Malcolm Ludvigsen captures spirit of John Ruskin in Village Gallery’s breath of fresh air

Scarborough, by Malcolm Ludvigsen, at Village Gallery, York

PROLIFIC plein-air artist Malcolm Ludvigsen is the focus of Village Gallery’s new exhibition from tomorrow in Colliergate, York.

“The last year has been extremely hard for everyone, not least of all for artists, with many exhibitions and events being cancelled,” says gallery owner Simon Main. “So, we’re thrilled to announce our first show of 2021.”

Erstwhile maths professor Ludvigsen spends much of his time on the beaches and headlands of his Yorkshire homeland, fascinated endlessly by the sea and sky.

“I think the thing that first attracted me to painting was John Ruskin’s exhortation that all men, as part of their morning salutations, should go out and paint a picture of the sky,” he says.

Malcolm Ludvigsen painting in the bracing air of Scarborough

“This sounded like a very nice thing to do, so I decided to give it a go, and I’ve not really stopped painting since.” 

In 2013, Ludvigsen won the Oldie British Artists Award – a major competition for British artists aged 60 or over – for his landscape entitled Filey.

“Ironically this accolade came in the same year that my work was rejected by the Royal Academy for their summer exhibition,” he recalls. 

Malcolm Ludvigsen’s Art, a show of familiar Yorkshire landscapes and seascapes in oils, will run from tomorrow until Saturday, June 19, with Covid-secure, socially distanced measures in place. Opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

Cayton Bay, oil painting, by Malcolm Ludvigsen

Village Gallery to reopen with first group exhibition by York’s Westside Artists

In Her Shadows, by Adele Karmazyn

VILLAGE Gallery, in Colliergate, York, will reopen on Wednesday (2/12/2020), when Lockdown 2 ends, to present the first collective exhibition for York’s Westside Artists.

Running until January 23 2021, Immersed will showcase the work of Adele Karmazyn; Carolyn Coles; Donna Maria Taylor;  Ealish Wilson; Fran Brammer; Jane Dignum; Jill Tattersall; Lucy McElroy; Marc Godfrey-Murphy; Richard Rhodes; Robin Grover-Jacques and Sharon McDonagh.

Cayton Bay, by Carolyn Coles

“2020 has been an extremely hard year everyone, not least of all for artists, with many exhibitions and events being cancelled,” says gallery owner and curator Simon Main.

“So, Village Gallery is delighted to announce that its next post-lockdown exhibition will feature a group of local artists in their first collective showing.

Beehives & Sunflowers, by Jane Dignum

“The ‘Westside Artists’ is a small group of artists based around Holgate in York, who work in varied disciplines, such as painting, photomontage, print making, collage textile art, pottery and mixed media, and in varied subjects, from landscapes and seascapes to portraiture and abstract.”

Village Gallery’s opening hours are 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday, with Covid-secure social distancing measures in place.

Moon jars, by Richard Rhodes

“This exhibition is opening in time for everyone to find a truly unique Christmas gift while supporting local artists,” says Simon.

“Aside from its regularly changing art exhibitions, Village Gallery is York’s official stockist of Lalique glass and crystal, and additionally sells art, jewellery, ceramics, glass and sculpture, much of it the work of local artists.”

Child With Caterpillar, by Lucy McElroy

Carolyn Coles loves to be besides the sea as tide comes in for Village Gallery show

Holding On – Filey, by Carolyn Coles

YORK seascape artist Carolyn Coles will hold her first exhibition since lockdown at Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, from August 4 to September 19.

Favouring a limited palette to give her work identity, simplicity and life, Carolyn paints mostly on bespoke canvasses in oils and sometimes acrylics, applied with palette knives and flat brushes.

“I like to capture atmosphere, usually with a leaning towards dark and moody and generally on a larger scale,” she says.

Carolyn’s formal artistic education began with studying art and design at York College, then specialising in illustration at Hereford College of Art and Design, earning distinctions in the early 1990s.

