There are some beautiful skies - morning and evening - at this time of year in the North of England. The colours are just amazing and often have me reaching for a favourite poem - Elegy in a Country Churchyard. Written by Thomas Gray at a church on the outskirts of Slough, where I spent my teenage years, its images have resonated in my imagination for a long time.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
I like the five beat rhythm of the lines, the language (solemn stillness,drowsy tinklings) but above all I like it because I when I stand in a country churchyard I think and feel so many of the same things. Although Gray was writing in the eighteenth century churchyards are not so very different now.
If you want to read the whole thing CLICK HERE
If you want to visit Gray's churchyard this is the postcode: SL2 4NZ
Hawkshead, watercolour by Ian Scott Massie (above)
Masham, Late Autumn, open edition print by Ian Scott Massie (left)
both available from Masham Gallery
To visit CLICK HERE
Jervaulx Abbey, Autumn Ian Scott Massie
I was recently invited to show some work in a new exhibition at Masham Gallery which sets out to find beauty in the worn, aged and imperfect. The title of the show is Aged to Perfection and it opens on November 16th. Victoria Brookland
Yesterday, however, I got a sneak preview of the work and it's one of the most stunning exhibitions I've seen for a while.
The images vary from Alice Fox's rust stained, water marked abstract creations, through Suzanne McIvor's gorgeous studies of worn, tessellated floors to Victoria Brookland's fantasias around dresses which seem alive, haunted and organic.
The exhibition also includes some of the lovely creations of Josie Beszant - housed like ancient treasure in their glass reliquary boxes - which intrigue the eye and tease the imagination with narratives woven from old photographs, intricately worked and transformed paper and fabric, and a cast of diverse symbols and signposts.
Vic Sayers's work reflects back onto these images with a ruined house in a overgrown landscape ,a pair of red wellington boots in an empty hallway, a sagging, tangled barbed wire fence.
And my own contribution of ruined walls, an abandoned boat, a stand of aging pine trees completes the exhibition.
Don't be tempted to think that this makes for a dreary show - far from it. The room fizzes with energy, the images are strong and the show is a tour de force - a perfect combination of artists working on parallel lines.
Aged to Perfection is at Masham Gallery until 31st December. For more information CLICK HERE.
To see my work from the show CLICK HERE
Masham, Watercolour, 28" x 36" £1200
These are my paintings and prints for this year's Masham Arts Festival
The Festival exhibition is at
St. Mary's Church, Masham, open daily from
26th October - 2nd November
10am - 4pm
(except Sunday morning)
It features around 30 of the North's best artists, all of whom have been specially selected for this show.
If you would be interested in any of these CLICK HERE.
Masham Market Place, Screen Print, 20" x 16", £179
Ribblehead Viaduct, Watercolour, 28" x 21", £595
Masham from High Burton, Watercolour & Indian Ink, 20" x 10",£245
The Christmas Angel, Screen Print, 16" x 12", £149
Masham from Hackfall, Mixed Media, 20" x 16", £295
One day an old beggar passed through the city that now lies under the waves. He asked at every house for food and drink, from the humblest hovel to the highest palace, but was turned away. Walking out of the city he came to a shepherd’s cottage high on the hillside where he was welcomed in, given cheese, ale and backstone cakes (a kind of Dales oatcake) and a bed for the night. Ingleborough
In the morning the beggar stood at the cottage door and looked down at the city in the valley bottom. He muttered these words:
“Semerwater rise, and Semerwater sink,
And swallow the town all save this house,
Where they gave me food and drink.”
At once waters began pouring into the valley from the surrounding hills until the city was drowned and every dwelling beneath the water, save for the shepherd’s cottage. And this is why, if you take a boat out onto Semerwater and listen in the quiet of the evening, you can hear faintly, from the beneath the water, the church bells rolling and tolling in the slow currents below the surface of the lake. Since 1956 the old town has had its own annual service on the last Sunday in August when the vicar preaches from a boat.
This story comes from:Tales From The Dales
A major exhibition of paintings based on stories from the Yorkshire Dales collected over the last two years.
The exhibition is at:Tales of the Dales
Dover Gallery, Farfield Mill, Sedbergh
Postcode: LA10 5LW
For full details and more pictures CLICK HERE
Further details can be found on following me on Facebook or Twitter:http://www.facebook.com/scottmassieARTISThttps://twitter.com/ianscottmassie
Tales of the Dales, which was initially shown at Wensley Church in July and August opens for a three month run in the lovely Dover Gallery at Farfield Mill on October 5th.
The exhibition comprises over sixty framed and unframed paintings and prints - including four new original paintings. The framed work is accompanied by the stories behind each of the images which you can read as you walk through the show, including a story about Farfield Mill.
Also in the exhibition are copies of the book Tales of the Dales, which includes all the stories, accompanied by the paintings they inspired, and a set of four greetings cards of Penyghent, Ingleborough, Penhill and Wild Boar Fell.
