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

Mask up for the new Susan Bower works going on show at Kentmere House Gallery UPDATED

Christmas Party 2020, by Susan Bower, in the year of the mask

NEW work by Susan Bower, John Thornton and Rosie Dean has arrived at Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York, in good time for Christmas.

After the Government’s update on York’s Tier 2 status once Lockdown 2.0 ends, Ann Petherick will re-open her gallery on Thursday evening from 6pm to 9pm, followed by the usual first-weekend-of-the-month opening on December 5 and 6 from 11am to 5pm.

Oils, watercolours, pastels and original prints by 70 British artists, ranging in price from £50 to £2,000, are on display and for sale, along with books, greetings cards and Christmas cards exclusive to the gallery.

Ann has decided to open the gallery every weekend in the lead-up to Christmas until December 20, 11am to 5pm. Visits arranged by appointment will be resuming too, either by phone on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or by emailing

Best Friends Forever, by Susan Bower, newly installed at Kentmere House Gallery

Blue Tree Gallery launches The Christmas Show online for now but hopefully….

Snowfall In The Woods, mixed media on board, by Sharon Winter

ORIGINAL paintings by Colin Cook, Giuliana Lazzerini, Nikki Monaghan and Sharon Winter feature in The Christmas Show, the latest Blue Tree Gallery exhibition in York until January 16 2021.

“Another lockdown as we open our new show means the gallery is closed, but we are now online till re-opening again in December, we hope,” says Gordon Giarchi, owner of the gallery in Bootham.

“As well as some stunning new paintings from Colin, Giuliana, Nikki and Sharon, we also have some lovely new ceramics, glass, sculpture and jewellery, which would make the perfect gifts and stocking fillers this Christmas.

”Look out for driftwood sculptures by Natalie Parr, Christmas-themed ceramics by Kath Cooper, oxidised steel hanging decorations by David Mayne and linocuts and handmade Christmas cards by Giuliana Lazzerini.”

Christmas cards, handmade by Giuliana Lazzerini

The Christmas Show has gone live on the gallery website at for views and sales.

Colin Cook, based near Whitby, is a West Londoner who moved north in 1989 to teach at a further education college, specialising in drawing, painting, photography and digital imaging.

“After many years of teaching, I began exhibiting again about five years ago,” he says. “The subject matter and inspiration for my paintings is taken from the north eastern coast and moors and the Lake District. The paintings are representational, based on observation of the constantly changing and intriguing light.

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

A Sunny Evening At Saltwick Bay, North Yorkshire, acrylic on canvas, by Colin Cook

Colin’s paintings are reliant on careful “under-drawing” to create 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,” he says.

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

Blue Tree Gallery artist-in-residence Giuliana Lazzerini was born in Seravezza, near Pietrasanta in Tuscany, moving 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 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.”

Dales Glow, acrylic on canvas, by Giuliana Lazzerini

Nikki Monaghan, who has a studio at Falkirk, Scotland, studied at the Scottish College of Textiles, subsequently working over the years as an interior stylist, designer and artist, while contributing to community arts too.

“My subject matter ranges from narrative landscapes and seascapes to quirky birds and figures,” she says. “I love colour and my paintings evolve by layering up acrylics and oil pastels, creating textures within them.”

Nikki’s work varies in size, ranging from small paintings that concentrate on a particular subject, to larger canvases where scenes evolve.

“Working from memory allows my work to take on a stylised abstract feel,” she says. “I’m influenced by many things: the weather, the Scottish landscape, how I feel when I wake up in the morning, anything that sticks in my head! There are no set rules.”

Gypsophilia And Carnations, mixed media on wood panel, by Nikki Monaghan

Sharon Winter graduated from University College, Scarborough, with a first-class degree in Fine Art in 2001, staying on for another year to do a post-graduate certificate in painting, specialising in tempera painting techniques.

Since then, she has exhibited in Yorkshire galleries and undertaken several artist residencies and her work has been commissioned by Scarborough and Bridlington Hospital.

She has designed and painted theatre “flats” for the Spotlight Theatre in Bridlington and the Bridlington Old Town Association and completed a book illustration project in collaboration with poet John Fewings.

