1:55 PM 14th December 2020
Artistry of Lancashire: Beverley Chapelhow
Beverley Chapelhow is the co-owner of Atelier Arts in Clitheroe who draws inspiration from the places she has visited to produce varied portfolio of work using a mix of techniques: from handcrafted jewellery to oil paintings created using pallet knives and rollers – she rarely uses a brush.
The Lancashire landscape has inspired artists for years, she told me, and is a constant stimulus to her – particularly the atmosphere, smells, moods and ambience of each place. Her passion for travel has allowed her to respond to places as far afield as Sri Lanka and India, or more locally, from Pendle Hill and Spring Wood in Whalley. The colours to be seen during sunset along the Fylde Coast are a favourite, where she will regularly go for fish and chips, enjoyed at the beach at Cleveleys, with her camera ready to capture the imagery.
Making sketches using watercolour, pen and ink, Beverley then combines those initial drawings with her photos and memories to paint. She uses water-based oil paints, as they have a distinct buttery feel, gliding smoothly across the surface. Using MDF as a base layer, this gives a rigidity to the surface on which she builds layers of colour, often scraping into her painted surface to reapply thin or thick layers to add definition. In addition to the use of pallet knives, Beverley will also use her fingers to create colour balance and mixes, a technique she applies both to oil painting and her jewellery making.
Conceived from the Japanese philosophy wabi-sabi – an approach to aesthetics that appreciates beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete in nature” - Beverley has coined her own mantra: “Making the ordinary beautiful.” Applied to art, the Japanese philosophy embraces all mistakes, drips and cracks in any artwork and in her own application, Beverley adds gold leaf to her pieces, adding a “touch of beauty and opulence to something that can be quite ordinary.”
Sculpture is another art form that Beverley is fond of, and the American sculptor Louise Bourgeois is one Beverley cites as a source of inspiration. Bourgeois, she says, made plaster sculptures “so raw and real…made from the heart and soul of her family.” Beverley especially enjoys surreal sculpture, however her current studio space isn’t sufficient for large scale projects. Her paintings are smaller scale, usually 35cm square and this, her jewellery making and the art classes she runs via Zoom are enough to keep her occupied for now!
In 2020 Beverley launched Bevart Designs, an online jewellery and accessories shop which can be seen through the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Bevartdesigns
and her products bought via The British Craft House https://thebritishcrafthouse.co.uk/shop/bevartdesigns/
Sri Lankan Garden
Having had to work from home for much of the year has meant Beverley has focused more on her jewellery, however in between the various Covid-restrictions she still completed several commissions, including one for a home in the Ribble Valley and another for a modern London dwelling. The lockdowns have meant that she and other artists resident at their studios, Atelier Arts, have had to find new ways to engage audiences. They moved the weekly art classes online, currently being held via Zoom every Tuesday 6-8pm, with more information available by email firstname.lastname@example.org
. When restrictions allow, they will resume classes ‘in person’ – Beverley adores how art can stimulate discussion and debate, and she loves to encourage her students to embrace their individuality and their own unique style of art.
In usual times, Atelier Arts has a gallery open to show the work of all the resident artists and she particularly likes welcoming visitors, old and new, to their open evenings. The conversations about her artwork, and art in general is perhaps the thing Beverley most enjoys about being an artist. Grayson Perry is another artist Beverley respects; she admires how he brings art to life through the stories he conveys. She believes “original art will always have a place in the world as a way and means of pushing boundaries and raising awareness” and adds “our world would be a dismal place without the adornment of art within it!”
Atelier Arts has joined with many others sharing work via social media during 2020. Beverley took part with Grayson Perry’s Art Club TV show on a weekly basis, and another example she cites is the weekly lockdown painting sessions held over Facebook, such as “Portrait Artist of the Week” hosted by Sky TV.
Owning Atelier Arts is a dream realised from an idea conceived when she was studying her degree. She told me that she has always loved art; as a child she would watch Nancy Kominsky painting on TV on Sunday mornings, and along the way she has learned so much about art and herself. She says that their studio is a place to escape and to interact with other artists – in particular, she loves to discuss colour, light and form, responding to her own and others’ work.
You can keep up to date with news of classes and upcoming exhibitions (as and when Covid restrictions allow) on Atelier Art’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RibbleValleyArtStudios
You can discover more about the studios and the resident artists on their website https://atelierarts.co.uk/
or follow on Twitter (@AtelArts) and Instagram.
Bevart Designs can be found on Facebook, also Twitter (@bevart_designs) and Instagram.