A major exhibition showcasing work created by leading national artists in the Lake District during the pandemic has gone on show in Windermere.
The new owner of Windermere Fine Art Gallery has unveiled details of the exhibition by the distinguished group known as the Northern Boys, whose work frequently features in top London galleries.
They include members of the renowned Royal Institute of Oil painters; the Royal Society of Marine Artists and Manchester Academy of Fine Arts – which dates back to 1859 and ranks LS Lowry among its illustrious former members.
The new exhibition will feature their latest en plein air works created around the national park this summer when restrictions allowed, on show for the first time.
The exhibition is part of a plan to rival the big city galleries and return the Lake District to being widely recognised as a northern hub for high quality fine and contemporary art.
It will showcase 10 of the North’s finest plein air painters.
Membership of the Northern Boys outdoor painting group incorporates five gallery-artists: Haidee-Jo Summers, Rob Pointon, Adam Ralston, Norman Long and Michael Ashcroft, along with colleagues Ian Layton, Chris Slater, Steven Smith, Andrew Farmer and David Allen.
Matthew Titherington, who recently took over the gallery with his wife, Dawn, is keen to start luring more art buyers and London-based collectors back to the Lake District for weekends and short breaks.
“We’re delighted to be able to put these outstanding works on display for the first time and curate these into a distinctive and imaginative exhibition,” he said.
“They were all created locally within the Lake District over the summer and painted exclusively outdoors. The exhibition celebrates the en plein air style of painting with the beauty of Lakeland.”
En plein air painting is perhaps mostly associated with the Impressionists, outdoors in natural light and weather, it owes much to two small inventions that artists now take for granted, Matthew said.
“During the mid-19th century, the introduction of the box easel and paints in tubes allowed artists for the first time to take their materials with them wherever they went.
“With this freeing ability to roam came the compulsion for artists to capture not just a point in space, but also a point in time. To depict not a fixed, unchanging landscape, but to inject the canvas with a sense of movement, spirit and life,” he added.
Making Windermere a go-to destination for art lovers
During the pandemic, Matthew and Dawn have refurbished the established art gallery and opened a new, second adjoining exhibition gallery.
Gallery One is now dedicated to original oil works, fine art and landscapes, with Gallery Two, which is updated every week, featuring contemporary work and limited edition prints.
“The two galleries allow us to show beautiful original art from varied artists, but also to work with local people and schools to encourage them to get out and have go and meet the artists through talks and demonstrations,” Matthew said.
“We don’t want to compete with the other galleries locally, we want to complement them by bringing something different and making Windermere a ‘go-to’ destination for art lovers and collectors.”
Matthew used his links to northern artists he knows to invite the ‘Northern Boys’ to paint locally and then exhibit their latest work.
“By inviting the Northern Boys to create our new show, we hope that people living locally and visiting Windermere will not only enjoy seeing their work on display in the gallery, but may also see them painting around the Lake District as they are united in their love for painting outdoors en plein air.
“We will be putting on regular exhibitions, bringing a variety of artists to the Lake District and showcasing the very best of British contemporary art.”
Running until August 31, people can contact the gallery for an invitation by emailing [email protected], calling 015394 88665 or popping into the studio on Beech Street.