as by the art of Gillian Ayres, Howard Hodgkin, Elizabeth Blackadder, Mary Fedden and Ivon Hitchens.

“At a certain point, the painting takes over and I become interested in pattern, mark making, colour and texture as vehicles of expanding what I see,” she says. “The work becomes intuitive…. a hybrid between the observed and imagined, the seen and felt.’

Born in Newcastle in 1958,Lesley studied English and Media at Southampton University, then worked in theatre and publishing and qualified as an art therapist at Sheffield Hallam University. She worked for several years in community arts in York, most notably a six-year residency at York Hospital, where she ran art projects in the renal unit. 

Ripe Corn Before The Storm, by Lesley Seeger

Last year she was artist-in-residence at the Yorkshire Arboretum, near Castle Howard; this year, she holds the same post at Brisons Veor, Cape Cornwall.

Lesley, who runs painting workshops, published the art book Coming Home, A Contemporary Colourist’s Approach To English Landscape in late-2016, and also designs cards and linen cushions. Upcoming shows pencilled in for 2020 are Art for Youth North and Art& York, both in October.

“I like to think of my paintings as talismans,” she says. “They will reveal themselves over time with their rich histories of place, layers and colour.” Time to visit lesleyseeger.com.

Bangle Pair, by Evie Leach

Evie Leach, jewellery

EVIE decided to follow her creative passion by studying jewellery and silversmithing at the Birmingham School of Jewellery.

There, her basic knowledge, learned from her jeweller parents, transformed into traditional skills.

Evie Leach at work

Her trademark is angular designs with inspiration taken from geometry found in nature and architecture, while more recent designs include semi-precious gemstones set beside angled clusters of gold and silver to create dynamic, one-of-a-kind pieces.

Not only would PICA Studios jeweller Evie have been taking part in York Open Studios, but also her husband, self-taught artist Mick Leach, would have been making his YOS debut. Cast an eye over her designs at evieleach.co.uk.

The Hairy Fig and Kiosk, in Fossgate, by Ric Laptrot

Ric Liptrot, illustration

FREELANCE illustrator Ric captures everyday life in York, depicting its distinctive and much-loved sites in acrylics, pencils, collage and mono-print.

“I’m inspired by the architecture and scenes of York,” says the PICA Studios artist. “I combine my passion for these buildings with my support for the independent businesses York has to offer.

Ric Liptrot: Inspired by the architecture and scenes of York

“I’m an ambassador for these shops, bars and cafés and believe they’re important in helping communities grow.”

Take a look at Ric’s illustrations that “capture the places loved by the local community” at liptrotillustration.co.uk.

Ursa Major And Minor, by Katrina Mansfield

Katrina Mansfield, painting

KATRINA creates vivid, fascinating “fluid art animal inks”, using alcohol ink on synthetic Yupo paper to depict the animals, birds and insects.

The paper allows a longer working time with the ink, “the most intriguing medium and at the same time the most frustrating”.

“It can produce magical results that you get lost in for hours and hours, but it can also destroy the most striking pattern in the blink of an eye,” says Katrina. “It is exactly like nature itself, devastatingly beautiful.”

“Ink is the most intriguing medium and at the same time the most frustrating,” says Katrina Mansfield

In turn, this is why she chose the subject of animals. “The creatures of this Earth are both fragile and unbreakable, they are flawless and yet also imperfect. They add colour to our human lives, yet they are increasingly in danger of becoming extinct through our actions. This series of works is a reminder to all that we need the diversity, beauty and intelligence of these creatures in order to survive.”

Now a PICA Studios artist, Katrina trained in fine art and scenic art at York College, Lincoln University and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She worked in television, film and theatre for a decade, latterly in the West End and West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, before returning to York in 2018 to focus on developing her new process of fluid art animal inks.

“The paintings take anything from one to four weeks to finish and are principally made without the use of a paintbrush,” she says. “I only use a brush if I have no other option or to place the white in the eyes; everything else is formed from the natural flow of the ink.” Animal ink magic awaits at katrinamansfieldartist.co.uk.

Wall hangings from Kitty Pennybacker’s textile range

Kitty Pennybacker, textiles

KNITWEAR designer Kitty combines cording, knitting, weaving and felting to create a textile collection of super-soft homeware items, such as wall hangings, neckerchiefs, baby blankets and knee throws.

“The work re-imagines the tartan and tweed fabrics of my childhood in North Yorkshire,” says Kitty, who gained an MA in Fashion Design and Society from Parsons School of Design, New York, after her BA in Fashion Textiles Design at the University of Brighton.

She has worked within the fields of fashion and television in New York and London and is now part of the PICA Studios art and design hub. Learn more at kittypennybacker.com.

Kitty Pennybacker : Knitwear designer

TOMORROW: Mim Robson, Lesley Shaw, Elena Skoreyko Wagner, Ealish Wilson and Greg Winrow.

No York Open Studios this weekend, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY 25

Land, sea and Freya Horsley

LAST weekend should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home. This weekend too.

This is not a cabin-fevered call for a foolhardy Trumpian dropping of the guard on Covid-19, but a forlorn wish that York Open Studios 2020 could have been just that: York Open Studios. Instead, they will be York Shut Studios.

Nevertheless, in the absence of the opportunity to meet 144 artists at 100 locations, banished by the  Coronavirus lockdown, CharlesHutchPress is determinedly championing 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, a handful of artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios are being 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. Home and studio addresses will not be included at this lockdown time.

Meanwhile, York Open Studios artists are finding their own way to respond to the shutdown by filling their windows with their work instead. Look for #openwindowsyork2020 to locate them. “If you see one in your area while taking your daily exercise, take a picture and let us know,” they say.

Furthermore, look out for plenty of the 144 artists still showcasing their work over the York Open Studios period online. Visit yorkopenstudios.co.uk to take your own virtual tour.

The website says: “We’re doing a Virtual Open Studios, with artists posting based on a daily theme for the ten days spanning our two weekends. They’ll be showing you their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answering your questions, and of course lots of pictures of their new work!

“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more.”

