Whatmore on Whatmore - An Interview with Nel Whatmore

As you may have read on the Gallery 42 homepage (, we are currently displaying the work of our May Artist of the Month, Nel Whatmore.

Tip Toe to the Sea - £3995

Nel Whatmore needs no introduction and we have a fine selection of her work on display. I conducted an interview with her the week of the exhibition and here is how the conversation went:

To start where all interviews start, how did you come to be an artist?

I became an artist initially because my parents were brave enough to encourage me to go and do a foundation course in Art and Design and to pursue what I loved, rather than to play safe and do a Geography degree at Durham. I then did a degree I didn't actually enjoy that much at Leeds but I enjoyed the life and afterwards went on a business course run by New Working Women in Leeds and learnt all the things you needed to know about being self employed. I started as a professional artist in a bedsit in Headingley making hand made cards, to generate enough income to print my first set of limited edition prints. I was awarded a grant by the Princes Youth Business Trust in 1986 which has been an invaluable help which enabled me to exhibit at major trade shows where I met publishers that I went on to work with for over 17 years.

What things have inspired you over your life and career? Do these things change and are some things lasting or enduring?

What has inspired me over my life and career? Wow, that's a big question! Again, my parents have inspired me to do whatever I do to the best of my ability. If it's worth doing, do it well; that adage has driven me on, on many an occasion. People inspire me as does beauty, the natural world and my endless fascination with colour and the effects it has on our loves and lives. The relationship between music and art interests me to and I paint better with loud music than with out. All of these are enduring. The reasons why I painted when I was 20 are not the reasons why I paint now. Hopefully the more you experience life the more there is to say.

How do these things impact your choice of subject matter?

The things that have inspired me directly effect how I work and my attitude to it but also the size and temper of each painting. In terms of subject matter it doesn't really matter whether I paint a sky or a sea or a flower it is usually all about the light and colour and movement rather than the object.


There are few artists, especially those working in Britain today, who can command your mediums so well, especially on such grand scales - why do you love pastel and why do you produce such large works?

I actually don't think they are that large; actually I would like to do them much much bigger but my favourite paper only comes in a limited size.

I love pastel as it's the closest you can be to actual pigment, it is sensuous and therefore evocative, not harsh and detached. Some how merely by being at the end of a brush you are already a step further away from what you wish to convey. It also has a warmth and a luminosity that I adore... I could go on.. suffice to say I love it.

Blue Sky Thinking - Price on Enquiry

You have some interesting views relating to colour, art and the relating perception of the two together? Do they impact your art?

How colours behave when sat next to each other will be a life long  journey of discovery for me, I feel. How it also contributes to our feelings of wellbeing is self-evident, as we all can judge from simply when the sky turns from grey to blue. We are what we paint and what colours I paint reflect often what is roaming around in my head.

You have a stand at the Chelsea Flower Show for the past 7 years and again this year - whats it like to move from small spaces like the Gallery to larger ones like at Chelsea? Do you prefer small or large events? 

As being an artist is for a large part a solitary occupation, it is rather weird at times to go from seeing no one for hours to seeing several hundred thousand within a week. I like both small and large events as you just never know who you're going to meet.

Nel's art will be up for the rest of May and I will post again shortly with what I consider to be highlights of the selection of works. These images are lent kindly by Nel from her website.

Barcelona Buskers - Price on Enquiry

Reviewing the Preview Night

Good afternoon (or morning, evening, whenever you're reading this...). I thought I would write today with my review of the preview evening of John Kaye's exhibition and the Julie Dodsworth Giftware Section. Both are assets to the Gallery and as such, both were well received!

You might recall from reading my earlier ramblings and scramblings that things were a little bit hectic at Gallery 42 before the opening of not one but 2 things on the same preview evening. Its safe to say everyone at the Gallery did an excellent job preparing and executing what was a brilliant evening full of wonderfully presented art and products, so well done to all my colleagues there!


This week its time for me, as a budding art historian, art writer and critic, to review the evening and of course this encompasses the art, the people and indeed - the music! I have included some pictures of John's beautiful art, but they really do not do it justice. This exactly why after reading this, unless you are ill-positioned (either abroad or afar) to do so, you must pop in and see the work for yourself!

