Artist Mackenzie Thorpe donates painting for flooding fundraiser

Artist Mackenzie Thorpe presents the painting to flood victim Michael Bilton.

Artist Mackenzie Thorpe has donated a painting to help victims of the flash floods which hit the Dales in July.

Th artist spent almost a week to produce the  watercolour entitled Silver Lining which will be the centrepiece of a charity auction next month.

Proceeds will help those most in need in the wake of the flooding which affected more than 250 homes, around 35 farms and over 40 other businesses in Wensleydale, Swaledale and Arkengarthdale.

Mackenzie said: “When I heard about the terrible floods I could only think about the people of the area, going about their everyday business and suddenly having to deal with the havoc and uncertainty something like this brings; it impacts everyone.

“To hear that the whole community has converged to help and support each other is nothing less than I could have expected; it is Yorkshire after all – and so when I was approached I was thrilled that I could help with the fundraising.

“I know the Dales, the people, the farmers, the landscape like the back of my hand. I’ve played with my children there and walked my dogs over hill and dale, there’s simply nowhere quite like it and so I painted a special original watercolour to help with the fundraising.””

“Silver Lining depicts a shepherd with his dog, gazing over the glorious Dales with the dark clouds retreating – the silver lining signifying the wonderful community. The original piece is unique, I don’t use watercolours that often, and is only available through the auction.”

The Middlesbrough-born artist opened his first studio, the Arthaus Gallery in Richmond when he became a full-time artist 30 years ago.

He personally presented the oak-framed picture, one of only half a dozen Mackenzie Thorpe watercolours currently available  to flood fundraisers at the gallery at the weekend.

It was accepted by Michael Bilton, a well-known Swaledale-based artist, whose home and studio were devastated by the flood, with only three partially-soaked six-feet high canvases salvageable.

Mike, who has had to leave his flood-ravaged home in Grinton, said: “Silver Lining is going to attract an enormous amount of interest, it’s a very generous thing for someone like Mackenzie to do. He’s got that love for the Dales, he’s going to feel for it even though he wasn’t there at the time of the flood.”

The Arkengarthdale and Swaledale Flood Relief Fundraising team is organising a Bands, Bids and a Big Night Out event at the Garden Rooms at Tennants on October 19.

Proceeds will go to the Two Ridings Community Foundation for distribution to those most in need in Arkengarthdale, Swaledale and Wensleydale.

Over £5,000 worth of raffle tickets have already been sold and an auction of promises will also be held.

More than 70 pledges have been received for the auction with lots ranging from an aircraft wing walk to a shepherd’s hut holiday, a complete fireplace package and the Mackenzie Thorpe original.

For more details on the auction click here.