First, however, here are six more artists and makers for you to discover…

Student artist Monica Marshall

Monica Marshall, mixed media, student

EMERGING artist Monica is a fine art student at York St John University, where her practice centres on coping with life and the psyche, and how this is affected by Asperger Syndrome.

“I explore the complexity of emotion and the subconscious through the use of text and expressionist mark-making in a variety of media, primarily through drawing, painting and printmaking,” she says.

In her experimental art, she plays with scale, distortion and using colour to convey certain emotions. “My work is mostly monochromatic, combining text alongside self-portraits and other characters,” says Monica. “The results communicate a powerful message while retaining elements of humour.”

“The results communicate a powerful message while retaining elements of humour,” says Monica Marshall of her art practice

She takes inspiration from German Expressionism, Surrealism and outsider art. “In regard to media, I am very open-minded and experimental. My preferred medium is usually printmaking, using a colour scheme consisting primarily of red, green, black and white, as well as oil painting on a large scale,” says Monica, who divides her time between York and Brighton.

“When I’m not scribbling, painting and/or hiding in the print room, I enjoy finding and photographing monkey puzzle trees – otherwise known as Araucaria Araucana, penury, Chilean pines and an assortment of other aliases – as well as writing poetry, prose and short stories.”

This was to have been Monica’s first year as a York Open Studios artist. Discover more at monicamarshallblog.wordpress.com.

Past And Present, by Richard Barnes

Richard Barnes, painting

RICHARD’s distinctive, dazzling work in York and London has focused on drawing and photographing the cities as the light fades.

“I record the sounds, movement, architecture and atmosphere of the ancient buildings within a modern context,” he says of his cityscapes. “Our brains are bombarded with digital information; the resultant paintings explore a reality beyond this facade.”

His cityscapes are ever evolving. “I am looking to highlight the sensations of life and light, movement and stillness, the changing and new juxtaposed with the permanent and prevailing history.”

“I am looking to highlight the sensations of life and light,” says Richard Barnes

For contrast, he paints Yorkshire landscapes. “In my landscapes, the idea is to escape the noise and to respond to a natural but often equally dramatic environment,” says Richard.

Living in York since 1984, working as both an artist and art teacher, he completed his PhD in 2006, exploring the use of digital intervention within a traditional, intuitive painting practice.

Now, the development of Richard’s images often involves drawing; photographing; printing; working on top of this print; re-photographing; re-printing; re-working, many times over, “until a final image is arrived at that captures the visual and tactile nature of the experience of being in a particular place, at that particular time.” Visit richardofyork.com for further insights.

Overlapping, by Emily Harper-Gustafsson

Emily Harper-Gustafsson, painting

BOOTHAM School art teacher Emily creates delicate and contemplative paintings that seek to capture small moments in space and time.

“Familiar objects are transformed by the use of negative space and subtle subversions of traditional perspective,” she says.

Emily Harper-Gustafsson: “Subtle subversions of traditional perspective”

“My paintings attempt to render the apparently everyday and mundane a matter for epiphany, contemplation and reflection.”

Emily can be contacted via e.a.harper@hotmail.com.

Glancing Light, mixed media on canvas, by Freya Horsley

Freya Horsley, painting

TAKING landscape and seascape as her starting point, whether in Yorkshire, Europe, the Himalayas or Canada, Freya’s abstract paintings focus on transient effects of light and weather and the changes they bring to the face of land and sea.

Whether drawing on the spot outside in the landscape or painting larger works back in the studio, she uses a wide variety of materials and experimental processes to create her surfaces and atmospheric effects.

“I’m increasingly exploring in greater depth the relationship between what is being painted and how it comes about, how much is real place and how much painted space,” Freya says.

Freya Horsley: Focusing on transient effects of light and weather

“In the first stages of a painting, I pour and drip very liquid paint, manipulating it by tilting and moving the support on the floor and easel. Gradually I refine this process, responding to the marks and to my own sense of the space that emerges.

“I also often use wax, collage and other media, alongside the veils of thin acrylic and oil paint, to explore these different levels of looking and ways of experiencing a place and space.”

Based in York, Freya exhibits in Yorkshire, London, the North West, Lancaster and Cornwall. She was to have shown her work at Bootham School, as usual, at York Open Studios, and still in her diary is Coast, at Porthminster Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall, from June 13 to September 5. Take a look at freyahorsley.com.

“I aim to push ideas through a range of unorthodox methods to create a new body of work,” says Benn Jackson

Benn Jackson, painting

BENN’S practice involves experimenting with a range of processes that never end or finish, pushed through different methods to create something different.

“The ‘process’ refers to the process of the formation of art: the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, patterning, and moreover the initiation of actions,” says Benn.

Benn Jackson at work on his process

“’Process’ explores the way the artist forms decisions. With my practice, I aim to push ideas through a range of unorthodox methods to create a new body of work.”

That work, spanning print, collage and painting, would have been exhibited at York Open Studios for the first time. Check him out at instagram.com/jelly-benn.

Jelena Lunge: Drawing inspiration from people, emotion and nature

Jelena Lunge, drawing

JELENA’s work is concept and progress driven. “Using pen and ink, I draw inspiration from people, emotion and nature,” she says. “Mostly I create drawings that are thought provoking and illusory.”

Jelena graduated from Vilnius Academy of Arts, in Lithuania, with a BA in sculpture and qualified as an art teacher. Her drawings have been shown at international exhibitions in the Baltic States, Russia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Germany, the USA and the UK.

Jelena Lunge at one of her many York exhibitions in 2019

“I now live and work in York, where I display and sell my work from creative spaces and galleries,” says Jelena, who last year exhibited at City Screen; York Explore library; Angel on the Green; Naburn Lock; Spark: York; Clements Hall and the Golden Ball pub.

“My drawing combines portrait form with the abstract, incorporating symbolism with touches of fantasy,” she says. More info at jelenalunge.com.

TOMORROW: Sarah Raphael-Balme; Lesley Seeger; Evie Leach; Ric Liptrot; Katrina Mansfield and Kitty Pennybacker.

