This month we showcase the work of Ilkley artist Ian Middleton

PUBLISHED: 08:33 21 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:14 20 February 2013

Polar Bears

Polar Bears

A Yorkshire artist explains why he hopes a different style will take him in a new direction

Ian Middleton is an artist based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, and is used to painting for other people. Now he has decided to paint for himself, making what he believes is a refreshing and exciting change in his painting style.

Throughout my artistic life I have painted for others and not myself, says Ian. Understandably artists dependent upon making a commercial living have mostly very little choice in the matter. In my own case I have painted in just about every style from realism to outlandish abstract with a large measure of reproduction work thrown in.

There is no doubt that this has helped enormously in developing my oil painting skills but at the same time it has inhibited my direction. I have realised that I wanted only to produce highly original work which, at its heart, is thought provoking and different.

Today I feel as if I am slowly getting there. My real inspiration in art comes from the expressionism period with its bright, contrasting, colourful works. I believe art should grab the viewers attention and hold it. The ability to plant an ambiguity and at the same time introduce elements of a story board is now uppermost in my mind when I set out to paint.

Ians emerging style reflects a potent mixture of expressionism, cubism, abstract and even realism, he says. I know this all adds up to a colourful chaos but it seems to be working, judging by peoples reaction.

An example of Ians new style is National Park, which has more than 50 wild life figures many of them concealed or forming dual roles within the composition, says Ian. The large scythe represents our threat to the animal world and its extinction with the incongruous man-made road curving out of the jungle as another negative aspect of natures imbalance.

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