Our Art of Stones; MEDIEVAL TYNESIDE LANDMARK CHURCH: IS CELEBRATED IN ARTISTICEXHIBITION IN GATESHEAD

Article excerpt

Byline: LINDA RICHARDS

FOR almost a millennium it has stood sentinel over the Tyne. Perched high above the river, the former St Mary's Church is one of Gateshead's oldest buildings.

It's as pretty as a picture and now members of Gateshead Art Society have made it the theme of their summer exhibition.

They've captured on canvas one of the town's last remaining links to its medieval past.

Dozens of paintings of the 900-year-old building have been created recently in various mediums including watercolour, oil and acrylic.

And between now and August 28 they are all on show at the building, beside The Sage Gateshead, which re-opened in December 2008 as a heritage centre following a pounds 1.2m transformation.

Society chairman John McNally hopes the public will enjoy visiting the show to see the paintings of St Mary's and other landmarks and landscapes.

"Our members are enthusiastic amateurs and they have produced some excellent work," said Mr McNally, 80, who took up painting when he retired as a manufacturer's agent.

"Our society is based at Gateshead's Shipley Art Gallery and we meet there every Tuesday to paint.

"Each November we display our work in a six week selling exhibition in the Shipley. It is wonderful to show them at the same gallery where masterpieces are on show.

"And we were delighted when Heritage @St Mary's invited us to exhibit our work.

"The paintings are hung on pillars in this historic building which is very effective in showing them to their best potential. …