How artist Lesley Birch spent 21 days in isolation after York Open Studios shutdown

Perfect Day Crocs: One of Lesley Birch’s 21 Days In Isolation artworks in oil, inspired by Cornwall, in harmony with her paint-spattered choice of footwear and garden pebbles

YORK Open Studios 2020 must be York Shut Studios 2020 instead, after the Government’s orders to stay home put paid to visiting other people’s homes.

In the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, however, York’s resourceful artists and craft makers are still finding ways to share their wares, whether online in the Virtual Open Studios showcase at yorkopenstudios.co.uk, on their own websites or by filling their windows with artworks.

This weekend, as with last weekend, 144 artists would have been exhibiting and working at 100 locations, among them landscape painter Lesley Birch at her home studio in Clifton Place, York.

Far from downing brushes, she decided to undertake the one-off 21 Days In Isolation Project, her progress documented on Instagram, #lesleybirch21days.

Lesley’s latest paintings for her Romantic Landscapes series hanging up to dry in her home studio

“I set about the project almost immediately at lockdown,” says Scottish-born Lesley. “I’d always thought about filming my painting in a time-lapse and had never got around to it.

“So, I set up the clamp and my camera on my easel and away I went. The first few time-lapses worked out well. Then I thought, ‘why not do this for 21 days? – a time-lapse a day and a painting a day – and see what happens’.  

“Why 21 days? Well, that just came into my head, but I realise that was actually the initial lockdown time [set by the Government], so it must have gone in subconsciously.”  

Setting her artistic boundaries for the project, Lesley decided to work in oils. “I’ve been trying to develop my skills in this medium, and I decided to base the paintings on my trips to Scotland and Cornwall, working from my sketchbooks,” she says. 

Artist Lesley Birch, pictured in the studio in earlier times before 21 Days In Isolation

“I filmed a painting every morning, because the light was good, and painted into the afternoons. Every day I had a fantastic routine: breakfast; set up the oil palette and paper. Ensure camera OK. Then away!

“Morning break coffee and assessment of the painting. Another painting maybe. Lunch. Then photographing the paintings and uploading them to my Instagram feed.”

Under the #artistsupportpledge initiative set up by artist Matthew Burrows, Lesley could sell her 21 Days works as part of the pledge. “The deal was if I reached £1,000 worth of sales, I’d buy another artist’s work. So really, it was artist supporting artists – worldwide.”

Lesley worked from her studio in her garden. “Usually it’s for printmaking and large acrylic paintings, so it was a change to restrict myself to oils. I had to gather my materials from PICA studios in town [in Grape Lane], bring them home and order paper and new oils online”.

Lesley assessing the first few days’ work on the studio floor

How did the working experience contrast with Lesley’s painting trips to Italy, Spain, Cornwall and Scotland? “I wasn’t feeling the wild wind or soft sun on my skin and I wasn’t by the sea, so I used my sketchbooks as inspiration. And my head. I revisited these beautiful places in my head. It was great!” she says.

Painting at home contrasted too with the busy environment at PICA, a shared space where others work around her. “I was alone…with my IPod music – I’m not I’m not sure my music is to their taste!” says Lesley, a former musician with Hue & Cry in the 1980s.

“My PICA friends commented on Instagram on what I was doing, so there was still that support. And I chatted to my studio mate Mark [fellow artist Mark Hearld] most days on the phone.”

What did Lesley learn about herself as an artist working in isolation? “I think many artists already work in isolation – and indeed, this is the way I worked before I got together with the PICA crowd,” she says.

Such A Rugged Day, memories of Scotland, by Lesley Birch, from the 21 Days In Isolation Project

“So, I just reverted back to that way of working: alone, with my music. I challenged myself with the focus; I never thought I’d be able to create so many pieces.”

Comparing how she felt on Day 1 and Day 21 of her “mammoth task”, Lesley says: “Well, Day 1 was a bit of an exploration. I had no idea that I was planning going on for 21 days until the end of Day I, where I felt exhilarated and in no doubt that I could produce one or more paintings each day.

“By Day 21, I was utterly exhausted. The creative energy to ensure I was happy with each piece was a challenge. The Instagram messaging system went mental with paintings selling in seconds by the last few days! I even had to send one to New Zealand.

“I was collecting addresses, bank transfers, and then I had to go online and order a whole lot of packaging for sending out the paintings, which still had to dry. I was overwhelmed.”

Pale Green Sea on the easel  as Lesley painted in isolation

Lesley had decided to sell her uplifting landscape paintings at only £120 a pop, including shipping, “because we are in difficult times at the moment and everyone should have a chance to buy original art”.

“I’ve really enjoyed painting in the alla prima style [a direct painting approach where paint is applied wet on wet without letting earlier layers dry] and plan to create a new collection,” she says.

“Will there be more paintings from 21 Days In Isolation? Yes, though not on a daily basis. My 21 days are over. I feel on a bit of a roll at the moment, but I don’t want to put myself under the pressure of daily filming, so I’m just gonna take my time. These paintings will be more of the same as I have lots more sketchbooks for inspiration.”

More of Lesley’s new Romantic Landscapes paintings pegged out to dry on her studio washing line

She is calling the series her Romantic Landscapes. “That’s how this series seems to have developed in the time of Covid-19. I want an idealised view of reality,” Lesley reasons. “I think at the moment people want to escape into nice things: beautiful colours, soft skies and even a storm or two in a painting isn’t too bad.

“I know I want to escape, so I’m just following my intuition.  These paintings will probably go to my galleries, but a small collection will go online for sale.”

As for how Lesley will spend this weekend, she concludes: “York Open Studios has been in my head this past week and I shall continue to be creative.” 

Did you know?

After the cancellation of York Open Studios 2020, Lesley Birch is putting a selection of her YOS pieces online at lesleybirchart.com at £200 each, framed and ready to hang.

Copyright of The Press, York

No York Open Studios next weekend, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY 24

Turning the base: Phil Magson removes excess clay with a bladed tool

LAST weekend should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home. Next weekend too.

This is not a cabin-fevered call for a foolhardy Trumpian dropping of the guard on Covid-19, but a forlorn wish that York Open Studios 2020 could have been just that: York Open Studios. Instead, they will be York Shut Studios.

