A NEW exhibition at The Bingley Gallery features two artists with a shared love of bold colours and innovative techniques.

Jochen Gren and Rose Jollands live in the Bradford district. They met during a local art project, discovering their oddly similar but contrasting ways of expressing their creativity, for example, Rose often paints small patterns to big effect and Jochen uses embroidery stitches to create drama, both playing with a sense of scale.

Their subsequent friendship shows through in this first showcase of their work as a creative duo.

Jochen, 66, whose home is in Cottingley is a multi-media artist, skilfully combining embroidery, paint and digital art into unique and memorable artworks.

Detail of 'Sunset' by Jochen GrenDetail of 'Sunset' by Jochen Gren

Jochen Gren busy embroideringJochen Gren busy embroidering

He came to art late in life: after a long career in West Yorkshire Fire Service control, he became a self-employed jeweller, designing and making high quality custom pieces for private clients.

Jochen’s subsequent move to painting took a radical turn when his disability made it difficult to hold paint brushes. Instead, he started using his hands to manipulate the paint. Spirals and swirling patterns became an integral element in his abstract expressionist work and have continued to fascinate him.

There is another aspect of his work: from childhood he was taught how to sew and throughout his life he made embroideries. His own designs, of which the most recent are included in the show, are filled with every colour imaginable. He says this about his work:

“I reach into the bag of wools and use whatever comes out. I love the accidental combinations of colour because I know if I’d picked a colour it wouldn’t work as well as the accidental colour. And this random picking of colour is also how I paint - I never have plans; it’s always by chance and whatever happens, happens - it’s usually a happy happenstance when it works out.”

Detail of 'Apples and pears' by Jochen GrenDetail of 'Apples and pears' by Jochen Gren

Jochen creates a digital workJochen creates a digital work

Both paintings and embroideries are frequently further worked up. Photographic images of them are processed on a vector-based program to create new images. Complex collages and mirroring effects create a kaleidoscope of intricate patterns and colourful lines. He says the digital stage feels like a sketchbook, which allows him to experiment with new ideas. That, in turn, moves towards new embroideries and further artworks. Throughout his body of work accidental combinations of colour, patterns, layers and forms are vital, a creative practice built of happy happenstance.

For Rose, 42, exploring visual art has always been part of her life. Born in mid-Wales, her younger years involved an unconventional lifestyle with a great deal of moving, during which her art provided a constant interest on which to focus.

Rose went on to attend various art courses in further and higher education where she absorbed both practical and theory-based approaches to creativity.

For many years Rose ran a successful eBay business selling vintage clothing and undertaking property renovation, but continued to develop different art skills, including costume-making and comic illustration. Over the past decade she has focussed on painting.

Yard by Gasoline Alley by Rose Jollands'Yard by Gasoline Alley' by Rose Jollands

Rose Jollands paintingRose Jollands painting

Rose explains how one aspect of her dyslexia is a naturally short attention span, which she has managed to turn into a creative asset, but still faces a battle to make sure she finishes work on time for an exhibition. “My phone is my sketchbook, saving fleeting moments from all that daily busyness, which otherwise fades quickly from memory.

"I don’t have a car, never have, so walking about and catching buses offers time to look around and notice more, finding interesting angles and features even in mundane places. The light and weather are really important too, in the same way that lighting on a stage can dramatically change the mood”.

In transforming ideas to artwork, Rose’s unique painting process starts with buying old picture frames from charity shops, removing the glass then pouring many of layers of paint over, to build up a thick surface of swirling colours that are allowed to escape over the sides of the frames. - she talks of subverting the history of the underlying picture, yet also allowing it to merge its history with that of the new piece. But that is only the start. Onto this surface the local views, rural and urban, captured by her phone are re-created in paint.

Past Main Street, Bingley by Rose'Past Main Street, Bingley' by Rose

Rose's 'Field by a field'Rose's 'Field by a field'

Rose loves experimenting with paints, powders and pigments, attempting to conjure an image from raw materials like a magician or an alchemist, seeking ways to render not only the photograph but her memory of that moment.

The combination of the two artists' styles is a key feature of the joint exhibition. Rose says that Jochen’s creative practice made her braver about her use of colour. She adds: “I’ve always been impressed with Jochen’s innate confidence with multi colour combinations. It’s amazing to see whole worlds being built in his abstract images”.

Jochen mentions how shy Rose initially was about showing her work, but that over the last couple of years he has seen her become more and more confident about her art, moving from really small, to quite substantial paintings. As he says: “my definition of a successful artwork is would I put it on my wall? I have to say I now have three of Rose's artworks”

The exhibition at The Bingley Gallery, 29B Park Road, Bingley BD16 4BQ, runs until June 30.

Visit: davidstarleyartist.com/bingley/