Paul Weller’s Fat Pop: Is he the Greatest Living Englishman or grumpy Dad Rocker?

CHATTY art podcasters Chalmers & Hutch mull over the Modfather’s 16th solo album in Episode 44 of Two Big Egos In A Small Car.

What else? Is there no point to nil-point Eurovision? Pop’s Brexit, Newman/old problem and the power of the minor key.

Is Nomadland overrated? No or yes?

York’s Love Trails tour. Art with heart.

Rainy days, holidays and the Lakes as nature’s canvas masterpiece.

What now for arts on Zoom? Boom or doom?

Here’s the link: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/8599913

Blue Tree Gallery reopens with Janine Baldwin, Colin Cook, Deborah Grice and Karen Turner’s Summer Eclectic show

Quiet Birch Wood, mixed media, by Janine Baldwin at Blue Tree Gallery, York

SUMMER Eclectic marks the reopening of Blue Tree Gallery, in Bootham, York, in an exhibition running until July 3.

“It’s good to see York open again for all to visit and enjoy, as we help to keep York culturally alive, safe and well,” say Gordon and Marisa Giarchi and their gallery team. “We’ll be open to the public with this show and it’s available online.”  

On view are original paintings by Yorkshire artists Janine Baldwin Colin Cook, Deborah Grice and Karen Turner.

Leeds-born Janine Baldwin has settled into Scarborough. “Living on the North Yorkshire coast, I’m surrounded by beautiful moors, woodland and coastline,” she says. “These natural environments are a constant inspiration, and sketches made directly in the landscape form the basis of my studio work.”

Favouring a focus on mark-making and texture, she uses layers of charcoal, pastel and graphite to create her artworks gradually, influenced by Joan Eardley, Cy Twombly and Abstract Expressionism.

Morning Light Over Westerdale, acrylic on canvas, by Colin Cook

“I’m passionate about the conservation of our landscape and since 2006 I have been a conservation volunteer for the North York Moors National Park, working on projects such as tree planting and butterfly habitat management,” says Janine. “These projects have allowed a deeper understanding of the landscape, in turn enriching the artwork I create.”

Colin Cook lives and works near Whitby. “Originally I come from west London and lived in the south of England until moving to the north east to teach photography, digital imaging, drawing and painting in a further education college in 1989,” he says.

Colin had studied fine art at Isleworth Polytechnic and a degree in painting at Maidstone College of Art, graduating in 1979. He began exhibiting in 1987 at Gunnersbury Park Museum in west London, going on to be selected for the 10th Cleveland International Drawing Biennale at the Cleveland Gallery, Middlesbrough, and the BP Young European Artists exhibition of Works On Paper at the Barbican Concourse Gallery, London, in 1992.

Then, after many years of teaching, he began exhibiting again five years ago. The inspiration for his subject matter is drawn from the north-eastern coast and moors and the Lake District. “My paintings are representational, based on observation of the constantly changing and intriguing light,” says Colin

“My paintings are metaphysical in nature, representing vastness and ‘otherness’,” says Deborah Grice

“Most of my paintings are about creating an atmosphere through 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.”

His paintings are reliant on careful under-drawing to make 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.

“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 and on other occasions it is built up in layers or glazes. Acrylic allows for a certain immediacy as it dries fairly quickly.”

Born in East Yorkshire, not far from the Yorkshire Wolds, Deborah Grice is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London.

Resolution III, oil and gold on canvas, by Deborah Grice

“I paint wild landscapes and weather,” she says. “My paintings are metaphysical in nature, representing vastness and ‘otherness’. Although my oil paintings can be thought of as traditional in manner, with the introduction of geometric lines, I feel my work is forward looking, relevant and timely.”

Deborah began applying geometrical lines as a visual device in 2008 after gaining her private pilot’s licence. “Through the use of navigational charts for my cross-country flights, I became interested in making the invisible visible,” she says.

“After a decade of assimilating ideas and thoughts, the lines have also begun to allude to aspects of ‘vision’: perception, meditation, escapism and the physicality of looking.”

Easingwold artist and documentary photographer Karen Turner responds to land and sea, city and village.

A Blowy Day In Scarborough, mixed media, by Karen Turner

“Living in the wonderful county of Yorkshire, I’m passionate about our beautiful countryside, rugged coastline, historic cities and working fishing villages,” she says. “They all have their own individual charm and give endless inspiration to an artist.


​“I’ve always been drawn to the sea and love to paint it with the fluid, often unpredictable qualities of watercolour and inks on paper. I also enjoy creating using big brushes and the colourful opaque effects of acrylic paint on canvas, capturing marine life and other animals.”

