Watercolourists – by Alex Purves

Alex Purves gave an illustrated talk on watercolourists to over thirty members of Pateley Bridge Art Club . He ran a slide show of over 70 watercolour paintings, many influential from the 16th century to modern times covering a wide range of styles and subjects.

Durer was one of the early landscape painter in watercolour, most paintings being in oils or body colour. Alex showed two paintings from 1502/3, Young Hare and Great Piece of Turf.

Alex illustrated a landscape by Claude Lorraine, a Rembrandt pen and wash and buildings by Caneletto.
Another artist, Paul Sandby from Nottingham, was a major influence in the 18th century. He painted this view of a scottish castle.

The artist James Gilray painted satirical cartoons, like this famous political one of Pitt and Napoleon carving a Plumb-pudding representing the world.

Alex illustrated watercolours by Thomas Girtin and his rival JMW Turner. Turner experimented many techniques including applying paint and ink to very wet paper and used tinted papers.
He painted Norham Castle several times. His later paintings became less detailed.

Many watercolour artists had the profitable follow up market for engravings when creating their paintings, including Turner.

Alex also showed paintings by John Ruskin in Venice and the major watercolourist, John Sell Cotman, with his famous view of a river bridge.

He alsso showed paintings by Henry John Boddington, Samual Palmer and John Constable. This is Constable’s painting of stonehenge.

Alex talked about Arthur Melville, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Russell Flint, Ron Ransom, Rowland Hilder and John Yardley.
He also discussed the war artists Albert Richards, John Worsley, John Piper, Edward Wesson and Norma Bull. He showed their varied work in two wars.
This is a painting by Norma Bull of a war damaged hospital.

He showed painting by modern artists, William Heaton Cooper and Len Tabner and many others. This is one of hundreds of Tabner’s images of Boulby Potash mine.

Alex also brought some of his own paintings.

It was another interesting talk by an expert in painters and paintings.

Josie Beszant “Collected Stories”

Josie Beszant talked about her interest in collecting and illustrated her work with cabinet displays and artworks.

Her website states:
“I am a collector of stories, poems fragments of things. This spills out into my art work, whether it is in painting, collage, assemblage or sculpture the work is always about things found that I am fascinated with. This could be a scrap of a photo, a discarded letter, a story told or a song. I am interested in the beauty of the damaged discarded and broken which is a constant theme running through my work.”

She explained her early interest in natural and made objects during her childhood staying with her grandparents in a cottage with lots of interesting objects and access to the countryside. She developed an interest in drawing, making and mending things. These interests developed into making clothes, stained glass, plastering etc. as well as painting pastels and watercolours.

Her interest in old objects developed into creating collages of old photographs, old family stories, envelopes, animal bones and old objects. These represent past connections and emotions. They could be tales of unrequited love or separation.


Josie and artists, Hester Cox and Charlotte Morrison, create new ways of displaying objects in store at Ryedale Museum. These included, old glass, fragments of wallpaper from demolished houses and moths.

They were also involved in exploring and illustrating the archives of Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley. Josie incorporated the ideas into the construction of aprons from teabag material and found scraps.

Collage of old objects is not popular in the UK but has a market in the USA and Europe. Her other painting work is more important for sales from her gallery in Masham.

For further information see www.mashamgallery.co.uk/josie-beszant.html



Framing by Andy Grinter

Andy Grinter from Green Dragon Framing talked about picture framing. He has been framing pictures for fifteen years.

He talked briefly about the history of framing including in ancient Egypt and in 13th century Europe. Early church paintings were often included in structures such as altar pieces or tabernacles. As art became more portable, frames were needed. The renaissance of art in Europe created demand for Italian carved frames.

In the 17th century the trend was for frames to match the furniture.  Impressionists adopted simple white frames. Subsequent owners re-framed them. Only one Van Gough painting remains in its original frame despite the artist painting to match to frames.

A frame supports the painting and creates an edge.  Framing is part of the design of the painting, the mount board adds distance and colour. It adds value and helps to sell a painting. Buyers often want a frame to match their decor.

Framing can be expensive, especially as good quality materials should be used, such as conservation quality mount board to preserve the white of the bevel edge, and good quality wood such as oak and ash. The lighter woods are more popular than the darker woods that were popular in the past.

A major breakthrough in framing was the development of flat glass and later float glass. Mr Grinter showed us some anti-reflective Schott glass alongside ordinary framing glass and low reflection etched glass. The anti-reflective is very clear and will enhance a painting but is quite expensive.  He also mentioned that linen canvas is worth considering for oil painting  as it is more stable than cotton and takes oil better.

