Piers Browne, Illustrated – Exhibition Catalogue

The catalogue for the upcoming Pier’s Browne Illustrated exhibition is now available.

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The catalogue measures 21cm x 21cm and contains 31 selected reproductions of Pier’s etchings, printed on 170g uncoated paper. The catalogues also contains a full price list (including dimensions) for the work on show.

The catalogue costs £5 plus £2 p&p. To request a copy please email ask@theoldschoolmuker.co.uk.

About the Exhibition 

Piers Browne Illustrated for the first (and perhaps last) time brings together a specially curated set of over 70 etchings taken from the seven books of celebrated painter, printmaker, poet and author, Piers Browne, published between 1988 and 2018.

The exhibition runs from 1st – 30th September in the Hartlake Gallery and Piers will be at The Old School on the afternoon of Sunday 2nd September to discuss his work and inspiration.

For more about the show and about The Old School Gallery & Craftshop please contact Richard Walls on 01748 886155 or at richard@theoldschoolmuker.co.uk, or contact Piers at piersbrowne@gmail.com.

About Piers Browne

Piers Browne trained at London’s Royal Academy Schools in the early 1970’s before settling in Wensleydale in 1975 to become a professional artists and printmaker.  He has exhibited at the annual Royal Academy Summer Show multiple times and held one man shows from “Malibu to Munster, via Manchester and Reykjavik”. Piers has published eight books illustrated by his etchings and oils, including Glorious Trees of Great Britain, with a foreword by HRH, Prince Charles, the culmination of over 15 years work containing 167 full-colour etchings.

Piers continues to be inspired by, and concerned for, the natural world. In his own words:  “Overwhelmingly the desire to capture the beauty of Nature continues to drive me on. I am still a depicter of the rural scene, a sort of conservator of the beauty of light and form. I have compensated for my indulgence by donating money and books to conservation groups, but need to do more as this world crumbles away in heat and flood from ‘our’ indulgence in polluting it“.

 

 

 

 

 

Up Hill & Down Dale, John Harrison

PLEASE NOTE: In a change of plan John will now be at the Old School on Sunday 15th July rather than Saturday 9th.

Running between Saturday 30th June & Sunday 29th July the Old School is proud to showcase the wonderful line and watercolour drawings of Yorkshire artist John Harrison  in our Hartlake Gallery.

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John’s work is featured each month in the Dalesman Magazine and last year John took part in Sky TV’s Landscape Artist of the Year.

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The exhibition features over 20 original paintings, many of which depict our very own Muker and the surrounding villages and countryside, will take us Up Hill & Down Dale, with a short detour to Yorkshire’s stunning coastal villages.

John will be at the Old School on on Sunday 15th July to talk about his work and inspiration, don’t miss it!

Peter Brook Returns To Muker

During the month of June The Old School is pleased to announce an exhibition of Peter Brook’s work, including originals, artist proofs and signed limited edition prints, many featuring scenes familiar to those who live, work in and visit Upper Swaledale.

Peter Brook Originals on Show

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The exhibition will run from Saturday 2nd of June to Sunday the 1st of July in the main gallery.   For more details email us at ask@theoldschoolmuker.co.uk or phone on 01748 886155.

Richard & Polly

Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea – Richard & Janet Burdon

Richard & Janet Burdon are already well known to customers of the Old School for their monochrome images of the iconic Swaledale tups and ewes found on the fells surrounding our gallery, often caught in the midst of a snowstorm. What our visitors don’t know is that they’re equally at home discovering and capturing, serene, minimalist, compositions of Yorkshire’s coastline, not far from their home in Pickering, such as The Promenade (featured image).

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Whitby Harbour | RJB Photography
Spurn Lighthouse - Richard Burdon
Spurn Point Lighthouse | RJB Photography

It is these images that will feature in out Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea Exhibition, offering a reflective, almost zen-like perspective on our wonderful coastline.

I feel more calm and relaxed just looking and writing about them!

In October Richard & Janet will return to the Old School for our last exhibition of 2018, to showcase both their colour and monochrome work from the Northern latitudes. More on this to follow.

