Eight local artists from the Whitby area have been accepted onto the acclaimed North Yorkshire Open Studios this June.
Over 90 artists across North Yorkshire open their studios to the public over the first two weekends in June, offering a unique insight into the artists’ process and creative spaces.
Whitby is nestled within the North Yorkshire national park, with its harbour and smaller villages such as Staithes, offering iconic coastal scenes. Once home to Captain James Cook and the inspiration for the gothic world of Dracula, Whitby has long captivated artistic minds.
Whitby painter, Hilary Thorpe, said: “We are all passionate about the area, its rich diversity of creative festivals reflects its dramatic landscapes that nurture artistic inspiration. There’s such a wealth of history surrounding the Abbey and the town. The sea and landscapes of the moors surrounding Whitby are steeped in geological and historic features, which all feed our creative process, and are ever-changing in form and mood.”
The rugged North Sea is the inspiration for Hilary’s paintings, as it is for fused-glass and ceramic artist, Ailsa Nicholson. Ailsa lives and works in Sleights close to beautiful moorland landscapes filled with dramatic changing palettes of colour throughout the year.
Local artist Kate Smith has also been chosen for the Open Studios scheme. Known for her bold and colourful representation of the fishing fleets, her love of craft-built traditional boats forms the subjects of her recent work.
Exhibiting with Kate is Kit Hemsley. Kit works with ceramic pieces that mirror the textures, colours and forms found around the coast. She uses objects such as fossils and shells to put texture on to surfaces.
Whitby is a mecca for fossil hunters, in particular the beautiful ammonites with their spiral shapes.
The chosen artists offer visitors the chance to explore the edges of Whitby and surrounding areas, with studios in the idyllic Aislaby, the remote village of Commondale, and a studio perched on the side of the valley high above Littlebeck.
Husband and wife team, Anne Thornhill and Paul Blackwell, are both former gallery owners and teachers who work alongside each other in adjoining studios in Aislaby, both inspired by their surrounding landscape.
Caroline Riley in Commondale works in her ‘Tractor Shed’ and is currently working on trees, sheep and bird studies. Costume designer Sue Willmington in Littlebeck promises an eclectic mix of theatrical collections and self-portraits.
The North Yorkshire Open Studios is an initiative run by artists, for artists.
Hilary Thorpe added: “We are all working together to promote the open studios in our area, it’s a supportive network to discuss the art market, swap ideas, advice and contacts. We look forward to welcoming the inquisitive public in to our own little private havens.”
For more information, a map of studios, and list of artists taking part, go to https://www.nyos.org.uk/..