Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Elegance of Nature Stars in Splendid New Exhibit; Paintings by Two North East Artists Capture the Drama and Beauty of the Landscape, as DAVID WHETSTONE Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Elegance of Nature Stars in Splendid New Exhibit; Paintings by Two North East Artists Capture the Drama and Beauty of the Landscape, as DAVID WHETSTONE Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WHETSTONE

IT'S late in the day to be recommending an exhibition that closes this weekend but better late than never.

And perhaps now is the best time to see the work of friends Romey Chaffer and Carolyn Earlam in the gallery at Gateshead Library.

Their exhibition, Twisted Tree and Fractured Rock, opened before Christmas when the days were just a blink and the nights were long and cold.

Now, with days lengthening and the promise of spring, these brilliant nature pictures are a spur to get into the countryside.

Romey has been painting in the region for 35 years, mostly in - as she puts it - "a small ex-pit village between Durham City and the Dales".

"I feel very fortunate to live very close to a Woodland Trust wood and also to land managed by the Durham Wildlife Trust," she says.

"I like to be outside as much as possible and used to work there right through the winter."

The wood is Ragpath Wood, which many people must trudge through with their dogs.

Using a variety of materials - charcoals, pastels, watercolours - Romey paints what she sees and others, most likely, do not.

Betraying an apparent lightness of touch, her paintings and sketches bring out the beauty of the woods while also capturing magic moments, as in the painting Early Morning with trees caught in silhouette.

"I walk from my house into the woods or travel a short distance to a favourite place," she says.

"A particular tree or bush may quite quickly look just right, usually because of the light at that moment.

"I love to be enveloped in the shelter of a tree but I also choose to sit in the shade because I have macular degeneration and want to protect my eyes."

This debilitating eye condition is endured by many in this country. That such a talented artist should be afflicted seems especially cruel. …

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