WHAT is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.
The words of Welsh poet William Henry Davies were echoed by Yorkshire painter Ashley Jackson yesterday as he stood on the moors above his studio in Holmfirth to take in one of his favourite views.
The 72-year-old watercolour artist took in the rugged Pennine landscape as he launched an art project designed to get more people to appreciate the beauty around them.
“I have always said that many people look but few see,” he said.
“You get people running and biking across the moors but are they smelling the daffodils?
“I want people to stop and stare and I want to take art to the people, to the masses.”
Mr Jackson is behind a new project called Framing the Landscape which aims to place oversize steel picture frames and easels at beauty spots across Yorkshire.
The permanent structures will allow walkers, tourists and school pupils to see the landscape from the point of view of an artist.
The artist hopes the view through the empty frame will encourage a few people to pick up brush or pencil and have a go themselves.
“I want art to go to the masses and not just the elite and the pseudo-intellectuals,” he said.
“I want children to look through the frame and go ‘wow – doesn’t that look fantastic’. This is about framing the landscape and appreciating the landscape. I want teachers to take them (pupils) up to the moors and let them paint what they see and for tourists and country lovers to do the same thing.”
Mr Jackson has his own ideas where the picture frames might be sited but he wants Yorkshire Post readers to name their own favourite locations.
He joked that the frames should not be called “art installations” because “that’s pretentious and I come from Barnsley”.
Negotiations are taking place with landowners, businesses and councils to ensure planning permission and private sponsorship for the first 10.
If successful, the idea could spread beyond the Yorkshire boundary.
The moors above Holmfirth and at Ilkley have been suggested as locations for the first two frames. Two Yorkshire-based metalworking companies are hoping to manufacture the steel frame/easel structures.
The Yorkshire Society has stepped in to sponsor the first frame and support has also come from Yorkshire Business in the Arts.
Mr Jackson, who helped design the picture frame/easel and is giving his time for nothing, is motivated by his love for the local landscape.
“I am fortunate that I still have a love affair with Yorkshire and until that ends I will carry on painting her contours.
“I hope that this inner feeling lasts a lifetime and that the moorland never fails to amaze me.
“I still get that “wow” feeling when I step on to the moor. But, the moorland is not mine alone, she is there to be enjoyed and appreciated by others; we are just looking after our heritage for future generations.”
Keith Madeley, chairman of the Yorkshire Society, is equally enthusiastic about the project.
He said: “I know my contacts in education will be excited with Framing the Landscape as it is very inclusive – this is one of the reasons why the Yorkshire Society is excited about the prospect of working with Ashley and Yorkshire Business in the Arts to ensure its success.”
Work is now going on behind the scenes on possible locations for the picture frames.
Once a few have been installed, it is envisaged that an art trail could be created to allow interested parties to visit them all.
It is also hoped that an online brochure can be produced for schools which would provide locations, maps and the history of each area.
A website could also be created to allow schools to upload children’s versions of the views to create an online gallery of how they see the Yorkshire landscape.