“I work with oils, acrylics, and mixed media,” says Sharon. “I love Pre-Renaissance art, especially the gold-embellished icons and medieval illustrations, and the work of artists such as Marc Chagall, Stanley Spencer and Gustav Klimt.

Christmas-themed ceramic, by Kath Cooper

“I’m interested in combining abstract, sometimes decorative, pattern with figurative subjects inspired by myths, memories and dreams.”

For as long as she can remember, Sharon has loved painting and drawing. “I paint from my imagination, inspired by folk tales, poetry, and dreams,” she says. “I build up layers of paint, collage, gold leaf and text until the images, landscapes, characters and narratives have emerged.”

Whatever happens following the Lockdown 2 update after December 2, The Christmas Show will continue online until the January 16 closing date.

“We are wishing you lots of goodwill, health and happiness this Christmas and hope you enjoy the exhibition, whether online or, hopefully, from December 3 in the brick and mortar gallery, depending on the new Government guidelines,” says Gordon. “We will keep you posted.”

McGee responds to Lockdown 2 with Richard Barnes window shopping launch

York artist Richard Barnes making his socially distanced delivery of his new York and North York Moors works to According To McGee. Standing in the doorway is gallery co-director Ails McGee

ACCORDING To McGee is still putting art in the shop window despite the here-we-go-again impact of Lockdown 2.

“Culture is in quarantine, but collecting great art continues,” says Greg McGee, co-director of the distinctive yellow-fronted gallery in Tower Street, York.

”And if the doors have to close then we’ll use our window to sell our paintings. It’s opposite Clifford’s Tower – we get a lot of footfall – and it’s huge.”

Lockdown: The Sequel has prompted Greg and co-director Ails McGee to launch the Window Shopping series of exhibitions, kicking off with According To McGee’s biggest-selling artist, Richard Barnes, former head of art at Bootham School.

York Minster: A perennial subject matter for York artist Richard Barnes, featuring once more in his Window Shopping exhibition

“Famed for his man-sized portraits of York, Richard’s latest collection, York And God’s Own County, has some of the largest cityscapes and landmarks he has ever produced,” says a delighted Greg.

Window Shopping’s modus operandi addresses the necessity of locked-down galleries displaying their wares explicitly in the window space and making as much use of the wall space viewable from that vantage point as possible.

“I don’t think it’s a skill taught in curatorial lessons at art college, but these are strange times. ” says co-director Ails. “I organised with Richard a socially distanced drop-off of 15 new paintings, created at his garden studio.

“I was blown away by the quality of the new collection. He has always had a muscular, mischievous approach to composition and colour schemes, but these are stand-out works that show him at the top of his game.

According To McGee co-director Ails McGee with a panoply of new Richard Barnes paintings on display in the Tower Street gallery window opposite the reflected Clifford’s Tower, York

“I have filled the front gallery with his work, from floor to ceiling, and we have already made pre-exhibition sales. Not very minimal or a traditional art gallery approach, but the energy is unmistakable. Window shopping works.”

Richard, who lives in Huntington Road, had done some “window showmanship” of his own in the lead-up to this show. “The paintings I love most hit me in the gut and hit me in my soul,” he says.

“During [the first] lockdown, I exhibited the paintings I was making on the back of my studio, so people using the river path opposite could see them. Somehow the job of making paintings that might hit someone somewhere, or even just give them a bit of pleasure, seemed very worthwhile.

“The new set of paintings at According To McGee are those that people commented on most during those tense lockdown months.”

York artist Richard Barnes, caught up in a riot of colour in his paintings for an earlier show at According To McGee

Richard also became involved in a project to create a huge painting for the new mental health hospital for York being built a little further along the Foss river path [the now opened Foss Bank Hospital in Haxby Road].

“The smaller landscapes in the new exhibition are experiments with light and space that I used to inspire the largest landscape I have ever painted and am still working on,” he says.

Barnes’s work has been a building block of According To McGee ever since the gallery launched 16 years ago. “It is especially pertinent this winter,” says Greg. “I’m  honoured to act as the art advisor for the internationally well-regarded poetry zine,  Dream Catcher, whose December issue features the art of Richard Barnes exclusively, so this show chimes with that nicely.”

