Heather Burton paints land and seascapes inspired by the coast and countryside of Yorkshire, as well as portraits. She uses oils and acrylics and specialises in palette knife work.
Heather won the Friends of Ferens first prize at this year’s open exhibition at the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull. She is participating in East Yorkshire Open Studios 2015 from her studio in Spaldington, near Howden.
When did you move to the area?
I was born in Lincoln and came to East Yorkshire in 1989, when we moved to Howden. We have lived in Spaldington for 16 years.
What was your route to becoming an artist?
I have always loved drawing and painting and took art to ‘A’ Level at school. I took it up again when our daughters left home and it’s just taken on a life of its own!
What challenges have you faced along the way?
Finding time to paint takes discipline and I am always trying to find ways of improving. Every piece of art represents a huge learning curve and many have ended up in the bin! I think the toughest challenge of all is developing the confidence to get your work ‘out there’.
Which media do you choose to work with and why?
I use anything from pencil, chalk and charcoal, conti, pastels and oil pastels to oil paints and acrylics. Each offers something different and it’s always fun to experiment.
What tool or piece of equipment could you not manage without?
The palette knife. I started working with the knife about two years ago and love its versatility. It has really helped me to loosen up and develop new painting techniques.
Describe your creative process and the environment in which you work.
I take lots of photographs and use those as the basis for my paintings, but they are only a guide and often have little bearing on the final picture. I work from a converted spare bedroom and use large canvases which suit palette knife work. I love putting the first marks onto a blank canvas. I rarely draw the picture first – I usually develop a painting with blocks of colours, lights and darks, and allow it to take on a life of its own.
Which artists and designers (historical and/or contemporary) do you admire, and why?
Too many to mention here, but I particularly like the work of Jonathan Yeo.
Is there a particular place that inspires you?
Scotland, and the Yorkshire coastline.
Do you have a favourite piece amongst your own work?
Yes, it’s a recent painting called ‘Rain’ (below, left), which came out of nowhere – I probably wouldn’t be able to replicate it!
What are you working on at the moment?
A figurative painting of an Indian dancer.
What are your future plans?
I shall be exhibiting for a month at Kardomah 94 in Alfred Gelder Street, Hull, and taking part in Street Art Hull by the Marina. I am then taking part in an art fair in Chelsea Town Hall, London, in May.
Which galleries do you show in? Do you have any exhibitions or workshops coming up?
I have work in galleries in Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire, and recently started holding workshops in palette knife work and demonstrating to art groups around Yorkshire.
With thanks to Heather Burton (www.heatherburtonyorkshireartist.co.uk).