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

Blue Tree Gallery marks tenth anniversary with York 2021 exhibition until May 8

York Minster, mixed media, by Paolo Lazzerini

BLUE Tree Gallery, in Bootham, York, is reopening with Covid-secure measures and temporary opening hours of 11am to 5pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The York 2021 exhibition, marking the tenth anniversary of Gordon Giarchi and Marisa Giarchi launching the gallery on March 23 2011, began online on March 27, with the works “also displayed in the gallery and gallery window for those passing by”.

York 2021, featuring original paintings by Sarah Connell, Giuliana Lazzerini, Paolo Lazzerini and Mark Sofilas, will run until May 8, now both in person and at

“With the support of our exhibiting artists, and especially our supportive clients, exposure in the media and grants assistance from City of York Council, we continue with the gallery and now see a light ahead through this pandemic,” say Gordon and Marisa.

Manchester mixed-media landscape artist Sarah Connell’s paintings are “primarily about light, atmosphere and colour”. “I have painted in traditional media ever since I can remember, but now also paint digitally, using a stylus and tablet at a computer or on an iPad,” she says.

“My parents are both creative and encouraged me as a child by buying me ‘grown-up’ paints, and sometimes my dad let me tag along with his night school art class. The fact he was a printer meant there was always paper by the ream for me to draw on.”

Dusk On The Ouse, acrylic on panel, by Sarah Connell

Sarah then read Art History and Archaeology at Nottingham University, followed by Clothing Design at Manchester Metropolitan University. “It was while studying clothing design that I first became interested in digital painting and wrote my dissertation on analogue versus digital fashion illustration,” she recalls.

“In a way, I am still exploring how traditional painting influences my digital work and vice versa. I went on to work in design and photography for a few companies, eventually going freelance and spending more and more time painting.”

Blue Tree Gallery artist-in-residence Giuliana Lazzerini was born in Seravezza, near the small town of Pietrasanta, in Tuscany, the daughter of a professional painter and international mosaicist.

Between 1962 and 1968, she was a student at the Istituto d’Arte Stagio Stagi in Pietrasanta, gaining a Master of Arts Diploma, and then studied painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara for four years.

In 1987, Giuliana moved to Yorkshire, where she now lives in York. The Tuscan landscape and childhood memories still bear a strong influence on her work, her first encounters with art in Italy having been in her painter father Bruno’s mosaic studio.

Both the translucency of the mosaic fragments and the vibrancy and colours evoked by the juxtaposed mosaic pieces inspired her.

These early perceptions, several years on, provide a language and a vocabulary for her pictures in terms of the colours, surfaces and scale that she uses in constructing her tapestry-like, interlocking, angular-surfaced village landscapes.

Spring Time, Clifford’s Tower, acrylic on canvas, by Giuliana Lazzerini

Architecture exists within a shallow space; structures are locked together through a medieval, narrative sort of pictorial logic.

In other works, Giuliana depicts solitary portrait images. Figures often appear with props, such as shells, cups and boats, and equestrian references sometimes appear too. Are these characters the inhabitants of Lazzerini’s interlocking Tuscan villages, or part of some ceremonial ritual?

“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,” says Giuliana. “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.”

Giuliana’s brother, Paolo Lazzerini, trained at the Liceo Artistico and the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Carrara, winning numerous art prizes and being invited to exhibit in important galleries such as the Accademia of Santa Cecilia in Rome, Le Tableau Gallery in Turin, Galleria San Marco of Rome, Ponte Tresa Gallery in Switzerland and Gallery 2000 in Tokyo, Japan.

Although Paolo worked primarily as a professional graphic designer in the 1990s and 2000s, he continued to paint, presenting many solo and mixed exhibitions in Italy at Forte Dei Marmi, Turin, Edinburgh, Yorkshire, Birmingham, Monaco and Cologne. In the past few years, Paolo’s painting has become more intense, on show at many more events and exhibitions.

Mark Sofilas, originally from Western Australia, migrated to Great Britain in 2008.  “I was an illustrator with more than 20 years’ experience in the advertising industry but took the opportunity, on moving to the UK, to turn to fine art, something that I had always wanted to do,” he says.

He now paints full time from his studio in Leeds, creating oil paintings of the Yorkshire countryside, particularly coastal scenes of the heritage coast, such as the fishing villages of Whitby, Staithes and Robin Hood’s Bay.

York Minster, mixed media on wood panel, by Mark Sofilas

“My paintings are very heavily guided by the emotions a particular scene or moment evokes in me. It’s this feeling that I try to convey to the viewer,” says Mark, a proud member of Leeds Fine Artists and the Association of British Naive Artists.

“It might be something as simple as smoke drifting from a chimney pot or a silhouette created by a particular light source. It may be the strength or history that emanates from an everyday object or piece of architecture.”

Over time, Mark has discovered he can best achieve emotional impact by exaggerating or characterising colour, manipulating perspective slightly and pushing shape and form to arrive, hopefully, at a “nicely balanced place”, where the image conjured has not only captured the physical qualities of the scene, but more importantly, the feeling of the occasion.

“I’m a self-taught painter; not locked into approaching my work with any particular procedure or direction in mind,” he says. “However, I take photographs of my subjects, but like to rely on memory, imagination, the ultimate goal being to recreate exactly what I’m feeling onto a flat surface.

“I don’t do preliminary drawings. Instead, I prefer to adopt a more organic approach, designing the paintings as I go. This helps the end product retain a freshness, a feeling of spontaneity. I always have an image, a mood in my mind’s eye, that I’m trying to put down, and I find that working this way allows me to be flexible; going with any happy accidents that more than likely will occur.”

