Linda Mellin - the 2016 Yorkshire Life Landscape Painter of the Year

Linda at work

Linda at work - Credit: Joan Russell

Meet the farmer’s wife who has wowed us with her art work

It’s been a few short weeks since Linda Mellin learned she’d won the Yorkshire Life Landscape Painter of the Year yet already she is having discussions with a fine art publisher about producing prints of her work for sale. The farmer’s wife, who as a young woman trained as a graphic artist and has painted farming life for friends and neighbours, is now looking ahead to a more serious career as an artist.

‘This is the first competition I have entered never thinking I would win,’ says Linda as she lays out some of her prize-winning work on the kitchen table at her farmhouse home in Hellifield, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. ‘I couldn’t believe I had been shortlisted let alone chosen as the winner, it’s just wonderful. What winning this competition has done is give me new confidence. I was beginning to doubt myself, doubt whether what I was doing was any good.’

Linda had only just begun painting in acrylic when she entered the competition towards the end of last year. Until then she worked mostly with watercolours to paint farm life and animals commissioned by the surrounding farming community who wanted paintings of their prize-winning cattle and pedigree sheep.

She entered a depiction in acrylic of Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales which our lead judge Ruth Worsman, owner of Limited 2 Art Gallery in Bawtry, described as the standout entry and the one with the most commercial potential.

Linda studied graphic art in York and freelanced as a graphic artist for four years before becoming a farmer’s wife and having a family. ‘I’ve always painted, even as a child I was always doodling.’ She is inspired by a love of Yorkshire life; its seasons, the wildlife, the animals she works with and the stunning countryside. Her leaning towards graphic design and love of country life is clearly reflected in her paintings. ‘My head is always full of ideas and I’m always making lists of them,’ she says.

‘I thought I would go back into graphics after having my boys but found I had been left way behind. I taught myself watercolours and began painting to commission. I love the Yorkshire countryside and I paint everything to do with the landscape; farms, barns, stone walls, the moors, pedigree sheep and long horn cattle.’ She is rarely without her camera, taking photographs which she then uses as a guide for her paintings. Linda works at her desk overlooking the garden and paints whenever she isn’t helping her husband John on the 300-acre family farm, including lambing which takes up much of her time at the moment.

On her painting ideas to-do list is Kilnsey Crag in the Yorkshire Dales, the North Yorkshire town of Knaresborough as well as the Lake District. ‘Oh and the city of York,’ adds Linda. ‘I love the city of York with its Shambles; the city has such beautiful architecture.’ But before she has the chance to begin her next project she will be showing some of her work at Limited 2 Art Gallery as part of her competition prize. And how will she spend her £250 prize money? ‘That will probably pay for the framing,’ she says, her mind still quickly running down her list of what-next ideas.