Nevertheless, in the absence of the opportunity to meet 144 artists at 100 locations, banished by the  Coronavirus lockdown, CharlesHutchPress is determinedly championing 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, a handful of artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios are being 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. Home and studio addresses will not be included at this lockdown time.

Meanwhile, York Open Studios artists are finding their own way to respond to the shutdown by filling their windows with their work instead. Look for #openwindowsyork2020 to locate them. “If you see one in your area while taking your daily exercise, take a picture and let us know,” they say.

Furthermore, look out for plenty of the 144 artists still showcasing their work over the York Open Studios period online. Visit yorkopenstudios.co.uk to take your own virtual tour.

The website says: “We’re doing a Virtual Open Studios, with artists posting based on a daily theme for the ten days spanning our two weekends. They’ll be showing you their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answering your questions, and of course lots of pictures of their new work!

“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more.”

First, however, here are six more artists and makers for you to discover…

Philip Magson at work in his studio

Philip Magson, ceramics

AFTER taking a degree in 3-D design at Loughborough College of Art, Philip began making and selling terracotta garden pottery.

On moving to York, he developed the production of colourfully decorated domestic earthenware at his workshop on Micklegate.

Finished with white opaque glaze: Philip Magson’s ceramics

Alongside teaching art, his skill on the wheel is now employed in exploring an interest in contemporary ceramics. His influences range from the abstract work of Franz Kline and Peter Voulkos to the simplicity of classic Japanese pottery.

His pots are hand thrown on the wheel, using a stoneware clay. Mostly domestic-ware, simple and modern in style with contrasting surfaces, they are finished in white opaque glaze. Take a look at philipmagson.co.uk.



Carrier Pigeon, by Becki Harper

Becki Harper, illustration

BECKI’S illustrations are inspired by behaviours and narratives within nature, alongside botanical forms and patterns, with an exploration into the appreciation and sustainability of the natural world.

“My observational drawing is often the source of an idea, character or composition, and they greatly inform the visual language within my work,” she says.

Becki loves nostalgic colour palettes and vintage graphics, especially the imagery featured on old dress patterns.

Becki Harper: Favours traditional techniques

“I favour traditional techniques such as watercolour painting, which is the process used to add colour to my drawings. This passion for creating things by hand has led to exploration into other media such as textiles, craft and ceramics,” she says.

“Sometimes I work by myself, and at times I work with other artists and community groups on all kinds of projects and commissions.” More info at beckiharper.com.

Selkie Child, by Sophie Keen

Sophie Keen, illustration

SOPHIE is an established children’s book illustrator of 15 years’ standing, with a bold yet traditional style that utilises watercolour, concentrated watercolour ink, fine-liner and pencil.

Since graduating from Liverpool John Moores University in 2003, she has been represented by The Organisation agency, her work being published in such titles as: The Selkie Child (Oxford University Press); My First Bible for Marks and Spencer; My Favourite Michael (Little Tiger Press) and The Christmas Wish, The Lonely Chick and The Best Dog In The World (Scholastic).

Sophie Keen: Flying high in the world of illustration

Last year, under the name Sophie Humphreys, she provided the illustrations for Carolyn Robertson’s Two Dads, read as a CBeebies bedtime story by pop singer and musical actor Will Young as part of LGBTQ History Week.

“Inspiration for my work has become much easier since having children myself, although time and energy has become ‘strangely’ hard to come by,” she says. “But I’m never short of ideas, even if they have to be written in haste on the back of a shopping list at 2am.”

Sophie, who also makes murals and bespoke pieces for bedrooms and nurseries, would have been taking part in York Open Studios for the first time. Discover more at sophiekeenillustration.com.

Charmian Ottaway: A love of ancient history and the natural world

Charmian Ottaway, jewellery

CHARMIAN has been a jeweller and goldsmith for more than 25 years, working mostly to corporate and private commission, although her work in high-carat gold, platinum, pearls and silver can be found in selected galleries and exhibitions too.

A love of ancient Greek and Roman history and the natural world is reflected in her designs.

“I am passionate about sourcing beautiful semi-precious and precious stones,” says Charmian Ottaway

“I am passionate about sourcing beautiful semi-precious and precious stones and incorporating them into my pieces, and I’m committed to using fairly traded and mined metals and certified stones,” says Charmian, who favours classical  techniques, having discovered her love of fine jewellery while working for Cartier.

Her most prestigious commission to date is a replica Richard III Boar Brooch for the Yorkshire Museum in York, where she also has done pieces for the Jorvik Viking Centre and York Archaeological Trust. Among her private clients is “York’s very own” Dame Judi Dench. Learn more at charmianottaway.co.uk.

A semi-abstract oil painting by Lesley Williams

Lesley Williams, painting

LESLEY produces semi-abstract oil paintings based on aspects of the landscape, gardens and ponds, where the translucent colour and shades move around one another creating a visual magic.

“My works based on ponds show an interest in spatial dynamics, as well as the reflective qualities of water within the plant forms,” she says.

“They suggest the feeling found in the moment. They show intrigue in what lies beyond the immediate surface and in spaces around a subject.”

Lesley Williams: Intrigue in what lies beyond the surface

Born in York, Lesley gained a degree in textile design at Nottingham Trent University and later an MA in fine art from Leeds Metropolitan University.

More details can be found at lesleywilliamsartist.co.uk, where her work is divided into Pond Reflections (new work for 2020); New Work; Water Gardens; Pools: Ponds; Waterlilies and Garden Borders.

“I want to provoke responses,” says K. Eliza

K. Eliza, multi-media

STUDENT K. Eliza is an ambitious and multi-sensory artist, influenced by how “aesthetics interact with the natural world and emotions”.

Her present work focuses on rebirth, protection, death and life cycles and she delights in expressing herself in different media, whether wearable sculpture, digital print making, drawing or photography.

Student artist K.Eliza

“I use tights, wire and plastic, moulding them into depth and form to represent the obscure and body parts,” she says. “I want to provoke responses from audiences, intrigued by the potential of material and the impression they leave on us.”

K. Eliza, who would have been participating in York Open Studios for the first time. Her contact details are k.eliza.art@gmail.com.

