Once Quentin Crisp was her life-class model, now Jill Ray sketches with her iPad

Between The Showers, by Jill Ray

LANDSCAPES by Sheffield digital artist Jill Ray will go on show at Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, from September 22 to October 24.

“Coincidentally, the closing week overlaps with the opening of the York Mediale Festival, a celebration of digital and media arts, on October 21,” says gallery owner Simon Main.

Jill developed her print technique while practising as a landscape architect, but soon found that her fascination for making images this way inspired her in a new direction.

Warm Evening, by Jill Ray

Often using an iPad as a portable sketchbook, the hills of Yorkshire and the Dark Peak, the Sheffield woodlands and occasional winter forays to the East Coast provide much of her subject matter.

“Jill loves to explore the subtle ways similar shapes and patterns echo and repeat, and the way sunlight overlays pattern and drama in the composition, exploring them in the graphic lines of her works,” says Simon.

Sheffield-born Jill has been an artist and designer for more than 25 years, returning to live in the Steel City since her twenties. She pursued a career as a landscape architect, working for Sheffield City Council from 1986 to 2012, not least as lead designer for the Town Hall Square, part of the Heart of the City Millennium project, as well as undertaking private garden design commissions.

“My main concerns are colour, light and the rhythms of landscape,” says Jill Ray

Jill, whose student days at St Albans School of Art in 1974-1975 were marked by Quentin Crisp being a frequent model in her life-drawing studies, launched Jill Ray Landscapes in 2012 to combine her design and fine art skills.

Jill combines painting in oils on canvas with creating prints digitally. “I discovered what a great drawing tool my PC was,” she says. “I really love the way layers of translucent blocks of colour can build up an image.

Clearing Skies, by Jill Ray

“My passion for making images this way combined with a rekindling of my previous love of painting in oils on canvas, and I really enjoy exploring both old and new technology in the development of my work.” Hence her use of both the iPad as a portable sketchbook and photographic references.

“My main concerns are colour, light and the rhythms of landscape,” says Jill, who is a member of Peak District Artisans and Sheffield Printmakers. “I am fascinated by the way similar shapes and patterns echo and repeat in the landscape, as can be seen in both the striking and bold styles of my prints – which often resemble the effects of overlaid layers of tissue paper – and in a more subtle and textural exploration in my paintings.”

Village Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

Along The Ridge Front, by Jill Ray