I noticed this building on a shopping trip into my nearest town, Skipton. It was a cold, blowy, rainy day (we have lots of those here!) and everyone was moving as fast as possible, carrying shopping, or talking to friends, or using cell phones. And all of them were passing this magnificent building without even glancing at it.

We all do it of course. There are times when we are all too busy and all too preoccupied to spend much time noticing what’s around us. But watching those people rushing past such a beautiful structure made me realize what art gives me.

Art forces me to notice. It stops me scurrying by. And more than anything, it makes me grateful.

I lived away for a long time, first in Toronto and then in New York. I enjoyed things about my time in either country, but they never felt like home. I couldn’t draw or paint while I was abroad. I tried, but nothing worthwhile came out. Everything around me was amazing and exciting and different and surely it should have been inspirational? But for me it wasn’t. In New York I was like those people in my picture, scurrying by without appreciating.

It was only when I got back here to the stone walls and broken down barns and wild moorland and lush valleys and little stone towns that I woke up again and started seeing.

Now I take nothing for granted. I am constantly taking pictures, constantly sketching, constantly seeing.  

So if you’re ever in the Aire Valley and you pass a short dark haired woman taking pictures of absolutely everything, that will be me 🙂



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