Too Late To Go Home, by Carolyn Coles

After a career taking in marketing art materials and graphic design and illustration in journalism, Carolyn now devotes her time to painting, exhibiting and selling work both on the home market in York, London, Derby, Manchester and Leeds and internationally too.

Carolyn’s love of the seaside and nature in general is reflected in her new collection. “The impressionistic style allows the viewer to interpret their own story and pull their own memories back into play,” she says.

Carolyn was invited by curator and owner Simon Main to mount her “Oh I Do Like To Be Besides The…” show at Village Gallery.

“We select artists by going out to events like York Open Studios and North Yorkshire Open Studios, Art& and the Staithes art festival… and occasionally we get artists coming through the door, canvasses under their arms, trying to find a place to show,” he says.

Lifeline, by Carolyn Coles

“We met Carolyn and saw her work at her first York Open Studios show back in 2019 and were so taken with her seascapes – many inspired by and maybe giving a different perspective of the Yorkshire coastline – that we started talking about a show.

“The exhibition starting next week is the result of over a year of talking and getting a match in the diary. So, we are delighted we have finally made it and are really looking forward to hanging Carolyn’s beautiful work. And who doesn’t love Filey?”

Here Carolyn talks the easel life with Charles Hutchinson.

You were due to exhibit at York Open Studios and Staithes Festival of Art and Heritage Festival this year, both alas cancelled. Will those works now form the Village Gallery exhibition?
“Yes. All except one of my bigger pieces that found its new home just before lockdown; a new one from a smaller set of works, which was bought as a special present for Mothering Sunday; another for a secret wedding, and lastly one I sold, giving all proceeds towards a group in York who set themselves up to make and distribute face visors using 3-D printing technology.

“The festival in Staithes usually happens in September, so I would have expected more new works by then.”

I Spy Something Beginning With W, by Carolyn Coles

What did you do in lockdown when you couldn’t go down to the sea?
“I tried my hand in home-schooling, which wasn’t anything like I had imagined it to be. I rearranged furniture and took over our dining room as a studio, which offered mixed results, partly because I’d forgotten what it was like to have an honest live audience offering encouraging suggestions.

“I couldn’t escape to the loft, my old studio space, as it was now my partner’s office from home. And although I couldn’t go to the sea, the lockdown gave me a brilliant opportunity to sit and immerse myself intensively in the seascapes I had just been working on.” 

Where have you been painting since lockdown easement?
“I’ve been back in my studio with the Southbank Artists group at Southlands Methodist Church for a month now, and I’ve more than welcomed the return to what feels a bit like the old normal.

“I’ve been working on a commission, which is huge, so it’s probably just as well I’m not painting at home.”

Staithes In The Mist – Collectors Huddle, by Carolyn Coles

How does it feel to be painting en plein air again?
“I’ve not managed a huge amount of this yet but hope to when holidays come. Luckily, I enjoy working from photos and sketches, as a lot of my field trips are indeed family days out.

“I love painting with my daughter although I end up assisting, which does get easier with time. Nothing beats painting on location.”

6. What draws you to the sea as a subject matter? The sight, the sound, the light, the dark?
“Hands down, light is the winner. However, the energy, mystery, its patterns, unexpected treasures and its mood all play a massive part.

“I always feel I’m happy with a piece when I can hear the sound of the sea whispering its relentless chatter. I’ve always loved the sea. It’s just so completely fascinating.

Not Today, Runswick Bay, by Carolyn Coles

“I’ve spent hundreds of hours contemplating life looking at it. I was a big fan of fossil hunting in my twenties, though I never really thought about painting the sea back then. I think partly the reason for painting seascapes now is because it’s a good way to take myself back.” 

How do you settle upon the painting techniques you use?

Over the years, I’ve definitely settled into my way of working. I love using broad, flat brushes alongside palette knives, which enables more random marks, producing less contrived mark-making. 

“I prefer oils, the soft buttery texture; the incredible depth of colour leaves acrylics standing really. But I do like to work with speed at times and acrylics do tick a lot of boxes. I also love working in lots of other media; charcoal is sublime.” 