Exploring with colour and bold mark making, Karen works in a semi-abstract, naive style, capturing the landscape, wildlife and other aspects of the inspirational natural world.
“I love to create art that makes people smile, adding a splash of colour and brightness to everyday life,” she says.

Blue Tree Galllery, York, is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11am to 5pm, as well as online at bluetreegallery.co.uk.

More Things To Do in York and beyond as Step 3 gathers pace away from home. List No. 34, courtesy of The Press, York

York Minster, west front, by Susan Brown at Kentmere House Gallery, York

THE Roadmap route to recovery is becoming ever busier, like the roads into York. This has prompted Charles Hutchinson to resume his weekly, rather than fortnightly, eerie to spot what’s happening.

Exhibition launch of the week: Susan Brown, Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York, until July 4

HUDDERSFIELD artist Susan Brown has returned to York Minster, one of her favourite locations for her architectural paintings, for her spring and summer show at Kentmere House Galllery, York.

Her artistic focus is on city life and our relationship with our environment, exploring the rhythm and movement within buildings and interiors, along with creating beautiful abstract paintings, inspired by still-life subjects and landscapes, with an emphasis on texture and pattern.

“Susan’s paintings are bold and striking, predominantly worked in watercolour and acrylic,” says gallery owner Ann Petherick. “The gallery is open anytime by prior arrangement or chance: you can ring 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or email ann.petherick@kentmerehouse.co.uk, or just take pot luck by ringing the bell. Please ring in advance if travelling any distance.”

Kentmere House Gallery’s next open weekend will be on June 5 and 6, 11am to 5pm; the gallery has a weekly late-evening opening on Thursdays to 9pm.

Jonty Ward: Recital organist and director of music at St Lawrence Parish Church, York

Festival of the week: St Lawrence Trinity Festival, St Lawrence Parish Church, Lawrence Street, York, May 29 to June 5

A £410,000 restoration has perked up the 1885 Denman organ transferred from St Michael-le-Belfrey for installation by organ-building firm Nicholson & Co at St Lawrence Parish Church.

A celebratory festival programme will include a demonstration by Nicholson & Co ahead of the inaugural recital by Robert Sharpe, York Minster organist and director of music, on May 29 at 10.30am.

Further organ recitals will be performed by musicians associated with St Lawrence and the City of York: William Campbell, May 31, 4pm; David Norton, June 1, 4pm; St Lawrence director of music Jonty Ward, June 3, 4pm, and Timothy Hone, music and liturgy administrator at York Minster, June 4, 4pm. The Black Sheep Consort will give a 7pm recital on May 31.

Attendance is free, but booking is required for the Inaugural Recital at festival@stlawrenceparishchurch.org.uk.

A T-shirt to mark the Super Cool Drawing Machine exhibition at The Crescent, York

Hippest exhibition of the week in York: Yuppies Music presents Super Cool Drawing Machine, The Crescent, York, today (26/5/2021) until Sunday

YUPPIES Music’s touring exhibition of musicians’ “other” work, will run at The Crescent community venue for four days from today. This celebration of art created by international touring independent musicians is billed as a “much-needed exploration of fun stuff”, on show each day from 11am to 9pm with Covid-secure measures in place.

Under social distancing restrictions, attendees will have to book in advance, choosing a specific time slot to view the exhibition. Consequently, only a small number of tickets are available at £5 for each time slot at seetickets.com.

Among the artists will be will be trailblazing jazz saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings; Welsh singer/producer Cate Le Bon; experimental folk musician Richard Dawson; African-American experimentalist Lonnie Holley and drummer/composer Seb Rochford, plus members of This Is The Kit, Mammal Hands, Haiku Salut, Snapped Ankles and more besides.

Ben Caplan: Singer-songwriter, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, playing Pocklington Arts Centre in November. Picture: Jamie Kronick

Gig announcement of the week outside York: Ben Caplan, Pocklington Arts Centre, November 11, 8pm

CANADIAN folk-rock singer-songwriter Ben Caplan will play Pocklington on his European autumn tour. 

His extensive itinerary will mark the tenth anniversary of his October 2011 debut, In The Time Of The Great Remembering, and will follow hot on the heels of Recollection, a retrospective collection of stripped back re-interpretations of songs from his back catalogue, out in October. 

Venue manager James Duffy says: “I saw Ben perform at Cambridge Folk Festival in 2019 and was blown away. He has a fantastic stage presence and mixes a wonderful blend of musical styles from folk to gypsy through to rock. Imagine the love child of Tom Waits and Gogol Bordello and you’re getting somewhere close.”

