Dales landscape inspires new abstracts in bank holiday exhibition

Chasing the Colours by Moira Metcalfe

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By Betsy Everett

Artist Moira Metcalfe will open her light-filled studio in Appersett, just west of Hawes, for a new exhibition of her work over the bank holiday weekend.

With an artist’s eye for colour and a deep love of the landscape which surrounds her, Moira’s white-painted studio provides the ideal backdrop to her vibrant, dales-inspired paintings. It is studio, workshop and gallery combined, but also an essential part of her living space. There is no division between home and work, just as there seems to be no boundary between her and the art she creates.

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She says of the dales: “I love the drama in these landscapes. They are profoundly influenced by the weather and I always feel that people are somehow less significant here.  The weather and landscape are in control.”

There are around 30 paintings on display in Chasing the Colours which she describes as her “bold response to the complexities of light in the Yorkshire Dales.” Most are watercolours, with some reinterpreted into oils. Her move towards more abstraction is evident in all of them.

Moira studied at York Art College and the North Staffordshire Polytechnic. She first became recognised as a uniquely talented wildlife artist, creating groundbreaking works in which she pioneered the use of watercolour on silk.

Over time, her work has become larger and bolder in its use of colour, capturing the constantly changing senses of space and movement. In terms of technique, application of paint to canvas is never limited to brushes and can include knives, sprays, and even fingers. These are techniques she shares with the students who attend her Askrigg watercolour classes, whether they’ve never held a brush before, or are serious amateur artists. In every class there is an element of surprise.

Moira’s work has been exhibited widely in Leeds, London and Geneva.  Locally her work has been featured in the Dales Countryside Museum and at Richmond’s Station Gallery.  She has also exhibited in collaboration with photographer Joe Cornish.    

The latest exhibition is open from 11am to 4pm on bank holiday Sunday and Monday, May 28 and 29. Moira can be contacted on 01969 667882. Appersett  is on the A684, west of Hawes.

Art class in Askrigg with Moira Metcalfe