Casting an eye over the new works, Ails says: “Richard has always painted with the risk-taking energy of an excellent painter in his 20s, but there’s a stronger, fiercer element to this collection.

North Yorks Moors, as portrayed by Richard Barnes in his new God’s Own County series

“Maybe he has rediscovered a latent aggression, or mischief, or maybe it’s Lockdown. Either way, these paintings depict York as a modern city and the North York Moors as a location for contemporary landscapes better than any collection on the market. Come look through our gallery window and see for yourself.”

It is no secret that Richard, who has painted ceaselessly since the 1980s, will be bidding farewell York in the months ahead, selling both his studio and house. “Although I am leaving York and Yorkshire, I really hope I will continue my relationship with painting York and According To McGee,” he says.

“I want to thank Greg and Ails for supporting me and many other northern artists. What I have loved most about working with them is their attitude of ‘Why not?’.”

Watch out for news of his York Farewell Show at According To McGee in 2021. In the meantime, whether out exercising or shopping, take a breather in Tower Street to peruse Window Shopping: Richard Barnes, York and God’s Own County; expansive, bold and inviting eye contact behind glass until December 1.

More, more Moor: How do you like it? Another of Richard Barnes’s moorland Yorkshire paintings on sale in According To McGee’s debut Window Shopping show

Lush paintings to brighten up autumn with joy and nostalgia at Blue Tree Gallery

So Close To Home, acrylic on canvas, by Debbie Lush

DEBBIE Lush’s exhibition at Blue Tree Gallery, Bootham, York, opens on Saturday.

Ten new works of varying sizes and prices by the Devon landscape artist will be on show at the gallery and online at until November 7.

After studying illustration at Harrow School of Art and the Royal College of Art, Debbie was a freelance illustrator in London for 15 years until 2003.

Houses In The Woods, acrylic on canvas, by Debbie Lush

“My escape route from London was to move to Somerset to renovate and run a country inn with every intention of continuing painting in a landscape I love, but things don’t always turn out how you plan,” recalls Debbie.

“After 13 years of looking only, I was finally able to pick up my brushes full time and see the world in brush strokes again. I almost imagine it is like I have woken from a coma and it has found me fresh, excited and fascinated by who I am now and how I see things.”

Top Of The Hill, acrylic on canvas, by Debbie Lush

Since that renewal of her creativity more than three years ago, her vividly coloured coastal and rural landscapes have been inspired by walks with her dog along weather-beaten coastal paths, across muddy footpaths, through gateways and over fields and farmland.

“Memories of hills and tracks, the skyline and weather conditions emerge in the studio where I love the act of brushing blobs of paints of varying thickness in bright colours on a surface, one over another, to assemble landscapes,” says Debbie, who lives in Chardstock, East Devon.

Colourful October, acrylic on canvas, by Debbie Lush

In her paintings, sweeping curves are punctuated by focal points of sea defences, boats, barns, farmhouses and woodland homes, livestock and trees. Applying scratched lines too, they become visual records of her journeys; part-real, part-imagined landscapes bursting with energy, colour, nostalgia, observation and joy.

Debbie Lush’s show will be the fifth Featured Artist exhibition of 2020 at Blue Tree Gallery. Newly on display too this autumn are “brand new little gems” by resident artist Giuliana Lazzerini that “would look perfect in a small snug of a wall or on a shelf”, plus new work by Paolo Lazzerini, Colin Cook, Kate Boyce, Colin Carruthers and Sharon Winter.

Opening hours, for the time being, are 11am to 4pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, or by appointment on 01904 620660.

Lockdown request prompts Kentmere House to launch Exchange Art scheme

Winter Hawthorn On Coastal Path, by John Thornton, price £280, at Kentmere House Gallery, York

LOCKDOWN affects people in different ways, notes Kentmere House Gallery owner Ann Petherick, who has come up with a new scheme in response.

“One of my customers rang: she had bought a fine painting from me 20 years ago by a Royal Academician and she had enjoyed it all that time, but lockdown had made her feel differently about it,” says Ann, who runs the gallery in her home in Scarcroft Hill, York

“So, she wondered if she could part-exchange it for another?  And I thought, ‘Why not?’. At a time like this, we have to look at everything differently and do things differently, and so Exchange Art was born.”

