The Gallery - Peter Watson on his love of painting the Yorkshire Wolds

YOR Sept Gallery

YOR Sept Gallery - Credit: Archant

Artist Peter Watson loves the patterns of the land as his work here shows

Sherburn Wold

Sherburn Wold - Credit: Archant

‘In the last six years I’ve been concentrating on painting the Yorkshire Wolds,’ says Peter Watson. He’s originally from Beverley, so the Wolds, with its highly cultivated landscape, is home territory for him. He used to work for the then National Coal Board, creating numerous paintings of collieries and industrial landscapes. Later, his interest in sport led him to a series of commissions working for football, cricket, rugby and other sporting venues.

Weaverthorpe Slack

Weaverthorpe Slack - Credit: Archant

It’s apparent when talking to Peter that painting the Yorkshire Wolds represents a move away from commission-led work to painting for himself and he is constantly inspired by the landscape around him.

‘The Wolds is almost like a blank canvas in itself,’ says Peter, ‘It’s as if the farmers are drawing patterns on the land. It’s a machine-led mark-making on the landscape and my work, too, looks slightly as if a machine has made it. It’s very detailed, with lots of stripes. To me it feels very dynamic.’

The landscape of the Wolds has sustained Peter’s interest these last six years because, he says: ‘Each season is so short and the colours change so quickly.

‘A field can be bright yellow with rape flower and then in just weeks later bright red with poppies.

‘In contrast, the moors spring to life for just one month and then are drab the rest of the year while the Wolds are constantly colourful. Yet no-one ever stops there, it’s the sort of place people drive through, probably because it’s a working environment.’

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Peter’s work is very detailed, carefully and painstakingly painted, taking in the undulations of the land, the lines of the crops and the play of light. The paintings are full of pattern and texture as well as colour, not just bright colours, but subtle colours, too. ‘I have to acknowledge the influence of the Victorian painter Fred Elwell, also a Beverley artist,’ adds Peter. Elwell was skilled at depicting light and shadow, and while his subject matter was very different, he employed the same attention to minute detail that can be seen in Peter’s work.

For more information about Peter Watson and future exhibitions, visit