Landscapes ‘more powerful than man’ inspire artist Rosemary

Low Skies, Rosemary Abrahams.
Low Skies, Rosemary Abrahams.

The bleak moorland landscapes of North Yorkshire inspire Rosemary Abrahams like no other.

“As well as extraordinary beauty there is awe-inspiring power,” she says.

Winter Light, by Rosemary Abrahams

Winter Light, by Rosemary Abrahams

“A huge humbling power - more powerful than man. Man has made his marks on it with such great courage: little clusters of cottages, plantations in the crevices where land and sky become one.

“Every time I see it I wonder ‘How did they do it? How did they dare?’ ”

Rosemary can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be an artist.

From an early age her role model was her grandfather.

“He was a lovely gentle man who spent his life painting and dabbling in all manner of crafts” she said. “I wanted to be just like him.”

Impatient to leave school, she enrolled at Leeds College of Art.

“I was there from 1960 to 1964,” she told the Whitby Gazette.

“These were exciting times to be young and an artist. It was heaven!”

After graduating she joined the staff at LCA introducing Fine Art techniques into a new Design department, an experience she drew upon later when she set up a highly successful international design business, which she ran with her husband for more than 30 years.

Throughout this time, however, she never stopped painting.

“Fine art was my life,” she says.

“Business and design just made it possible for me to keep painting and my painting underpinned everything I did.”

Her business experience helped forge a disciplined approach to her work.

“I’m still driven by deadlines,” she says. “It’s important to me to be productive.

“Imdon’t sit and wait for inspiration. Instead I get started and let the materials and the processes bring it on.”

At this point discipline gives way to creativity and expression.

“The process brings ideas, atmosphere, feeling, the joy of being expressive and I find I’m watching myself paint.

“It’s important not to be willful, to be prepared to lose things, change things, even obliterate things as I go on. I can’t be too precious.

“Instead I can be surprised, sometimes delighted.

“It’s a discovery, an adventure!”

The man-made structure that most frequently occurs in Rosemary’s landscapes is the road.

Roads lead the viewer into the paintings, through the landscapes and towards distant horizons.

“It’s a metaphor for finding a way through, she says.

“But they don’t go straight there. They meander.

“They offer the viewer the same sense of discovery and adventure.

“My paintings are about keeping going with no massive expectation … but lots of hope!”

See To Travel Hopefully: a series of paintings by Rosemary Abrahams now at Staithes Gallery, High St, Staithes, TS13 5BH.

Call the gallery on 01947 841840; mobile 07972 012464, email al@staithesgallery.co.uk or visit www.staithesgallery.co.uk to find out more about the gallery.