Using the power of nature to nurture

Tree exhibition by Renira BarnesTree exhibition by Renira Barnes
Tree exhibition by Renira Barnes
A collection of work on the theme of trees will be on display in the next exhibition at a north Northumberland gallery.

Aspects of Trees at Felton’s Gallery 45 will feature paintings, prints and cards by Renira Barnes and Jane Murray.

Trees are vital to our world – the heroes of nature, from improving our air to reducing erosion and provide that back-to-basics building material and fuel for our houses.

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Trees exhibition by Renira BarnesTrees exhibition by Renira Barnes
Trees exhibition by Renira Barnes

But Felton artist Renira Barnes believes they are essential to our wellbeing – she regularly walks in the woods and describes a free-for-all ‘feel good experience’ – she thought it was ‘just one of those quirky things about me’.

Yet, what Renira discovered by chance is now recognised in research – walking in woodland can help reduce depression, anxiety and blood pressure.

Renira has always been fascinated by trees and says her earliest memory is of watching leaves from her pram.

Her art is about wild and quiet places, conveying an engagement with nature that resonates in a subtle and restful way – calmness amidst the storm.

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Trees exhibition by Jane MurrayTrees exhibition by Jane Murray
Trees exhibition by Jane Murray

She has teamed up with fellow Northumberland-based artist Jane Murray for a joint exhibition which celebrates the obvious, the subtlety, and the complexity of trees.

They started out as artists with a common interest in the natural world and the tree seed of an idea has grown into an exhibition of their work, which celebrates our fabulous trees from different but complimentary view points.

Both artists have painted all their lives, Jane gaining a degree in Fine Art and Renira in Landscape Architecture and Design before studying further towards a Fine Art degree.

Jane’s journey into trees came from painting flowers, progressing from detailed botanical studies to larger than life subjects. She then became fascinated by the beauty of simple everyday vegetables, notably a red cabbage she spotted on an allotment one misty autumn day.

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Trees exhbition by Jane MurrayTrees exhbition by Jane Murray
Trees exhbition by Jane Murray

Her first red cabbage started to rot after three weeks, an outer leaf fell off and dried – a dead cabbage leaf but a thing of beauty with its subtle greys and blues. Autumn leaves soon became an obsession and other aspects of trees followed.

Renira said: “Sketching and painting outside makes me look at things with a more questioning eye whilst absorbing, often subconsciously, the smells, the sounds, the whole atmosphere of a place. I love being in the woods or up on the moors and I like to think others will be able to share some of that experience when they see my paintings.”

The exhibition will run at Gallery 45 from May 7 to June 30.

There will be a special preview evening at the gallery on Friday, May 6.

Both artists are also running workshops at the gallery.

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