Painting © Jane Fielder and used with the artist's kind permission.
Isn't great when, even though you might have lived in an area a long time, you still discover something new? That happened to me the other day when I went to Bingley, the next little town up the Aire valley. I'd seen an ad in the local paper about a sale at an art gallery and thought it would be worth investigating. It certainly was! The gallery is owned by an artist called Jane Fielder, who displays her own work and that of other artists. She is currently (until 26 February) staging 'The Under-the-Bed Sale': "a sort of artistic jumble sale, things that artists have stashed away... work that hasn't had chance to be seen before." It was a treasure trove of work of all kinds, and all at really reasonable prices. There were several pieces I would have loved to bring home.... had to make do with some greetings cards, but they're delightful.
I haven't seen Jane's own work before either and was utterly captivated by it. She produces mainly 'quirky urban landscapes depicting Bingley and the surrounding areas in a humorous and original manner, which have become known as Janescapes.' They are charming, colourful and optimistic paintings - and it's fun to identify the local landmarks, recognisable even though they aren't necessarily shown exactly as they appear in reality. I had a quick chat with Jane and she seems exactly the kind of warm, friendly, generous person that her paintings would suggest. She trained initially as a teacher, and later studied art and she says she always dreamt of becoming an artist - a dream finally fully realised when she left teaching in 1999 to concentrate solely on painting. Her love and enthusiasm for her subject shines through. She says, "On a bright day I can look across the never ending rows of terraces with their chimneys casting black shadows, echoed by the vast mill chimneys, highlighted only by rows of billowing washing and bras the size of windows, and think it is the most wonderful place in the world". Well, I might not have been able to put it so eloquently but I totally agree!
The Bingley Gallery Open: Thurs-Fri 12-6; Sat-Sun 10-5 www.thebingleygallery.com
29A Park Road