Caplan’s support act will be fellow Canadian Gabrielle Papillon. Tickets are on sale at pocklingtonartscenytre.co.uk.

The girl next door in The Girl Next Door: Naomi Petersen in rehearsal for Alan Ayckbourn’s 85th premiere. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Premiere of the week ahead: Alan Ayckbourn’s 85th play, The Girl Next Door, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, June 4 to July 3

THE SJT’s first in-house production of 2021 will be director emeritus Alan Ayckbourn’s The Girl Next Door, a lockdown love story.

Veteran actor Rob Hathaway is stuck at home during the summer of 2020 with only his sensible older sister for company. Rob has little to do but relive his glory days as fire-fighting wartime hero George “Tiger” Jennings in the nation’s favourite TV period drama, National Fire Service. 

Then, one day, Rob spots a stranger hanging out the washing in the adjoining garden, when the neighbours have not been around for months. Who is the mysterious girl next door? And why is she wearing 1940s’ clothing?

“The Girl Next Door is an affirmation of love across the generations,” says Ayckbourn. “I hope it’s positive and hopeful for those today crawling out of their metaphorical Anderson shelters blinking into the light.”

Benjamin Francis Leftwich: Playing The Citadel in his home city next February

Gig announcement for next year: Benjamin Francis Leftwich, The Citadel, Gillygate, York, February 25 2022

YORK singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich, now resident in Tottenham, London, will return to his home city to play The Citadel on his 26-date British and Irish tour next year. 

The tour will follow the June 18 release of his fourth album, To Carry A Whale, on June 18 on the Dirty Hit label.

His first to be written and recorded entirely sober, it was made over four months last year at home, at Urchin Studios in Hackney, in a hotel room in Niagara and at a Southend studio owned by Sam Duckworth, of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Tickets are on sale at benjaminfrancisleftwich.com.

‘Plates of pears or simple pots of flowers elevated into iconic emblematic art? We had to give Carol Douglas a ring for that…’

York artist Carol Douglas, left, with According To McGee gallery co-director Ails McGee

CAROL Douglas: Hygge and Expressionism part two launches at York gallery According To McGee on Saturday at 12 noon.

Greg and Ails McGee continue their commitment to contemporary painting with the latest collection by the York artist, who last exhibited at the Tower Street art space between lockdowns last year.

“We love Carol’s art,” says gallery co-director Ails. “We showcased her 2020 collection in the autumn and we weren’t surprised at how well they connected. The paintings focus in on the simplest, most humble items of homelife and reassemble them as iconic compositions.

“It’s her style, and you can tell who it is from across the room, which is a litmus test of success in itself.”

Carol’s Hygge and Expressionism part one brought the gallery a new type of discerning client when holding court at According To McGee, notes co-director Greg.

“When a gallery has to constantly rely on a static cohort of collectors to keep the commercial side of things going, that gallery is in trouble,” he says. “We have for 17 years made the point that if you want contemporary cityscapes, we have them. Semi-abstract seascapes? We have them too.

“Plates of pears or simple pots of flowers elevated into iconic emblematic art? We had to give Carol Douglas a ring for that! And she does it with such control, such a mischievous vision, that her work reminds me of William Carlos Williams’s poem This Is Just To Say.

“Those cold plums on the plate were more than just plums! So there’s the heft of something simple beautifully depicted that seems to connect to a whole new type of client that we’re really grateful for.” 

Digital artist Nick Walters orchestrating the Hope nocturnal digital display at According To McGee in York

Carol Douglas’s exhibition follows Hope, the three-week nocturnal digital display of artwork by children from all over the world, a project spearheaded by Denmark’s Viborg and guided to York by Chris Edwards, chair of REACH and the York Cultural Education Partnership, and Chris Bailey, clerk of the York Guild of Media Arts.

“If the intention was to remind a slowly returning cultural sector that According To McGee was alive and kicking, it certainly worked,” says Greg. “The response has been humbling. We’ve had families from participating York schools attending, and teenagers we’ve worked with through our charitable arm, New Visuality, sending me photos of the illuminated projections of their artwork.

“It’s been great and just underlines how innovative displays with digital artists Nick Walters and Pritpal Rehal can complement the more traditional thrills of coming to see a beautifully curated exhibition of beautifully composed paintings.” 

Now the focus turns to Carol Douglas’s paintings, with the McGees settling on maintaining the title Carol Douglas: Hygge and Expressionism from last year’s campaign. “Honestly, the title says it all, and the nature of the work has not shifted at all since last year,” says Ails.