Autumn By The Lake, Ellerker House, by Bob Armstrong, price  £350

Under the new deal, any painting in good condition bought at Kentmere House can be considered for part-exchange.  “A valuation is offered and that amount can then be offset against the cost of another painting,” says Ann. 

“Exchange Art is a way for everyone to benefit: the buyer gets a change of scene, other artists sell their work and money circulates in the economy. It’s also a means of supporting the next generation of artists, whose careers will have been especially badly hit. 

“It’s always important to be looking out for the next generation, as they will become the national names of the future.  I have always found this an enjoyable and worthwhile process as – with no auction history to go on – you have to trust your own judgement and the feeling that you may have contributed in a small way to the development of an artist’s career is exciting.”

Approaching Twilight, by Rosie Dean, price £650

Acquiring art does not have to break the bank, stresses Ann. “At Kentmere House, we are proud to exhibit original art with an affordable price tag, so helping those who haven’t yet started their collection or those who wish to add to theirs,” she says.

The gallery stocks only originals – paintings and artists’ prints – by more than 70 artists, many of them nationally-known and members of national societies, at prices from £50 to £3,000. A selection of illustrated books by artists, priced from £10 to £30, is unique to the gallery.

Ann, by the way, has just received a new delivery of “fabulous paintings” by gallery favourite Susan Bower. “Shelter from the rain and come and see,” she tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Hilda’s Friend, by Susan Bower, price £1,200                      

Kentmere House Gallery’s formal opening hours are 11am to 5pm on the first weekend of each month, next up September 5 and 6, and late evening each Thursday to 9pm. “But in the present situation, we’re open anytime: just ring 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 to make an appointment or take pot-luck and ring the bell.”

The Kentmere House website,, is out of action but Ann updates the Twitter account regularly at

Lockdown stirs Ails McGee to go down to the sea again…for her return to painting UPDATED 26/07/2020

Artist Ails McGee: Picking up her brushes anew in lockdown

RETURN of the Mc could not have gone better for Ails McGee, whose “comeback” exhibition at According To McGee sold out at yesterday’s launch in York.

Gallery co-director Ails unveiled Return Of The Painter: The Sea, The Sky, The City from midday to 4pm as the ebullient Tower Street art space welcomed browsers for the first time since the Covid-enforced shutdown on March 23.

“Thanks to everyone who came today,” Ails and fellow director Greg McGee tweeted afterwards. “The paintings of @AilsMcGee connected with collectors and are now sold out. She is taking commissions and is preparing for the next group exhibition. We open next Saturday. Come see us!”

Ahead of the launch, Ails said: “This is our 16th year anniversary, and we had innovative plans with big innovative events to celebrate. Performances, installations, digitally illuminated projections: it was an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, but all of that was kicked into the long grass in March. Since then, I’ve gone back to the drawing board, so to speak.”

So much so, Ails has picked up her paint brushes again, in part inspired to do so by “parsimonious proposals from politicians on essential exercise”.  

“I remember thinking while I was alone in the middle of Rowntree Park at midday, there were certain people who would have reported me to the police,” she says. “It was a hard time to go outside and watch the season change. I don’t have much memory of seeing the cherry blossom this year as it was a complicated thing just to go outside and enjoy nature. So, I thought to myself, if I can’t experience the real thing, why not paint it?”

Before establishing the According To McGee gallery with her husband and business partner Greg McGee in 2004, Ails was a successful painter, exhibiting in her native Kelso in the Scottish Borders and around Yorkshire.

Ails and Greg McGee after the successful launch of Ails’s Return Of The Painter show as According To McGee re-opened.yesterday afternoon

Her painterly arc flattened with the arrival of children – “three under three years old at one point,” she says – and her forays into charity work and The Artillery art enterprise. Now, however, the arid aspects of Covid have helped Ails focus on how important painting is to her.

“It’s everything. It forces you to see more clearly and, though it can be frustrating trying to harness what you see – all those shades, curves and colours – it’s the mixture of poetry, prophecy and religion that is so empowering and addictive,” she says.

