A little bit of space given to some photos and news to share!

November 2011

Nobody has risen to (or responded to) invitations to get involved or to suggest or to advertise and no-one has claimed the prize. . . . but I am undeterred.

A good friend of mine suggests  you could argue that bad art is as influential (and therefore as important) as good art. 

Think about that. And then tell me what you've come up with. 

I say that, safe in the knowledge that on past performance none of you probably will. But, I promise a special gift to the first person to respond to framing@artinthemill.co.uk  - being local will help!


September 2011, posted by Andy

The following is the self explanatory letter published locally ahead of the 'Explore Knaresborough' revamp. If you'd like to make any contributions, please drop me a line.


Dear Readers
Knaresborough Chamber of Trade is about to update Explore Knaresborough. This is the free booklet widely available in Town that is often the first source of information for visitors or newly settled residents.
At this, the planning stage, it will be helpful to hear from readers who have ideas or suggestions for improvements and from local shops and businesses that would like to support the booklet.
Please take this opportunity to register interest, pass on comments or make enquiries by contacting knaresboroughchamberoftradeandcommerce@hotmail.co.uk. 
Alternatively, you are welcome to drop your comments off at Art in the Mill, Off Castlegate.
Many thanks in advance for your help
 Knaresborough Chamber of Trade.


August 2011, posted by Elaine 


Chris Meanley, artist 'al fresco' during feva.


Thanks to Terry Maude for helping with supplies for the still life fruits- his home-grown peaches were perfect as props and delicious to eat afterwards too! 


Budding artists got creative in Green Dragon Yard for feva! Well done to all!


Thank you for all your lovely comments about the pretty pink flowers in Green Dragon Yard and our Yarden behind the Mill- even the shadiest of corners can get in the pink for feva!!   

August 2011 posted by Andy.

Thanks to anyone and everyone who visited during feva (http://www.feva.info/) and who commented on the 'real life still life' in Green Dragon Yard. A big thank you also to the artists who gave up their own time to allow the public a chance to look over their shoulder.

It's always fascinating to see peoples' reaction to painters at work as well as hearing what they have to say. If you could be persuaded or decide you'd like to have a go 'al fresco' do make contact with us and help us plan next year's activities. If there are any 'wall mural' experts out there do introduce yourselves, Knaresborough has it's trompe l'oeils and a willingness to accept public art and lots of blank walls. It could be the basis of a welcome community project. I'd happily manage a project if someone is inspired to have a go.

On the same note, I've been meaning to suggest this in the past but if you and/or any art club members would like to come to Knaresborough to paint, for a day or a weekend, do make contact because I'd welcome the chance to organise something for you along those lines.

I'll happily provide you with details of local accommodation, I could direct you to the best views and would arrange evening entertainment for you, if you like. Anyway the offer is there, do have a think about it. If you'd also like to know about Sketching, Jewellery or Calligraphy workshops held in the Mill do ask. Again it could work well for a visiting group and we would look after all your requirements. 

Well done Nikki S from Knaresborough for being the first to acknowledge reading 'Art for Arts sake' and thank you for supporting our feva, from start to finish!

I also have my written thoughts about how best to approach a gallery with your own artistic creations. They are just thoughts but if anybody is interested, write to encourage me to post them. 

If you visited Knaresborough during feva and have any experiences (good or bad) the organisers might benefit from knowing about, please let them know. Write here or phone or call in and your comments will definitely be passed on. 

Finally for now, if you'd like to be on our mailing list do ask.  


July 2011 posted by Andy and a special prize will go to the first customer to acknowledge reading it!

Title: ''Art for Arts sake'' - Yes, but is it any good?

An introduction to letting you decide.*

Being left to your own devices to decide if a piece of art you like is any good can be difficult. It's not like the so called experts always agree on good and bad art and even when they do the reasons may be obscure or you may simply not agree with their argument. Art is where it's a bit like there is no right or wrong, just points of view and if you are happy with yours….all's well and good.

Well…..,it IS important to make up your own mind BUT it helps if your approach is consistent and to give art work a fair chance try considering how the individual piece makes you respond to each of the following headings:-

Attractiveness (Beauty)

Competence; Know-How (Skill) ; (Technique)

Interpretation (Inherent Meaning)

Is it Exceptional? (Uniqueness)

Achieved Objective (Fulfilled Intent)

 ……and with a little prompting and a bit of practice it is perfectly possible to reach your own reasoned conclusions.