“The ‘hygge’ is there to suggest the reassuringly domestic nature of the subject matter, and the ‘expressionism’ highlights just how much of the success is down to Carol’s wholly idiosyncratic insistence on depicting simple things with such iconic power. She is a joy to work with and is a real boost to York’s cultural community.”

Carol, 2018 winner of the Adult & Access Award for Art & Design Lifelong Student of the Year, says: “I hope that people who see my work find it both visually exciting and somewhat amusing. The domestic has always been my focus and speaks of my personality and history.”

Carol’s artworks can be viewed at According To McGee every Saturday, 12 noon to 4pm, or by appointment on 07973 653702 on weekdays. Alternatively, they can be discovered online at accordingtomcgee.com/collections/carol-douglas.

All are welcome at Saturday’s midday launch, Covid compliance allowing.

Susan Brown returns to York Minster architecture for Kentmere House show

York Minster, by Yorkshire artist Susan Brown

YORKSHIRE artist Susan Brown is exhibiting her architectural paintings of York Minster at Kentmere House Galllery, Scarcroft Hill, York, until July 4.

Her artistic focus is on city life and our relationship with our environment, exploring the rhythm and movement within buildings and interiors, along with creating beautiful abstract paintings, inspired by still-life subjects and landscapes, with an emphasis on texture and pattern.

Susan, who lives in Birdsedge, Huddersfield, exhibits both in Yorkshire nationally. Initially, she studied 3-D Design at Leeds College of Art, since when she has developed her two prime areas of interest, interior design and contemporary painting, in tandem.

The painting side of Susan has involved numerous commissions and several projects where she worked both as designer and artist.

York Minster, window detail, by Susan Brown

She paints theatrical and musical scenes, still life and landscape, but is most associated with her architectural subjects, especially cityscapes. “Her paintings are bold and striking, predominantly worked in watercolour and acrylic,” says Kentmere House Gallery owner Ann Petherick. “Her style is immediately recognisable.

“In recent years, she has focused on architectural studies of a range of European cityscapes, such as Prague, Lille, Paris Venice. Since lockdown, she has enjoyed her return to painting York.”

Susan’s musical interest has incorporated the role of artist-in-residence at the 1994 York Early Music Festival, as part of the series arranged by Kentmere House Gallery.

Her paintings appear in private and public contemporary art collections aplenty, among them Halifax Plc, Allied Domecq, the Sir George Martin Trust, the Universities of York and Sheffield, HBOS and the National Trust.

York Minster, West Front, by Susan Brown

Susan has exhibited at the Royal Academy, Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Watercolour Society and New English Art Club, as well as many independent galleries in London and across the country.

She has received many art prizes and awards, including the Laing Art Competition, Hunting Art Prize (regional winner) and Penrose Purchase Prize, and has published several books of her work. The latest, Landscape, will be published later this year, featuring her more abstract work.

“Susan has been showing at Kentmere House Gallery since 1990 and her new collection of paintings of York Minster is on show through late-May, throughout June and into early July,” says Ann. “The gallery is open anytime by prior arrangement or chance: you can ring or email, or just take pot luck by ringing the bell. Please ring in advance if travelling any distance.”

Kentmere House Gallery’s next open weekend will be on June 5 and 6, 11am to 5pm; the gallery has a weekly late-evening opening on Thursdays to 9pm. Ann can be contacted on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or at ann.petherick@kentmerehouse.co.uk.

Musicians’ art show Super Cool Drawing Machine heads to The Crescent

The Super Cool Drawing Machine T-shirt on sale in the exhibition gift shop

SUPER Cool Drawing Machine, Yuppies Music’s touring exhibition of musicians’ “other” work, will run at The Crescent community venue, York, from Thursday to Sunday.

This celebration of art created by international touring independent musicians is billed as a “much-needed exploration of FUN stuff”, on show each day from 11am to 9pm with Covid-secure measures in place.

Under social distancing restrictions, attendees will have to book in advance, choosing a specific time slot to view the exhibition. Consequently, only a small number of tickets are available at £5 for each time slot at seetickets.com.

“Over the moon” to be supported by Arts Council England, Yuppies Music and York music promoters Please Please You will present works by renowned musicians from alternative, experimental, jazz, folk, rock, soul, ambient, indie backgrounds.

Among them will be trailblazing saxophonist and figurehead of the British jazz scene Shabaka Hutchings; Mercury-nominated Welsh singer/producer Cate Le Bon; experimental folk musician Richard Dawson; African-American experimentalist Lonnie Holley and drummer/composer Seb Rochford, plus members of This Is The Kit, Mammal Hands, Haiku Salut, Snapped Ankles and more besides.

