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Kate Lycett: Telling Stories. Painting a Narrative.

    Saturday 12th March 7:30pm at Hebden Bridge Town Hall

    It was good to be back, after two years of lock-down, in the Waterfront Hall with a full audience for our second meeting. Local artist, Kate Lycett, whose imaginative style and colourful paintings has become well known in Hebden Bridge, talked to us about how the inspiration for many of her works came from attempting to tell a tale.

    Kate started her artistic career working in textiles before moving to Hebden Bridge in 2005, to a house overlooking the valley and town, the view inspiring her to start painting again, now concentrating on landscapes and, initially, lines of washing!

    Family took up much of her time and it wasn’t until 2014 that she was able to begin work on a series of painting based on ‘The Lost Houses’. She set parameters in order to choose the eventual ten buildings to be painted, all had disappeared entirely so it is a wonderful record of these buildings which, at their hey day were beautiful buildings. However, they were not just chosen for their architecture, but each had a story of its own to tell; the families who lived there, the cause of its demise, the remains left behind for visitors to discover.

    Having been brought up in Suffolk where they ‘don’t do hills’, Kate was not enamoured at first by the bleakness of the moors, but as she started to enjoy a daily run in the countryside, she began to see the beauty of the hills and valleys and so began her second project based on landscapes of the local Craggs and Fells. However, each painting usually had a story to go with it, like visiting a rather vociferous grouse on Shackleton knoll which they named Erica (Heather).

    Kate’s latest project came about during lock-down. With a young family at home, daily walks became the norm and she began to take note, either by drawing or photograph, of a different tree each day. Gradually these became more elaborate, more like a ‘tree of life’.
    She was intrigued by a bird that sang in her garden early every morning, not one of her regular birds, and she liked to think it might be a nightingale. The series of paintings grew to 43 in all, and ended up tracking a whole year. She kept notes; sometimes lists of things they saw, sometimes little events. Kate produced a book about the project which has some of these diary entries handwritten alongside the paintings. 

    Kate has a very colourful and distinctive style, using various media which includes inks, gouache, acrylics, watercolour, pencil, 23 carat gold leaf and gold thread. She explained that her textile design background was always present in the way that she paints. “I see patterns in everything; the hills adorned with houses and washing lines, rows of flower pots and stripes of brightly painted drain pipes. Lines of gold thread trace lines through the landscape, and gold leaf changes the surface of my pictures with the changing light of day.”

    Kate tells us that Hebden Bridge is home and is part of who I am and what I do. “I love the warmth, the colour and the community of where I live. I want to paint beautiful pictures of the places that I love.” And we are grateful that Kate has transferred this love and warmth onto her canvases for us to enjoy.