Mr Grinter showed the members how a double mount can improve the look of a painting with a coloured outline.


He also showed how a coloured mount can overwhelm a painting with too much colour. The white or cream outer mount reduces the impact.

Mr Grinter also showed more complex mounts with some depth, creating shadows. He also paints mounts to create more subtle colours along the edges and along the lines created by the mount boards.

Andy Grinter trades as Green Dragon Framing at Art in the Mill in Green Dragon Yard, Knaresborough.

Website: http://www.artinthemill.co.uk


Laura Knight by Alex Purves

Alex Purves made another visit to Pateley Bridge Art Club. This time to talk about, and illustrate the work of Dame Laura Knight and her fellow artists. Laura Knight (1877 to 1970) was a successful, popular English artist with a long career in painting, engraving etc.

Alex described her progress from Nottingham School of Art, where she met her future husband Harold Knight, who also became a successful painter.

She painted the people of Staithes, particularly women and portraits of local children.

They moved to Newlyn in Cornwall where they thrived in the company of fellow artists. She achieved success with her plein-air realistic paintings of women and of children, some were accepted at the Royal Academy.

She also painted in an impressionist style in thick paint.

Alex also illustrated the works of Alfred Munnings, Walter Sickert, Roger Fry and Harold Gilman.

Laura Knight became interested in ballet, theatre and circus, which she followed as official artist.

One ground breaking work was a self portrait of herself painting a nude. This was a reaction to early restrictions she had faced in the world of art. It was an important picture for her and has been acclaimed as a significant work.

She worked as a war artist in both world wars, sometimes showing war work by women.

A key work post war painting was of the Nuremberg trial scene, showing destruction in the background.

Laura Knight painted many fine portraits.

These are a small selection of the painting and photographs that Alex showed us.

We were also treated to a display of paintings and sketches owned by a guest, some not yet authenticated.


Talk by Tony Noble

Tony Noble gave a talk to Pateley Bridge Art Club on his career and showed us images of his work.


He had a strong grounding in life drawing and portraits in pencil in a local art group.





Tony gave up teaching in 2008 and became a full time artist working mainly in oil on board. He has several in progress to allow for drying times.

He also paints in acrylic and watercolour.

He showed us his early portraits of children.




Tony entered his portraits into the BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery and was accepted 5 times.

This double portrait is of his Mother-in-Law and her sister.

He also paints portraits and animal paintings as commissions.




He has a studio in Redbrick Mill in Batley. Many of his paintings include detailed objects associated with the subjects. In many cases, the level of detail and his realistic approach take months to paint.





Tony painted the portraits of a local biker gang and their leader.



His other major subject is of local buildings. He paints old mills, shops, flats, car parks  and old garages. They are realistically painted with every brick detailed. He has painted many in Batley, Marsden and Leeds.

He has had paintings accepted into the RA  Summer Exhibition twice. Paintings have also been accepted in other competitions.


Many images are at wide angles, appearing even more photographic.


Tony also painted a series of garages in various states of repair.

Many more paintings can be seen at www.tonynoble-artist.com


Lesley Seeger, artist from North Yorkshire

Lesley Seeger is a North Yorkshire painter of colourful abstract flowers and landscapes, mainly in acrylic in a format of 3 foot square. She has been painting for 25 years and was influenced by her time in Sri Lanka.  She is artist in residence at Burton Agnes Hall.

Her style of painting changed over the years as she experimented with colours and repeated shapes, sometimes a riot of colour,sometimes limiting to a predominating colour. She also used scratching out to reveal colour underneath.

Her work moved towards landscapes, especially of Yorkshire scenes, with the familiar composition of front, middle and distant with a movement through it. Her work progressed from hot colours into lighter, calmer compositions.

Details of her work, with better images of her work than on this blog, can be seen at >  www.lesleyseeger.com

Lesley gave a slideshow of paintings images from 2007 starting with some imagined landscapes as illustrated. 

In 2009 Lesley developed her abstract flower paintings

In 2010 Leslie started to develop sketches into painted landscapes

In 2013 Leslie produced abstract floral paintings as “observed landscapes”

In 2014 Leslie took on more commissioned landscape work


Leslie combined floral and landscape

These are a couple of recent painting that she brought along

Some of Leslie’s more recent work.


Sarah Garforth – Drawing Techniques

Sarah Garforth gave a talk to the Pateley Bridge Art Club on some of her drawing, painting and printing methods, illustrated with her artworks.

