Lesser-known features of the landscape - Shipley’s iconic clock tower and its historic funicular tramway - also appear in the work of this award-winning artist who seeks out the diverse urban and rural scenes that make up the Yorkshire region.
Salt’s Mill viewed from nearby allotments, Cartwright Hall across a green swathe of Lister Park, Emley Moor transmitter across a billowy field of wheat.
Her prints of the Yorkshire coast include not only the picturesque, familiar views of Whitby Habour and Robin Hood’s Bay, but the sweeping sandy beach at Redcar against the dramatic backdrop of the abandoned steelworks.
“I have always enjoyed travelling and exploring landscapes and I started to combine this curiosity for my surroundings with my craft, endeavouring to produce an image that brings you into the reality of that scene, whilst evoking a feeling of nostalgia and sense of discovery,” says the talented artist.
Sarah grew up in Shipley, and recently returned to her home town. As a child she was always drawing. “ I entered colouring competitions and when I was ten I won a Bradford schools Christmas card competition and had my card printed,” she says. “I was given my own camera at eight - as I was monopolising my parents’ one - which helped my eye for composition and made me develop a fascination with looking at the world around me.”
From an early age Sarah was interested in fashion design, going on to take a degree in the subject at De Montfort University “It was something I had wanted to do for as long as I can remember,” she recalls. “From a young age I would keep a notebook with me to scribble designs - I’m not sure entirely where my interest came from - I usually joke it was from watching The House of Eliott on TV. That ambition stuck with me, so even when I might have done better at other subjects at school, fashion was something felt I had to explore.”
She adds: “It’s a tough industry and it took two years to get my first design job. I later worked for a supplier of accessories and then a major retailer of baby wear, but it wasn’t for me.”
Sarah also spent time as a buyer’s assistant and on a supermarket magazine, gaining skills she believes have been invaluable to becoming self-employed as an artist.
Her work in fashion involved computer-based design, and she had not drawn by hand for seven years when she enrolled on an eight-week evening course, an Introduction to Printmaking, at Leeds College of Art.
“I wanted to give myself the motivation to be creative,” she says. It was a great way to try out different techniques and inspired me to produce art again,” she says.
In 2012 she took the plunge and began working as an artist. She produces limited edition screen prints that begin as pen drawings. “A limited colour palette is used throughout to enhance the line work, adding depth and interest through placement and tone.
“I like the simplicity of putting pen to paper and I love the contrast of the flat blocks of colour you get in the screen printing against the fine detail and line work of a drawing. Sometimes I get impatient though and wonder why I am drawing blades of grass, but it’s always worth it in the end.”
She adds: “I like the methodical nature of screen printing, it’s a fairly simple process but there are lots of factors that can go wrong and do go wrong, but it’s very satisfying way of seeing your work develop.”
Depending on the print, each can take a week to a month or two to complete. “It varies - if I need time to work into the drawing and amend the design or the colours, or if I need time to think about which direction I want to take it,” says Sarah.
“My colour choices very much depend on the subject matter and the approach. I like to work with around four colours, toning down certain colours to help produce a sense of perspective which can be difficult when using a limited palette.”
She appreciates the beauty and diversity of Yorkshire as her inspiration. “We’re so lucky to be surrounded by such a variety of landscapes which is why it remains my main subject matter.
“I am fortunate to have an association with a lot of areas - part of my family is from the North East, so we regularly went to places such like Redcar and Staithes and I also have family around York and Hull - the Humber Bridge is still on my to do list.
“My partner comes from near Huddersfield so he has built up my knowledge of that area and appreciation of places such as Emley Moor mast.
“One of the best things about my work is that I get to visit places I am not familiar with, for example the Peak District. Although it’s not far from here it’s not somewhere I’ve visited much so I hope to explore that area more this year.”
Sarah likes to revisit subjects in different seasons and light. She recently returned to the Cow and Calf Rocks. “I went for a much bolder version of the rocks with more muted colours which proved a difficult balance but I am really happy with the results.
“I am a big fan of moorlands so Ilkley Moor or a walk to Top Withens are always beautiful, there’s a lovely sense of openness and something wonderful about how the colour changes throughout the year.”
She adds: “The Yorkshire coast always feels special to me too, the few miles between Redcar and Staithes, with the contrast of modern industrial and quintessential fishing village appeals to my diverse tastes.”
Sarah worked from a studio in Shipley, before moving to her current base in Rawdon, where she set up her own print facilities.
She works from photographs, as the level of detail takes time. “Also the fact I use pen doesn’t mix well with the Yorkshire weather. I am hoping to do more sketching in the field this year and might do a series of work that way too.”
She loves the fact that every day is different. “On a typical day I will spend an hour or two screen printing until I get tired. It’s very physical and last year I was diagnosed with hypermobility syndrome which means my joints are a bit too stretchy and can cause me pain, so I am trying to look after myself a bit better.
“Then I might move on on to drawing or planning how I am going to divide the layers of colour of my next print, or I might just go off for the day to research my next print or prepare for my next art fair.”
Her many awards have included The New Lights Curzon Exhibition Award which gave her the opportunity to have her first solo show, Discovering Yorkshire, in 2014.
She has twice been shortlisted for the Flourish Award, for excellence in printmaking, winning the People’s Choice award in 2014. Her work was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2015 and 2018.
“The awards have been a real compliment and have definitely helped give me confidence along the way, especially in the beginning as it felt like such a big step for me to decide to start selling my own work.”
She adds: “As I did not see myself as an artist it’s always a bit surreal seeing my work on show, almost like it’s not mine, but it’s wonderful. “I had a solo exhibition at Cartwright Hall a couple of years ago as they opened the new Hockney Gallery and there were banners outside for both shows - I was overwhelmed by that.”
For more information about Sarah and her upcoming shows and studio events visit sarahharrisprints.co.uk.
This website and associated newspapers adhere to the Independent Press Standards Organisation's Editors' Code of Practice. If you have a complaint about the editorial content which relates to inaccuracy or intrusion, then please contact the editor here. If you are dissatisfied with the response provided you can contact IPSO here
©Copyright 2001-2020. This site is part of Newsquest's audited local newspaper network. A Gannett Company. Newsquest Media Group Ltd, Loudwater Mill, Station Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. HP10 9TY | 01676637 | Registered in England & Wales.
6 Colors Ball Pen Stationery Set
Spiral Notebook, Calendar Book, Wrapping Paper, Exercise Book- Hengchen,https://www.nbhengchen.com/