Whilst stumbling through a dark and cold Manchester last night, talking with friends about how fed up we all are with February, I suddenly came to a halt outside Castle Galleries where some beautiful paintings on display in the window were conveying exactly the same sentiment.
Mainly of grey and dreary landscapes of wintry northern towns, the artwork by Yorkshire painter Bob Barker definitely shows how the weather hugely affects life 'up north'. But with beautiful splashes of colour, each masterpiece displays a real love for life in and around the region.
Of course, Bob has been painting since he received a set of oil paints at the age of 12 as a Christmas gift. Back then, he was immediately captivated by what could be achieved with a brush, paint and a few small squares of hardboard.
As a Yorkshire man born and bred, nostalgia spurs him to paint by looking back to childhood memories with adult eyes. Memories of the mill his mother worked at as a weaver form a big influence in the images he paints now, as does the industrial footprint left in the Yorkshire mill towns. Bob has always maintained that where most people see soot-blackened stone and polluted skies, he sees colour - like wet Sienna cobbles and Prussian blue shadows with burnt umber and cadmium skies. Bob views Yorkshire in the subtle blended hues of his paint box, and through his art, he invites the viewer to do the same.
All images by Bob Barker © Washington Green Fine Art