Lucy Pittaway, the acclaimed artist who has just opened a new gallery in Harrogate, explains the thinking behind some of her most acclaimed pieces
Father and Daughter – Limited Edition, Sold Out
This piece will always hold a special place in my heart. I painted it in back in 2015 to support the awareness of and raise much needed funds for Motor Neurone Disease (MND). This terrible disease took my father’s life at the tender age of 49. The loss changed me in so many ways and learning to navigate my way through such a difficult time is something I continue to reflect on today. This piece shows the colour of poppies contrasting with the dark clouds and the way the sunlight breaks through reminds me of my father’s continued positive outlook in life, even towards the end. It is a wonderful piece and even though it brings back difficult memories, those are overshadowed by the legacy my father left behind and reminds me to appreciate the times we spent together. In total the piece raised close to £6,000 for the charity.
Missing You – Limited Edition, Sold Out
This piece was created in memory of my dear Nanna whom I was very close to. Originally from Kendal, she relocated with my grandpa when his job brought him to Teesside and they stayed there until he passed away. My Nanna had family in the Lakes so would visit regularly and eventually she returned when she found love with an old flame from her teens. I used to visit her regularly and loved our time together where we would travel around the Lake District. My Nanna was a small and very feminine lady so I wanted this piece to feel delicate, just like her. She would spend a lot of time gazing out of her window at the view, just as the sheep is doing here but in reality, I see the sheep as myself, looking to the skies hoping she’s happy up there somewhere.
Hills, Dales and Woolly Tails – Limited Edition, Sold Out
This was my first commissioned piece in partnership with Welcome to Yorkshire to commemorate the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire cycling race, and I remember feeling incredibly nervous about unveiling this piece. The brief was to keep it open and provide a true ‘feel of Yorkshire’ as well as include cyclists and reference the Tour, all in my own style. I included exaggerated rolling hills, dry stone walls, a hump-backed stone bridge over a stream, my trademark sheep, Ribblehead viaduct, Richmond Castle and numerous riders bearing the relevant team and winning jerseys. Oh and of course, the iconic yellow bike that so many people displayed in towns and villages along the route of the Tour. So much to fit in one painting! It brings back wonderful memories of a partnership that has had such a big impact on me and my work.
Double Trouble – Open Edition
This piece represents me with my wonderful twins when they were very young. My husband and I would often refer to them as ‘double trouble’ especially when they were toddlers and they were getting their hands into everything, often ending up filthy! They have such different personalities, one more confident and adventurous and the other a little more reserved, which I’ve reflected on in my composition of them here. I’ve used this piece to show two very different lambs, one being confident, playful and mischievous and showing off, the other enjoying a cuddle with mum where it’s nice and safe. Whilst growing up my daughter always did the talking and my son remained quiet and contemplative, standing back and letting his sister chatter away. Now they are teenagers, it’s changed again.
I Love You as far as the Sun – Limited Edition, Sold Out
This was a piece I created to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday. Our twins would often say ‘I love you as far as the sun’ and I had a vision of what this would look like. The warm red hues, representative of love, mixed with the soft dream-like clouds, lend themselves perfectly to what they were saying. I painted them sat together looking out into the sky, as far as the sun. Until this point I had never actually drawn my children. They had always been represented in other forms such as flowers in my early paintings or sheep as they got older. I kept the edition size very small for this piece as it felt a lot more personal.
Home is Where the Heart is – Limited Edition, Sold Out (pictured top of the page)
This is another family-orientated piece and the title explains it all with the piece showing that home is really where my heart is. Home is comfort, love, noise, laughter, tears, togetherness and it’s uniquely ‘us’ no matter where we are. Every home pictured here is different showing how individual all our homes are. The warm reds were chosen to represent love and passion and the hearts from the chimneys represent the love emanating from the two homes in the centre. My earlier work was all based around houses and the houses represented people in my life, and sometimes, they even represented me as I would often see myself as one of the houses. In this piece, it was the time before my husband and I got married and we lived in separate houses, but desperately wanted to be together. I’ve since painted a piece called ‘Sending Love’ and another called ‘Rainbow of hope’ which are similar to this piece showing groups of houses or family homes that radiate love.
A Yorkshire Garden – Limited Edition, Sold Out
Commissioned by Welcome to Yorkshire for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2018, this holds lovely memories for me. I was asked to create a painting of Mark Gregory’s garden, but placing it into a Yorkshire backdrop. I really enjoyed creating the piece, however it was the experience of being at Chelsea Flower Show that was the most rewarding for me. Standing next to Mark’s award-winning garden with my piece on show in the glorious sunshine, was something I will never forget. The piece was an immediate hit, it featured the stone bothy Mark created as it’s centre piece, framed by a tumbling stream and vegetable patch, wildflowers and of course, two very round Swaledale sheep for which I’ve become well-known for in my paintings. Penhill in Wensleydale provides the perfect backdrop in my painting and the scene is set in high summer, everything in full bloom and looking beautiful. I have painted several other dales scenes since, and they are always well received. I was recently commissioned by the Wensleydale Heifer in Leyburn to create a piece specifically for their property, which now sits in the award-winning restaurant.
Wool Meet Again – Open Edition
This piece was created in October 2022 in the height of the pandemic and was a nod to the strange world we were all living in at the time. I was in a difficult head space at this point with so many worries about keeping our businesses afloat and ongoing changes to government support, there were times we thought we might not make it through. But on this bright and colourful street of rainbow houses, the red and yellow poppies shine bright with hot air balloons on the horizon and the crowd of woolly visitors are on their way to brighter pastures. This piece pays homage to the great British song of WWII by Vera Lynn when families and loved ones found themselves separated. The title brings a twist to the original song title, to reflect that good humour that defines us in times of adversity.
View the full catalogue of Lucy’s work online at lucypittaway.co.uk or in store at one of the galleries in Harrogate, Richmond, Yarm, Keswick & Brompton-on-Swale