Time To Go III, Sandsend, by Carolyn Coles

Do you have a favourite seascape?  Sandsend? Staithes? Wherever?
“I couldn’t say really as every place has its own merits. I’ve painted Sandsend a lot, but recently Filey has become more prominent. The light there can really be incredible.

“Runswick Bay can be as still as a milk pond – really quite surreal. Staithes has its own beauty but different again.

“I’m not fussy but do prefer quieter spots if I can find them. Saying that, Saltburn is incredible but more for messing about in the sea. Great wave action there.”

In the Yorkshire versus Northumberland battle for the best coastline award, which one wins?!
“Ask me again after the summer, as I’m planning a few trips to the Northumberland coast. I doubt it could beat Yorkshire, though I couldn’t say for sure yet. Maybe I’ll get marooned as fellow York artist Malcolm Ludvigsen did at Holy Island. It’s pretty easy to lose the sense of time when painting. I bet that was exciting!”

Crash, by Carolyn Coles

Who are your fellow artists in the Southbank Artists group. What do you most enjoy about working out of Southlands Methodists Church?

“There are 16 studios in all at South Bank Studios, ranging across all disciplines, even performance artists! I’d feel bad mentioning some rather than others, but they really are a great group to work with. A really interesting bunch. I’ve missed seeing them.

“Special thanks are always due to Donna Maria Taylor who gave me the chance to join her in her space at first, and who remains a brilliant source of support. It’s a great space to work in.

“My studio has a wonderful North light, which was lucky. It can be busy at times, but I feel very much at home there.”

The Walk, by Carolyn Coles

Who are the Westside Artists? Will you be hosting a joint show at some point?

“The Westside Artists (York) – fondly known as ‘The Westies’ – came to be when we grouped together in early 2019. Our close proximity to each other was a great support network at the time and the reason for its name. 

“Now we keep in touch offering each other support, advice, laughs. Sharing ideas, and even helping out in a material crisis, is perfect when working locally to one another.

“We’re planning to host a joint show in December, when there’ll be around 12 of us exhibiting at Village Gallery. We’re really looking forward to it.”

What’s coming next for you? Any upcoming shows?
“I have work being exhibited until next January at York Hospital, presently enjoyed by workers and patients, but no visitors. I’m really sad the Staithes festival has had to be cancelled, though it’s totally understandable obviously.”

“I always feel I’m happy with a piece when I can hear the sound of the sea whispering its relentless chatter,” says York seascape artist Carolyn Coles

Carolyn Coles, “Oh I Do Like To Be Besides The…” exhibition of seascape art at Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, August 4 to September 19. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm (4.30pm, Sundays).

For more information on Carolyn, go to her website: carolyncoles.co.uk.

Please note: Village Gallery’s Covid-secure etiquette:

“WE are only a little shop, so to conform as far as possible to social distancing, it will only be possible to have one person/family-friendly group in at a time,” says owner Simon Main.

“Even if you cannot see anyone in the shop when you arrive, please shout out to check it’s OK, as there may be people upstairs. And if you have to wait, please queue responsibly outside, maintaining that essential two-metre separation.”

Village Gallery in York to reopen on June 15 with Katherine-of-Yorkshire photo show

York In Flood, 2019, taken by Museum Gardens by Katherine-of-Yorkshire

VILLAGE Gallery, in Colliergate, York, will reopen on June 15, “subject to government advice not altering”.

Gallery owner Simon Main has taken this decision in line with the relaxation of lockdown measures from that date for “non-essential” shops.

Picking up where he left off, but reopening on a Monday, when normally the gallery runs Tuesday to Saturday, Simon will present the postponed photographic show by Instagrammer Katherine-of-Yorkshire from June 15 to August 2.

The need to make changes to the way the gallery operates in line with Covid-19 social-distancing requirements precludes the possibility of hosting the usual preview for a Village Gallery show.

In his latest newsletter, Simon says: “There’s potentially light at the end of the tunnel enticing us to venture out and reopen. If all continues to go as planned, this will be on Monday 15th June…not a day we are normally open but we can’t wait any longer than necessary to welcome you back.

