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It’s been a glorious weekend although the heatwave was tempered in the Peak District by a cool edge to the wind. This did not spoil our enjoyment; Derbyshire was clothed in luscious greens, billowing cow parsley, glades of wild garlic and hillsides of yellow flowering gorse. Add to this the sound of lambs, birds, the wonderment of watching a kestrel’s mastery of the very blustery conditions and you have a perfect day….with the addition of some very tasty provisions from a local farm shop!

imageimageimageimageEventually tearing ourselves away, we made our way to Gallerytop in Rowsley. Here, it was great to see the work of Chris Prout, an artist who’s work I have admired for a long time – and at last I got to see some ‘in the flesh’! Although my artistic skills are not in Chris’s league, we do have something in common – a love of Derbyshire & Wales! The work on display here came in a variety of sizes, from small squares, providing the viewer with tantalising glimpes of the Derbyshire countryside, hidden corners, overlooked areas, rich in layers, to a large scale sweeping vista lush with paint, awash with layers and textures – Derbyshire on a canvas! Some paintings had a muted palette, whilst others had richer colours, flecks, hints… There is a real sense of energy & passion in his work – wonderful!

I also liked the work of John Paul Cooke – his abstract works, rich in form, tone & texture, capture the spirit of the Peaks in all their various moods – from early morning mists, to mellow Autumn days. I loved his use of muted palettes! Richard Barrett’s work also captured my eye – the energy, layers & marks provide the viewer with a feel for the rich & varied tapestry that is Derbyshire!

Sunday saw us take a trip to the Patchings Festival at the Patchings Art Centre at Calverton, Nottingham. With slightly less wind, it was a gloriously sunny day. Crowds of people were treated to a veritable feast of artists, artists’ materials, demonstrations & a band to boot! It was really hard not to be like a child in a sweet shop in the materials tent….

I watched a mixed media demonstration by artist Robert Dutton. Based in Yorkshire, Robert’s work is very expressive, with strong marks and brush strokes – resolving to capture the ‘moment’ & the wonder & strength that is Yorkshire! A very enjoyable demonstration saw him start to portray the magnificent Malham Cove. With a variety of mediums & marks, tones & highlights his passion for painting, & the subject, really shone through – as did his encouragement for us all to be bold, let go & loosen up! You really emerged from the marquee itching to pick up your charcoal, pastel, paint…

In the artists’ tent was Carole Baker – I have been very fortunate to attend a couple of her workshops! She uses bold colours & textures to create evocative landscapes & is another very passionate artist who is generous with her tips & encouragement!

Sad to say I misssed Jean Haines, a watercolour artist, who’s work I also love! Her enthusiasm for watercolour really comes across in her work, books, dvds…. Vibrant colours, beautiful washes, great marks & her energy really brings the subjects to life! Maybe I will see you next year!

Also at the Festival were more craft based artists as well as photographers! I particularly liked the work of wildlife photographer Des Ong. The patience required to capture some of his images must be enormous! Again Des was another artist generous with his time, tips & stories – loved to hear how he got the 3 wild boar all in a row!

And just in case you tagged along as the non-artistic partner, along with the band, there was a marquee demonstration the Art of Bonsai – who knew there was so much to it & the price of some the trees… There was also a display of birds of prey – so beautiful!

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imageimageAnd a gorilla to boot…

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All in all, a very enjoyable day – definitely a date for next year’s calendar!

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