I do like Skipton's Art in the Pen. For a start, it's a great idea – holding an exhibition in a livestock auction mart. A space normally bustling with farmers and animals becomes space to eye up the work of local artists.
The variety of art is one of its great features. One of the great fears I have when visiting local art shows is having to look at yet more chocolate box pictures of bridges, gates and rose clad cottages. This is not the case at Art in the Pen. There were about sixty artists work on show, all quite individual.
Some of the work in wood was impressive, none more so than David Gross's huge and arresting wood sculptures (above).
A particular favorite was Mark Laycock's wood pieces. People have commented on his Gaudi like style, but what impressed me most was his passion for the wood itself and the ideas he has. He told me that he's be happy simply put a piece of wood on the wall and look at it. His deep respect for the material and his knowledge of why it looks as it does is wonderful.
Another eye catching display was by Duncan Pearson from Huddersfield. His colourful and humorous paintings had a dark twist to them. He explained that he'd spent a hard time in a rough area of Manchester. One picture featured a man with a ridiculous mustache – the manchester mustache – who he explained was a horrible character in a horrible pub. His work is raw and personal.
Tim Fowler from Leicester featured some very confident and beautiful urban scenes many of which were of West London. Evidence that there's a good range of influences at Art in the Pen, not confined to gates, bridges and cottages. You'd need to come to Ilkley for that!