Mark adds: “It’s these little surprises that I can adopt, learn from and take into my next painting. I enjoy the journey that this direct and unstructured approach takes me on, finding that it enables me to either get close to achieving what I had in mind and heart or, on occasion, arrive somewhere unexpected but just as rewarding.”

Blue Tree Gallery’s Revive show goes online from today – and fills the window too

Follow Me, acrylic canvas, by Giuliana Lazzerini

BLUE Tree Gallery’s new online exhibition, Revive, opens today, showing original paintings by artist-in-residence Giuliana Lazzerini, Steve Tomlinson, James Wheeler and Giles Ward.

“We’re temporarily closed due to the third lockdown but still operating with online shows and displaying the artworks in the gallery and gallery window for those passing by,” says Gordon Giarchi, co-owner of the gallery in Bootham, York.

Giuliana Lazzerini, born in Seravezza, near Pietrasanta, in Tuscany, moved 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 a 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.”

Ambient Tide, acrylic on calico panel, by Steve Tomlinson

Art has always been central to Steve Tomlinson’s life, from passing his art exam and 11-plus in order to go to an art grammar school, Moseley Road School of Art, in Birmingham, to attaining a degree in Fine Art at Canterbury.

After an early career in exhibitions at the British Museum and interpretive projects for the heritage industry, he has worked on public art projects – mainly sculpture – for many years. “I’ve always painted and my work here at the Blue Tree Gallery is a further, somewhat symbolic, development of my interests in the sea and the associated physical and emotional experiences it brings,” says Steve.

“There’s a timeless reflective quality to walking on a beach or staring out to sea: it gives back a version of our own thoughts and feelings. As we occupy this threshold, our minds are filled with a sense of space, of time and our own human fragile place in the world and the paintings attempt to stimulate such a contemplation.

“The textures I create suggest the wind, the sounds of the sea and other coastal features, such as pebbles, rocks and driftwood. I hope that my work may encourage people to look beyond or within themselves and that the beholder will find a meaning that is pertinent, personal and rewarding. To quote E. E. Cummings: ‘It’s always ourselves we find in the sea.’”

Force Of Nature, abstract oil on canvas, by James Wheeler

Glasgow-born James Wheeler studied at the Glasgow School of Art and trained as a carpet designer before moving south to be the design studio manager at a Yorkshire carpet manufacturer, where he has become one of the UK’s leading carpet designers.

The importance of colour and composition in his professional designs has flowed naturally into the subtlety of hue and texture in his landscape paintings, painted primarily in oils on cork.

His work straddles the contemporary and the timeless, inviting viewers to invest in a personal interpretation of each painting.

James seeks to mix memory and desire in the light and atmosphere of his landscapes, drawing inspiration from visits to his homeland, Scotland, and from holidays spent in France, Venice and the Mediterranean islands. Closer to home, his love of the Lake District and Yorkshire scenery stirs him too.

Six Sprats, oil and acrylic board, by Giles Ward

Giles Ward is an artist and writer originally from Yorkshire, where he studied Fine Art in Sheffield before moving to Exeter to study Illustration and Graphic Design, since when he has exhibited both in the UK and overseas.

Experimentation is at the heart of Giles’s painting, pre-dominantly in oils. His canvases take on other-worldly textures with the addition of acrylics, inks, spray paint, varnishes and anything else he can lay his hands on. He is inspired by the natural world and examines the hidden worlds of colour and texture found in nature’s close-up detail.

“We may be closed but we are always ‘open’ for your queries by email and to purchase online at,” says Gordon. “You can now use the Own ArtScheme service in the comfort of your own home, paying for your art in ten interest-free monthly instalments. Just get in touch by email at”

Revive can be viewed online at until March 13.

Blue Tree Gallery opens The Printmakers Show online as second lockdown exhibition

The Tree By The Edge Of The Forest, by Ed Boxall

BLUE Tree Gallery, in York, is running its second online exhibition, The Printmakers Show, until July 3

Closed to visitors since March 20 under the Coronavirus restrictions, the Bootham art-space is presenting original prints by Giuliana Lazzerini, Melvyn Evans, Hester Cox, Sarah Harris, Ed Boxall and Anna Tosney.

Long-Tailed Tits, by Anna Tosney

“You can now view and buy our wonderful range of original prints from us online,” says Giuliana. “We’re pleased to announce that all work on the website will be posted free of charge during this time, UK only. Charges will apply overseas.

“We really hope you enjoy this exhibition, featuring a variety of gallery artists’ original prints, in the comfort of your own home. Stay safe and take care of yourselves.”

The Hunter At Eventide, by Hester Cox

Blue Tree Gallery held its first online show from April 20 to the end of May to raise funds for the NHS.

Taking part in this inaugural exhibition were Kate Boyce; Deborah Burrow; Colin Carruthers; Colin Cook; Giuliana Lazzerini; Paolo Lazzerini; Neil McBride and Sharon Winter.

Finnesterre Moderate To Fair, by Melvyn Evans

A minimum of ten per cent of the retail price from every original painting sale was donated between the gallery and the artists to the NHS Covid-19 Appeal for York Hospital.

“The exhibition offered all our customers the opportunity to support the NHS, the artists and, of course, the gallery in these trying times, and we can announce we’ve donated £554.70p to the NHS,” says Blue Tree’s Gordon Giarchi.

To view the Printmakers Show works online, go to:

Stoodley PIke, by Sarah Harris