Artists give their interpretation of what The North means to them. Below is a little taster of what you can expect when you visit...
When I think of the North, I think of my homeland, Scotland and time spent on the West Coast and the Isle of Arran. The weather always changed rapidly and there’d be a shower followed by sun, followed by hail! Unpredictable and wild, often misty and very moody. This sense of atmosphere is what I aim for in my paintings, where so many colours merge and move.
Rain Coming In
On The Wild Shore
Gareth Buxton To me North is where the hills reach the sky, where mist becomes clouds and where I become part of nature.
Late Winter's Day near Curbar Edge
Lost In The Ascent
The wind sweeps across the hills
My work is usually inspired by landscape – that of the Yorkshire Wolds in particular, where I do a lot of walking.I draw in charcoal in situ and make the paintings in the studio. I use acrylics most often because of their versatility and speed of drying, as well as mixed media. I usually favour strong contrasts and rich colour although I temper the palette to the particular subject. I’m excited by the mysterious qualities in landscape – the light, shadow and pattern. I try to convey this feeling in the images I make.
I live and work in the north of Scotland – 58 degrees north in fact, almost as far north as it is possible to be on the mainland of Britain, on the same line of latitude as Newfoundland, Alaska and the Kamchatka Peninsula. Yet the name of the place I inhabit is ‘Sutherland’ – for the Norwegian Vikings who lived and ruled here until a few hundred years ago, this was the ‘Southern land’. So I am very conscious of the relativity of the term ‘north’. Despite its geographical situation our community is in no way remote or disconnected from the world at large. An arterial road and a railway pass my door; across the Cromarty Firth I watch oil rigs being towed in for maintenance or decommission as world oil prices collapse; Chinook helicopters roar over the house as international military exercises are held on the north coast. All around me the landscape is worked – for farming, for industry, for generating power – and shows signs of having been so for thousands of years. But above all this north, ‘my’ north, means home to me, and it is this sense of rootedness and belonging in the landscape – a landscape at first glance empty but on closer looking full of the story of humankind - that I try to capture and convey in my work.
Full Moon, Christmas Morning
Ravens Over Ferry Woods
"Landscape is my religion" said the artist Norman MacCaig. To which I, personally, would add the word 'Northern'
'The North' for me means drama - the drama of the landscape itself and the drama of the weather and light interacting with that landscape. The high land where I live is mainly moorland. The moors of the southern Pennines have an uncompromising quality - you cross them on their terms and accept whatever they throw at you, which can be anything, whatever the time of year. It is often very challenging to sketch in such conditions. It is worth every icy blast or stinging raindrop though to experience those forces at work. It is this and the dramatic moments they produce that I enjoy trying to convey in paint, along with some occasional, more quiet moments of breathtaking beauty too!
Bitter Chill, Sunset
Shower Over Wessenden
I am based in West Yorkshire, on the edge of the Calder Valley so much talked about recently - no better place to witness the true grit and honest nature of Northern folk. Their temperament is rooted within this open landscape of bleak moorland, scarred by steep, narrow valleys where the land and sky morph before your eyes as the weather sweeps through; coming alive, unveiling its feelings and contradictions, and breathing ever-changing colours and moods… It causes me to pause, look and stay - an endless source of inspiration. My palette is inspired by the seasonal changes, and textures by the rugged & dramatic backdrop that is the North. I use wool, a moorland bi-product, enticed by its unique properties – strong yet soft, stubborn yet malleable. Qualities strongly evocative of the North, are embedded within my work.