Use this guide to get you started and see how you go on.

 ''Great Art picks up where Nature ends'' Chagall

The attractiveness of a picture is a sensible starting point because deciding if a picture  has beauty or not is often an instinctive and natural response; one which can't be helped. It is quite common to not be aware of any sort of thought processes at all; the picture captivates you or not and it's not like you've made a decision at all.

It's also true that a painting's appeal can be partly influenced by fashions which happen to be en vogue, which may mean people of a similar age, or sex or background find they are attracted to similar paintings. 

''The world of reality has its limits: the world of imagination is boundless''  


Generally, the sort of attributes which are perceived to be attractive are

1. Repeating patterns and shapes and a sense of symmetry

2. Colour - a hugely subjective aspect but colours which are thoughtfully chosen are often enhanced.

3. Texture - raised surfaces such as impasto work literally add another dimension to a piece of art.

4. Composition - can often sustain the viewers' attention by helping to focus attention.

5. Flow - when the viewer is guided through the art for example by a path which can be seen disappearing into the distance.

6. Appealing proportions - particularly with respect to figures and objects.

7. Presentation and framing

Competence is the most comparable aspect of viewing art. Comparing paintings will help to determine how skilfully each was created. This works with paintings by different artists as well as with paintings by the same artist.

It is worth understanding that watercolour, acrylic and oil paintings require fundamentally different competencies by the artist and so comparisons between them are not necessarily straightforward.

It helps to look at all the artwork displayed by the artist. Some you might find more impressive than others, or more skilfully created, or stand out for some other reason.

For the ones which captivate you in this respect, 'zoom in' to gauge if there is a sense of consistency across the whole piece. Sometimes the finishing may appear rushed or strange, but if it is appears to be in a similar vein right across the work then the effect is most likely intentional. 

Judgements may be made on work which lacks this consistency and conclusions reached that it is therefore not as good as other works which are more internally cohesive.

Assessments of artists' competencies are often easier said than done, but the concept of consistent competency by an individual artist is easier to grasp and will be better understood with increased exposure to the artist's work.

''Painting isn't so difficult when you don't know….but when you do….it's quite a different matter'' Degas

Art is powerful, not just for its beauty or the talent needed for its creation, but because it can cause emotion; make political statements, or challenge preconceived ideas or values. In other words it exists to convey meaning. It can be representational, symbolic, historical, religious, political but more likely than not it invites interpretation and with that understanding, comes meaning. 

The meaning of art is another tricky topic to grapple with, so it might help to identify levels of meaning to assist with your diagnosis.

1. Purely representational art - Simple, visual appeal with no deep intent

2. Art that references other art - A bit like 'nodding its head' at other work, or an artist continuing a conversation that another artist began.

3. Art that tells a story or evokes a specific emotion - At this level art causes an emotional or intellectual reaction. It may elicit empathy and understanding.

4. Art that makes a statement - Here the artist is not ambivalent. There is purposeful intent to promote a cause, or highlight an issue.

5. Art that is an allegory or metaphor - Here the art can be construed on more than one level. It may use symbolic imagery or address more intangible human issues and yet retain a visual appeal.    

''I shut my eyes in order to see''   Gauguin

To decide if the painting is exceptional requires appreciation of not only what is painted but how it is depicted and then a reckoning with all the other art that you have observed. It should always be appropriate for art to explore new subjects or to deal with old subjects in a way that hasn't been done before. For some this is the definition of good art, but you still need to decide when you notice something different, whether that unique quality detracts from or enhances the piece.

 ''No amount of skilful intervention can replace the essential element of imagination'' Hopper

Has the painting achieved the artist's objective, what is the artist trying to say? Can you tell if the artist is 'in control' of the art, even if the content is straight forward or the expressed emotion simple? Well it's perhaps not so easy to say so without a little help in the form of an artist's statement. It's important to know what the intent was in order to decide if the art is supporting it. The artist's statement can help enormously deepen and strengthen the viewers' understanding of the art.