Peter Brook at the Old School

We recently discovered this rare artist proof Peter Brook lithograph in an antique shop. June, Canal, was part of the 12 Months of the Year series commissioned by Agnews in 1976 and printed in 1978 in editions of 150. This artist proof is one of only 20 produced. In recognition of the importance of the work a copy of the series is held by the Tate (http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/brook-twelve-months-of-the-year-65263). Now remounted and reframed, June, Canal is in now in our main gallery.

June, Canal is an example of Peter’s earlier style – there’s no Peter with dog! The colours are muted, and you can feel the calm and tranquil mood, but through the arch of the bridge are the mills of a nearby town, no doubt a hive of industry. We don’t know where the painting depicts, but perhaps a good guess is that the canal is the Calder & Hebble Navigation which runs through the mill towns of Brighouse and Elland, close to where Peter lived and worked.

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Title:  June, Canal

Medium: Artist Proof, Lithograph

Size: H81xW99cm Framed

Price: £595

Peter’s work has a special place in the history of the Old School; he was good friends with Mike and Diane, who then owned the Gallery, and often visited to paint views of Swaledale and to support exhibitions; people who visit us recall with fondness meeting him.

We’re very happy to continue The Old School’s association with his work, and always have a good selection of his work on display.

Richard & Polly  

 

Yorkshire Coast & Sea – Sue Nichol

The first time I met Sue, collecting paintings for the Old School Gallery from her studio, I fell hook, line and sinker for a painting hung high on her wall; The Great Wave (feature image above), inspired by Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa, but absolutely a Sue Nichol, full of energy, power and life.

Painted in the moment, in my minds eye I could visualise the paint splashing around from Sue’s brush, mimicking the sea spray as the wave breaks. As I left, I knew I had to devise a cunning plan to somehow bring the Great Wave to landlocked upper Swaledale, and hence on that day the idea for an exhibition was born. Imagine my great delight when Sue emailed this week to say The Great Wave would be part of our Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea Exhibition.

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Bempton Cliffs | Sue Nichol

Sue’s great inspiration is “the edges of land”, especially our North East Coast where she was born and visits whenever she can. Her passion and feeling for the coast, and sheer joy of painting, shines through in her art, and it’s an ongoing pleasure to showcase Sue’s work at the Old School.

Richard & Polly 

Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea – Clare Caulfield

Artist and printmaker Clare Caulfield has travelled to, and been inspired by,  many of the world’s greatest cities: Paris, Venice, New York, Rome, Prague, Istanbul & Sydney, to name just a few, but for the first time, as part of the Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea Exhibition, Clare’s work will be showcased in perhaps the prettiest of them all, Muker in Upper Swaledale.

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Robin Hoods Bay

Clare’s line drawings and drypoint prints, combining elements of chine-collie to add subtle colour, perfectly capture the hustle and bustle of Yorkshire’s coastal towns and villages: house stacked upon house; bright red tiled roofs; fishing boats drawn up on shore , folk milling about on the narrow streets whilst seagulls wheel above their heads; a snapshot in time captured in Clare’s unique, spontaneous, style.

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Staithes

When we saw Clare’s work we instantly fell in love. We’ve no doubt you will too.

Richard & Polly 

 

 

Yorkshire’s Coast & Sea

From Saturday 31st March to Sunday 13th May, the Old School Muker brings Yorkshire’s stunning East Coast to landlocked Upper Swaledale, featuring a wonderful array of Yorkshire artists and photographers. 

The exhibition will be the first to be held in our new Hartlake Gallery and to celebrate its opening, our first exhibition, and our newly landscaped walled garden, there will be an open evening on Saturday 7th April from 5:30pm – 8pm, with wine, music and a chance to meet some of the artists.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be profiling each of the artists involved and providing a sea drenched taste of their work. Stay tuned!

Richard & Polly 

Winter in Swaledale 2 – Muker Minimalism

Yesterday’s wintery conditions in Muker provided an ideal opportunity to take a couple of hours out from the renovation of the Old School and shoot some minimal monochrome images, before using these as a basis to create something a little dreamier using movement blur in Analog  Efex Pro.  It might not be everyone’s taste but it was a joy to be a little more creative.

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New Arrivals, John Harrison

John fought through a bad back and yesterday’s “seasonal” weather to deliver four, new, superb line and watercolour paintings of Muker, Gunnerside & Hemsley. We’re really chuffed he made the effort. I guess you have to suffer for your art!