So, I've written to you already about John's artwork. I'm going to focus this time on the night, so sit back and allow the anecdote(s) to flow.

The day before the exhibition I wandered into Gallery 42 in my usual sauntering fashion, where I was met with a cup of tea (darling) and my first encounter with Mr John Kaye himself. I did some odd jobs and helped with a few bits here and there, before interviewing John for the blog, which was fascinating - John really is a wonderful, genuine and inspirational character and I do believe, despite only having select chances to speak to him, I have taken much from his experience and from his stories from his travels.

Speaking of his travels, we hear he's in Bulgaria at the moment... Lucky sod ( a lovely sod nonetheless).

I left the Gallery missing several spotlights and looking not quite there yet... But little did I know, 24 hours later and the place would be transformed. Of course I had faith in all my colleagues and in John himself and I was right to. After some time with Mark and Will rehearsing for the musical part of the evening (which did end up being a large, background-edging-into-foreground part of the night), we walked in just in time to comfort James Brown, who was looking lost and confused, before the evening really began. We set up and then went to Sainsbury's. It was here we saw none other than the (in)famous Humphrey Smith, who walked several circles round the automatic doors before getting into the oldest, most battered looking Ford that Will and I had ever seen and driving away.

All this is irrelevant, for such musings detract from the main event. As everyone poured in (not at once, so it was more of a gradual filling of space across half an hour or so) James Brown himself kicked the night off with a range of cracking cover versions of everything popular music from the last 6 decades has had to offer. Paintings began to be sold and John escorted the guests (and of course, himself) towards the complimentary wine and nibbles by the stage (well, it wasn't a stage). Even though the weather wasn't on our side - indeed snow was projected for the duration of the night and beyond - we still enjoyed a great turnout across the evening and a healthy portion of the work was sold.

After James' half hour set I took to the stage to play some songs, before Mark and Will played some stuff also. We then collaborated and from that point on, the music came from the 4 of us, manager Liz, colleague Terry and of course, the Wilson brothers; both Tadcaster treasures. Whilst this was unfolding in the back, I was intermittently integrating myself into the crowd and taking photos on my new(ish) SLR, which I still can't use very well but hey, its a learning process. You can view these on the Gallery 42 Facebook page.

Key artists such as Nel Whatmore and Dave Markham were also present at the exhibition, as well as other prominent characters such as the Mayor, who was kind enough to listen to our music as well. The discussions surrounding John's art were great and there was a wonderful, welcoming atmosphere to the Gallery that served as a wine-fuelled, exaggerated version of that which we offer during daylight opening hours. As the patrons and guests began to dissipate we all congregated at the back of the shop for what turned into a bit of a karaoke, which was great fun. I played my (now revered for its emotion and baritone) version of Johnny Cash's cover of Hurt, originally by Nine Inch Nails, not once but twice, and Mark and Will pumped out Shupadum classics. Liz and Terry played some great covers which I believe they also do in their band, The Elmcats (who are great) and Wilson Brown ended (or not) the night on a perpetual medley of classics.

I had a bloody brilliant evening and I hope everyone who attended did as well - thank you all!

You can view pictures from the night on our Facebook page, which the link should give you access to (if the link works) and I'll be putting more pictures up soon of the artwork left for sale. My few favourites didn't sell, which is tantalising of course. In the near future I hope to curate a Nothern Artists exhibition at the Gallery, inspired by Tate's forthcoming LS Lowry exhibition and of course the nothern work by Lowry, Birks and Tortice in our own collection - all of which will be for sale in the exhibition. Here's hoping I can get that off the ground!

In definite news, the Julie Dodsworth Giftware Section will be OFFICIALLY opened (i.e by Julie herself, I do believe) this month and there will be another music night to boot. Keep a check on my blog, on our Twitter handle and on the Facebook page for updates. The website will be undergoing maintenance shortly so please, do be aware and you can find our contact details on Facebook should you require them. Cheerio!


All Hands on Deck! - Preparing for Dodsworth and Kaye

Ian and Rod constructing the Julie Dodsworth Giftware Section, to open to the public alongside John Kaye's Exhibition on Saturday 23rd March 2013.