On display from May 27 to 30 will be paintings, photography, drawings, ceramics, digital instillations, recycled arts, sculpture and furniture, adding up to “colourful and interactive arts for the open-minded and curious”, complemented by a gift shop.

The full listing of artists is: Bex Burch, of Vula Viel; Bryony Jarman-Pinto; night flight: Cate Le Bon; H. Hawkline; Tim Presley; Cloudshoes; Daisuke Tanabe; Ed Dowie; Francois & The Atlas Mountains; Haiku Salut; Holysseus Fly; Ichi; Jeffrey Lewis…

…Leafcutter John; Lonnie Holley; Mammal Hands; Peter Broderick; Poppy Ackroyd; Rachael Dadd; Richard Dawson; Rhodri Davies; Rozi Plain; Seb Rochford; Shabaka Hutchings; Snapped Ankles; Tara Clerkin; This Is The Kit; Yama Warashi and Yumi And The Weather.

Peter Heaton’s photos and Peter Maris’s sculptures go on show at Dalby Forest

Dalby, by Peter Heaton, from the Residuum exhibition at The Courtyard, Low Dalby

PETER Heaton’s photographs combine with Peter Maris’s sculptures in the Residuum exhibition on show at The Courtyard, Low Dalby, Dalby Forest, near Pickering, until the end of August.

“All the work pretty much has been made during the lockdown period,” says artist/photographer Heaton. “It’s quite different for me, as I usually work in black and white, but as normal for my work, it’s heavily atmospheric, and this time it’s a collaborative project.”

Inspired by a particular forest environment and how it has formed, flourishes and changes through natural processes and human activity, Heaton and Maris’s “rich and sumptuous” exhibition” presents multi-layered photographs alongside intriguing carved stone sculptures that took the micro-climate and life within the forest’s small glacial valleys as a focal point for examination and creative exploration.

Sculpture, by Peter Maris, from the Residuum exhibition

Residuum is among the outcomes of an artist residency commissioned by Forestry England and supported by Arts Council England, wherein Maris invited Heaton to engage in a collaborative programme.

Heaton’s striking images were all made in a small area of the forest at High Staindale that contains a complex of several short steep valleys known locally as Griffs and Slacks. These features were created by glacial melt water and lie close to the prehistoric Dargate Dikes linear boundary.

“In this most ancient area of the forest, sunlight very rarely penetrates the valleys that seem to exude their own pale, green light,” he says. “They are full of fallen and decaying trees that are passing through continuous transformation as they moulder into the rocky forest floor. In my images these are atmospheric spaces, dominated by mosses, ferns, deep shadows and …silence.”

“Quite different for me, as I usually work in black and white, but as normal for my work, it’s heavily atmospheric,” says photographer Peter Heaton

In The Courtyard gallery, two large panoramic compositions flank either side of the exhibition space, examining and celebrating the rich array of minutiae that makes up the ever-changing forest floor, all photographically woven into complex, layered tapestries that reveal unexpected detail, colour and textures.

In contrast, four images printed onto Light Sheets on the gallery’s main wall alternate between illuminating the space with that “pale green light” and then darkening, shifting to reveal the woodland’s mysterious, primaeval qualities.

“There is constant change at work in these valleys, but it’s imperceptible, a slow decomposition and green rebirth brought about by nature’s agents of change,” says Heaton.

Forest, by Peter Heaton, on display at The Courtyard, Low Dalby

The sculptures are inspired by the same subject matter but, importantly, are also a creative response to the photographic compositional processes. “They are intentionally focused towards a ‘picture-plane’ presentation and deal with the surface issues in sculptural composition,” says Maris.

“These new pieces use the very rugged, textured, natural ‘bed’ surface of the stone as an appropriate visual metaphor in which to explore with a range of mark-making techniques, but that also refer to natural growth forms, decomposition and human activity.”

In this project, Maris has found the opportunity to broaden his sculptural expression beyond the boundaries of conventional stone-carving practice and introduce a greater spontaneity in approach and response.

The Residuum exhibition at The Courtyard, Low Dalby

“In these sculptures, I wanted to develop new creative routes in stone and I felt free to compose and draw with the chisel in a very loose and painterly manner,” says Maris. “Colour has been introduced too, both by chance discovery and by deliberation.”

The natural textures of the stones have given rise to imaginative and creative play in the carving process. “Surface features and shapes are undercut and pierced, revealing apertures in the stone, posing references to the earth’s surface as a fragile membrane that can be broken or eroded through human activity and natural environmental processes.”

Heaton concludes: “With people becoming increasingly appreciative of the benefits of spending more time outdoors, perhaps a visit to the exhibition combined with walk through Dalby Forest would be just the ticket in the coming months.”

