Beverley artist Nick Matson's 'beautiful' paintings of River Hull helps good cause
WILD horses thunder across the open field beside a winding river.
This might sound like a scene from South Africa or the American Old West.
But the horses roam less than a mile from the centre of Beverley – and they have been painted by town artist Nick Matson.
In a series of paintings called Travelling Riverside Hues, he has captured the River Hull as it flows past Beverley.
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"I walk down the river a lot, as many people do," he said. "But there are also a lot of people who don't do that and they're missing out.
"If you drive along the road by the river, you don't get to see a lot of it because it's behind a big wall."
Mr Matson's exhibition, which is on display at Creation Fine Arts in North Bar Within, has two aims.
He wants to encourage families to see their countryside in a new light – and raise money for East Yorkshire charity Dove House Hospice.
One of his drawings has been raffled off, along with a limited edition print of another, raising £250 for the hospice.
Mr Matson said: "Everybody's got a connection to Dove House to some degree. They always have open arms for anybody who can help and there's an interest in art around the charity."
Becky Baynes, who works for the hospice, said: "Nick has been incredibly generous in donating his beautiful artwork and, as art therapy is an important aspect of the work we do with patients at the hospice, it's great to be supported by those in the art community.
The exhibition started with a dilapidated boat.
"The one that sparked it off is a painting called Loveboat," Nick said. "It's a painting of a narrow boat out of the water and it's looking battered.
"But it's got a tin of red paint in the foreground – and who knows what's going to happen to that tin of red paint?"
Nick does not just walk beside the river. Unusually even for those who appreciate its charms, he takes to the waters in a canoe.
"I canoe down the stretch of river from Beverley Beck," he said.
"People look at me like I'm mad and think it's polluted.
"But quite honestly it's the opposite.
"It's a lovely stretch of water and until you get on to it you won't appreciate how clear it is and how abundant the wildlife is."
Nick, a graphic designer by trade, has created his exhibition with acrylics and graphite.
"What I was looking to do with the drawings was back some of the paintings up with sketches," he said.
"But they ended up becoming quite tight drawings and they added a little bit more detail to some of the subjects as well.
"People look at the drawings and recognise where they are."
The artist's aim is to chronicle every aspect of the river, from the life that bursts from its banks to the decaying boats found floating midstream.
"It was about capturing this section of the river in the best way I could," he said. "I wanted to try to reflect a little bit of the history Beverley Beck has had harking back to the days of shipbuilding.
"That was the aim of it and the result was ten paintings and ten drawings."
Travelling Riverside Hues opened at Creation Fine Arts in Beverley on November 28 and will run until the end of the year. Visit www.creationfinearts.co.uk