Sarah is a well known Nidderdale artist with a studio in Ramsgill. She described how she immerses herself in the countryside, sketching local scenes.

She sketches, takes notes and collects samples to help with her studio paintings.

She adds colour notes in her sketchbook whilst travelling.

Sarah also showed us her drawing materials, including graphite sticks in dark, darker and even darker. They have useful pointed end, flats and hexagonal edges and ends for creating varying marks and shading.

Sarah enjoys making dip pens of elder twigs. She makes a point and a cut to delivery ink from the soft middle. They make interesting varying lines.

She draws with willow charcoal, clutch pencils that have thick pointed leads in limited shades and Mitsubishi Uniball eye micro pens.

Sarah showed us one of her drawing on Japanese Gampi paper.

For sketching scenes on location, Sarah also uses an Elegant Writer calligraphy pen with a chisel edge to make marks in varying widths. The ink can be spread with a water pen to separate into shades of blue and grey.

Sarah showed us her sketchbooks compiled on her travels. She includes descriptions of places visited and includes local collected images.

Sarah has developed her interest in printing methods. The drypoint method involves scratching into a soft plate to create a printable image.  The plate is not as durable as engraved plates.

Sarah showed us a couple of impressive monoprints. They were produced by indents made with a wooden tool into Japanese vellum paper placed over plexiglass that had been inked with water based lino ink. The process creates lines on the other side of the paper of a different nature to those created directly by pen or pencil.

The solar plate printing method requires a detailed drawing. The image is transferred to a polymer covered metal plate using daylight that reaches the plate through the drawing. The plate is processed in water to fix the indents. The completed solar plate can be used to print many images.

A print from the solar plate.

Sarah also showed us the way that a range of Daniel Smith watercolours can be used to split into constituent parts to make interesting paintings.

Sarah Garforth’s work s can be seen at > www.sarahgarforth.co.uk/
There are also details of her monoprints and working methods in her blog.

Details of the Ramsgill Gallery >www.ramsgillstudio.co.uk/


“Artists & critics – Artists as critics” – Alex Purves

Alex Purves made a return visit to give an illustrated talk about artists and critics.

He started with a mention of Vasari, the 16th century artist, architect and who wrote biographies of fellow renaissance artists with a bias  in favour of fellow Florentine artists.

The 18th century art market developed in the salons and  at exhibitions. Art markets are very competitive, so most artists rely on critics to enhance their reputation. He mentioned that artists were  also often involved in art criticism themselves, sometimes to gain an advantage over their rivals.


He mentioned that membership of the Royal Academy depended on votes by members who were also artists. They could keep out new artists, especially those with new ideas in a conservative environment. The denial of entry into Paris Salons of the impressionists achieved similar outcomes for a time.

Mr Purves illustrated  many artworks that were the the subject of fierce critiques. Ingres, who painted with a classic precision, was challenged by the loose, colourful style of Delacroix.


These types of clashes were illustrated by a cartoon showing jousting between the brush and the pen.

He also illustrated and talked about critiques of artists: Degas, Toulouse Lautrec,  David and Gericault.

Mr Purves also illustrated controversial work by English painters.
A critic suggested that Constable should use less green and more brown like the old masters, even though he was painting the English countryside.
Turner faced  widespread criticism for his later vortex paintings. Even his champion, Ruskin, commenting about his mental state.



A cartoon depicting Turner painting with a mop, summed up contemporary attitudes of established classical artists to his loose style.

Mr Purves also illustrated pre Raphaelite paintings by Millais, Rosetti  and Holman Hunt.


One of the most famous artist and critic disputes followed Ruskin commenting on Whistler’s “Nocturne in Black & Gold, falling rocket”, illustrated.
He wrote: ‘I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.’
Whistler decided to sue Ruskin for libel but was only awarded a farthing damages, resulting heavy costs against Whistler. Poor consequences for both.
Critics also commented adversely on Whistler’s “Symphony in White …”, paintings and etchings in Venice and his stark painting of his mother.
His pictures form a dangerous precedent


A portrait of Madam X  by John Singer Sargent offended critics in Paris. The loose strap was changed in some versions.






Monet’s  sketch “Impression of sunrise”, painted in London, was deemed unfinished and heavily criticised.
This painting gave a name to the impressionist movement.



Mr Purves showed post war images. This period was influenced by followers of the Bauhaus painters, including Victor Pasmore, who changed art school teaching away from its traditional approach.

The photograph is of the “kitchen sink artists”, included John Bratby, showing a kitchen sink painting.