ImageWith most of the John Kaye works framed and ready for Friday 22nd's Preview Evening, the pressing matter today for these two hard-working gentlemen was to construct the Julie Dodsworth Giftware Section.

As you might have gathered from my recent writings, I am quite excited for both of these new exhibits to open next Saturday and as such I'll probably be wandering round with my camera taking many a photo. I think the Julie Dodsworth Giftware Section (which shall henceforth be referred to throughout this blog as the JDGS) is integral to the Gallery as we develop and improve our business. There are two reasons I think this.

The first is the physical look and presence of the JDGS as complementary to the rest of the gallery space. Containing a combination of made-in-house and bought shelving and display units, the corner space on the right of the door by the stairs is being transformed. Our Dodsworth giftware will be able to be both stored and displayed in creative, presentable and continously recyclable ways and will be both part of the gallery yet its own entity. Therefore, because of the way the section fits into the existing space and because of what it will add to the space, it complements our existing browsing facilities.

The second reason is I think that it represents a great amount of potential with regards to what we might do, should the section 'hit it off' with you, the public, with the rest of the gallery space. Ian and I have some big plans already, but this is the first plan which all of us here have opined upon and realised as we re-define and re-inforce the identity of the fine arts and framing business we are. There is huge potential with this section and we all really hope that it gets off to a flying start.

For that matter, continued aviation would suffice!

The variation of spaces within the section will enable us to effectively display each beautiful product as part of its respective series. The items may be in these respective series families, such as Rose Cottage, Chocolate Box and Calamity Jane, but they may also be mixed around. Such mingling ought to breed all sorts of homeware design combinations that compliment, contrast and sell - after all, that is generally the aim of a business!

The JDGS promises to add colour and life to a corner of the gallery previously unexplored by most customers. An attractive showcase for Julie's designs and products, it is the first of many exciting steps we intend to undertake to make our business and our artwork even more exciting.

Of course, you 'darlings' which pop in here frequently can look forward to Rod's anticipation with regards to the JDGS and indeed, John Kaye's exhibition.

Both open to the public one week today.

Both, I hope, will be well received.

Both, I hope, will flourish.

Light - My New favourite toy! Also, a few other things...

As I write this, I'm sat miserably in a car on the way home from what until now has been a brilliant day in Liverpool. What makes it no longer brilliant; indeed the cause of my misery; is the fact we have travelled 30 miles in almost 3 hours. Apparently the world and his wife are leading a mass migration out of Manchester, and reluctantly we've been dragged along kicking and screaming.

The only things keeping me sane are writing this blog and listening to Robbie Williams (I don't care if you don't like him, because I do).

Let me tell you about my brilliant day then! Well, after lunch in the Tate's Cafe, my stepdad and I enjoyed a nice lengthy look around the galleries upstairs. Interestingly, I had a completely different experience this time around than when I went for the Turner, Monet, Twombly exhibition a month ago.

You can read my critical(ish) review of it if you find the appropriate post on Gallery 42's Facebook wall, late Septemberish I think. There's a Gallery 42 button to the right on this page, it'll take you over to our Facebook page. You'd have to be dead or otherwise perpetually devoid of further existence not to be able to find us.

That said, as great as it was, If you're thinking of visiting the exhibition then don't bother, because it is no more. Its shut. You have successfully missed a bloody great exhibition. Feel bad, I permit you.

I noticed new things I hadn't seen the first time I had looked at the artworks on display. I was excited by this, and my sense of discovery was further excited by a visit to the nearby Maritime Museum, where there is a great exhibition on that runs until next April to do with RMS Titanic and it's relationship with Liverpool.

Were I to digress; because I'm obsessed with anything and everything Titanic; I'd need another blog post. Ideally another week. In fact, just give me a month. My knowledge still wouldn't be exhausted.

Anyway, brilliant day aside... This post is about what I'm doing now. What is that exactly? Why, I'm playing with light. I enjoy light. I'd lick it if I could, just to find out what it tastes like; a taste, if it were to have one, which I imagine would fit the description of 'hot and burny'.

Light is so much fun. You can do lots with it, including blind yourself; which is why you shouldn't stare at the sun. Halogens merely burn inconvenient shapes into your vision.

