It’s Yorkshire Day today (1 August). I’m not typically one for token occasions and sentimentality. But I'm going to make the most of an excuse to share reflections on why moving to Yorkshire has been good for my soul. Especially since I recognise how much my new home feels like home in just one year.
Yorkshire has great clouds and you can definitely expect to see more cloud art (on the horizon, cough). I have a fairly long bus commute to the university where I work and parts of that journey are spent indulging in soaking up the fabulous skies and picturing new creations. Whether it’s a winter sunrise, a spring sundown, or those glorious summer evenings, I do feel a sense of gratitude and relief for the range of inspiring Yorkshire cloud displays. Here’s a winter sunrise inspired by my scenic bus journey that went to a new forever home after the recent Kirkstall Art Trail.
Part of my rationale for moving was having more space to paint. I’ve certainly manifested that in terms of studio space. But, of course, we always manifest more than we ask for and it’s so good to have a sense of natural space in the landscape around me. Here’s "Chevin view" – one of my first Yorkshire landscapes celebrating my love of open spaces (and rolling hills and clouds).
People – I didn’t believe the saying that it’s friendlier up north but it’s true. Yorkshire is by far the friendliest place I’ve ever lived. From welcoming neighbours to chatty passers-by out and about to everyday service encounters in retail contexts – there’s a genuine sense of down-to-earth warmth and openness.
4. Artists community
The biggest surprise of moving to Yorkshire has been how much my artist community has grown and keeps growing. Big shout out to the fabulous Yorkshire life drawing group, all the creatives I’ve met at exhibitions and events and those I’ve met through academic life and social media.
5. Independent shops
If you enjoy independent shops as much as I do you’ll love the range of independent shops in Yorkshire. Let’s do our best to support independent businesses and help them thrive. I’m not a big shopper but even I can get carried away at markets, and delis, not to mention the delights of the Halifax Piece Hall.
If you’re an indoor or outdoor gardener, Yorkshire is a great place to be. There are so many places to buy plants in my new neighbourhood, it’s tempting to come home with new plants almost every time I leave the house. Some friends have asked if I’m going to get a cat and become that crazy cat lady but I think it’s more likely that I’ll be the potty plant lady at this rate. For those of you who love cats and plants, here's a painting that you’ll be able to see in person at the Halifax Open Gallery’s Summer exhibition, opening mid August. It's called "Nonchalance".
Relocating is always a big shift and brings challenges – especially when you move far away from your established support networks. I’m thankful to the old and new friends who have supported my journey (you know who you are) and proud of myself for my personal growth. Yorkshire seems to agree with me.
I'm yet to explore all the wonders of the Yorkshire coast. But hopefully those adventures are not too far away and you'll be able to enjoy some Yorkshire seascapes from me soon.