A painting by John Bratby


One severe critic was Winston Churchill who was reputed to have destroyed Sutherland’s portrait of himself.

Lady Churchill is reputed to have destroyed a portrait sketch of him by Walter Sickert.


All new movements attract critics, not least artworks made by poured paint.

A notable comment on modern art appreciation in a New Yorker cartoon lampooned critical commentary:

“His spatter is masterful, but his dribble lacks conviction” 



And a final word by an art professional on the subject of art appreciation.
“I don’t know much about art but I know where the gents are”

It was an interesting, illuminating, broad ranging, well illustrated talk by Alec Purves.


Katharine Holmes – Malhamdale Artist

Katharine Holmes gave an illustrated talk on her painting career. Her main interest is in painting the landscape around her home in Malhamdale and the Dales.

She brought the following landscape paintings of the dales.

Spring on Boss Moor looking towards Winterburn, acrylic on board

Spring on Boss Moor looking towards Hetton and Rhylstone Fell

May, Little Fryup Dale, Acrylic on board

Katharine showed a video, assisted by Gordon, of her painting a landscape of Gordale in situ on the grass. She used a large sheet of Saunders Waterford 300lb cotton paper, 1.5 metre by about 2 metre. This involved pouring wet washes across the paper, painting with large brushes, embedding river gravel in acrylic medium and overlaying paper strips etc.

Gordale painting

Detail of Gordale painting

This can be viewed on her website at > www.katharineholmes.co.uk/light_on_land.html

Katharine showed us many images of her paintings, aided by Gordon, including views of Gordale Scar as follows.

Katharine has exhibited at Leeds University including this wall of sketches

Katharine let us browse through her sketching books. She often uses Daler Rowney FW acrylic ink, sometimes painting with the droppers.

Katharine’s showed many images of paintings by her grandmother, Constance Pearson and mother, Phillipa Holmes. Some will feature in her exhibition “Grandmother’s Footsteps” due to run in the Mercer Gallery from 16th September 2017.

More of her work can be viewed at > www.katharineholmes.co.uk/

Paul Harris, photographer

Paul Harris visited Pateley Bridge Art Club to talk about and illustrate his recent photographic projects, both locally, around England and abroad.

He showed some images and a film sequence of local life that are part of his ongoing four year project with the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership.

The following are some of photographs and films, copyright Paul Harris Photography.

Photographs from Cumbria

Horse riding, Mallerstang,
Stormy skies over the Howgills

Esthwaite Water, Near Sawrey, Lake District, Cumbria
Esthwaite Water, Near Sawrey, Lake District, Cumbria

Film Work with Artists
Paul mentioned the short film, Swarm, he made of Laney Birkhead’s bee printing project. This had been shown to art club members at the February 2017 meeting, see blog post, and is available to view at > Swarm_a_film_by_Paul_Harris
Paul showed a short film made with Jane Carlisle Bellerby, artist in silk, based on her exhibition at No 6 Studio Gallery, King Street Workshops last year. View at > From Dale to Dale

Paul’s international projects include leading photography holidays, including Iceland. He had just returned from Iceland where he was fortunate to come close to sperm whales and orcas. He showed us many photographs, including the following.

Sperm Whale off the north coast of Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland.
Sperm Whale off the north coast of Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland.

Killer Whales, Orca (Orcinus orca), Grundarfjörður, Iceland.
Killer Whales, Orca (Orcinus orca), Grundarfjörður, Iceland.


There are more pictures and some short films from Iceland on Paul’s website and film page linked at the end. These show the interaction of light and ice plus the spectacular northern lights.

He told us about his visits to remote parts of Greenland accessible only by boat (weather and ice permitting), by helicopter or by dog sled.He mentioned some of the environmental issues arising in the fragile landscapes.


Icebergs at the entrance to the icefiord south of Ilulissat, Greenland
Icebergs at the entrance to the icefiord south of Ilulissat, Greenland

Paul showed us images from northern India with spectacular mountains and unique cultural festivals.

Ladakh, Northern India
Ladakh, Northern India

Musicians, Korzok Gustor Festival, Tso Moriri, Ladakh
Musicians, Korzok Gustor Festival, Tso Moriri, Ladakh

Film Work
Paul showed us scenes during shooting of the series Secrets of the National Trust for channel 5, available on catch up, including an episode with spectacular aerial shots of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.

For more details of his work and photographs visit Paul’s website
website – www.paulharrisphotography.com
instagram – www.instagram.com/paulharrisphotography/
video – www.vimeo.com/phpProductions

All photographs copyright Paul Harris Photography.