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A look at the work of Derbyshire artist Clare Allan

A new dawn Photo: Clare Allan
A new dawn Photo: Clare Allan

If searching for inspiration, talented Derbyshire artist Clare Allan need only look out on the stunning vistas that surround her New Mills studio.

Nestled in the beautiful High Peak, it’s here, against the backdrop of the highest point in the Peak District – Kinder Scout, that she brings her creations to life.

Clare’s style is both distinctive and eye-catching. Using charcoal, rubber and rag on paper or canvas, she then layers colours onto her drawings with pastel or paint.

Her work now take pride of place in private collections across the world and she has exhibited in major art hubs near and far, including London and Holland.

Clare travelled extensively after graduating with a Fine Art degree from Humberside University and spent time working abroad, however she is now back in the Derbyshire home town she loves.

And this love shines through in the breath-taking art she creates, with many of her pieces inspired by her local surroundings – with a little artistic licence applied to help bring her pieces to life.

Great British Life: Clare Allan Photo: Clare Allan Clare Allan Photo: Clare Allan

‘I combine several viewpoints into one single composition, which is something photography can't do,’ explains Clare.

‘Although I work from observation, I am not interested in making a literal representation of what I see.

‘I often distort perspective and combine several viewpoints into one composition to describe a certain place, and how it feels to be there.

‘Artistic license is used to get the most out of composition. For example, commissions can include specific people, animals and buildings which are no longer there – it makes them completely original and unique.’

With our county as her canvas, Clare’s winter landscapes are simply glorious, capturing quintessentially Derbyshire Christmas scenes with a healthy dose of nostalgia.

Here, she shares some of them with Derbyshire Life, and the context behind them.

Great British Life: Tread softly Photo: Clare Allan Tread softly Photo: Clare Allan

TREAD SOFTLY

Tread Softly depicts Kinder Scout from Mellor Road, New Mills, High Peak, Derbyshire. Early one winter’s morning after a fresh fall of snow, the first footprints made by a faithful friend.

The title comes from the poem by WB Yeats, He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Great British Life: Christmas drinks at the Hairy Dog Photo: Clare Allan Christmas drinks at the Hairy Dog Photo: Clare Allan

CHRISTMAS DAY AT THE HAIRY DOG

A festive night out in the snow. Curry at New Mills Cuisine restaurant, New Mills and Elvis songs at The Hare and Hounds pub.

Great British Life: Snow day Photo: Clare Allan Snow day Photo: Clare Allan

SNOW DAY

The view down Appletree Road in New Mills towards Kinder Scout. School's closed, grab the sledge! Looking back to a less complicated time, and the simple pleasures of being out in the snow.

Great British Life: Swizzels Hill Photo: Clare Allan Swizzels Hill Photo: Clare Allan

SWIZZELS HILL

An acrylic on canvas winter street scene, featuring the Swizzels Matlow sweet factory in New Mills, Derbyshire.

Painted in a range of blues to describe snowy roof tops and skeleton trees silhouetted against the sky.

It is early evening and there is an orange glow in the factory windows, in the car headlights and in the sky as the sun begins to set.

It’s the time of year when people are beginning to think about Christmas.

Great British Life: Over the tops Photo: Clare Allan Over the tops Photo: Clare Allan

OVER THE TOPS

This cycling wall art features a lone female cyclist crossing the border from Cheshire into Derbyshire at the top of Mellor Road and leaving the city behind.

The view opens out and Kinder Scout appears in the distance like an old friend. You're in Derbyshire now, so don't believe everything the sat nav tells you ...

Great British Life: First light on Primrose Lane Photo: Clare Allan First light on Primrose Lane Photo: Clare Allan

FIRST LIGHT ON PRIMROSE LANE

Above the snowy rooftops of Swizzels Matlow as the sun rises on a winter's morning in New Mills.

The railway viaduct catches the sun's first rays, and echoes the curve of the Peak Forest Canal around the hillside. A pair of Greylag geese fly overhead.

This picture is a celebration of keeping on going despite everything, and of the possibilities of new beginnings.

Great British Life: A new dawn Photo: Clare Allan A new dawn Photo: Clare Allan

A NEW DAWN

This Derbyshire sunrise art painting features Mellor Moor, on the edge of Derbyshire, where two paths meet and part by the remains of an ancient cross.

A document of lockdown walks at dawn in a place which holds a special significance.

The sun rises over Kinder Scout and reflects in the puddles on the old turnpike roads. The remains of the medieval cross, which now forms part of the dry stone wall, marks the county boundary between Derbyshire and Cheshire.

Walking in the quiet of the early morning, thinking of those who have walked here before, and taking solace from nature.

You can see more of Clare’s work at clareallanart.com.



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