Below are the artist’s statements in their own words along with an image that represents their current work.
January: James Smyth
James Smyth is a representational artist predominantly working in oils, pastels, and gouache.
Inspiration is usually motivated by light, colour, tone and that indefinable ‘that’s interesting’.
Subjects of particular interest to James are landscape, wildlife, portrait and figurative painting.
James has been a professional artist since 1991 and qualified as an adult art tutor in 1992.
He provides painting and drawing classes and a monthly painting workshop in his home town of Derby.
February: Geoff Kersey
Living and working in the Peak District, it’s no surprise that many of Geoff’s atmospheric paintings feature the diverse and beautiful landscape of the region, with its meandering rivers, steep dales and valleys, farms and villages. Geoff, who turned professional in 1998, has also been spending time in Suffolk and Norfolk collecting subject material at many of his favourite places along the Heritage Coast, where the vast skies, fens, marshes and coastal clutter, provide an ideal contrast to his home region.
Geoff’s traditional style of watercolour painting aims to capture the essence of the subject. Loose enough to be atmospheric, yet containing just enough detail to be both accurate and satisfying on closer more detailed inspection, his intuitive use of colour in bold flowing washes, is underpinned by his firm grasp of perspective and draftsmanship, complemented by a strong sense of place.
Finding himself much in demand as an artist, teacher and demonstrator, Geoff runs watercolour painting breaks and one day workshops at Alison House in Cromford, Derbyshire. He has written articles for The Artist and Illustrator, and Paint Magazines. His first book was published in summer 2004 Details are available on his website.
Geoff has created a number of DVD’s, one entitled “Improving your skies in watercolour” plus 2 further titles and accompanying course notes entitled ‘Creating Depth and Distance in your Paintings’ He has also published filmed a fourth DVD- “Improve your buildings in Watercolour”, and additionally there are two series of six instructional DVD’s, all of which are available via his website. Geoff is working on further publications.
March: Paul Knight
I work in charcoal and oils using simple techniques to develop my work whilst incorporating both classical and modern concepts. Mainly I produce portraiture and figurative work with the aim on expression over detail, currently attempting to create this using colour theory in still life.
April: Sheila Gill
Watercolour is a very popular medium, but because so many amateur watercolour artists used it in the latter half of the 19th century we tend to conjure up a mental picture of genteel ladies sitting at summer easels painting timid and delicate watercolour paintings.
An impression forms of an occupation similar to that of flower arranging.
However, professional watercolour artists like Sheila Gill of Chesterfield Derbyshire, regard it completely differently, exploiting watercolour in its many forms, fascinated by its possibilities and highly expert in her craft.
Her watercolour paintings have earned her a number of "highly commended" awards.
Flowers as a subject, though, have been joined by landscapes and animals. "I've always loved gardening," explains Sheila, "and flower painting was a natural extension of this passion."
"But the beauty of the Derbyshire landscape, particularly the White Peak, begs to be painted, and I spend a lot of time working outdoors."
May: Tim Rose
Tim Rose paints in oils and watercolours and his subjects range from cathedral interiors to country house gardens. In his work illumination is of the greatest importance and he seeks to capture those fleeting moments of changing lighting conditions. As far as possible he works on location of from sketches back in the studio.
June: Colin Preston
Based in Derbyshire my photographic images range from landscapes & seascapes to buildings, trees
animals & nature. I am particularly interested in creating images with mood and atmosphere in colour or a sepia effect bit I have a strong preference for black & white which in my opinion is more popular and sought after than ever before. All of my images are printed on German Etching
Textured Paper which helps to enhance the moody & sometimes grainy effect I want to produce.
I am always looking out for new locations to visit to capture something a little unique as I feel that
creating “something different” is the way forward.
July: Rebecca Morledge
I studied illustration at Derby University and am inspired by children’s book illustrators especially Quentin Blake and Shirley Hughes. My paintings capture local towns, streets and people. I am particularly interested in buildings and rooftops, they are often the most beautiful part of the building but we so very rarely notice them in our busy lives especially in towns and cities. I use watercolours and ink to create my paintings and they take many hours to complete due to the detail involved in each painting.
August: David Evans
I,m a professional artist; based in Sherwood Forest. I do draw inspiration from the forest, specifically the ancient oaks, and am heavily influenced by classic design such as ‘The Book of Kells’, Kirituhi tattooing or ‘The Dawn of the Floating World’.
My passion is drawing; be it pencil, pen or brush and the use of a fluid line, my aim being to capture the cumber of the bow of a tree or subtle curve of a spine
I have always done figure work and portraiture, developing techniques such as blending with sanguine pencil or lyrical flowing brush strokes with indigo ink.
My aim to create beautiful art, no deep meaning hopefully they stand on their own, that’s it really.
