Hull: City of Culture 2017 & the Holderness Coast

Saying that I’ve been busy recently is no exaggeration. In preparation for my upcoming exhibition I’ve been frantically finishing off paintings, ordering prints, measuring for frames…all which are thoroughly exciting but had left me in need of a creative reboot.

So in order to restore calm amidst the chaos, I decided to take a short trip to Hull. You may know that Hull is the City of Culture 2017 and quite rightly so. While I was there I visited the newly reopened Ferens Gallery, which has just undergone a multi-million pound revamp. I was impressed by the diverse and well laid out collections on view and especially enjoyed the Hull Open exhibition which offered a great opportunity to see work by local artists.


Ferens Gallery, Hull

What most impressed me about Hull though was the energy of the place. Admittedly anywhere with a rich maritime history gets my pulse racing but, let’s face it, Hull hasn’t always had the best of press and yet I was completely charmed by the city. Putting the City of Culture label aside, there are already some great well-established museums, an atmospheric old quarter and an interesting marina converted from the old docks.



Hull Marina


After the bluster of the city the following day I was ready to soak up the atmosphere of the Yorkshire Coast. Mappleton is a short drive away from Hull, a tiny village, which was under threat for many years due to coastal erosion as this coastline is the most rapidly eroding in the whole of Europe. Thankfully sea defences have put a halt to the village disappearing into the sea but south of this it’s evident to see how the cliffs are still at threat from nature’s force.


Mappleton Beach, Yorkshire
Mappleton Beach, Yorkshire
The view towards Hornsea
The view towards Hornsea

This was the reason for my visit. From the cliff top the vistas are huge, uninterrupted expanses of sea and sky. The added texture of the cliffs, long stretches of sand and the sound of the surf are all the medicine I need to sooth the senses.

I was prepared for a bracing day out but an unseasonably mild day meant that it was warm enough to round off my trip with a short drive up the coast to Hornsea and indulge in the seaside tradition of a portion of chips eaten from a bench overlooking the sea.

Morning Mist, Whitby – A study in perseverance

Ever since returning from my field trip to the charming North Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby I’ve been wanting to capture it in oils. I began a painting a few weeks ago of what was going to be a straight forward scene viewed from across the harbour. Continue reading “Morning Mist, Whitby – A study in perseverance”

Beside the seaside

Work in progress - Tori Tipton
Work in progress

I started the above painting a few weeks ago and it has been hanging neglected in my studio ever since as I was unsure how to progress with it. So, last week I took a trip to my favourite seaside town of Whitby to see if it would provide me with some artistic inspiration.


It was a beautiful day, cold but with occasional blue skies and sunshine. My heart sang to be beside the huge expansive skies accompanied by the tang of the sea air.

Whitby Harbour
Whitby Harbour
Fortune's Kippers, Whitby
Fortune’s smokehouse, Whitby
Whitby through the whalebones
The lighthouse on the pier

The trip was just what I needed. Being there beside the sea made me realise that the seascapes that I’m currently painting are a way of expressing something that feels true to me. The joy that I feel by being near the sea is manifested when I paint. I guess that if I were to put it in its simplest terms, painting the sea is what makes me happy!

On my return, I couldn’t wait to get back into the studio where I finished the painting immediately. My field trip had opened the door, bringing my feelings and creativity together. Not only did I finish the neglected painting but I also got the first layers of paint down on a further three paintings. Finally, I feel as if I’m begining to make the kind of art that I’ve wanted to create for a long time.

Oil painting of a beach scene
After the Storm – oil on panel – 30cm x 30cm

More boating but less painting

As the weather has continued to be kind to us throughout the latter part of October, I have been spending most of my time back on-board the boat. This has had the knock-on effect of only being able to snatch moments in the studio, thwarting my explorations with oil painting. I did find time to complete this painting though.

Oil painting of storm over sea
Squall – Oil on board – 30cm x 30cm

One thing that is becoming quite apparent is that I’m attracted to painting turbulence at the moment. This could possibly be a reflection of how I’m currently feeling. Life feels very uncertain at present as the time when my son flies the nest approaches. What once could be counted in years is now reduced to months and it makes me wonder what lies in store for the next stage of life.

So taking time out to cruise along the tranquility of the waterways has been the perfect time for me and my husband to make tentative plans for the next stage of our life. The seeds have been sown and over the next 18 months we’ll tend to them, nurturing and pruning as we go along.

I’ll leave you with a few snaps that I took while cruising, I hope that you enjoy them. The River Aire was beautiful, bordered by its autumn foliage. Throughout the summer season I’ve been hoping to catch a glimpse of a kingfisher and had given up on a sighting for this year. Would you believe that in the most industrial part of Leeds I happened to catch sight of not one but two!

The Aire & Calder Navigation at Woodlesford
The Aire & Calder Navigation at Woodlesford
Narrowboat in Granary Wharf
Our mooring in Granary Wharf, Leeds
Heron by river
Waiting for dinner
Elland on the Leeds and Liverpool canal
The old and the new on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Old Staithes Quay
Old Staithes Quay, Allerton Bywater

Until next time…


It’s the journey, not the destination

I’ve just returned to my corner of Yorkshire after what has seemed like a journey of epic proportions!

In terms of distance I actually haven’t been very far at all – just to the other side of the county, not far from the Lancashire border – but travelling by narrowboat, no matter how far, always carries with it the feeling of embarking on an epic adventure. Continue reading “It’s the journey, not the destination”

Travel sketchbook and the end of World Watercolor Month

Now that life is returning to normal and I have had the  time to load my travel sketches onto my laptop I thought that I would share them with you all. Continue reading “Travel sketchbook and the end of World Watercolor Month”

The wanderer returns

As you may have guessed from the title of this post I have been away for a few weeks and taken a little break from blogging. In my absence, I have continued to paint and I even kept up with the remaining days of World Watercolor Month whilst away. I’m looking forward to sharing my travel sketches as soon as I’ve uploaded them but in the meantime here are some of the highlights of where I’ve been… Continue reading “The wanderer returns”