Artist Judith Bromley Exhibits at Tennants - plus our Q&A

Artist Judith Bromley Exhibits at Tennants - plus our Q&A

Artist Judith Bromley's exhibition 'Sun & Shadow: Silver Linings' is on now at The Garden Rooms at Tennants until 1st November; it's free and open daily. Judith, who has exhibited as part of the Festival, has been painting from her studio in Askrigg for over forty years. She is a champion of the unique ecology of the Dales: 'I feel passionately about our planet earth, and have got to know intimately this small part, my home'.

Q&A with Judith Bromley:

1) What is your favourite place in the Dales?
Askrigg is my favourite place in the Dales, the country, the world! We always say to people who come and like it here: 'Askrigg is the centre of the Universe'. When we first moved here the longest place I had ever lived in was Kilburn where the White Horse is, and coming here felt like coming back home - very similar landscape and village community. We have now lived here for over 45 years and during that time I have roamed the hills and valleys, sitting and looking, drawing and painting, I don’t travel about very much to other places, I would rather get to know one area intimately, seeing changes through the seasons and the years.

2) Can you describe your painting routine?
My painting routines have changed over the years. I used to treat it like a nine to five. Then, if I was really 'into' what I was doing, I would work in the evening. I am more relaxed about it now and I realise that my inspiration comes in waves. The last major exhibition we had was about moorland and how important it is for carbon capture and storage. The book 'Climb up to the Moor' came first, then from 2012 the work my husband Robert Nicholls and I had done as illustrations became a travelling exhibition all over the north of England. I had a few years gap before starting on this collection.

3) What inspired you during lockdown?
During lockdown my work was uninterrupted. I have always walked solo and we had good weather and open skies without plane trails. Sometimes when I'm walking or painting words come to me, I always have a notebook handy in my rucksack. The words I write can become books or titles of paintings.

4) Can you tell us a bit about how your paintings reflect and explore your passion for Dales ecology? 
I am increasingly concerned about climate change. The interdependency of all species has been interrupted by our human squandering of the earth's resources. I hope that my paintings might encourage people to renew and refresh and deepen their own relationship with the natural world and their own environment. All things are precious, sacred.

5) What’s the arts scene like in the Dales?
When we first arrived all those years ago we were bringing up a small family. I was teaching part-time and Robert was an illustrator. As we settled in the area we met up with a couple of other artists and, before village hall exhibitions were commonplace, we began to hold an annual exhibition here in Askrigg. It continued successfully for 25 years, latterly moving to Dales Countryside Museum. It was our yearly harvest! We would invite a guest artist each year and work together to steward and support each other. Since then we find that by opening our front room to visitors one day a week we can tick by. Every now and then though it is good to have an exhibition to work for, and the gallery at The Garden Rooms at Tennants is a lovely light and airy venue. Safe in these strange times. When I started the work and planned the exhibition there was no pandemic, no lockdown. There were times when I didn’t know if it would even happen, but here it is!

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