TOMORROW: Monica Marshall, Richard Barnes, Emily Harper-Gustafson, Freya Horsley, Benn Jackson and Jelena Lunge.

No York Open Studios next weekend, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY 23

Goshawk In Flight, by Jo Ruth

LAST weekend should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home. Next weekend too.

This is not a cabin-fevered call for a foolhardy Trumpian dropping of the guard on Covid-19, but a forlorn wish that York Open Studios 2020 could have been just that: York Open Studios. Instead, they will be York Shut Studios.

Nevertheless, in the absence of the opportunity to meet 144 artists at 100 locations, banished by the  Coronavirus lockdown, CharlesHutchPress is determinedly championing 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, a handful of artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios are being 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. Home and studio addresses will not be included at this lockdown time.

Meanwhile, York Open Studios artists are finding their own way to respond to the shutdown by filling their windows with their work instead. Look for #openwindowsyork2020 to locate them. “If you see one in your area while taking your daily exercise, take a picture and let us know,” they say.

Furthermore, look out for plenty of the 144 artists still showcasing their work over the York Open Studios period online. Visit yorkopenstudios.co.uk to take your own virtual tour.

The website says: “We’re doing a Virtual Open Studio, with artists posting based on a daily theme for the ten days spanning our two weekends. They’ll be showing you their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answering your questions, and of course lots of pictures of their new work!

“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more.”

First, however, here are six more artists and makers for you to discover…

” I hope always to never take myself too seriously,” says ceramicist Chiu-i Wu

Chiu-i Wu, ceramics

CHIU-I’S functional and sculptural gas-fired stoneware pieces are all individual and hand-built, with no moulds being used.

“I hope always to never take myself too seriously, but to just have a simple honesty with my ceramics,” she says.

“When I was little, it was with pen and paper that I felt expressive: drawing and drawing without thought. The feeling never left me, and I graduated to paint, then finally to ceramics.”

Chiu-i developed her art and ceramics in her home country of Taiwan, exhibiting her first work in Taipei. “I loved it, but always had a hard time when asked about my work,” she says. “I have no deep meanings. Not ones that I recognise anyway. I just produce from my heart, sensing when what I’m creating begins to feel right.”

She studied hard to be able to create the feeling she wanted in clay and glaze. “When I moved to England in 2003, I brought many glaze recipes, but soon discovered a new range of English clays to explore. I can feel my love of English summers, blackbirds and sheep touching my heart and influencing my work,” says Chiu-i, who now exhibits in both Britain and Taiwan.

As well as York Open Studios, Chiu-I’s 2020 diary includes Potfest at Scone Palace, Perth, and Earth And Fire, at Welbeck, Nottinghamshire, both In June; Potfest In The Park, Penrith, in July, and Art In Clay, Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, in August. Find out more at chiuiwu.co.uk.

Amy Butcher: Applique-based hand embroidery

Amy Butcher, textiles

FOR Amy’s applique-based hand embroidery, a collage of intricately cut fabric shapes create a foundation. This is then stitched and embellished to create illustrative pieces rooted in nature and animals.

“My love of art and textiles started at school and has been a passion ever since,” says the largely self-taught Amy, from Stillington. “The support and inspiration from an embroidery class enabled me to continue to develop my work and confidence, and in 2014 I was fortunate to get the opportunity to work with the greetings card company Bug Art.”

Clover Meadow, by Amy Butcher

She now works on developing her own range of greetings cards, prints, cushion panels, coasters and embroidery stitch kits, printed from her original textile art for Beaks & Bobbins.

This would have been her debut year of exhibiting at York Open Studios. More info at beaksandbobbies.com.

Carol Coleman: A lifetime of creativity

Carol Coleman, textiles

CAROL uses dissolving fabric and a wide range of found, manipulated, painted or dyed ingredients with any creative technique she can master to produce wall-hung, 3D and wearable art.

Frequently she uses digital photography with image manipulation to create working designs.

A lifetime of creativity, followed by specialising in free-machine embroidery, led to Carol being invited to teach and talk about her work to organised groups.

Phoenix, by Carol Coleman

She became a professional textile artist in 2003 and in 2015 was presented with the gold award for textiles by Craft & Design magazine. As well as exhibiting locally, nationally and internationally, she writes. Oh, and she designed the Dire Wolf Crest for the Hardhome Embroidery for HBO’s Game Of Thrones.

Next up in her diary is Art In The Pen, in Thirsk, on July 18 and 19, “currently still going ahead”. Check carol@fibredance.co.uk for an update.

Jo Ruth at work in her studio

Jo Ruth, painting

JO specialises in intricate stencils cut from original drawings layered with painted surfaces. She sprays and sponges her imagery, reinterpreting the relationship between the natural and the urban world. 

Jo trained in fine art at the University of Reading, followed by post-graduate studies at Birmingham City University, and then developed her creative, illustration and design practices alongside her extensive lecturing and teaching career in London and the Midlands.

“Fascinated by wildlife but a lifelong city dweller, I’m inspired by elements of both worlds: chance encounters with the birds we see sharing our urban lives and those in more rural settings,” she says.

Turtle Dove, by Jo Ruth

“The majority of my imagery is based on our native and visiting birds, those we see in and around our homes and gardens, but I use techniques such as stencilling and digital technologies more associated with urban life.”

As a painter-printmaker, Jo’s work is experimental in its creative process, employing a variety of media to explore qualities of mark-making, texture and colour. “I draw inspiration from the linear qualities of Chinese brush painting, calligraphy and the colours and patterns of my local environment,” she says.

Her website, joruth.com, divides her work into Urban, park and garden; Hedgerows and woods; Wetland, lake and sea and Works on brown paper. Her first major solo show was at the Scottish Ornithologists Club in Aberlady, Scotland, and she exhibits regularly at the International Bird Fair in Rutland.

Luisa Holden: “Painterly yet sensitive semi-abstract style”

Luisa Holden, paintings

LUISA favours expressive and atmospheric landscapes and seascapes, woodland and contemporary still life in her artwork, painting in mixed media and acrylics in a painterly yet sensitive semi-abstract style. 

