Inspired By Our Land

Exhibition closes 19th January 2020

Inspired By Our Land is a special gallery space to showcase artists from across the area who take their inspiration from the landscapes, plants and animals that symbolise the Northumberland National Park.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to see the heart and soul of Northumberland National Park captured in different ways, featuring photography, soft watercolours, and vibrant ceramics.

‘Inspired by Our Land’, features 9 local artists and includes original work, prints, photography, and ceramics.

Many of the artists featured in the exhibition hail from Hexham and the Hadrian’s Wall area. They include photographer Kit Saddington, printmakers Carol Nunan, Rebecca Vincent and Adele Burdon, watercolour artists David Holliday, Robert Newton and Charlotte Thompson and ceramicists Steph Jamieson and Melanie Hopwood.

‘Inspired by Our Land’ represents the unique environment, varied geography and wonderful wildlife of our National Park. It promises to be a fantastic exhibition and with such a wide selection there is undoubtedly something for everyone. See Northumberland National Park’s dark skies and far horizons like you’ve never seen them before.

This free public exhibition runs from Thursday 7th November to 19th January 2020 from 10am to 4pm.

Artist Biographies

Meet the artists featured in Inspired By Our Land

David Holliday

David Holliday has been working as a professional artist for just over 20 years. He is best known for his twilight cityscapes, rugged landscapes and more illustrative images of wildlife.

Hadrian's Wall landscape painting by David Holliday

Using his preferred medium of watercolour, David has a distinct, bold style. With the use of intricate line work and fresh, rich colours, he manages to capture a jewel-like quality to his paintings.

David has a BA hons in design and illustration. This can be seen in his well-balanced compositions and meticulous detail.

Visit David’s website at


Kit Saddington

Living in Northumberland, I am full-time primary school teacher with a passion for photography.  Having lived here for most of my adult life, it wasn’t until I bought my first digital SLR camera a few years ago that I really began to explore the region properly.  I now find that my photography takes me to some of the most spectacularly beautiful places here in the North.   I try to capture such scenes in a more unusual light, and I quite often find myself witnessing nature’s own fireworks at dawn or sunset.  As a result, post-processing of my images is minimal – the images you see represent exactly what I experienced, and I hope that they convey some of the emotions I feel as the light develops in front of me.

Dawn over Crag Lough by Kit Saddington

From a young age I have enjoyed drawing and painting and have continued to do so throughout my life.  I often find myself looking up, wondering how the sky would look as a painting.  Looking at my landscape photographs, it becomes apparent that the sky tends to dominate, from the pre-dawn spectacular displays to the so-called ‘golden hour’ of sunset, and even beyond into the awesome Northumberland starry nights; in many of my images, the sky almost seems like it was the product of a wash of colours taken straight from a paint palette.

To me, photography is all about light and how it defines the world around us at any particular moment in time.  I’m fascinated by how a scene can be changed so dramatically by the play of light caused by a break in the clouds, or the reflection of water and particularly the rising and setting of the Sun.  An interesting light can make the familiar unfamiliar, the commonplace unique and the mundane truly spectacular.

Follow Kit Saddington on Facebook.

Steph Jamieson

I have been a professional ceramic artist for over 20 years. Although I am largely self-taught I gained a degree in Contemporary Ceramic Practice at Newcastle College which was completed in 2010.

a circular ceramic piece by Steph Jamieson

I have a workshop at my home at Broadwood Hall near Allendale in Northumberland where I work with smoke and fire to create simple hand-built sculptural forms with contrasting surfaces. My main interest lies in form rather than function. An interest in ancient pottery, geology and prehistoric rock art are a constant source of experiment and influence in my work.

My simple forms capture a moment when a stone or pebble has been picked up, changed by man, used and discarded to return back to the earth.

Visit Steph’s website at

Charlotte Thompson

Charlotte Thompson is a Hexham-based artist. She studied Art alongside Teaching at Reading University and qualified with a BA in Education in 1996. She followed a career in teaching, and she has taught in primary schools over the last 23 years.

landscape of hadrian's wall painted by Charlotte Thompson

Charlotte now splits her time between painting and teaching. Watercolour is her preferred medium, although she sometimes uses acrylics and oils. Charlotte also experiments with pigment powders and ink which lend themselves well to abstract paintings. She creates a range of art, from miniature to large scale pieces. She is a keen bird watcher and paints many of the birds she sees in her garden, along stretches of the River Tyne and further afield. Landscapes feature a lot in her artwork, and she takes inspiration from plants and wildlife that change and grow through the seasons. She spends most of her time in Northumberland; however, she also visits Dumfries and Galloway, and uses the landscape there as a catalyst for ideas.

Charlotte sells originals, prints and cards. She has been commissioned to paint for private buyers and welcomes such work. In 2020 she is planning to combine her painting and teaching skills to provide workshops in and around the Hexham area.

Visit Charlotte’s website at

Robert Newton

I have been a full time practicing artist since 1998, specialising in painting and printmaking and more recently, photography. My work is shown through a network of galleries across the UK and is in many private collections both nationally and worldwide.

