Sandra Parker

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I was born in Harrogate and raised on a small family run mixed farm at Menwith hill in Nidderdale in the 1960’s which afforded me a freedom and understanding of the countyside which looking back made me very privillaged. My Grandfather was the last farmer in Nidderdale to go mechanised and stop using horsepower he clung onto the ‘old ways’ as long as he could. Today we call his way of farming organic.

When I was at junior school at the end of the summer term we used to go on a nature walk by the river Nidd which ran through the village we used to pick as many wild flowers as we could and once back in the classroom we used to draw the flowers we had picked. I used to love drawing the flowers and colouring them in this is my earliest memory of enjoying art.
Once I reached senior school I was never very interested in art and up to the age of 20 had no further interest in it at all. What happened when I was 20 to reignite my passion ? nothing too apocalyptic I went with my Mother to an art class didn’t enjoy it and packed it in after 3 lessons.
But what it did do was teach me the rudiments of understanding colour and how to mix and apply oil paint.
From that point I set up a studio in a small caravan on the farm was given an eisle by my Father on my 21st birthday and painted anything I could from pictures of wildlife taken from books to sitting outside painting farm scenes none of which were very good but I was hooked.

I stopped painting when family commitments took over namely my beautiful children and our move to a sheep farm in Walden up Wensleydale. However in 2008 I started painting again and finally decided on which direction to go. Painting the iconic Swaledale sheep has proven very popular as I discovered when I exhibited my work in the Old School House gallery in Muker in 2009 and sold most my work exibited in that first year.

I am inspired by the varied elements of the Swaledale sheep from the geometrical curve and swirl of the horns the random depth of the fleece to the defiant twinkle in the eyes.

I am now living in Carthorpe near Bedale and go out into the dales often mostly Swaledale and Wensleydale taking photos of Swaledale sheep in there natural environment to capture the composition and movement I want for my paintings.

My art is dedicated to my Father who was the epitome of the Hardened Dales sheep farmer I loved him dearly and was always encouraged by him to keep painting till he passed away in 2009