The exhibition poster for Residuum



Manic Street Preachers…pretentious or what? Up for Chalmers & Hutch debate in Two Big Egos In A Small Car episode 43

WHAT’s up with chatty art podcast duo Chalmers & Hutch? We need to talk about two steps forward, but Step 3 stumble? Deer Shed at Base Camp. LIVE theatre at last! Marc Bolan & T Rex: 21st Century Boy. Street art & what makes a “hero” fit for a mural?

Oh, and yes, Manic Street Preachers…pretentious or what?

Here’s the link: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/8550398

More Things To Do in York and beyond and online as Step 3 tiptoes into the light. List No. 33, courtesy of The Press, York

Minster Men: The Howl & The Hum to play livestreamed concert at York Minster on Tuesday

THE Indian Variant may be dampening down hopes for June 21, but Charles Hutchinson’s diary is still filled with hope, concerts, festivals, exhibitions and a Minster livestreaming.

Livestreaming of the week ahead: The Howl & The Hum, Live At York Minster, Tuesday, 8pm   to 9.30pm

YORK rock band The Howl & The Hum are performing a one-off streamed concert in the Nave of York Minster on Tuesday, with tickets available via Brudenell.ticketco.events/.

The 8.15pm setlist will be built around last year’s debut album, Human Contact, whose prescient title chimed with pandemic times as such contact became more restricted, even barred. New material may well feature too. “I reckon it will,” says frontman Sam Griffiths.

Rachel Croft: York singer-songwriter to perform on Songs Under Skies acoustic double bill with Wounded Bear at the NCEM. Picture: Amy D’Agorne

A fistful of outdoor gigs: Songs Under Skies, National Centre for Early Music, York, in June  

SONGS Under Skies will return to the NCEM’s churchyard gardens at St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York, next month.

Five outdoor acoustic double bills from 6.30pm to 8.30pm will comprise Wounded Bear and Rachel Croft on June 1; Kell Chambers and Nadedja, June 2; Katie Spencer and Joshua Burnell, June 14; Zak Ford and Alice Simmons, June 15, and Epilogues and Sunflower Thieves, June 16.

As with last September’s debut series, the socially distanced, Covid-safe season two will be presented in association with The Crescent community venue, The Fulford Arms and the Music Venues Alliance. Box office: at tickets.ncem.co.uk.

Hope Is The New Hero, by Jake T, from Rawcliffe and Clifton Without, for the Hope display at the According To McGee gallery in York

Children’s art show of the week in York: Hope projections, According To McGee, York, tonight, tomorrow, then Wednesday to Friday for the next two weeks, 6pm to 9pm nightly

HOPE springs nocturnal in a collaboration between primary school artists from York and around the world at York gallery According To McGee.

Under the title of Hope, the artwork will be on display in light projections in the window of the Tower Street gallery in a creative response to the pandemic.

Digital artists Nick Walters is overseeing evenings featuring projections of 350 artworks selected from 3,000 images from cities in 33 countries.

York artist Sue Clayton, second from right, with NHS York Vaccination Centre site manager Will McEvoy, Nimbuscare director of quality and patient experience Michelle Phillips and Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer at the unveiling – but not unmasking! – of the 21 exhibition at Askham Bar

Jab in the arm for art: Sue Clayton’s 21 exhibition, NHS York Vaccination Centre, Askham Bar, York, until June 13

WHAT a captive audience for Sue Clayton’s portrait exhibition of children and young adults with Down Syndrome, presented in association with Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC).

As many as 3,000 people a day are attending the Askham Bar vaccination centre to receive a jab in the “Tent Of Hope”, where biodegradable prints of Sue’s paintings are in place.

The theme of 21 symbolises the extra 21st chromosome that people with Down Syndrome have, Sue’s energetic son James among them. 

Manic Street Preachers: New tour, new album…oh, and a new single called…Orwellian

Gig announcement of the week in York: Manic Street Preachers, York Barbican, October 4

WELSH rock band Manic Street Preachers’ 14-date autumn itinerary will showcase the September 3 release of their 14th studio album, The Ultra Vivid Lament, on Columbia/Sony.

In a departure from 2018’s Resistance Is Futile, the new record is the first Manics’ studio set to be conceived initially on piano rather than guitar.

James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore last played York Barbican in May 2019. Their support will be The Anchoress, the Welsh-born multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and author Catherine Anne Davies. Tickets sales go live tomorrow (21/5/2021) at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Mad about the Boy: Boy George and Culture Club perennial members Roy Hay and Mikey Craig are off to the Yorkshire seaside

Gig announcement of the week outside York: Culture Club, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, August 14

EIGHTIES’ icon Boy George and Culture Club are off to the Yorkshire seaside in a new addition to the packed Scarborough Open Air Theatre programme.

