Art teacher and students come together for show – 71Bait

A new exhibition pays dividends for a Bradford artist who has inspired many local painters

The Bingley Gallery on Park Road will soon host a rare exhibition by esteemed local painter and teacher Jeremy Taylor, alongside a selection of works by his former students which together illustrate the creativity that lies hidden within many of us.

Baildon resident Jeremy taught for many years at Bradford and Shipley Colleges and ran his own courses. He conducted workshops and gave demonstrations for many arts clubs in Keighley, Bingley and Wharfedale but had to retire from teaching a few years ago when his wife Sara became seriously ill.

Jeremy has recently returned to painting and the show features new work as well as paintings completed in his notoriously popular oil and watercolor classes.

His career in art was hardly conventional. “I studied philosophy at university, which made me practically unqualified for the world of work,” he says.

“Although I had no formal art training, early successes encouraged me to paint full-time, winning many awards and being elected the youngest artist to join the British Watercolor Society.

“I got into teaching by a happy coincidence. For many years I worked as a commercial painter for map and printing companies and on commission. I earned my living. After being asked to teach a few watercolor classes at Ilkley College, I began to realize that teaching was a lot more fun and a lot less stressful for me than painting for a living.

The courses proved very popular and soon Jeremy was teaching full-time. “I taught all week and on the weekends I could paint whatever I liked without worrying if anyone liked it or bought it.”

He adds: “I encourage everyone to paint, it’s a complete escape from the worries of the world. There are many art courses and some excellent art clubs. Other painters are usually very supportive and art associations offer this exhibition opportunity”.

Jeremy’s recently exhibited work includes several of his lockdown images, “like many others, my view of the world was limited to looking through the window or onto a screen or sometimes stacks of old photos,” he says broken, abstracted edges of the images, perhaps like me, somewhat frayed at the edges.”

One of the recurring themes emphasized by Jeremy’s students is that his encouragement to others was never strictly aligned with his own style and he was happiest when students found their own direction, buoyed by the belief in their own abilities that he exuded .

Since attending Jeremy’s classes, Kate Readman’s enthusiasm for art has led her to work in a variety of mediums: after a chance encounter with a felter in Cumbria, she has taken her passion from watercolor to these mediums, to hand-dying her wool at home . Her subjects are mainly landscapes, particularly the wilder countryside outside the city, beautifully rendered in soft tones of color or wool.

A feature of Jeremy’s courses was that those who were already competent painters chose to continue attending alongside near-beginners. Pam Bumby was an art teacher herself but found the group beneficial and enjoyable. In the exhibition, Pam shows a selection of works in her current medium, oil. She loves the challenge of painting outdoors. “I’m inspired by the changing light in the landscape and how it affects atmosphere and colour,” she says. “I am particularly drawn to places where there is evidence of the people who lived there, the industrial and coastal towns and villages of Yorkshire.”

For partners Rob Thomson and Stella Verity, painting has become a shared passion since their retirement. Rob is a former architect who can now focus on watercolor and oil painting, belongs to international and local groups and exhibits extensively.

As you might expect, much of his work involves buildings in both urban and rural settings, and the laws of perspective are second nature to him, but he’s the first to admit it. “When I look at my development as an artist, I can attribute it all to Jeremy’s expert teaching,” he says.

Stella, a retired teacher, was persuaded by Rob to take watercolor classes with him at Shipley College. “After my first visit, I was thrilled,” she says. “I realized that while I had learned a lot about technique and theory through studying art at O ​​and A levels, I had never been taught how to paint.

“Jeremy’s classes were wonderful, insightful and rewarding as well as entertaining. Thursday became and still is our favorite day of the week; Ten years later, a small group of us ex-Jeremy students still get together on Thursdays to draw.” An avid gardener and cook, Stella usually displays flowers, fruit, or vegetables. “I love the bright colors and amazing patterns of nature and try to recreate that beauty and diversity in my work.”

Steve Dunne is probably the artist closest to Jeremy’s bit o’ mucky watter wet-on-wet watercolor technique. Bradford was born and raised, at 76 he’s unlikely to move away. After a health problem in 2003, he took up painting: “I started with watercolors because I thought it was the easy way – we live and learn. I was then referred to Jeremy Taylor’s evening classes and learned from the start all the pitfalls and pitfalls to avoid. Jeremy’s relaxed way of painting and teaching is remarkably effective and his methods still inspire me to this day.
I only paint for the pleasure and satisfaction of painting and I hope to learn and paint for many more years to come.”

Anne Allan describes her art and the classes she took before Jeremy’s as “just temptation”. Then she signed up and continued for 15 years, loving every class, learning a lot and gaining confidence with every lesson.

Her art took a new direction when she took up Chinese brush painting and calligraphy and even took a class at the International Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China. She is a founding member, Secretary and Co-Chair of the Yorkshire Group of the Chinese Brush Painters Society. Anne has also switched to teaching; runs workshops and shows for arts groups across the north of England and loves to share her love of Chinese art. For Anne, lockdown proved to be a fruitful time, allowing her to complete the text and more than 50 illustrations for a recently published book on the techniques of traditional Gongbi, or the meticulous style of Chinese painting.

Jeremy remains a humble man – “Many of my students were already talented and experienced painters when they came to my class,” he says. “I learned a lot from them. If space had allowed, many more would have been included in the show.” He also expresses his gratitude to David for suggesting that he share a show with alumni.

*David Starley, the owner and resident artist of the Bingley Gallery, did not attend art school but took a number of art courses between Australia and the UK, though with no aim of enjoying himself and becoming a proficient amateur. “I’ve known art teachers who have been inspirational and others who have done more to dampen enthusiasm, but Jeremy had a particular ability to inspire belief in one’s abilities while also tactfully providing guidance on how to create decent paintings. Without his input, I can’t imagine taking the step into an art career.”

David is pleased to say thank you to the man who has given himself and others such inspiration. Also to show other potential artists the talent that may be dormant in them.

The exhibition runs until May 15th.

Visit the Bingley Gallery website for more information: davidstarleyartist.com/bingley/

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