York Minster At Night, 2020, by Katherine-of-Yorkshire

“However, things will have to change…The shop will have had a deep clean before we reopen and will be regularly cleaned throughout each day.”

Here comes the most significant change: “We are only a little shop, so to conform as far as possible to social distancing, it will only be possible to have one person/family-friendly group in at a time.

“Even if you cannot see anyone in the shop when you arrive, please shout out to check it’s OK, as there may be people upstairs. And if you have to wait, please queue responsibly outside, maintaining that essential two-metre separation,” advises Simon.

More details on shop etiquette in these lockdown-easement-but-still Coronavirus times can be found at the Village Gallery website, but among more changes the newsletter highlights, one relates to personal service.

“As our shop relies on personal service – we will serve/assist standing alongside you, rather than face to face, and will wear a mask at all times,” Simon says. “Note, if you need to be able to lip-read, let us know as we have alternative masks available.”

What about the comeback exhibition by Instagrammer Katherine-of-Yorkshire, you ask? “Katherine regularly posts photographs on Instagram, mainly of York, and usually in black and white. She only uses the camera on her phone to take photos, and apart from occasional cropping, and selecting which filter to use, there is no other manipulation or photoshopping of the images,” says Simon.

Bootham Bar, From King’s Manor, by Katherine-of-Yorkshire

“Her preference is to photograph in black and white because she finds the result more timeless than using colour. From our perspective though, in addition to this, we see that she has a seemingly natural talent and eye for composition, and she manages to convey a deep feeling of peace, even when documenting the major floods in York that happen all too regularly, as well as showing a different perspective of well-known places.”

On a housekeeping note, “Katherine’s show will start upstairs but, at some point, will move downstairs so will be around for a little while. Downstairs, what was our current showing will continue for a little while longer, featuring York College artist-in-residence Kate Buckley and Jean Luce,” says Simon. “Kate’s work involves porcelain, sculpted to express the delicacy of folded paper; Jean’s work is mainly seascapes.”

Looking at his 2020 diary, Simon says: “The exhibition schedule has been thrown into complete disarray, but with the help of – and our thanks to – the artists who have all been affected too, we will be rearranging every promised show as soon as we can.

“But we guess it will be quite some time before we are able to hold previews. We still mail ahead of any new showing to keep you informed.”

Finishing on a philosophical note, Simon muses: “Normality will return…whatever the new normal turns out to be.”

.Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, is normally open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

WHAT’S STILL ON: Katherine-of-Yorkshire’s phone photos to bring peace to Village Gallery in York

York In Flood, 2019, taken by the York Museum Gardens, by Katherine-of-Yorkshire

VILLAGE Gallery, in Colliergate, York, will be “doing something a little different to our normal show” for its next exhibition, opening on March 31.

On display and for sale will be photographers by Instagrammer Katherine-of-Yorkshire, who uses only her phone camera to take her photos.

“Apart from occasional cropping, and selecting which filter to use, there’s no other manipulation or photoshopping of the images,” says gallery owner Simon Main.

Bootham Bar from King’s Manor by Katherine-of-Yorkshire

“Katherine’s preference is to photograph in black and white because she finds the result more timeless than using colour.

“From our perspective though, in addition to this, we see that she has a seemingly natural talent and eye for composition, and she manages to convey a deep feeling of peace, even when documenting the floods in York that happen all too regularly.”

In response to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, Village Gallery will not be holding its customary preview on the evening before the opening. “Enhanced regular cleaning and disinfecting practices have been put in place to keep our customers and us as safe as we can,” says Simon.

York Minster At Night, 2020, by Katherine-of-Yorkshire

“Until we are forced to do otherwise, the gallery will remain open for its usual opening hours, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and we look forward to seeing everyone throughout the period of the exhibition run until May 9.”

Aside from its regularly changing 2D and 3D art exhibitions, each running for six weeks, Village Gallery is York’s official stockist of Lalique glass and crystal, also selling art, jewellery, ceramics, glass and sculpture, predominantly by Yorkshire artists.