“I enjoy capturing light and atmosphere, simplifying forms and reducing areas of a picture to blocks of light,” she says. The North York Moors, the Dales and the Yorkshire coastline are prominent in her paintings, “but I also enjoy abstracted, edgy still lifes, often incorporating a window backdrop and geometric forms,” she adds.

Luisa, who is of British-Italian roots, grew up in North Wales and studied fine art at the North Wales Institute of Fine Art but she has since spent most of her adult life in Yorkshire.

“I enjoy capturing light and atmosphere, simplifying forms and reducing areas of a picture to blocks of light,” says Luisa Holden

She has exhibited throughout Yorkshire, such as the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull; the Great North Art Show at  Ripon Cathedral and a solo show at the Helmsley Arts Centre, as well as at the Mall Galleries in London with the Society of Women Artists.

Luisa is a member of Leeds Fine Artists and her work can be found at the Blossom Street Gallery, York; The Blake Gallery, Haxby; The Leaping Hare Art Gallery, Easingwold, and the Look Gallery, Helmsley.

“I like the challenge of intuitive creativity: taking risks, de-constructing and re-constructing to simply allow a painting to evolve,” she says. “I consider the creative process to be a journey of self-discovery, learning to be spontaneous, free and not fearing ‘messing up’.” Discover the results at luisaholdenart.co.uk.

“I find both the process of creating an object and applying my designs most satisfying,” says ceramicist Anna-Marie Magson

Anna-Marie Magson, ceramics

ANNA-MARIE’S simple, contemporary ceramic vessels are hand built using stoneware slabs and decorated with layers of coloured slips.

“The flattened surfaces of the vessels provide a canvas on which to work,” she says, “I create fine detail by revealing shapes, lines and marks through wax resist and sgraffito. I use a muted palette of soft-hued colours to evoke a sun-bleached effect and a satin glaze to give a tactile, silky finish.” 

Originally, Anna-Marie studied fine art painting at Liverpool College of Art, but when the opportunity to work in a pottery studio arose, she began to explore her love of surface decoration and textured pattern on clay tiles. Ultimately, this led to adapting her ideas to hand-built ceramic vessels.

Inspired by ancient structures: Anna-Marie Magson’s ceramics

“I find both the process of creating an object and applying my designs most satisfying,” she says. “I find inspiration in the world around me, such as ancient structures, their weathered surface and the evidence of human mark-making.”

Anna-Marie’s stoneware ceramics can be found at The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, Number Four Gallery, St Abbs, Scotland, and Leeds Craft Centre and Design Gallery. More immediately, cast an eye over annamariemagson.co.uk.

TOMORROW: Philip Magson; Becki Harper; Sophie Keen; Charmian Ottaway; Lesley Williams and K. Eliza.

No York Open Studios next weekend, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY 22

Maria Keki: Applying veils of colour in her paintings

LAST weekend should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home. Next weekend too.

This is not a cabin-fevered call for a foolhardy Trumpian dropping of the guard on Covid-19, but a forlorn wish that York Open Studios 2020 could have been just that: York Open Studios. Instead, they will be York Shut Studios.

Nevertheless, in the absence of the opportunity to meet 144 artists at 100 locations, banished by the  Coronavirus lockdown, CharlesHutchPress is determinedly championing 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 are being 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. Home and studio addresses will not be included at this time.

Meanwhile, York Open Studios artists are finding their own way to respond to the shutdown by filling their windows with their work instead. Look for #openwindowsyork2020 to locate them. “If you see one in your area while taking your daily exercise, take a picture and let us know,” they say.

Furthermore, look out for plenty of the 144 artists still showcasing their work over the York Open Studios period online. Visit yorkopenstudios.co.uk to take your own virtual tour.

The website says: “We’re doing a Virtual Open Studio, with artists posting based on a daily theme for the ten days spanning our two weekends. They’ll be showing you their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answering your questions, and of course lots of pictures of their new work!

“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more.”

First, however, here are five more artists and makers for you to discover…

Lesley Birch at work on one of her paintings

Lesley Birch, mixed media

BORN in Glasgow, former Hue & Cry musician Lesley’s Scottish roots feed into her love of wild and remote places and in turn into heartfelt paintings notable for their sense of colour and composition.

“I’m interested in expressing my personal response to time and place,” says Lesley, whose work ranges from large, atmospheric landscapes to small/medium works on paper and boards in oils, pigments and acrylics from her travels to Italy, Spain and Scotland.

Earlier this year, Lesley launched her Marks & Moments show at Partisan, the boho restaurant, café and arts space in Micklegate, York, where she filled two floors with more than 50 paintings from her Musical Abstract Collection.

Little Pink Shore, by Lesley Birch

Lesley has just completed 21 Days In Isolation, a one-off project in Covid-19 lockdown offering paintings at exceptionally low prices. “Will there be more paintings? Yes. Though not on a daily basis. My 21 days are over,” she says.

Why did she undertake such a “mammoth task”? “Because we are in difficult times at the moment and everyone should have a chance to buy original art,” she says. “I’ve really enjoyed painting in the alla prima style and plan to create a new collection.”    

Coming next will be her Romantic Landscapes series. Meanwhile, after the cancellation of York Open Studios 2020, Lesley is putting a selection of her YOS pieces online at lesleybirchart.com at £200 each, framed and ready to hang.

Frances G Brock: Expressive portraits and landscape paintings

Frances G Brock, painting

FRANCES paints both expressive portraits in mixed water-media and landscape paintings in water-media and oils.

By training and profession a music teacher, Frances has a second string to her bow as an artist, and this month she would have been taking part in her fifth successive York Open Studios.

A portrait by Frances G Brock

Her work shows a broad artistic vocabulary and can be seen at the Dee Alexander Gallery in Epping and Silo Art Gallery in Cawood. In particular, she receives many commissions for her domestic animal paintings.

She has tutored courses at Old Sleningford Hall, North Stainley, near Ripon, for the past two years and leads workshops by request. Learn more at jacksonartsites.com/francesart.

Maria Keki with two of her artworks

Maria Keki, painting

AFTER fine art studies in Manchester and post-graduate study at the University of Leeds, Maria enjoyed a fulfilling career as a teacher of art, craft, and design, alongside creating her own work.

