Wolds in Winter

On Your Doorstep catches up with local artist Hilary Miller-Gough for her take on the winter season

We’re lucky to have many talented artists working in the area, inspired by the beautiful scenery in the Wolds. But does inspiration continue to strike through the colder months? For Hilary Miller-Gough, the answer is a definite yes.
“For some, Winter’s a time to hibernate indoors,” she says,” but I am quite the opposite. A glimmer of frost and I will be out there with my camera. I generally paint in winter and spring then I’m in the workshop most of the summer.”
Originally from the small village of Riby in Linconshire, Hilary has been drawing since childhood, and studied art at the East Coast School of Art and Design in Grimsby. She later worked as a guide at York City Art Gallery, which further stimulated her artistic leanings and for the past three years, she has pursued her painting and craft work full-time.

“For some, Winter’s a time to hibernate indoors.”

“I paint in acrylics, mainly landscapes. All my work has fantastical and whimsical elements, and I’m always inspired by the Wolds, with its contrasts in the landscape and those big dramatic skies. I get very excited by the drama created by weather and light conditions – my art is often noted for the boldness of the skies. Also there’s the abundance of nature, we really are spoilt here.”
What is it about the landscape here in winter which particularly inspires Hilary’s work?
“The Wolds are like a fairytale world covered in a blanket of snow and my imagination goes into overdrive. I’m just like a child again, enthralled by its magic. One of my most accomplished works ‘Waiting for the Storm to Pass’ is an image of a barn owl on a signpost. The idea literally grew from driving home one evening and seeing an owl on that very post. It was what I call a ‘Kodak moment’ – the image stayed with me until I could transfer it to canvas.
“It was exactly the same for some of my other winter works – they are born from things I have either felt or seen. ‘Bigger House, Spout Hall’ for example is a private property in Barmby Moor. I painted that scene after a very cold February day’s walk. I was drawn to the gated driveway and its avenue of trees in the last of the day’s light.”
Some of Hilary’s craft work, which she produces through the summer months, is also made with wood from the landscape she loves – foraged windfall wood from the Wolds – as well as recycled wooden pallets. “There’s nothing more rewarding than to take a piece of a downed tree and through time and energy, bring it back to life in a new form,” she says. Hilary makes some pieces specifically for the festive season, such as decorative wooden robins and jingle bell reindeer. There are also beautiful tea light holders and napkin rings, which would be a great addition to the Christmas dinner table. Christmas is a time of year, which obviously inspires Hilary. How will she be spending her own this year?
“With my partner and family, a huge Christmas feast then brisk woodland walks on Boxing Day! I love Dugdale in Warter for spotting majestic red kites, and I also love beautiful Givendale with its pretty little church, and Millington woods for a stroll after lunch.”

You can find out more about Hilary and her work on her website. Prints of Hilary’s paintings can be purchased via the website, as can her craft works and some original paintings. www.theyorkshirepalette.com.