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Title: Muker

Artist: John Harrison

Medium: Original line and watercolour

Dimensions:  ~H45cm x W35cm Framed

Price: £265

 


 

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Title: Gunnerside

Artist: John Harrison

Medium: Original line and watercolour

Dimensions: ~ H64cm x W36cm Framed

Price: £295

 

 

 


 

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Title: Swaledale over Gunnerside

Artist: John Harrison

Medium: Original line and watercolour

Dimensions: ~ H45cm x W35cm Framed

Price: £265

 


 

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Title: Hemsley

Artist: John Harrison

Medium: Original line and watercolour

Dimensions: ~ H43m x W26cm Framed

Price: £225

 

 

Sigma SD Quatto H – First Shots

I’ve only had literally 20 minutes shooting with the Sigma SD Quattro H (paired with a Sigma 18-35mm DC) but couldn’t resist pushing out these shots. I was blown away when I first processed images from a Sigma Merrill … and I pretty much have the same feeling processing these. Can’t wait to get out and really put the camera through its paces.

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Occupation Lane, Muker | Sigma SD Quattro H
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Purple | Sigma SD Quattro H
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Slate Roof | Sigma SD Quattro H

Post- processed using SPP and Lightroom.

 

Discovering Muker, 1950 Restored

A recently re-discovered print of Muker, measuring 6 feet by 3 feet, found in Reeth Memorial Hall, and dating to circa 1950, one year before electricity came to the village and four years before the creation of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Considering its age it’s in remarkable condition. Who took remains a mystery but whoever it was, had a fine eye, a fine camera and a fine set of muscles to carry it!

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Muker, Swaledale, circa 1950 Original

And hopefully the restored version below, now on sale to generate funds for Muker Village Hall, does the original photographer justice.

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Muker, Swaledale, circa 1950 Restored

 

 

Conversations at the Old School – Sigma Foveon Cameras

A wonderful thing about working in the Old School Gallery is the many conversations we have with the folks who visit; whether it’s the American lady who suddenly recited three Robert Frost poems, or the ex RAF Nimrod pilot who told me tales of flying over the North Atlantic, or the Chinese film maker recently returned from Tibet. We learn so much in these conversations and hopefully give a little back on the subject of art, crafts and photography.

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Ivelet Bridge, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro

A recurring conversation concerns Sigma’s “secret” cameras with their magic Foveon sensors. The trigger is the overheard debate between customers, discussing whether an image is a photograph or painting. It quickly moves on to the vibrant colours and immense detail, even in the far distance … and that brings us to the technical bit about Bayer sensors and Foveon sensors, micro-contrast, photons and wavelengths.

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Muker Meadows Sea | Sigma DP0 Quattro

If the technical bit doesn’t kill the customer off they invariably buy the print! … And one camera club member liked the print so much he returned to say he’d bought the camera!

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Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the top selling photographs in the gallery are taken by the Sigma DP0 Quattro. It offers something different from Bayer sensored cameras that the buying public seem to be instinctively drawn to, unbiased and unburdened by any technical knowledge or heavyweight marketing budgets. And as a photographer it provides me with a distinctive, unique, tool with which to capture the stunning scenery that surrounds our tiny village in upper Swaledale.

Richard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Tracks in the Dales

So many tracks, which to follow?

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Above Askrigg, Wensleydale | Sony RX1rII
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Above Askrigg, Wensleydale | Sony RX1rII
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Pennine Way, Swaledale | Sony RX1rII
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Occupation Lane, Swaledale | Sony RX1rII

 

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Occupation Lane, Swaledale | Sony RX1rII
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Occupation Lane, Swaledale | Sony RX1rII
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Track to Muker, Swaledale | Sony RX1rII

The High Seas of Muker, with the Sigma DP0 Quattro

Landlocked though we are, when the wind blows, the wild flower meadows become our sea.

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Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro
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Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro
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Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro
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Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro
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Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro

Discovering Muker – Wild Flower Meadows

The Muker wild flower meadows are beginning to come into their own in early June, which for me means a desperate search for interesting angles and compositions.  The image below is my favourite hand held “sketch” so far and I’ll head out early tomorrow with a tripod and (hopefully) interesting light.