She continues to be passionate about working with young people through the arts. 

In her paintings, remembered and imagined places are evoked through veils of colour. Such works have been exhibited at York Open Studios in previous years and in other local shows too, as well being sold privately. More info at maria_keki@yahoo.co.uk.

Ceramicist Beccy Ridsdel

Beccy Ridsdel, ceramics

BECCY completed her BA in contemporary 3D crafts at the University of York in 2008, achieving first class honours.

Since then, she has taught ceramics and kiln-formed glass at York College, as well as making sculptural, hand-built, stoneware ceramics from her workshop in York.

A stoneware ceramic by Beccy Ridsdel

In addition to exhibiting in York, Hull, Thirsk, Sheffield and Sleaford, Beccy has shown work at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York and the Houston Centre for Contemporary Crafts in Texas. Her ceramics have featured in magazines and art journals too.

She took part in York Open Studios from 2013 to 2018 and would have resumed her involvement in 2020. More details at beccyridsdel.co.uk.

Dawn Ridsdel: Maker of cheerful, colourful ceramics

Dawn Ridsdel, ceramics

DAWN creates colourful and cheerful ceramics to enhance and brighten the home, applying a sculptural aesthetic while exploring surface and form in her use of layers of slips, underglazes, lustres and glaze.

She went back to college in her thirties to study craft and has been working in arts education as a technician ever since, 23 years now, at York College, where she also teaches ceramics.

“I was very happy helping others, but I decided I needed to take a different direction and took a further course of study, which has given me new confidence,” says Dawn. “After a lot of hard work, I was awarded a first class honours degree in contemporary craft from York St John University in July 2017.”

“I’m fascinated by colour and the way it can affect us and how we perceive it, ” says Dawn Ridsdel of her ceramics

Based in a garden studio on the outskirts of York, Dawn specialises in hand-building techniques to make vessel and cloud forms and develop the clay surface to hint at open spaces, skies, seas, stars and planets. “I’m very moved by the decline in natural habitats and species and believe that we must do more to celebrate and protect our wildlife,” she says.

“I’m also fascinated by colour and the way it can affect us and how we perceive it, so my work also uses contrasting colours which, when brought together, can enhance each other and cause them to vibrate. In this way I hope to bring life and vitality to my work.”

Dawn has exhibited at Art& York at York Racecourse, Sunny Bank Mills Gallery, Farsley, and various galleries in Yorkshire. Seek out her work at dawnridsdel.co.uk.

TOMORROW: Chiu-i Wu; Amy Butcher; Carol Coleman; Jo Ruth, Luisa Holden and Anna-Marie Magson.

Pyramid Gallery’s virtual exhibition for these Strange Days in lockdown is growing daily

The Pyramid Gallery poster for the Strange Days virtual exhibition

IN response to York Open Studios 2020’s cancellation, Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett is stepping in with a lifeline to artists, offering the Stonegate gallery’s website as an online showcase at a much-reduced commission.

Its name prompted the lyrics of The Doors’ song from 1967, Strange Days is an “Art behind the doors” show that aptly is growing through springtime with new additions each day, trailed on Terry’s blog at pyramidgallery.com.

“We’ve opened the show to all York Open Studios artists and any York artists who already do business with the gallery, and I’ve lowered my commission to just 20 per cent, plus VAT, to make it work for them,” says Terry.

Delivery Creature, by Chiu-I Wu, one of the York Open Studios 2020 artists

“This enables York artists to show their new work to our customers, without a selection process, and allows them to earn more from each sale.

“The gallery is closed and my staff are furloughed, so I can operate with lower overheads during the Coronavirus lockdown, hopefully maintaining contact with my customers who are confined to their homes.”

For those living at a YO postcode, there will be free delivery of artworks, subject to the present lockdown restrictions. “So, delivery might be in a few weeks if the items cannot be sent through the post,” says Terry.

Terry Brett, on Stonegate, outside Pyramid Gallery

To complement the Pyramid virtual gallery, he has addressed the challenges presented to galleries by the Covid-19 pandemic in a candid piece on his blog.

Among the York Open Studios artists taking part in Strange Days are Kate Buckley; Peter Park; Jo Walton; Chiu-I Wu; Lesley Birch; Colin Black; Linda Combi; Zoe Catherine Kendall; Michelle Hughes; Sally Clarke; Adrienne French; Hacer Ozturk; Jill Tattersall; Karen Thomas; Kate Pettitt and Ruth Claydon. #

The second weekend of the 2020 event would have taken place on April 25 and 26.

No York Open Studios this weekend, but all that art still needs a new home, so look here…DAY 21

Autumn Birds, by Gerard Hobson

TODAY should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home. Next weekend too.

This is not a cabin-fevered call for a foolhardy Trumpian dropping of the guard on Covid-19, but a forlorn wish that York Open Studios 2020 could have been just that: York Open Studios. Instead, this weekend and next weekend will be York Shut Studios.

Nevertheless, in the absence of the opportunity to meet 144 artists at 100 locations, banished by the  Coronavirus lockdown, CharlesHutchPress is determinedly championing 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 are being 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. Home and studio addresses will not be included at this time.

Meanwhile, York Open Studios artists are finding their own way to respond to the shutdown by filling their windows with their work instead. Look for #openwindowsyork2020 to locate them. “If you see one in your area while taking your daily exercise, take a picture and let us know,” they say.

Furthermore, look out for plenty of the 144 artists still showcasing their work over the York Open Studios period online. Holtby studio painter Kate Pettitt, for example, is penning a daily blog at facebook.com/katepettittartist/. “Visit the YOS website and take your own virtual tour at yorkopenstudios.co.uk,” she advises.

Good advice! The website says: “We’re doing a Virtual Open Studio, with artists posting based on a daily theme for the ten days spanning our two weekends. They’ll be showing you their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answering your questions, and of course lots of pictures of their new work!

“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more.”

First, however, here are five more artists and makers for you to discover…

Harriet McKenzie: Artist and foster carer

Harriet McKenzie, ceramics

HARRIET’S 2020 mission is to “examine drawing in the interface between the two- dimensional picture plane and the three-dimensional object”.

