Artist inspired by wonder of Dark Peak hills
I’M sitting in the gallery looking across the hill, horse chestnut so green in the early morning sun that I may need sunglasses, all manner of birds singing their hearts out while two Canada geese make a racket over the mill pond, and swallows and swifts sew the scene together in timeless fashion, gobbling up errant flies for breakfast.
Closer in I’m still surrounded by Harry Ousey’s evocative abstracts of the countryside, some painted on the day the Beatle’s released She Loves You. If you want an audience with Harry, to fall in or fall out with this great painter, please don’t delay as his work is only here for another week.
Harry, who died in 1985, did not live to see his work receive great acclaim, but he would, I’m sure, be delighted with the way that his niece, Sue Astles of Glossop, has striven over the past ten years to get his work recognised – and he can now be seen in Falmouth, Salford and in many more collections across England, including, dare I say it, The Laughing Badger.
This week sees the arrival of another great painter at the gallery, and thankfully Ghislaine Howard, also of Glossop, is still very much, alive and kicking and, unlike Harry, beginning to receive the acclaim she deserves while still with us. Long may that continue, as this particular ‘painters’ painter’ has so much more to share. Readers are invited to the launch of Ghislaine’s book The Human Touch at the Laughing Badger Gallery from 7.30pm this Friday. There will also be a selection of her paintings, and – if you’re really lucky – some of my Guinness scones.
The book, produced in association with Bay Tree Books, is written by her husband, art historian Michael Howard, and the clue is in its title.
However, even though Ghislaine is mostly a painter of the human form, there are often tantalising glimpses of the outdoors in her work, and she has made some stunning images of the Dark Peak hills.
I asked Ghislaine to elaborate on her feelings for the moors.
“I love the way that Glossop has kept its identity as a Victorian mill town,” she said. “Cradled by the rounded forms of the surrounding hills, whose shouldered forms are broken on occasion by wonderful jagged outcrops of stone.
“As an artist the conjunction of an ever-changing sky, the interlocking forms of the landscape and the deep sonorous colours make this place, for me, a never-ending source of fascination. I am not so much interested in capturing the ‘look’ of the landscape as trying to find an equivalent in paint for the forces that give it its being.’
Friday also sees a very interesting trinity come together for one night only: Sarah of Bay Tree Books and Ghislaine, of Padfield and Glossop respectively, live in properties that were once tripe works and, as regular readers will know, I’ve talked tripe for years!
Artist Ghislaine Howard’s painting of the moors
The Laughing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Padfield, Glossop