Moor Stories is an exhibition of paintings and prints based on stories from the North York Moors. I've spent a happy couple of years walking, sketching and talking to people - collecting stories and ideas for pictures as I went.
The result is this exhibition at the Inspired By ... Gallery, The Moors National Park Centre, Danby, YO21 2NB. The exhibition closes on 25th July 2017. To see (and buy) the paintings CLICK HERE
Above: The High Fields, Coverdale, limited edition print.
The first time I came to Coverdale I was driving from Durham to Dow Cave – a pothole in Wharfedale. As I pootled into Wensleydale I worked out that if I took the road over the end of Penhill I could cut off a substantial corner. It was one of my better decisions but I doubted its wisdom at first.
My little blue Morris 1000 van, nicknamed The Jellymould, struggled up the near vertical hairpin bends of Capple Bank with a groaning gearbox but finally made it to the highest point of the road. I pulled over and got out.
From here a great swathe of Yorkshire was laid out. To the left lay Wensleydale, with the ridges of Swaledale beyond. Ahead lay the Vale of York and, beyond, the North York Moors. To my right lay the undiscovered country of Coverdale but, looking across the grouse-chattering moor, I could see a promising line of fells.
I got back into the Morris, crossed the moor and came through a tiny village into a small (by Yorkshire standards) dale of green fields, heather and bracken uplands, and limestone farms. Lost in trees in the valley bottom flowed the little River Cover. I turned toward the Dale head and my destination.
I’ve made the journey to the Dale dozens of times since, and it’s always wonderful. As you drive east Coverdale grows narrower, the hillsides steeper, the ground more barren. Green hedges become drystone walls. Driving up the rise to the watershed, the bulk of Great Whernside looms up on the left. Across the moor to the right lie drove roads to Waldendale and Bishopdale. To either side of the cattle grid at the Dale Head is the Dark Age earthwork of Tor Dyke.
This place is close to heaven. Behind, Coverdale’s modest length of seventeen miles disappears into the distance. Ahead, the heights of Park Rash fall away into Wharfedale. Above, larks seem to sing in a summer sky, even in winter.
(From Places of Pilgrimage by Ian Scott Massie, published by SPCK)
Copies of The High Fields, Coverdale print and the book of Places of Pilgrimage are available from Masham Gallery. For print CLICK HERE, for the book CLICK HERE.
Below: Coverdale, watercolour
Places of Pilgrimage: Cambridge
The tour of my exhibition Places of Pilgrimage has reached its final destination: Cambridge Contemporary Art. This lovely gallery have represented me for many years and it's the perfect place for the exhibition's travels to end.
I'm including three images from the exhibition in this blog: Bridge of Sighs, Dawn, King's College and Stockport Viaduct.
In the book which accompanies the exhibition I give a description of my first visit to Cambridge:
"I parked on Queen’s Road where the broad paddocks look across to Trinity College. And, like a stroll through a country meadow, the path led to the River Cam and over a small bridge. I stood and looked at the iconic stretch of water. Like the warm, grainy footage of an old travelogue, punts were gliding beneath trailing willows, and mellow stone colleges lay between me and the city centre.
I entered Cambridge between the high walls of Trinity Lane. By great good fortune I had found my way into the heart of this beautiful city by the loveliest route.
On my right was the tower of Great St. Mary’s Church and the ethereal majesty of King’s College. Along the road to my left lay the great gate house of Trinity College and the Round Church. This short half mile of astonishing architecture, from the elaborate gilded beasts of St. John’s to the half-timbered perfection of Queen’s College, captivated me then and still does.
The atmosphere, even when this street is at its busiest, is relaxed, as though Cambridge wears her jewels lightly. Shadows span the narrow spaces, sun falls on warm stones and bicycles of every vintage glide between the buildings.
Many people strive to come here: to study where their heroes have studied, to dip into the huge river of knowledge which flows behind those college gates and, of course, to tread the hallowed boards of the university’s famed Footlights Society, where Fry and Laurie, Mitchell and Webb and so many Pythons and Goodies have learned their trade.
For me it is a place for browsing in bookshops, for lingering over a coffee, for picking up a pencil and sketching a Georgian cupola, a Baroque pediment, a Tudor tower. For an architectural pilgrim or an artist it is close to heaven."
The exhibition continues at Cambridge Contemporary Arts until May 1st 2017. I hope you manage to visit but, if not, you can see all the pictures from the exhibition if you CLICK HERE
St Gregory’s Minster
is a small, very beautiful, church at the foot of the North York Moors.
One of the treasures of Yorkshire is just above the church door sheltered by the porch. Here, carved on the back of a coffin slab, is a sundial. Flanking the dial is this inscription, written in Old English somewhere between 1055 and 1065:
“Orm the son of Gamal, bought St Gregory’s Church when it was broken and fallen, and had it made anew from the ground in honour of Christ and St Gregory, in the days of Edward the King and Tosti the Earl.”
Inside the church is the original arched doorway, no wider than a shoulder width. I think it's beautiful - a reminder of the human scale on which this church was originally built.