To do so, she creates ceramic Circles: enclosed forms, in black clay with engobe and sgraffito painting.

Her Circles reflect how relationships, interplay and suggestion are the bedrock of her art practice in her home studio. Harriet, or Hatti as she is known, is both an artist and a foster carer, a role that fundamentally informs her work as “a multifaceted influence revealed over time,” she says.

Harriet graduated with First Class honours from her Bradford School of Art fine art degree in 2007, first participating in York Open Studios in 2008 and she has since done so in 2009, 2011 and 2015 to 2018, when she was a bursary award winner.

Rounded up: A selection of Harriet McKenzie’s Circles

Her formal art education had a gap of 20 years as, first, she took time out to travel and live in America, before making a home and raising her daughter in York.

“I found it impossible to do both art and earn a living as a single parent,” she says candidly. “With my art, I got so focused and involved with each project, my poor daughter suffered, but with age comes a better balance.

“Now, I only do work to show in galleries or Open Studios once a year, as this can fit round my sometimes challenging life as a foster carer.” Seek out Harriet’s work at hattimckenzie.com. 

Harriette Rymer at work

Harriette Rymer, painting

HARRIETTE creates abstract paintings, vibrant and playful in character, often featuring a geometric context, that she presents as original wall art panels, digital artworks and installations.

“By employing a range of mediums, I explore conflicting and harmonious relationships within colour and texture,” she says.

Harriette first studied art and design at Leeds College of Art in 2013, later taking a science degree in Newcastle. After graduating, Harriette returned to her artistic passion and now combines her love for precision with design in her paintings, screen-prints and cards (where she uses block-printing and stamping techniques).

Energy, by Harriet Rymer

Her fascination with colour manifests itself throughout her vivid work, curated under such collections as Confetti Collection, Hues, Colour Overlays, Milieu, Pattern Postcards and Expanse.

“I want the viewer to make personal connections with each composition, just as I have, whether it’s a reminder of a place they know well or a visualisation of a memory, thought or feeling,” says Harriette, who uses acrylic, gouache, watercolours and pastels.

This year she has exhibited in the York Printmakers show at Pairings wine bar, Castlegate, York, and in A First Glimpse at the Inspired By…Gallery, Danby, and she would have done so too at this month’s cancelled British Craft Trade Fair, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate.

Take a look at harrietterymer.com.

“I’m an instinctive painter,” says Steve Williams

Steve Williams, painting

STEVE’S strikingly vibrant and original paintings in acrylics are inspired mainly by North Yorkshire’s landscapes and coastline.

“I’m an instinctive painter,” he says. “My pictures take form through the process of painting, not through adherence to a fully formulated plan. Exploring my emotive response to my subject matter, I allow my paintings to develop as a result of my mood or subconscious mindset. They stem from an original idea, image or situation and then come together of their own accord.”

Whitby At Night, by Steve Williams

Using acrylics, palette knives and brushes, Steve seeks to infuse his pictures with fluidity, energy, colour and texture. “My aim is to achieve a balance, a cohesion, harmony and completeness, in all of my pictures,” he says.

“I work spontaneously to convey my emotional energy into a painting. I believe this is the only way to ensure authenticity.”

Steve exhibits regularly with contemporary galleries throughout Yorkshire, in London and further afield. Commissions are welcomed via stevewilliamsart.moonfruit.com.

“My inspiration comes from nature’s wonders,” says Sam Jones

Sam Jones, jewellery

SAM is self-taught in the art of lampworking, otherwise known as glass-bead making.

She works with various materials, such as glass rods, clear resin and metals, making her own glass beads and combining these with silver, copper and semi-precious stones in her jewellery since 2006.

She graduated with a degree in jewellery from Sheffield Hallam University in 2000 and works within the creative industries as a scenic painter. “I’m drawn to colour, pattern and texture,” she says. “I enjoy experimenting with processes and like working with various materials as I find each has its own qualities.

Handmade glass-beads necklace, by Sam Jones

“My inspiration comes from nature’s wonders, from the nebulas within our galaxies, to the weird and wonderful inhabitants of our oceans.”

Should the non-scientific among you be wondering, a nebula is a giant interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionised gases.

Some nebulae (the Latin plural) come from the gas and dust thrown out by the explosion of a dying star, such as a supernova. Other nebulae are “star nurseries”: regions where new stars are beginning to form. Science home-schooling lesson of the day, at your service.

Discover more at samjonesjewellery.com.

Gerard Hobson with his wren installation beneath the Clock Tower at Beningbrough Hall, near York. Picture: Sue Jordan

Gerard Hobson, printmaking

GERARD has had a love of birds, animals and art since childhood, a wildlife bent that saw him qualify as a zoologist from Bangor University and work for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust as a botanist and illustrator.

On relocating to the north, he worked for Yorkshire Wildlife while continuing to develop his own work on a freelance basis, turning his hand to woodcarving and studying print-making in York.

Gerard now works from his garden studio in Clifton, producing limited-edition hand-coloured linocut prints of birds and animals, much of his work being inspired while out walking his dog on the Clifton Ings.

His repertoire has expanded to take in cushions and lampshades, mugs and chopping boards, produced in tandem with Georgia Wilkinson Designs, and cut-outs of birds, animals, fish and mushrooms.

Leaping Hare, by Gerard Hobson

Gerard branched out still further earlier this year for his Winter Wildlife In Print show at the National Trust property of Beningbrough Hall, Beningbrough, near York, where he combined multiple prints in the Hayloft gallery with 14 sculptural scenes/installations in the outbuildings, gardens, grounds and parkland, inspired by creatures that make Beningbrough their winter home.

“I hope my art may stir people to become more interested in the wildlife around them, to feed the birds and join their local wildlife trust,” he says. “To share this with their children and their children’s children, and hopefully generations of young people will become more interested in the birds and woodlands around them. Maybe some will go on to be environmental campaigners – who knows!”

More info at gerardhobson.com.

TOMORROW: Lesley Birch; Frances G Brock; Maria Keki; Beccy Ridsdel and Dawn Ridsdel.