Yorkshire artist uses landscapes around her to influence paintings set for exhibition at York gallery

Rolling hills and dales, wild skies and ethereal lighting are not just good for the mind of one West Yorkshire woman – they are her livelihood.

Clare Haley, inset, is a landscape artist who lives and works from her home and garden studio in Holmfirth, Kirklees.

More than 80 per cent of her collection of oil paintings are scenes and backdrops. She imagines what the observer sees, but they have all been inspired by the rural landscape around her.

She said: “I don’t paint on location or on plan because it just doesn’t work for me. But, the majority of my paintings are inspired by Yorkshire and maybe The Lakes as well.

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    One of the oil painting works by Clare Haley, a landscape artist who lives and works from her home and garden studio in Holmfirth. More than 80 per cent of her collection are scenes and backdrops which she has imagined but have been inspired by the rural landscape around her.

    “Eighty per cent of what I do, you could be anywhere in that region and the paintings remind people of somewhere they think they have been, but I have imagined that landscape in my head.”

    Ms Haley spends a lot of time outdoors, walking and taking in the sights, smells and silence of the environment around her.

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    “I take a lot of digital pictures but mostly walk and observe and try and remember that. When you get back to the studio you find you haven’t been fast enough to capture things.”

    Artist Clare Haley in her studio which is based in the garden of her home at Holmfirth.

    Eagle-eyed fans of her work will note the lack of obvious or recognisable landmarks or man-made objects. At the most she may add a broken fence that no longer exists.

    On the rarer occasions where she does paint specific locations, such as an exhibition in Ripley, featuring scenes around Nidderdale, it is still subject to her own interpretation.

    An artist’s life can be lonely and isolated and living and working from a home in the hills, even more so, but Ms Haley adds there is something unique about that rural living.

    She said: “I live and work in Holmfirth and have a small studio in the garden next to the house and that is where I paint. It is on the side of Holmfirth Valley, up on the hill I just look out and see trees, the weather – you can see it all roll in.

    “I have lived in more built-up areas and city areas but I am drawn to the rural parts. It can be isolating but I like that you can look up and be alone in the landscape. It is good for your mind and we are so lucky to be here.”

    A seventh solo annual exhibition of her paintings, Clare Haley: Light of Yorkshire, will be held at York Fine Arts, Low Petergate from July 29 to August 22.