Thank you Orm.
The print is a reduction screen print and is currently on show at:
An exhibition by the members of North Yorkshire Printmakers' Circle featuring work on the theme of an "artifact" but including a wide range of other work from some of the North's finest printmakers.
Ryedale Folk Museum
Hutton-le-Hole, Kirkbymoorside, YO62 6UA 10th September – 4th December 2016
I suppose every print maker find themselves in this position sooner or later. I've been sorting prints today and found I had one left of Ribblehead Viaduct which I thought had all sold out. If you'd like to have this its a snip at £119. CLICK HERE to let me know
Places of Pilgrimage arrives at Durham Cathedral with a preview on Tuesday 1st November. Between 6.30 and 8.30 pm you can see my paintings and prints of special places, with a few pictures especially created for this exhibition.
This exhibition and the accompanying book have many strands which are personally important running through them. In this case it is the setting of the cathedral’s Undercroft Restaurant. It was in this lovely medieval room, almost 40 years ago, that I sold the first paintings of my professional career.
Durham is a very important place for me . I describe it like this in the book of the exhibition:
“I return to Durham whenever I can: to linger on Prebends Bridge and gaze at the cathedral, to walk the curving, cobblestoned Bailey, to stroll through the Close, to stand in the Galilee Chapel or, best of all, to climb to the roof of the tower. Durham Cathedral feels wonderful, deep, real. It has wrapped its shadows round me when I’ve needed comfort; it held me in streams of refracted light when I’ve felt joy; it has waited patiently for me to order my thoughts when I’ve needed space to think. It is a place of sanctuary, standing a little outside of the world. It is a friend.”
Please come and join me for a chat and a drink at the preview if you can.
I’ve made a special page of the work on show. If you CLICK HERE you can see it. There is also a film about the exhibition (showing me painting the cathedral). CLICK HERE to watch.
Places of Pilgrimage, my touring exhibition, moves to Made In Greenwich from Thursday this week (324 Creek Road, London SE10 9SW)
This is a very personal part of the tour. My Dad worked at Greenwich Power Station and a trip to Greenwich by boat was a favourite treat when I was a kid. I think the view of London from the observatory is the best there is.
I'll be at the gallery on Sunday 9th October from 2pm if you'd like to say hello.
This exhibition gives me the chance to show a number of pieces inspired by special places I love in London. Here are a few: Misty Day, Westminster (screen print), Abbey Road (screen print), Greenwich from Blackwall Reach (watercolour), The Pagoda, Kew Gardens (watercolour), Greenwich Observatory by Moonlight (watercolour), The Great Gatehouse, Hampton Court (watercolour), The Windmill, Wimbledon Common (screen print), King's Cross Station (screen print), Greenwich from Blackwall Reach (screen print).
The exhibition continues until 18th October. For more details CLICK HERE
Places of Pilgrimage comprises paintings and screen prints of special places (with an accompanying a book - see below). My starting point was to portray locations that draw people for reasons of spirituality, connections with art or literature or for purely personal resonance
Some of these are traditional pilgrimage sites such as Durham and Canterbury, some of the places are connected with my personal heroes -- the landscapes from Paul Nash’s work, Stockport Viaduct which so fascinated L S Lowry - and there are also places like the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (where my parents first met during the war) or Greenwich with its personal, historical and symbolic character. Others are places that seem to have a magnetic hold over the visitor - like the stones of Avebury, the battlefield of Culloden and the tree where Robin Hood used to assemble his Merry Men.
The latest stage of this touring exhibition opens at First View Gallery, National Trust - Stourhead with preview on Friday 9th September at 6 -8pm. Do come if you can.
For more information CLICK HERE and to see the pictures CLICK HERE
To order a copy of Places of Pilgrimage contact Masham Gallery HERE
York has to be in this exhibition. It draws all sorts of pilgrims:
lovers of architecture - its streets are lined with beautiful medieval buildings
lovers of great cakes - is there anywhere nicer for tea than Betty's?
lovers of all things to do with railways - my favourite thing in the National Railway Museum is the 1930s poster collection.
Walking through the city on a quiet evening or first thing in the morning is just wonderful.
This painting forms part of Places of Pilgrimage - an exhibition of paintings and prints at Southwell Minster: Preview at 7pm on Friday 11th September and open daily until Sunday 11th October.
For more information CLICK HERE
I've had a long relationship with Kings Cross. This is where we would catch the overnight sleeper to see relatives in Aberdeen. My Dad would take me up the platform to say hello to the steam engine (yes - I am that old!) before we bedded down to wake up pulling out of Waverley Station.
Its got some great stories: Queen Boadicea buried under platform 5, Harry and Ron on platform 11&3/4 and all built on the site of The Great Dust Heap - the Victorian city dump.
I just love the new roof - its a wonderful uplifting piece of architecture.
This screen print forms part of Places of Pilgrimage - an exhibition of paintings and prints at Southwell Minster: Preview at 7pm on Friday 11th September and open daily until Sunday 11th October.
For more information CLICK HERE