ORIGINAL paintings by Colin Cook, Giuliana Lazzerini, Nikki Monaghan and Sharon Winter feature in The Christmas Show, the latest Blue Tree Gallery exhibition in York until January 16 2021.
“Another lockdown as we open our new show means the gallery is closed, but we are now online till re-opening again in December, we hope,” says Gordon Giarchi, owner of the gallery in Bootham.
“As well as some stunning new paintings from Colin, Giuliana, Nikki and Sharon, we also have some lovely new ceramics, glass, sculpture and jewellery, which would make the perfect gifts and stocking fillers this Christmas.
”Look out for driftwood sculptures by Natalie Parr, Christmas-themed ceramics by Kath Cooper, oxidised steel hanging decorations by David Mayne and linocuts and handmade Christmas cards by Giuliana Lazzerini.”
The Christmas Show has gone live on the gallery website at bluetreegallery.co.uk/christmas-show-2020 for views and sales.
Colin Cook, based near Whitby, is a West Londoner who moved north in 1989 to teach at a further education college, specialising in drawing, painting, photography and digital imaging.
“After many years of teaching, I began exhibiting again about five years ago,” he says. “The subject matter and inspiration for my paintings is taken from the north eastern coast and moors and the Lake District. The paintings are representational, based on observation of the constantly changing and intriguing light.
“Most of my paintings are about creating an atmosphere through the use of dramatic light and bold mark making. Compositional tension is important and hopefully created by the careful arrangement of the different pictorial elements: colour, texture, light, etc.”
Colin’s paintings are reliant on careful “under-drawing” to create the structure for the looser brush marks to sit on. “The strongest shapes are worked in with large brushes and the smaller areas of specific focus are developed later,” he says.
“I prefer to work with acrylic paints and enjoy the flexibility that working with a water- based medium gives. Sometimes, the paint is heavily ‘impastoed’; on other occasions, it is built up in layers or glazes. Acrylic allows for a certain immediacy as it dries fairly quickly.”
Blue Tree Gallery artist-in-residence Giuliana Lazzerini was born in Seravezza, near Pietrasanta in Tuscany, moving to Yorkshire in 1987. “My work is varied and often developed from an idea encountered during a journey that takes me in an unknown territory, where I grow as an artist,” she says.
“I usually work in small series of paintings, where memory and imagination come to interplay. Time made me more familiar with the English northern landscape and it finally has left a mark in some of my work, as I become more intrigued by its drama and atmosphere.”
Nikki Monaghan, who has a studio at Falkirk, Scotland, studied at the Scottish College of Textiles, subsequently working over the years as an interior stylist, designer and artist, while contributing to community arts too.
“My subject matter ranges from narrative landscapes and seascapes to quirky birds and figures,” she says. “I love colour and my paintings evolve by layering up acrylics and oil pastels, creating textures within them.”
Nikki’s work varies in size, ranging from small paintings that concentrate on a particular subject, to larger canvases where scenes evolve.
“Working from memory allows my work to take on a stylised abstract feel,” she says. “I’m influenced by many things: the weather, the Scottish landscape, how I feel when I wake up in the morning, anything that sticks in my head! There are no set rules.”
Sharon Winter graduated from University College, Scarborough, with a first-class degree in Fine Art in 2001, staying on for another year to do a post-graduate certificate in painting, specialising in tempera painting techniques.
Since then, she has exhibited in Yorkshire galleries and undertaken several artist residencies and her work has been commissioned by Scarborough and Bridlington Hospital.
She has designed and painted theatre “flats” for the Spotlight Theatre in Bridlington and the Bridlington Old Town Association and completed a book illustration project in collaboration with poet John Fewings.
“I work with oils, acrylics, and mixed media,” says Sharon. “I love Pre-Renaissance art, especially the gold-embellished icons and medieval illustrations, and the work of artists such as Marc Chagall, Stanley Spencer and Gustav Klimt.
“I’m interested in combining abstract, sometimes decorative, pattern with figurative subjects inspired by myths, memories and dreams.”
For as long as she can remember, Sharon has loved painting and drawing. “I paint from my imagination, inspired by folk tales, poetry, and dreams,” she says. “I build up layers of paint, collage, gold leaf and text until the images, landscapes, characters and narratives have emerged.”
Whatever happens following the Lockdown 2 update after December 2, The Christmas Show will continue online until the January 16 closing date.
“We are wishing you lots of goodwill, health and happiness this Christmas and hope you enjoy the exhibition, whether online or, hopefully, from December 3 in the brick and mortar gallery, depending on the new Government guidelines,” says Gordon. “We will keep you posted.”