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The meadows are an inspiration for artists and photographers alike, with the vibrant colours of Buttercups, Clover and Crane’s-bill, scattered all around, broken by the staight lines of dry stone walls and field barns.

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The Sigma DP0 Quattro is fast becoming my camera of choice for the meadows; its wide lens capturing immense foreground and its colour rendition and tonal rage showing the wild flows at their best, whether in colour or monochrome.

Richard

Discovering Muker – Conversations, Connections & Understanding

A couple of weeks or so ago, in our Old School cafe, I was having a discussion with a man about the Peter Brook paintings that adorn the cafe walls; the importance of the title; the understated, dry, Northern humour; the feel of place and time. He brought up the title of one particular painting that he’d purchased some years back. The title was The Woods are Lovely, Dark & Deep, and he told me that the line was used as a trigger phrase in an espionage movie, Telefon.

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The Woods are Lovely Dark and Deep, Peter Brook

A week or so later I  (again) was talking to a couple, (again) in the Old School cafe, and (again) the topic turned to Peter Brook and the titles of his paintings. The woman was from the U.S. and when the discussion reached The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep, and I was about to employ my newly found knowledge, she volunteered that the title was a line from the Robert Frost poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Then, without warning, and to mine and her companions surprise, she recited parts of three Robert Frost poems, at one stage, during Birches, removing the band that held her pony tail and throwing her hair forward – “Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hairBefore them over their heads to dry in the sun” – and at that moment I resolved to buy a book of Robert Frost poems.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.  

On Tuesday I was (once again) in conversation with a couple (once again) in the Old School cafe. (Once gain) they were taken by Peter’s paintings and (once again) the conversation led to The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep, and so I found the poem for them to read.  At that point a man in the gallery joined the conversation, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening was his favourite poem, but he’d not seen Peter Brook’s work before and when we found the print he was immediately taken, and thinking it a quirk of fate not to be passed up, bought the picture.

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.  

That afternoon I was (once more) conversing with a couple in the  Old School cafe (once again) discussing Peter’s paintings, which (once again) provided an opportunity for me to show off my newly found expertise, both in Peter’s work and in the poetry of Robert Frost, but I was immediately undone. Unbeknown to me, the couple were Peter’s daughter, Katherine, and her husband.

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

As we chatted a lady came over to be served, she was buying a Peter Brook greeting card, and as I took her money at the till I mentioned Katherine. She told me that she and her husband were on their way to visit her Uncle, who taught with Peter whilst he was teaching art, and told me of their recent trip to New England and to Robert Frost’s farm, and their love of Robert Frost poetry. I introduced them to Katherine.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Yesterday a man visited the gallery, as we talked he told me that he’d purchased a Peter Brook when he’d visited some years before. Guess which picture he’d bought?

In our small gallery in remote Upper Swaledale, it seems to me that the world now comes to us, and every conversation leads to a connection and a deeper understanding.

Discovering Muker – Composition

Yesterday’s beautiful day in Swaledale held the promise of a great evening’s photography, but as it approached closing time, and my chance to get out, the sky became overcast and the light flat. Nevertheless there was still chance to explore the countryside and search for interesting compositions so I pulled my boots on and headed out.

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Muker Meadows | Sony RX1rII
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From Crackpot Hall to Keld | Sony RX1rII stiched
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Grass & Barn near Thwaite | Sony RX1rII

And then, after a quick pint at the Farmer’s Arms, the sky had cleared and overcast turned into  gorgeous sunset.

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Muker Sunset | Sigma DP3 Merrill

 

New Life, Muker

Again it’s been quite some time since I troubled the blog with a new post, but since Nepal I’ve had no time to pick up a camera, let alone point it in the right direction,  but there’s good reason …

… in that we’ve upped sticks, moved North, and bought an Art Gallery and Craftshop in the tiny village of Muker, Swaledale, and opened on Thursday 13th April.

It’s been a busy few months but the couple of snaps below might just provide a taste of why it’s worth the effort!

The gallery’s website is http://www.theoldschoolmuker.co.uk, and if you’re ever travelling in the area, feel free to drop by.

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Evening walk above Muker | Sony RX1rII
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Foveon Sky’s from the Garden | Sigma DP3 Merrill