Bexleyheath-born frontman and fashion innovator George O’Dowd, who turns 60 on June 14, will perform alongside original band members Roy Hay and Mikey Craig in a “stunning live band”. Tickets go on sale for the 8,000-capacity show via scarboroughopenairtheatre.com tomorrow (21/5/2021) at 9am.

Rachel Podger: The Violinist Speaks concert at York Early Music Festival 2021. Picture: Theresa Pewal

Festival launch of the week: York Early Music Festival 2021, July 12 to 16

PRESENTED by the National Centre of Early Music, the classical York Early Music Festival 2021 will have the theme of Encounters, most vitally between audience and artists after lockdown loosening.

Among the guest artists will be violinist Rachel Podger; lutenist Jacob Heringman; bass Matthew Brook; the Monteverdi String Band; harpsichordist Steven Devine; The Society Of Strange & Ancient Instruments; La Vaghezza and Ensemble Clement Janequin.

Taking part too will be vocal ensemble Stile Antico and Spanish Baroque ensemble L’Apothéose. Tickets are on sale at ncem.co.uk. Upcoming too will be YEMF 21 Online, from July 15 to 18, featuring festival concerts and commissioned highlights.

Bull in a field: York alt.rock band booked for Deer Shed: Base Camp Plus festival

No Deer Shed 11 festival, but here comes Deer Shed: Base Camp Plus, Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, Thirsk, July 30 to August 1

AFTER last summer’s Base Camp, Deer Shed Festival co-directors Oliver Jones and Kate Webster have created Base Camp Plus with a female-headlined main stage, live music, DJ sets, comedy and shows. As with last year’s event, each camping pitch will contain its own Portaloo and washing facilities.

Jane Weaver, Dream Wife and Porridge Radio are the headliners; York bands Bull and New York Brass Band will be playing too; John Shuttleworth, Mark Watson and Angelos Epithemiou lead the comedy.

The organisers will adhere to the Step 3 restrictions in place since Monday, limiting the capacity, with social distancing and face coverings in covered areas. For tickets, go to: deershedfestival.com/basecampplus.

And what about?

Brief encounter: York drag diva Velma Celli in Love Is Love: A Brief History Of Drag at York Theatre Royal

Velma Celli in Love Is Love: A Brief History Of Drag, York Theatre Royal, May 29, 8pm

YORK drag diva deluxe Velma Celli’s fabulous contribution to York Theatre Royal’s reopening Love Season will be one of Velma’s regular cabaret shows, re-titled Love Is Love: A Brief Of History Of Drag specially to meet the love brief.

Joining Velma – the creation of York musical actor Ian Stroughair – will be two guest acts, Jordan Fox, Ian’s co-star in Jack And The Beanstalk, and Jessica Steel, together with backing singers Kimberley Ensor and Grace Lancaster, musical director Ben Papworth, drummer Clark Howard and guitarist Al Morrison.

Ian last appeared on the Theatre Royal in Kes at the age of 14, all of 24 years ago.

Karen Winship’s poignant NHS Heroes portraits show launched at Hull Marina

Mother and daughter: Karen Winship’s self-portrait of her painting her portrait of Kelly, an NHS occupational therapist

YORK artist Karen Winship’s poignant tribute to the selfless work of front-line NHS workers during the Covid-19 pandemic is on display at Hull Waterside & Marina until June 20.

Eleven of Karen’s NHS Heroes portraits were first shown at York Art Gallery in the Our Heroes Welcome thank-you to essential workers from August 1 when Lockdown 1 eased last summer.

Last August too, 13 more made their debut at City Screen, York, where the exhibition included a montage of all 24 that is being gifted to York Hospital by Karen, whose self-portrait of herself painting one of the NHS Heroes completes the collection.

The original paintings have been presented to the sitters, but the 24 portraits have been given a new life, reproduced on biodegradable boards for outdoor display by Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) at a larger size than the originals.

Karen Winship’s NHS Heroes portraits on the railings at All Saints’ Church, Pocklington

First shown side by side on the railings at All Saints’ Church, Pocklington, from late-November to January, the portrait prints have headed further east to Hull, where they can be viewed for free, thanks to PAC joining forces with the marina managers, Aquavista.

“I’ve had a great response to the portraits so far, so it’s incredible that Pocklington Arts Centre is now taking the exhibition on tour into the wider community,” says Karen, whose work also features in Portraits For NHS Heroes, a fund-raising book for NHS charities.

