AFTER a gap of couple of years, the Bingley Gallery is holding an exhibition of work by its resident artist David Starley.

Although his trademark tree and woodland paintings still feature, there is a focus on more diverse local landscapes, whether softly cloaked in mist, in the bright glare of a summer’s day, after a winter snowfall or in the fading light of dusk: his works capture the landscape when conditions are at their most atmospheric. But how does an artist decide what to paint?

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: David Starley at workDavid Starley at work

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bingley from the Leeds and Liverpool CanalBingley from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

With his artist’s studio and gallery only yards from the Leeds and Liverpool canal, it is not surprising that this historic waterway features frequently in David’s paintings. This stretch of canal, with the famous Three Rise and Five Rise locks in Bingley as well as the Seven Arches Aqueduct in Leeds will, this year, be celebrating 250 years since its opening in 1774.

Many artists have painted it, but cycling or walking the route daily from home to studio means that David sees it in all weathers and moods, giving him particular insight.

The same route also gave rise to a painting of Salts Mill, viewed along the valley on a misty morning. Such conditions allowed the artist to abandon all but two colours from his paint box. The two remaining, French ultramarine and yellow ochre, when thinned with white, create a slightly soupy, grey/green which gives a harmonious, calming tonal quality.

Prior to becoming a professional artist, David’s working background was in archaeology, so monuments of the distant past, such as the Twelve Apostles on Ilkley Moor often attract his attention. This painting recalls one visit when, late in the day, the stone circle was bathed in sun, despite an approaching storm, which dramatised this ancient scene.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Twelve Apostles, Ilkley MoorTwelve Apostles, Ilkley Moor

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Misty morning, SaltaireMisty morning, Saltaire

Walking on days off also provides inspiration, Malham Cove is too well known to need introduction, and has inspired generations of artists to put brush to canvas. The same could be said of the Yorkshire Three Peaks but, in this case, the view is an unusual one, looking from Burn Moor, where all three hills can be seen in the same vista.

Another of David’s passions is trees. Although it is said that West Yorkshire is the least wooded English county, we rarely have to travel far to find a place to surround ourselves with trees. David stresses that the single trees he paints are portraits of real trees, but allows himself greater freedom to reassemble woodland scenes, from multiple sketches and photos. In one painting he takes this further to imagine a wood where the tree trunks have been reduced to ghostly forms - a comment on the loss of trees around the world.

Other places bring back strong memories: Ilkley Tarn where David’s son, when young, used to sail his model boat. However, one abiding memory of the place is not visual; as David explains: “I can still feel the squelch of sediment between my toes, from when I had to wade out and disentangle the boat from the weed.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ghost treesGhost trees

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Model boat sailing on Ilkley TarnModel boat sailing on Ilkley Tarn

The aim of David’s painting has always been to evoke an emotional response in the viewer making even the familiar more impactful. Artists have to be keen observers and this will be passed on through the finished work.

However, in the painting process, some of what is created on the canvas seems to appear almost without intention with the artist as an unthinking intermediary between subject and artwork. There is another interesting characteristic of David’s work; he uses an impasto style, painting with a palette knife to leave an almost sculpted image which alters subtly as light moves and changes during the day - again something which the artist cannot control. It is an effect that no print or photograph can achieve and helps to keep an old artform interesting in a high-tech digital age.

Accompanying his work on the walls will be the wood panels of Baildon-based artist Gavin Edwards.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Gavin Edwards at work Gavin Edwards at work

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Recycled Indonesian pallet panel by Gavin EdwardsRecycled Indonesian pallet panel by Gavin Edwards

Whether from highly-sought timber or recycled wooden pallets, Gavin’s work is painstakingly finished to show the beauty and variety of the woodgrain.

Interestingly both David and Gavin are former archaeologists, whose interests and observational skills have led them to explore different artforms.

The exhibition is at The Bingley Gallery, 29B Park Rd, Bingley BD16 4BQ. It will run until Sunday March 17, 2024. Normal gallery hours are Thursday to Sunday 10am to 5pm

For more information on the exhibition contact artist and gallery owner: David Starley 07792242143; davidstarley@yahoo.co.uk

Website: davidstarleyartist.com/bingley/