September: Brian Robinson
Brian pursued a career in graphic design for more than 30 years which included periods of teaching at various art schools and in later years he trained students of all ages in computer graphics. His main interest is watercolour on gesso and he specialises in painting objects that have fallen into disuse such as steam trains, abandoned vehicles and ships. For him it is all about the atmosphere surrounding them and his focus is to try to capture the poignancy of their dereliction.
He has sold his work in the UK, France, Germany and America and for the last few years has exhibited his work with the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour in the Mall Galleries London. He is a member of the Peak District Artisans and an associate member of the Guild of Railway Artists. Along with Maggie he has tutored art groups in the UK, France and Portugal.
October: Simon Parkin
Connection to the environment and experiencing the stunning and varied landscapes of the High Peak, the ever changing colours and textures as well as the dramatic sense of light and space here in Derbyshire is a constant source of inspiration .
Many of my paintings are started in the landscape itself, when working outside I become part of the landscape and the life and energy of my surroundings has a greater impact on me and my work, in this way I form a deeper connection to the landscape.
This connection and contact with the landscape is then worked upon in my studio, where I explore the relationship between the painting process and capturing the essence of character, feeling and atmosphere of the place I am painting.
The paintings then develop a depth not only in terms of the physical painting process but in the way I feel, think and connect to the subject matter. This process comes to a conclusion when there is balance of understanding between these elements.
To give the paintings a greater sense of place I often embed found objects into the paintings , I use bracken, heather, small pieces of stone and dried grasses, which I collect from the areas I am painting; this brings structure to the paintings and also helps recreate the physicality of the environment.
I see my painting as a unifying activity, a process involving experience, reflection, action and calm. These issues are brought to a resolve and a certain type of harmony is shown through the marks, colour and space. I hope that my paintings transmit a quality of awareness that is resting stimulating and revelationary rather than explanatory; this allows the viewer to participate in an intimate way-to step inside the painting and complete the work in a way which is unique to them.
November: Paul Tavernor
Paul has been painting distinctive and energetic oil paintings of British and European Mammals for many years.
His artwork has been nationally distributed by publishers and he has won many awards along the way. He has been voted as a top selling artist on three occasions by UK galleries and framers at art industry awards.
Painting from his cabin on the border of the Peak District, Paul draws his inspiration from the surrounding Countryside, notably the woods and plains of Cheshire or the stunning landscapes, moors and valleys of the Peak National Park. A rainy sky or frost bitten morning also hold great appeal. It’s from times and places like these where he can encounter most of his subject matter of hare, fox, badger and deer.
In the summer of 2014, Paul began his journey to take the wild to the wire, creating his first sculpture of a giant running hare made from galvanized steel wire.
“I always wanted to try my hand at large scale 3D work. I haven’t received any art training, so I just sat down in the garden with a coil of strong wire in one hand and a pair of pliers in the other. I thought I would begin with the head as a starting point. I then went on to create a skeletal shape outlining bone structure, muscle and movement before layering wire in parts to create the hare’s essence. Two months later, the hare was the size of a race horse”.
The hare was named, “Farahop”, after a competition at a local primary school. Since then he has been displayed outside Buxton’s Devonshire Dome, which boasts the largest unsupported dome in Europe and in the formal gardens at the National Trust’s Lyme Hall in Cheshire. So popular was Paul’s first sculpture, he has already been requested to undertake a pair of life size rutting stags.
Paul has his own art gallery on Park Lane in Poynton, Cheshire and his artwork can be seen and obtained through selected galleries, at art fairs and exhibitions and through his website. Paul’s signed greeting cards can also be purchased through a selection of the regions National Trust properties and other tourist attractions.
December: Ruth Gray
Ruth Gray was born in Nottingham in 1972. After graduating in Textiles at The Nottingham Trent University 1992, she began her artistic career as a fashion designer. At the same time she began studying art at night school. This is where she saw painting and fine art as a vehicle as a means to express her creativity.
It wasn’t until immigrating to Australia in 2003 that she could turn it into a full time career, working with art societies and galleries and exploring all forms of painting styles. Deciding to further her education again at Nottingham Trent University Ruth returned to the UK and gained a 1st Class Honours Degree in International Fashion Business in 2010. Ruth has taken part in over 100 exhibitions and has had many solo shows including The Route of the Ripley Rattlers at DH Lawrence Museum and ‘Anything but Grey’ at The Lally Gallery Erewash Museum.
Enjoying using a variety of media over the years it is only in the last two years however, Ruth has sought to redefine her style. Figurative work has enabled her to express her ideas about locality and community life. Landscapes, Cityscapes and Seascapes are also common themes that help express her love for the world around her.
Her artistic influences are clearly seen in her work. Turner has been a long-term inspiration, so to that of the Australian Impressionists such as Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton and Charles Conder. Her deepest passion however is her love for the forgotten towns. You will notice that many of her compositions are based around street or declining high street scenes and this provides the backdrop to many of her themes.
Please contact the gallery if you require any further information:
Cromford Studio and Gallery
Tele: 01629 826434