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Ribble Valley Art Studios

Diane Burrow                 Winning the first prize at the RVAS 2013 Open Exhibition has been a fantastic encouragement to a longstanding ambition to have my own studio practice. The successful entry is an oil painting of my son at about the time he was moving into his own first home. The mood of the painting tries to convey the mixed feelings I experienced.

Drawing and painting the figure in a variety of media and understanding the human form are fascinating to me and central to my work as an artist. I am currently in my third year of the Fine Art BA (Hons) Integrated Media course at Blackburn University Centre. As I progress through my studies, I have begun exploring the possibilities which oil paint offers the artist so that I may further develop my skills and painting technique.

I have drawn inspiration from artists working in oils and who are known for their painterly and expressive style such as Tai-Shan Schierenberg who paints from life and, of course, Lucian Freud. The energy and excitement is visible in the paint surfaces of their work.

I have become increasingly interested in the variety of ways in which artists represent the human figure and I work from life wherever possible, using sketches and photographs as aids.

Working directly with a live sitter, usually a family member or friend has made me aware of the intimacy and interaction between artist and subject and how this influences the result when working from life.

Mark Bithell      University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) with a degree in Fine Art in 2010. Prior to this, as a self-taught artist, I was a founder member of a Pendle art group known as ‘Studio 6’, which exhibited throughout Lancashire.

My work is heavily influenced by photos taken on walks in the countryside, and in particular, around Hardcastle Craggs. Some paintings are quite abstract while others lean more to abstract representation. I work with acrylic paint on canvas and count Gerhard Richter and Wolf Kahn as my main influences, but there are numerous others!

I’m continually experimenting with new methods of application in order to help me convey my love of nature; to pay homage to shape, form and colour in infinite variety.

I work from my studio space at Bradley Primary School, Nelson, where I am the artist in residence.

Stewart Kelly   BA (Major Visual Arts, Minor Philosophy)


Because it is the perceptual, non-verbal side of our thinking process that identifies aesthetic qualities it is sometimes hard, even for the artist, to talk about a particular work. Often the viewer can say little other than that they like it or that it works for them. They may be deeply engaged with the work and yet simply unable to find the right words to describe their feelings.

My aim is to produce expressive, meaningful work that lays bare something of myself and carries a resonance that the viewer can engage with and react to. As far as is possible the work does not carry a narrative. I see painting as a purely expressive use of paint communicating a personal aesthetic experience to the viewer.

When I am painting I try to shut out my verbal reasoning. I let my perceptive, intuitive, non-verbal thinking solve the problem of what it is I want to say. Drawing on my life's experiences, beliefs, feelings and the person I am, I try to give my visual thinking a free hand to direct my actions. It is only when the work is finished do I look at it critically.

I check the formal qualities of the work and whether or not it has meaning for me. Is it a source of rich association for me? Can I see myself in the work? Does it work as a painting? I am only happy with the painting if it meets all these criteria. At this stage, I rarely rework my painting. The moment I was in when I created the work has now passed. I prefer to let my intuition, imagination and perception loose on a clean slate.

For me a painting is not constructed from random or automatic acts. It is not a case of applying paint without a motivational force. The marks and colours I use have meaning even though I may have trouble putting into words their significance. They are expressions of my visual thinking over a period of time. I hope they work as a meaningful aesthetic experience when they are viewed by others.

Lynne Frost  Cotton Grass acrylic                    Darwen Tower acrylic

Stephen Ormerod




Black Pastel


Denis Neale OUR BIONIC FUTURE collage and watercolor



Lily Batteson


Lily’s paintings reflect her love of colour and life through the stylised and quirky interpretation of the animals, people and places she sees in her everyday life and environment.

Nature is her main inspiration and by using bright and fresh colours  she  aims to convey her personal impression of each subject with a cheerful and positive feel that celebrates nature.

Although she does work in different mediums, she tends to use acrylics because of their ability to create texture and retain vibrancy of colour.

Although living in Lancashire, her work hangs in the homes of clients in the USA, Canada and across Europe.


Lily Batteson.com  07935 351414


Sycamore Gap

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Mark Ollett Fine Art

Mark Ollett BA (Hons) Fine Art (Integrated Media) 1st Class

Mark is well known and highly regarded as both a portrait artist and contemporary fine artist and undertakes private commissions.  He has painted seriously for over 35 years and his work hangs in private collections and galleries in the UK and Europe, and as far afield as the USA and Australia. Mark has also gained a considerable reputation as a respected tutor working out of studios in the North of England, in Oswaldtwistle and the picturesque setting of Ribble Valley Art Studios in Clitheroe.

Personal Statement

My practise consists of highly detailed portraits and renderings of the human figure. I use traditional methodologies and media and pride myself on working systematically, analytically and with high production values. In contemporary society and art, the body has become recognised as the principle arena for the politics of identity, as well as a facilitator and marker of belonging; it has become more visible as a challenge to constricting social codes. The visceral and vulnerable body is now a potent signifier of lived experience as well as a subject for formal and aesthetic enquiry. The images that I make represent bodily diversity and challenge the ways in which it is empathised with and accepted, or confronted and marginalised. I understand the necessity of placing bodies that are outside the cultural norm in a dialogue with each other and in the context of the history of western art.

My work has a multiplicity of meanings and many influences, derived from classical and contemporary art, literature and mythology. By incorporating, re-appropriating and fusing together these elements, I can enact a revision of art history in an attempt to sculpt new languages and representations of the so-called ‘marginalised body’. I hope that my work will generate discussions that neither fail to notice difference nor reinforce that difference as marginal.

Mobile - 07939542104/e-mail markollettfineart@live.co.uk