Artist of the Month - Donald Holde, Pendle


Donald Holden talks to Barbara Waite about the Lancashire countryside and its ability to spring surprises

The stunning scenery of north east Lancashire is meat and drink to Donald Holden. It provides a constant inspiration and although very familiar, it still manages to spring the odd surprise.

Educated at Nelson Grammar School and Cheshire County Training College, he was a teacher - the last 26 years spent at Mansfield High in Brierfield as head of creative arts.

Since retiring, painting has become a way of life and he now pursues some of the thoughts and ideas stored during his years of teaching. He uses watercolour, acrylic and inks often with added collage.

‘It seems very natural to respond to the area that I know best. Having spent a lifetime looking at my surroundings it is still possible to be surprised; to “see” for the first time something new in a familiar situation; to find the trigger which fires the imagination,’ he explains.

Influences come from many sources: from artists within the British landscape tradition like Paul Nash, John Piper and Graham Sutherland, adding others who are still working, such as David Prentice, David Tress and Barbara Rae.

‘These influences are seen as a source of inspiration and a licence to experiment with my own ideas,’ he adds. This classic view of Pendle from Delves Lane is a typically strong statement. Working from preliminary drawings mainly done in situ, he manipulates both the subject and the materials. ‘My aim is to work in an open ended way towards an expressive statement which reflects much of the original stimulus experienced in front of the subject.’ His paintings range from £100 up to £450.

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Catch his work at arteology at Colne from June 1-29; and the Bridge Gallery, Salmsbury Hall, from September to October.

Do you have a favourite Lancashire or Lake District artist whose work deserves to be showcased in Lancashire Life? If so, drop us a line at