 'Painting is just another way of keeping a diary''   Picasso


Good art should appeal to you. It will be skilfully made most likely with a consistent degree of competency. 

But the best art will have meaning to you beyond just visual. 

It might bring you to tears, make you laugh, transport you to somewhere from your past or fast forward you to some dream-like scenario and you'll never know until you see it.

*adapted from an unattributed internet source by Andrew Grinter


AUGUST 2010- feva time again!

The mill pushed the boat out for the tenth feva with no less than 10 artists for the show. We had artists working outside in  Green Dragon Yard every day except for the first day when Maggie Goodwin, printmaker, had no option but to retreat upstairs to the top floor gallery as the rain was horizontal! Well done to Maggie for taking part in her first feva anyway, hopefully the bad weather has not put her off too much! We had a fun Eve of feva party and Chloe's cupcakes ( well actually I made them and Chloe decorated them!) went down a treat-it was lovely to see so many old friends and customers here to kick start the festival off with a buzz. We would also be lost without the family who help every year behind the scenes to make the evening a success! See mug shots!




Andy and I somewhat bravely undertook a sculpture show in the Bebra Gardens on August 15th and we were blessed with a gorgeous day for this. The artist, Mike McDonald, and Andy made light work of moving all the sculptures down the slopes ( and back again!) and their hard work was very much appreciated if the comments from the visitors are anything to go by!  It was really good fun and I hope all the artists who took part enjoyed the experience as much as we did, we were really pleased with the show there. A big thanks to those who took part and made it possible: Chris Moss, Stanger Moore, Michael Benn, Ben Greenwood, Brian Anson, Steven Tica, Mally, and Mike McDonald. The gardens looked superb also, well done to all the volunteers for creating such stunning borders, providing the perfect backdrop! We hope our sculpture show helped to raise the profile of the gardens and to show what a fabulous asset they are to the town. The children in the paddling pool on that day agreed for sure!



JUNE 2009

Knaresborough's famous Bed Race brings a real buzz to the town and this year a record 85 beds were set to clatter around the streets! The weather was perfect for  the procession of the bed floats all decked out to the theme of 'Music' this year. FANTASTIC is the only word to describe the imagination and dedication shown by the participants and the appreciation was evident on the faces of the crowds lining the streets! The race itself was as exciting as ever, utter madness! Huge respect to all who took part!









Perhaps you are snowed in and so instead of a visit I have posted a couple of images hereabouts! Wish you were here to see how lovely it all is!

 Eve is feeling rather playful today, watch out visitors!


 Liking the new hat and scarf venus!


The Small Group's 'Under the Microscope' Exhibition launched this week and we all enjoyed their preview night on Friday 10th. Their work looks at home on the top floor, the mill really does adapt to whatever challenge we present it with! I was really taken with the mix of textiles with existing glassware and think they work extremely well together.  Thanks to all who came along and supported this event.  Andy Northing's images of nature up close on canvas from his 'Hidden World' series complemented the textile show and really caught the imagination! See the current exhibition page for details of work from this latest show.



Well the Feva Festival is now almost forgotten, the autumnal temperatures have seen to that! I have a few pics from the FEVA party to show you. Good times!  Many thanks to all who attended and helped to make it a really memorable evening. I shall never forget the sight of 12 saxophonists from Saxofun squished into the conservatory in the yarden! And they managed to make music under such conditions! Thanks again for making the night really special. And a big thanks to Ben Wetherill for coping so well with the downpour under the canopy and his friend too on the trumpet. Luckily the canopy didn't collapse, I was somewhat disturbed by the weight of water which descended on to it in a flash! Many thanks to the artists on show and especially to those who battled with the weather and painted al fresco in Geen Dragon Yard during FEVA!

 Saxofun 'on tour 'in the mill! Mind the juggling!

    Wow! Top floor magic!     Hazel Belt painting al fresco and the sun shone!

 Happy Birthday to the old Flax Mill.

 Jean Larcum tries al fresco painting at the mill.

  Joining in with the olympics at the mill! Our swimmers take to the pool, watched by Nike and the synchronised ducks are about to make a splash as they dive bomb the party in the comical canvas by Paula Horsley. Andy even painted the bench to get us in the patriotic mood for the mill and the olympics which ran during FEVA festival this year!