Painting in lockdown has been “very liberating” as Ails built on her experiences of nature in the Borders, this time basing her compositions on the visual power and bitter beauty of the North East coast.

“It’s funny, seascapes come with the unfair caveat that they’re twee and calming, but it’s the opposite of that which intoxicates me and which I hope I am beginning to harness in my paintings,” she says. “The sea can be savage and changeful, on the point of bursting into full bloom, but in a painting it’s rarely twee.”

Bringing her new seascape collection to the commercial market after her hiatus does not unnerve Ails, “It’s the perfect time,” she argues. “I’m in good company: Freya Horsely and David Baumforth are internationally well-regarded masters of their craft in this field and, to be honest, I’ve already made some pre-exhibition sales.

“So, I’m in a very fortunate position. I’m producing paintings, I get to hang them in my gallery, and I’m selling them to collectors who enjoy the visuals of a sea in constant change.”

The difficulties of running a gallery under the shadow of Covid are surmountable, reckons Ails. “We’re launching with a day-long happening,” she said before yesterday’s event. “The gallery won’t be too busy at any given point, we have the attendant sanitisers, and we’re happy to welcome anyone who wants to come: old friends, artists, clients, collectors, new collectors,” she says. “Quarantine has cut culture short for too long. We can’t wait to get back in the groove.”

Giuliana Lazzerini’s Solo works go on show by appointment at Blue Tree Gallery

Staithes Blue, acrylic on canvas, by Giuliana Lazzerini

BLUE Tree Gallery artist-in-residence Giuliana Lazzerini has opened an exhibition of new acrylic work online and at this York art-space for viewing by appointment only.

The Bootham gallery is “not fully open as yet”, but Covid-safety measures are in place, enabling visiting appointments to be made for Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 10.30am to 5.30pm, throughout the show’s run from this week to August 5. To book one, send an email to

Garden Tapestry, acrylic on deep box canvas, by Giuliana Lazzerini

Giuliana’s Solo exhibition can be viewed online at, with free postage and packaging for purchased paintings.

Giuliana says: “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. 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.”

Rose Table, acrylic on canvas, by Giuliana Lazzerini

All’s well that’s Hellewell as Kentmere House re-opens by appointment only

Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, by Jack Hellewell

KENTMERE House Gallery, in Scarcroft Hill, York, is re-opening from this week but by appointment only until further notice.

Ann Petherick would normally welcome visitors on Thursday evenings and the first Saturday and Sunday of each month, as well as by arrangement, but in these prevailing Covid-19 times, only the latter will apply for now…but even that is a welcome step forward in loosened lockdown.

To make a viewing appointment, contact Ann on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or at

On show is A Life In Colour, Work from the Studio of Jack Hellewell, 1920-2000, including unframed pieces never seen before.

Ann always intended to devote much of this year’s exhibition programme to Hellewell, as 2020 would have been his centenary year. “Since we had to close under the Coronavirus lockdown, we’ve been updating the website regularly, especially Jack’s section, featuring his views of Yorkshire and elsewhere,” she says.

North York Mpors, by Jack Hellewell

“Now we’re re-opening, there’ll be a rolling exhibition of Jack’s work, including works on paper and on canvas, with prices ranging from £500 to £1,500.”

After his death in 2000, Kentmere House Gallery was appointed to manage Jack’s artistic estate on behalf of his family, since when exhibitions have been held in Ilkley, Leeds, Stoke-on-Trent, Bristol, London and Vienna. “There were several more planned in 2020, although some may now have to be deferred to 2021,” says Ann.

Ever since Ann saw Jack’s work in a gallery in Ilkley 25 years ago, he has been one of her gallery’s most loved and respected artists and work from his studio is on show there permanently.

“Jack lived for his painting, describing himself as ‘a fanatical painter’ and spending all day and every day painting, especially after his wife died,” says Ann. “Towards the end of his life, his daughter said the only way she knew he was really ill was when he stopped painting

“He loved it when he sold work but hated having to be involved with the selling and, as a result, most of the work we show will never have been seen before outside his studio.” 

