Chantry House Gallery, in Ripley near Harrogate, is hosting an Autumn season celebrating the art of Yorkshire landscape painting with two of the gallery’s most successful artists.
The first solo exhibition of the season, starting on Saturday 12 September 2015, will feature new paintings by Stephen Lennon.
Stephen is a proud Lancastrian, despite the fact he has lived most of his life in Yorkshire. His love of the landscape stems from his early life, as he explained:
I was born and bred in Burnley, where the Pennine Hills and Pendle in particular were always tantalising in view. There was no family car, so outings to the country didn’t happen until a youth club trip, aged 15, when the beauty of the landscape was revealed to me.
Arriving after dark, followed by a night under canvas, I emerged from my tent at first light to be greeted by the Borrowdale Fells, an awe-inspiring sight, especially for a boy who had never seen anything bigger than the distant Pendle Hill.
Always a lover of painting and drawing, Stephen uses the vehicle of paint to explore his reaction to the landscape. He now lives and works in Nidderdale and his subject matter for the forthcoming exhibition includes the Yorkshire Dales, the Pennines, the Cumbrian Fells and the Scottish mountains.
Emma Hargreaves, the owner of Chantry House Gallery, said:
His paintings are modern in style, but have an appeal to those who love traditional landscapes. Colour plays a very important role in the work as does his treatment of light and shade. Stephen’s main wish when exhibiting his work is that the viewers will be reminded of their own experiences and their own emotional response to the northern landscape.
Chantry House Gallery’s second landscape exhibition, which begins on Saturday 10 October 2015, will showcase the new work by Yorkshire artist Clare Haley. Growing up in Clayton Heights between Halifax and Bradford, Clare developed an appreciation for the stunning landscape and dramatic weather the county never failed to offer.
Emma Hargreaves explained:
Clare’s inspiration to paint comes from a fascination with the raw landscape and the way the weather affects its atmosphere. The sky plays a crucial part in how the landscape comes alive through light, shadow, moisture and movement. She paints in oils and loves the way the paint responds to her imagination.
Sketching and drawing initially with the brush, she builds up momentum for the bolder strokes. For Clare, fulfilment comes from the viewer connecting with the painting whether through a feeling or memory, or an appreciation of the painting as a visual artwork in which to escape.
Clayton Heights is one of the highest parts of West Yorkshire. If it snowed, it snowed there first. As a child I spent most of my time outdoors exploring local farmland and woods. We used to visit Haworth and I loved the wild moors which seemed endless. I love to paint those scenes today.
There are so many places in Yorkshire of outstanding beauty but I still lean towards the ‘wilder’ countryside such as parts of the Pennine way especially around the three peaks and find the Pennine range astounding. You can’t beat Malham in the Yorkshire Dales for rolling hills and every shade of green.
She now lives in Holmfirth with her young family and has converted a shed in her back garden into her studio.
My little studio is just next to the house in the garden, surrounded by trees and views down into Holmfirth. I don’t paint on location but use all my reference and imagination to paint in the studio. I really need that solitude.
For me a cloudless sky holds no inspiration to pick up my brush and paint. The sky holds the key to the drama of the painting, controlling light bursts, muted illumination, deep shadows, angry threats of drowning the landscape in rain as well as dense banks of suffocating mist or delicate sheets of moisture passing through. I paint imagined landscapes; places I want to be, as well as local landmark areas.
Emma Hargreaves is very conscious of the history of the Chantry House Gallery, which she has owned and run for the past two years with her husband John, and is determined to build on its reputation.
Chantry House Gallery was established in 1980 and has the reputation of being one of the most interesting and affordable art galleries in North Yorkshire. Previous owners, for example, have included Terry Logan, the photographer who launched the legendary Calendar Girls on their way to fame.
The gallery is a long-term commitment for me. I am already deriving a huge amount of satisfaction and fun from running the gallery and I feel immensely privileged and lucky to be doing a job which I really love in such wonderful surroundings and with such talented people.
Stephen Lennon: September 12 – October 4 2015.
Clare Haley: October 10 – November 1 2015