“It’s been such a challenging time for everyone, especially our NHS front-line workers, and this was my way of recognising everything they do for us, so it’s fantastic that this recognition can be expanded even further. Art doesn’t get much more accessible than an open-air exhibition.

“I’m delighted to see my portraits lining the railings along Hull Marina, which is a landmark in itself, and I hope the public enjoy them too.”

Amanda, by Karen Winship, from her NHS Heroes series of portraits

NHS Heroes is one of two pop-up touring exhibitions being taken into communities across the region by PAC. York artist Sue Clayton’s collection of 21 portraits celebrating children and young adults with Down Syndrome was unveiled last Tuesday at the NHS York Vaccination Centre, at Askham Bar, for browsing by those attending jab appointments in the “Tent of Hope” until June 13. Plans are being put in place for the “21” show to transfer to Hull Marina after Karen’s show closes.

PAC director Janet Farmer says: “Making our exhibitions accessible to the public despite the pandemic has been really important for us, and the feedback has been really positive, so we’re very much looking forward to enabling even more people to see these incredibly poignant portraits created by the talented Karen Winship.

“We think they will make for a striking display along the marina. Our thanks to Aquavista for helping to make this possible.”

York artist Karen Winship with Aquavista manager Graham Richardson and Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer at Hull Waterside & Marina

Aquavista took over ownership of Hull Waterside & Marina last year and were only too keen to support PAC’s pop-up exhibition plans. Manager Graham Richardson says: “We’re delighted to support this fantastic initiative. The marina is a popular visitor destination, so we hope to see lots of people coming to view the portraits over the next few weeks.”

Karen, artist and educator, had begun her career as a graphic designer, later gaining a teaching degree and subsequently working for 15 years at a maximum-security prison as head of art.

Embarking on her journey as a professional artist in 2012, she is “living the dream” in her words, not least as a community-minded artist who enjoys “giving back” through her involvement in community art projects.

NHS Heroes is her latest public-spirited endeavour, this one inspired by Tom Croft’s #portraitsfornhsheroes project for artists to complete a free portrait in appreciation of the NHS for gifting to the worker depicted.

Karen Winship’s portrait of Samantha, from the NHS Heroes exhibition and Portraits For NHS Heroes fund-raising book for NHS charities

“There was a shout-out on Facebook across the country from Tom Croft, calling for artists to take part, and I was inundated with ten requests. Then I appeared on Look North and got even more,” says Karen.

“Tom Croft has now put together a book of 300 of the portraits, including one of mine, the one of Samantha, when she hasn’t got a mask on, but you can see all the creases on her face from the mask.

“Portraits For NHS Heroes is available in hardback on Amazon with all proceeds going to NHS charities.”

Among Karen’s portraits is one of her daughter, Kelly, who works for the NHS as an occupational therapist, bringing home the challenges faced by frontline workers in the pandemic. “I even had to do her portrait from photographs,” says Karen, to whom most of her subjects were unknown.

Kelly, NHS occupational therapist and daughter of artist Karen Winship, from NHS Heroes

“They were a few people I know from York, but the photographs came from all over. Newcastle, Northern Ireland, Scotland. At first, I thought it might be difficult to work just from a photo, because I’m used to doing portraits from people sitting for me, but because these photographs were taken as they were working, looking into their eyes, you can see the trauma, the sadness, the exhaustion.

“Normally, you can see a sitter’s mouth, but invariably in these photographs the mouth had to be covered with a mask, so the eyes become even more important.”

Karen’s portraits were first “exhibited” informally. “My neighbours in my cul-de-sac [St Thomas Close in Osbaldwick] put them in their windows,” she recalls. “People even came from Beverley and Newcastle to walk down the street, and one told me their back story…and you then carry those stories with you.”

Karen Winship at Monday’s launch of her NHS Heroes exhibition at Hull Waterside & Marina

She found creating the NHS Heroes portraits “so intense”, she eventually had to stop. “I tend to work quickly because I like spontaneity,” says Karen. “Normally with portraits, I work from one sitting and then photos, but what was different with these portraits was that I was totally absorbed just in painting. Normally, we would be chatting at a sitting.

“I was exhausted, doing one after another from photographs. I just kept going until they were done. Afterwards, I immediately went on to do something that was colourful: a couple of autumn paintings, still lifes. I had to do something that was completely contrasting.

“And I’ve also been lucky that since the NHS project, I’ve had various commissions as I had to cut back on my teaching during the lockdowns.”

For more information on PAC’s forthcoming exhibitions, visit: pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Joan, portrait by Karen Winship from the NHS series