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Caroline Appleyard - the artist often described as 'Lowry on acid'.

PUBLISHED: 21:00 11 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:20 20 February 2013

Caroline Appleyard - the artist often described as 'Lowry on acid'.

Caroline Appleyard - the artist often described as 'Lowry on acid'.

The artist who created our unusual front cover for November 2012 talks to Joy Hales about her work

Thanks to her topsy-turvy depictions of towns, villages and streets, artist Caroline Appleyard has been described as Lowry on acid.

Her pictures also have a charming naivety that is reminiscent of the work of Alfred Wallis, the retired Cornish fisherman who painted pictures with a quirky perspective. Wallis was discovered when the celebrated painters Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood looked through the door of his cottage and saw a room crammed with paintings executed in a style they had never seen before. The experience of entering Carolines studio in the house in Old Whittington which she shares with her partner, Chris, is much the same.

Caroline did not become a full-time artist until 2007, when she was 41 years old. She had loved art as a pupil at Dronfields Henry Fanshawe School and had gained A-level qualifications that would have allowed her to go to art college, but her father wanted his daughter to get a proper job, so she joined his accountancy firm as an administrator. Explaining her return to painting, Caroline said: Although my father had steered me away from an artistic career, I was very fond of him, and when he became seriously ill in 2004, I was distraught and needed something to focus my mind. I took up painting for therapy.

Carolines first subject was Chris, who was depicted swimming underwater in his diving gear. Impressed by the quality of his partners first two portraits, Chris encouraged her to carry on painting, but suggested that she ought to find new subjects. She responded by producing a picture of Chesterfields famous crooked spire, whose odd geometry may well have had some influence on the style of subsequent work. Carolines next effort, a local street scene, gave her further encouragement, because it immediately found a buyer.

After her fathers death, Caroline worked for a time as a swimming instructor, but decided to become a full-time artist in 2007. However, she is not a full-time painter in the normal sense. Although she devotes long hours to painting every day in the winter months, she spends much of the summer travelling with Chris in their camper van. The couple return time and again to favourite haunts, such as Scotland, Devon, Cornwall and the Yorkshire coast, and the places they encounter on their travels have become the subject of Carolines paintings, along with townscapes in Sheffield and Derbyshire.

One of Carolines early townscape subjects was the Yorkshire town of Whitby, where topsy-turvy, red-roofed buildings are piled one on top of another. After producing paintings to reflect this charming composition, Caroline went on to make pictures of rather less wonky places in a similar style. Almost all her work is now characterised by the higgledy-piggledy arrangement of buildings and objects, together with the skewing of perspective and scale in a way that somehow manages to add to the reality of the scene she is depicting.

However, as Caroline pointed out, a close inspection of her paintings reveals two other peculiarities. She said: I often include Brian the Snail in my pictures as a sort of signature and as a tribute to my father, who was a great fan of The Magic Roundabout. The people who feature in most of my paintings dont have any facial features, because I dont really notice people when I walk around, but I do notice animals, and I do give them facial features after all, they are just as important as people.

If you are interested in buying the original of our cover call Les Banton on 07815 200702 or email les.banton@archant.co.uk


To find out more about Caroline Appleyards art, visit appleyard-art.co.uk

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