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Painting Parks - Local Artist Picks up a Paintbrush after a 20 Year Break.
Visitors to West Park in Long Eaton will recognise the park as a source of beauty. At different times of the year the park offers a welcome retreat from a hectic life. It was this place that inspired local artist, Justine Nettleton to pick up the brush after a 20 year break.
‘I moved to Long Eaton seven years ago and was experiencing a lot of work stress. I found that a quick bike ride round West Park was an excellent way to unwind. I quickly realised that the park is a very beautiful place and looks different throughout the year and at different times of day. It inspired me to start painting again as I was determined to capture those moments.’
After a lot of success with her West Park paintings, Justine then turned her attention to other local parks. The light show, ‘Aurora’ at Rufford Abbey was a strong inspiration for Justine throughout 2012. ‘I came across the light show at Rufford by accident. It should have been just before Christmas but the snow had fallen so deep in December 2010 that all the lights had been covered and were no longer shining on the trees. It was postponed until the New Year and that’s when I found out about it.’
Justine has recently turned her attention to Wollaton Park. ‘I spent a lot of my childhood at Wollaton Park as my grandparents had a hardware shop in Wollaton in the 1970s. I have lots happy memories of that time.’ Although Justine’s favourite time to visit a park is at dusk, she has had to explore Wollaton Park during the day as the park closes at dusk.
‘West Park will always be a special place for me. You can access it at any time of day. If you live in Long Eaton and need to go for some exercise or just be a bit closer to nature, West Park is the place to be. I will always be grateful to the park for inspiring me to start painting again.’
Justine’s Wollaton Park paintings will be on show at Pyatt and Hesbrook Antique Dealers, 12a Church Street, Town Centre, Ashbourne, DE6 1AE from 5th December and into the New Year.
Her Aurora paintings will be on display at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery from January 21st until 9th April 2012. All her West Park paintings can be viewed on her website www.justinenettleton.com. She is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Creating Light out of Shadows: the paintings of Justine Nettleton.
On viewing the paintings by artist Justine Nettleton, many familiar sights from the local area may not at first be recognisable. Well known for her bewitching treescapes, those familiar with Long Eaton’s West Park may discover a side to it they have never seen before. The West Park paintings document the changing seasons, weather, colours and lights; the last threads of sunlight reflected off puddles after heavy rain. The park is often captured at dusk, or even after the sun has set and the only light filtering through the lonely trees is the orange tungsten street lights. Justine’s art captures colours that many do not see: purples, oranges and deep blues. It is possible when looking at the paintings to become lost within the pathways and branches, no glimpse of another soul in sight, with only a distant street light glowing, offering the hope or perhaps trepidation of reaching home.
“I found inspiration during my evening bike rides around West Park” Justine says, “At first the rides were purely to get some fresh air, then I became mesmerised by the beauty of the place, its dramatic changes throughout the season, and the wonderful relationship between the trees and both natural and artificial street lighting. My rides became longer and longer as I stopped to photograph the trees and light, then I would head back to the studio and use the images as a starting point for my paintings. I am drawn to the idea of the solitary journey, a private wandering, both its magic and its danger. In my paintings I like to capture a moment where the viewer is alone on their journey, with just the trees and pathways to guide them, and maybe the slightly discomforting feeling that there is always the possibility of someone or something hidden within the trees.”
Justine trained as an artist at The University of Northumbria, graduating with a BA(hons) in Fine Art in 1992. Since then she has continued to work as an art teacher; her work as an artist taking second place to the busy demands of running a children’s drama academy in Derbyshire and raising a family. It was only after her move to Long Eaton in 2004, that her work began to take direction, a starting point for becoming the established artist she is today. Justine says of the work she has completed recently,
“I always work in a series. And for me this is exciting because a series need never be finished. I return to it throughout the year as the seasons and light change. In 2010 I started a new series called ‘Sunlight in my Eyes’, inspired by the bright light when the sun is very low in the late afternoon or very early in the morning. I am intrigued by what is lost in the light, how the shapes disintegrate and new, unexpected shapes form in the extended shadows. “
Justine is one of the artists based at Harrington Mills Studios, in Long Eaton, and is an Associate Member of Banks Mill in Derby, as well as being on the Derbyshire Open Arts Committee. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, most recently at the Rainbow Gallery, The Tarpey Gallery Midlands Open Exhibition in Castle Donington and Derby Dance Centre. Justine’s plans in 2011 to develop a series of paintings for a book; a collaboration between herself and her sister, the writer Jackie Brewster, which will be completed in late 2011. She says of the work she is currently producing: “This series is inspired by a hotel I visit in West Yorkshire. It is set within its own woods and has a small lake. The path through the wood to each cabin is beautifully lit, as are the trees on the lake. There is a feeling of enchantment about the place, a place of fairy tales, where a lit house could be seen as a refuge or as potentially menacing and dangerous. The story of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ springs immediately to mind when walking about the woods at night. Places like this naturally evoke memories of childhood in all of us. It reminds me of, as a child, cycling along the gravel paths of my grandmother’s large garden in the dark; aware of muted adult conversations going on in the lit rooms but wanting to stay outside and separate from them for as long as I can.”
View Justine’s work at www.justinenettleton.com.
Article by Jackie Brewster.