Home is where the heart and art is for South Bank artist Carolyn Coles as she launches seascape show at Bluebird Bakery

Home Is Where The Heart Is, the seascape that provides the title for Carolyn Coles’s exhibition at Bluebird Bakery, Acomb

BLUEBIRD Bakery, in Acomb Road, Acomb, is where the art is from May 30 when Carolyn Coles unveils Home Is Where The Heart Is.

Specialising in atmospheric, impressionistic and abstract seascapes, South Bank Studios artist Carolyn paints mostly with acrylics on stretched canvasses, using an array of techniques and implements.

Known for evoking emotional responses, her latest exhibition reflects her love for the Yorkshire landscape in paintings that offer a direct connection to places that feel like home.

Carolyn’s artistic journey is flourishing within the womb of South Bank Studios, where 19 artists share workspaces and collaborate in their creative endeavours. Often she can be found working in her studio or in the open air with an easel or sketchbook.

York artist Caroyn Coles in her South Bank studio

Her education and career path have focused on creativity as a main drive, working initially in marketing for a mail order arts and crafts material company, then for Newsquest in editorial graphics and the advertising graphics department at The York Press, in Walmgate.

Utilising her background of studies of general art, illustration and design, Carolyn finally realised her dream of being a professional fine artist and now sells work at home and internationally, with a waiting list for commissions, as well as participating regularly in York Open Studios.

Exploring colour, mark making and emotion, Home Is Where The Heart Is highlights a challenging period for Carolyn, who lost her mother, Jo, soon after the works were produced.

Jo’s Place, by Carolyn Coles, painted in honour of her late mother

“My mother certainly inspired a new use of colour and direction, with her advice that ‘light can brighten people up’ during one of our many chats on Messenger,” says Carolyn.

One of the pieces emerged in direct response to what she imagined as the perfect piece, Jo describing this plainly as: “Beautiful moorland, colourful heather, sparkling water on lake”. Jo’s Place was completed after she passed away, in her memory, fuelled by Carolyn’s need for connection. “I use art as therapy and always have,” she says.

 “It’s not that I don’t like using colour. I just really enjoy the soft subtle mood that the seascapes often bring – which is why I have a relatively muted palette. I really wanted to connect with my love of nature, differently and in honour of Mum, so I chose to turn my usual style on its head and pick colours that really vibrate with each other.”

The best example of this, she says, is Home Is Where The Heart Is “because it represents how I feel when I approach that area of the Yorkshire coast” (at Port Mulgrave).

Wild Temptation, seascape, by Carolyn Coles

“It’s an area that I used to go a lot when I was younger. The area is simply stunning. I’ve been there in every weather and have always felt extreme happiness. It makes my heart sing.”

Other pieces are much more explosive in technique. “I managed this by using a whole array of different tools, including window squeegees, sweeping brushes, palette knives. I made a right mess of my studio and loved every minute of it,” says Carolyn. 

“When you start working on a scale this large – 1.5m – you really do have to go up in brush size. I found some lovely decorators’ brushes, and some of them really create waves brilliantly. I couldn’t possibly go into too much detail, otherwise I knew I would end up getting sucked into some kind of peculiar vortex of insanity. I’ll leave that for other artists!”

Carolyn Coles, Home Is Where The Heart Is, Bluebird Bakery, Acomb Road, Acomb, York, May 30 to August 1. Everyone is welcome at the 6pm to 9pm launch on May 30 when Carolyn will be happy to answer questions.

The poster for Carolyn Coles’s Home Is Where The Heart Is exhibition at Bluebird Bakery, Acomb