Ebb Tide, Filey, by Jack Hellewell

Jack’s attic flat overlooking Ilkley Moor was always neatly stacked with canvasses and work on paper. “Initially he would say ‘I haven’t done much’, and then the paintings would start to appear: astounding in their quality and consistency and always singing with colour,” says Ann.

“The gentlest, quietest and most modest of men, there were few who were privileged to know him, but he had a delightful sense of humour, which also appears in his paintings.”

Jack Hellewell was a Yorkshireman through and through. Born in Bradford in 1920, he trained as a painter at Bradford College of Art – where David Hockney studied too – from 1949 to 1952 and in later life lived in Menston and Ilkley. 

He saw war service in Egypt, North Africa and Italy and he then worked as a graphic designer. His travels with his family took him to Australia, Austria, New Zealand, the South Seas and, frequently, to Scotland.

In 1976, he gave up his design work to become a full-time painter, returning to West Yorkshire to do so.

Kentmere House Gallery owner and curator Ann Petherick

“All his work was executed entirely from memory – he always refused to sketch on site, believing that ‘it ties you down’ – and everything was derived from personal experiences,” says Ann.

“Jack’s travels and encounters had a dramatic impact on his painting and he had an amazing ability to retain the essence of a place, so that years – or even decades later – he could produce a painting from it.”

Much of his work used the visual experience of intense light in warmer climates, as compared with the more subtle light he found in Britain.  

“Jack always worked in acrylic, enjoying the contrasts it offers between strong and subtle colours, and the feeling of movement, which is such a feature of his work,” says Ann. “He had the ability both to use the medium neat on canvas or diluted on paper, the latter giving the effect of the most delicate watercolour.”

Jack exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition on several occasions in the 1990s; his work was featured on the Tyne Tees Television arts programme North-East Line and he has an entry in the definitive publication Artists In Britain Since 1945.

Kirkgate, Leeds, by Jonathan Hooper

“All this leads me to wonder how many other such artists there are: producing superbly rich and inspired work, yet largely unknown to the public and even more so to the art world, and never receiving a penny of public funding, nor any public recognition,” says Ann, who continues to ensure that all’s well that’s Hellewell by promoting his art assiduously in his centenary year.

Meanwhile, in an effort to keep spirits up during lockdown – not least her own Ann has been Tweeting a painting from her extensive stock every day, under the heading of Art For The Day at @Kentmere_H_Gall.

“I try to link it to something relevant – the weather, or an event happening that day, for example – and I enjoy scrolling through my stock every morning, sometimes finding paintings I’d forgotten I had,” she says.

“I also try to create a contrast from one day to the next, such as the subtlety of Keith Roper’s pastels of the Fens, then the vibrancy of Jonathan Hooper’s oils of Leeds street scenes. It makes a lovely collection to look back on.

“It seems that others agree as many have been re-Tweeted in an attempt to cheer up someone’s day.”

Buttercups & Daisies, by Susan Bower, Kentmere House Gallery favourite, Royal Society of British Artists member and Federation of British Artists online art fair exhibitor

Farther afield, Ann is delighted that, on the eve of its 60th anniversary, the trail-blazing Federation of British Artists has set up a new art fair at the Mall Galleries, London.

Inevitably, the 2020 Figurative Art Fair is online, showing contemporary figurative art by elected members of the country’s leading national art societies: The Pastel Society; Royal Society of British Artists; Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours; Royal Society of Portrait Painters; New English Art Club; Royal Society of Marine Artists; Society of Wildlife Artists and Royal Institute of Oil Painters.

“Kentmere House Gallery shows work by members of all these societies,” says Ann. “This is a very exciting development as, in recent years, art fairs have come to be associated mainly with conceptual work, serving to alienate much of the potential market. However, there are strong signs of a change, with figurative painting enjoying a revival. 

“At a time when artists and art institutions alike urgently need public support, this innovative venture will benefit artists across the country and give inspiration to all those who have become despondent at the appearance of their homes.

“It’s appropriate that the societies come together in this time of isolation to celebrate figurative art, contemporary artists, and the spirit of artistic collaboration.”

Fen Lane, Evening, by Pastel Society  member, Kentmere House regular and Federation of British Artists show exhibitor Keith Roper

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.