Thursday, 1 April 2021

Dalesfolk: Piers Browne, artist

"I’ve lived at Nappa since 1975. Fantastic place for children. It’s got a bit busy though – it’s a bit like the Lakes now here. I remember thirty years ago Geoffrey Moorhouse saying to me, “You know, I can’t believe it, I think this place is going downhill, there’s a tearoom here now!”

God put me here to be a landscape painter in this beautiful landscape. I thought, “here I am in heaven – if you can’t paint here, you can’t paint anywhere.” I love painting. I say, “if you like it, put it down in paint.” Paintings will last long after you’re dead, you know? Terrifying thought, these things.

Cezanne said that a picture is finished with every stroke. That’s important, just in case I drop dead. No one likes funerals. Ridiculous things. Gives the church a bit of pocket money. “We all meet at the end”, they say, “In the afterlife – Jesus promised.” Having seen an angel I can’t muck around. Some people have said to me that it’s exactly the right job for me. The right screw in the right hole, and I really do feel that. I could have been anything but I wanted to be an artist. It’s a lovely sensuous thing, art.

It was really free once. I could wander round the fields before they were all fenced off. There were cows every night at six o clock wandering in to be milked by hand. I milked the cows by hand – not very well, obviously!

I always use a lot of cotton buds, and they worry in the chemist that I’ve got badly blocked ears. Actually I just need them for swabbing my etchings. Every print from an etching is an original. I ink slowly and surely. It’s not like a print where you just push a button. That’s me. I paint up here. I etch down there. And out there is my subject matter. Wensleydale."

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Piers Browne is an artist based in Wensleydale.

This is an interview from my 2019 “Dalesfolk” book. For more information, go here: http://gullwingphotography.co.uk/dalesfolk/