Personally I like to wave my iPhone around while taking photos. I don't have a camera with slow shutter, so this is the next best thing, and you can get some truly magnificent results!

Have a go; go on, treat yourself. You might enjoy it.

Clearly this works best at night, because not only is it counter-productive to go searching for artificial light during the day, but it's also momentously stupid. Wait until night, or in my case, until the Traffic God smites you and thousands of other motorists down on the M62 for hours.

I've included a small sample of the products of my almost effortless toils.

I haven't got much else to say really; just give it a go I suppose, see what happens. Just find some lights and move your camera in varying directions at varying speeds unless you have slow shutter capability. In that case you can google further details, because I'm jealous enough not to help you.

I want variable shutter speeds is all; nothing personal.

You can look forward to a less lengthy post about our new Artist of the Month of November, Chris Luker, as well as our wonderful new team member; the wall mounted microwave.

Do you have a suggestion as to what we should name the microwave? Good.

Please keep it to yourself, it's a microwave- it doesn't need a name. Especially if it begins with M, and even more especially so if your suggestion is Mike. You have no imagination.

I promise I'm not this cold really. I merely advocate sarcasm, and I believe it should be a criminal offence to create alliterative names along the lines of Larry the Lizard or other similarly disgraceful brainchildren. Cheerio!





Can't Get No Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones and the Trend of Overpriced Gigs

Its safe to say I have a colossal problem... ...And that problem is overpriced gigs.

I mean, think about it. How many times have you thought, 'Hey, I'd love to see that band!' Or even, 'Hey how's about we go see this show while we're in town?' Of all those times, how often has the price put you off booking what could be a great live entertainment experience? If you're not crying out something along the lines of, 'Too many bloody times, Steve!' Then you're living in the same century as I am.

What it is, really, is bollocks. I have chosen to use The Rolling Stones as an example because recently I heard they were charging 400 quid a ticket for their upcoming string (or rather, moth-eaten thread) of shows. Having done some research, not only can I confirm this is not a rumour; moreover this is only half the price of some of the tickets! I'm all for comebacks, even more than that I'm all for seeing legendary bands; I've seen Status Quo, John Paul Jones and AC/DC twice, Aerosmith, Kiss, Saxon, Motorhead, the list goes on; but not at a price that exceeds the combined ages of the band members almost twofold... And these guys are like 60!

Yet, its the same with some more contemporary artists. I love Muse, their new album is great and I've seen them twice (including the Origins of Symmetry 10 year anniversary at Leeds 2011), but tickets to their current shows are around 7o odd quid. Furthermore, if this summer you wanted to see an artist like Nicki Minaj (not that you would want to), or go see Kanye and Jay-Z, you're looking at a few hundred quid for two tickets. What the hell is the point of making your fans fork out that much money for a 2 hour (if that) show?

I paid 215 quid for my Leeds 2012 Early Bird Weekend Ticket and 200 quid for my Leeds 2011 Weekend Ticket. Add about 70 quid to each for food, drink etc and you have 2 years worth of 6 great headline sets amidst loads of other bands! Plus 5 days worth of fun and music and a great festival experience with friends. For the same money (300 quid-ish) you could literally go for a healthy-budgeted long weekend to Amsterdam, where you could be perpetually merry for 4 days. I'm not saying I advocate their coffee shops; because that in your cup, isn't coffee; but I imagine you'd have a lot more fun for your money.

The feeling of disappointment the day after the gig hits you like a brick in the face; just what  the hell were you thinking spending that much money on one gig. I'm fully aware its the main source of income in the music industry as piracy is still so rife, but come on world; this is daylight robbery! It may well have been a great gig; but was it worth that much?

...Now I'm beginning to rant. But you see my point, and I'm sure you agree. If you're willing to pay over 400 quid per ticket to see a band that apparently 'will only play Glastonbury if the weather's nice', then you're either willing to lick Keith Richards clean (good luck) or your brain is little more than a pink turd... Or you just really want to see that band. Which is okay if you're willing to advocate nonsense.

I'm going to go and dip my head in a bucket of ice so I calm down.


Which bands have you come across who play overpriced gigs? I'll attach a form to this post - highlights next week! [contact-form subject='Overpriced Gigs Feedback'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]