My Yorkshire: Official Tour de Yorkshire artist Lucy Pittaway on her favourite people and places

Official Tour de Yorkshire artist Lucy Pittaway.
Official Tour de Yorkshire artist Lucy Pittaway.
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Lucy Pittaway studied graphic design at Northumbria University and now works as an artist in Brompton on Swale and is the Tour de Yorkshire’s official artist for the second year running. She lives in Richmond with her family.

What is your first memory of Yorkshire? I remember visiting the weird and wonderful Mother Shipton’s cave in Knaresborough with my younger brothers and sisters. My dad and stepmum owned a caravan in nearby Rudding Park and I look back fondly on the times we had there.

Lucy Pittaway thinks the heather moorlands, like these around Reeth in Swaledale, are part of what gives Yorkshire it's unique identity.

Lucy Pittaway thinks the heather moorlands, like these around Reeth in Swaledale, are part of what gives Yorkshire it's unique identity.

What’s your favourite part of the county? It would have to be the Yorkshire Dales. It’s right on our doorstep and it’s such a beautiful part of the country as well as the county. I love all the rolling hills, quaint little streams and snickets and then by complete contrast the wild, but equally stunning North York Moors which at their prime are a rich tapestry of pink and purple heather. It’s such an interesting and diverse landscape.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend? It would be a drive to Robin Hood’s Bay on a sunny afternoon where I would do a little bit of rock pool fishing with the family. Then we would meander through the narrow wynds and have a mooch in the shops. The day will always end with fish and chips from the paper, eaten on the sea wall. Perfect.

What is your favourite walk or view? I love to walk around Easby Abbey and by the river in Richmond where I live, but if really pushed my favourite view has to be of Penhill from the top of Scarth Nick where you can see Wensleydale in all its glory.

Who is your favourite Yorkshire star? Ed Sheeran. He might have left when he was young, but he was born here so that’s good enough. I really admire his drive and determination to get where he is today and find him inspiring. I just love his songs and they are one of my favourites to paint to. There’s so much feeling in his lyrics and I can’t resist turning the volume up to max when he’s playing! I was ecstatic when I found out he was born in Yorkshire. Who’d have thought it with an accent like his?

Yorkshire born singer Ed Sheeran is one of Lucy Pittaway's favourite artists.

Yorkshire born singer Ed Sheeran is one of Lucy Pittaway's favourite artists.

Name your favourite Yorkshire hidden gem? I can’t, there’s just too many! I love so many places like Sheepwash at Osmotherley for its rustic beauty and the James Herriot centre in Thirsk which is such an unassuming place to look at but a whole world unfolds behind the door. High Parks Tearoom at Newton-le-Willows is a great place to take the kids as is the Forbidden Corner which is a truly unique and quirky place.

What do you think gives Yorkshire’s unique identity? The rolling hills, great swathes of green fields, dry-stone walls and little stone huts and barns, a whole army of sheep and some very lovely, welcoming people.

How do you involve yourself in Yorkshire cultural life? I love to go to the theatre and in particular our local one in Richmond, the Georgian Theatre Royal – it’s the oldest working theatre in the UK and it’s so authentically beautiful and charming. I like to watch a good jazz band or concert and last year we went to watch Kynren, a truly amazing piece of open-air theatre in Bishop Auckland, a spectacle of light shows and displays I have never seen the likes of before.

Do you have a favourite restaurant and/or food shop? The Oak Tree at Hutton Magna is a real hidden gem and the food is absolutely incredible. I love the cosiness of it; in the winter, it’s a fabulous place to go after a brisk walk, and thaw out in front of the roaring fire. Bettys might not count as a food shop, but I love the florentines and I always end up in the good books if I take home one of their Yorkshire curd tarts for the hubby!

Do you find yourself selling Yorkshire to others? I guess I must do because since I moved here my sister and stepmum have also moved here, and recently my brother and sister-in-law moved up from Surrey to become our business partners and make it a true family business.

Which Yorkshire person do you most admire and why? Is it too clichéd to say my father? I admired my dad (Willie Maddren) for his footballing talents; he was a famous footballer in the 60s and 70s but I mostly admired him for how he battled motor neurone disease. Instead of feeling sorry for himself he remained positive and used his status in the area to help raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the MNDA.

How has Yorkshire influenced your work? The Yorkshire countryside and coastline is a constant source of inspiration to me and I feel very lucky to live in such a wonderful place. I live on a smallholding where we keep sheep and before that, pigs, so I have plenty to help inspire me!

What are you working on at the moment? I’m currently working on the official Tour de Yorkshire artwork and my wider Tour-inspired collection.

This year’s Tour to Yorkshire runs from April 28 to 30.