Artist in­spired by won­der of Dark Peak hills

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD

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

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