Farfield Mill was built by Joseph Dover in 1837 - probably the first Victorian mill to exist since that was the year the future “Mrs Brown” came to the throne. The mill was driven by a huge waterwheel powered by the dammed waters of the River Clough. The mill spun wool, wove cloth and sent out wool to handloom weavers in the area.
After a hundred years of prosperity the mill was sold and never acheived full production again despite a number of schemes including weaving Yorkshire tweed and fashioning crankshafts for aero engines.
One of Farfield’s oddest claims to fame is the story of one of its employees: William Stainton. Although stories are often told of the tough times our forefathers faced, few individuals have such an impressive CV. Starting work at the age of eight, William’s mill career comprised an incredible eighty-six years. He clocked out from his final shift at the age of ninety-four.
The exhibition continues until January 5th 2014.
Farfield Mill is open 7 days a week: Mill: 10.30 - 5, cafe 10.00 - 5.00
The mill houses a wonderful mixture of artists' studios, mill machinery, looms and a great cafe. Among artists resident at the Mill are Rebecca Callis, Laura Rosenzweig and Helene Shovlar. Their work is lovely - don't miss them!
Masham Market Place ©Ian Scott Massie 2013
I was looking at some 1920s railway posters recently and I really liked the way light is used in a lot of them. I'd wanted to do a print of Masham Market Place for a while and it seemed to me that this might be the approach to take and in keeping with the theme of Simplicity of Colour - the title of the forthcoming Masham Gallery Exhibition
. I wanted to get the feel of a late summer evening with the light streaming out of the door of the Kings Head (on the right) and the dark shape of the Market Cross pretty dead centre.
This is the watercolour sketch for the idea which helped me think about the colouring and the main elements of the picture. Although this style of work has a very flat finish I wanted it to feel as though it was a picture you could walk into.
This is the print "map" - drawn to the same size as the finished print. The numbers are where I work out the order in which each layer of colour will be printed.
This is the completed pile of fourteen prints drying in the studio. Using the reduction system of printing means that you have to print the whole edition in one go. There are usually a couple of disasters but, on this occasion, every print turned out well.
If you'd like a copy contact Masham Gallery by clicking HERE
Simplicity of Colour is at Masham Gallery from 21st September to the 3rd of November.
I'm having a bit of an experiment.
I wrote The Penhill Giant as a sort of graphic novel for children and published it for the Tales of the Dales
exhibition in August.
However I thought it might be fun to rework it as a comic strip and put it out in instalments - after all, the first thing I do when I get the morning paper is to read the cartoons. I can't be the only one!
So every day for 12 days The Penhill Giant story will appear on my Facebook page. To go there just CLICK HERE
Here's a sample - the first strip which appeared today. Hope you enjoy them.
The Cooper Gallery,
There's an excellent exhibition by a group of printmakers opening at the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley. There are pieces by a number of printmakers including Lesley Birch
, Stuart Brocklehurst
, Angie Rogers
Its going to be a fascination show with printmakers who work in a wide range of media from woodcut and etching to screen printing.
Not to be missed.A selection of my screen prints is always available through my website:http://www.ianscottmassie.com
This weekend sees one of the best art fairs around: Art in the Pen at Skipton Auction Mart.
Over a hundred artists and craftspeople turn the cattle and sheep pens into an amazing art gallery. There is plenty of car parking, a cafe and the opportunity to meet some of the leading painters, printmakers and potters from the North of England.
Skipton itself is a great destination with its beautiful medieval castle and its a lovely way into the Dales.
Come along, say hello. The details, and a link to the Art in the Pen site are below.
Hit the road for Skipton this weekend:Art in the Pen 2013
Saturday 17 August and Sunday 18 August
from 10am to 4pm
Skipton Auction Mart, Skipton, BD23 1UDFor more detailsCLICK HERE
Tales of the Dales opened last Friday evening at Wensley Church (CLICK HERE
for a map) and has had a steady stream of visitors.
The church of Holy Trinity, Wensley is looked after by the Churches Conservation Trust. Its very beautiful - medieval wall paintings, ornate carvings, lovely stonework and a serene atmosphere - and a lot of people are discovering this gem for the first time.
The Preview saw the launch of two books: The Penhill Giant - a story book for children - and Tales of the Dales - which contains all the stories collected for the exhibition plus the paintings they inspired. Tales of the Dales nearly didn't make it for the show due to a breakdown at the printers but, with only two hours to go, it finally arrived. To buy either of them CLICK HERE.
Some of the paintings have caused a lot of interest, in particular the ones that deal with the dissolution of the monasteries, the Settle Carlisle Railway, potholing and peoples' favourite hill walks. The other main point of interest is my technique for mixing watercolour and indian ink. You can see this in action in a short film about the exhibition - CLICK HERE.
The show runs till August 11th and I'm at the church every day from 10 am to 5 pm. Come and see me if you're in the area. For full details of the exhibition CLICK HERE.
Grinton Church, Swaledale
Polly Peachum's Tower