What ‘Sir’ gets up to during the holidays

Still life with devil mask
Still life with devil mask

If the pupils at world-famous Eton College ever wonder what “Sir” does during the school holidays, they should go to Staithes Gallery’s forthcoming exhibition.

The exhibition opens next week as part of Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage and continues until Sunday October 2.

Large Lobster Study

Large Lobster Study

Born in Saltburn and raised in Redcar, artist Ian Burke is Master of the Drawing Schools at Eton but returns to his North Yorkshire home and studio during school holidays to concentrate on his own drawing, painting and print-making.

“I like to try new techniques and research new options for teaching in my holidays,” he told the Whitby Gazette.

“It keeps my approach fresh and personally engaged. This year I have revisited watercolour and tried to explore the medium to find new angles that may or may not be of use to my students.”

Those familiar with Ian’s robust, powerful imagery depicting life in the land- and seascapes of Yorkshire’s moors and coastline might be surprised at this choice of medium.

Strong black lines cut from lino and wood and inked onto highly absorbent handmade paper, or brightly coloured oil paint vigorously applied with bold brushstrokes are more what we have come to expect of this dynamic artist to depict rugged fishermen and their sturdy boats along with the fish and crustaceans they wrest from the sea.

Even the highly popular flower paintings of recent years have celebrated the potency and vitality of the blooms rather than their delicacy. It will be interesting then to see what this artist achieves with a medium more closely associated with subtlety and restraint.

There will be lino and woodcut prints too, of course, and oil paintings exploring and delighting in Ian’s much-loved native themes as well as some more surprises.

Ian will also be leading workshops in Observational Drawing at the Festival.

Booking for these is recommended. See www.staithes
festival.com for details or contact Staithes Gallery to book.

The exhibition is being mounted by Staithes Gallery in the Sunday School on Beckside, Staithes and opens as part of Staithes Festival which runs over September 10 to 11 – a fabulous weekend of art, culture, history, heritage, music, film, light and much, much more.