My work is a direct response to my surroundings and my existence within it, although not specifically about the national park, I recognise the landscape as a whole system.

a red coloured landscape painting by Robert Newton

Often, I cycle through and around the national park for both fitness and to gather material (sketching) to make new work. am passionate about our environment and the whole of the Northumberland landscape and whilst there is obviously an emphasis on preserving our national parks and woodland, the rest of our landscape is under immense pressure from development, the expansion of cities, towns and villages and roads, water extraction and fishing. I hope to convey a sense of responsibility in preserving out countryside for the benefit of us all and future generations.

I often describe my work as painting nature and working on specific locations as a long-term projects, observing regeneration and decay, how the land is shaped through time, the influence of weather and our own use of it; there is always an underlying response to our use of the landscape and the sea beyond. Whilst the work may initially seem sentimental, there is a realisation of responsibility to what we have done to our environment whether good or bad.

Visit Robert’s website at

Adele Burdon

I am a native of Northumberland and an artist Printmaker currently working from the print studio in ‘The Hearth’ Horsley.

Using mainly monoprints, my work explores the undulating landscapes of Northumberland and of camper van explorations, reinterpreting their endless forms using an abstract approach.

landscape painting by adele burdon on display in the Inspired By Our Land exhibition

I enjoy exploring the endless possibilities of Monotype printing using a variety of techniques, textures and eclectic items, often collected on long walks.

Constantly experimenting and tinkering with the plate until an image reveals itself, escaping the confines of the plate as the landscape extends beyond our view. Unexpected and surprising results are often a bonus, helping to create an atmospheric print which is unrepeatable making each image a one-off piece of art.

Visit Adele’s website at

Rebecca Vincent

The dramatic windswept landscapes of Northumberland are a constant source of inspiration for me. The countryside, coast and geology have been an ideal starting point for my landscapes and seascapes. Sometimes people walk into my studio and recognise that I have interpreted the landscape they have just visited. However, the majority of my images are not views as such but imagined landscapes constructed from elements that are strongly reminiscent of particular places.

I have a lovely studio in The Hearth Arts Centre in Northumberland which is well equipped with everything I need and open to the public so they can see me at work.

landscape monotype print by Rebecca Vincent

I trained at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford and completed my MA at Newcastle University. I fell in love with printmaking during those years and experimented a great deal with etching and monotype. I have had many exhibitions over my 24 years as a full-time artist and I’m a regular exhibitor at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle and Cambridge Contemporary Art.

The originals for these prints are monotype paintings. They are printed from a smooth plastic board in several layers of coloured ink using an etching press. The rolled out ink can be manipulated in many different ways using cloths, cotton buds, sticks, and pieces of card to lift ink away to make negative marks. I also create patterned areas by using strips of textured papers and fabrics. I apply ink to these with a roller and press them onto the paper. By cutting and tearing paper stencils to print with, I can create crisp horizons and other strong shapes in the composition. As the name suggests, I only get one original print from this method like a reversed painting.

My giclée prints are made to the highest standards in a signed limited edition of 100. They are not mass-produced in a factory but printed in a photographer’s studio in small batches with great care and quality control.

Visit Rebecca’s website at

Carol Nunan

I am an artist and printmaker who works out on the edge of Hexham in Northumberland, printmaking and teaching.

I’ve been intrigued by colour, pattern, texture and shape; I’m fascinated by the interaction between different printmaking media in a single print or series of works; the element of alchemy, quite how a plate will translate into print as it passes through the etching press.

landscape print by carol nunan

My new work, together with my fascination with the flora and fauna within both the rural landscape and urban and walled country gardens in monotype using plant material rather than pre-cut stencils and masks.

The choice of printmaking media and colour palette are to the ideas I wish to convey. I’m always looking for new ways to the patterns and textures; the manmade elements within it; the constantly changing light and seasons.

Visit Carol’s website at


Melanie Hopwood

Melanie’s ceramic artwork is inspired by geological features and craggy, rugged, landscape and coastline, weathered and shaped by nature, including humans. Living and working as an artist in Northumberland since 2004 much of Melanie’s work explores the diversity of the region’s landscape, some of the words incorporated into artworks, such as her haiku titled ‘Spring Gentians’ make a direct reference to the special habitat of The Whin Sill.

ceramics by Melanie Hopwood

Rockpool Boulders emerged from a collaborative project between Melanie and writer Sue Spencer who wrote a number of ‘haiku’ poems in response
to the ideas behind Melanie’s boulder forms. Metal letterpress is used to imprint the words into the surface of each piece. Melanie now also incorporates some of her own haiku into her work.

‘Grounded Vessels’ and ‘Layered Landlines’ incorporate fragments of unfired, recycled glaze into the clay which reacts with matt and crater glazes applied over in multiple firings, making further reference to the dramatic processes of extreme cold, extreme heat and extreme weather which shape and mark our rock, our land, our earth.

All Melanie’s work is handbuilt from stoneware clay and fired to 1250 degrees Celsius which creates a greater degree of interaction between the clay and glazes/oxides.

Visit Melanie’s website at