When Keswick Artist, Venus Griffiths was offered the opportunity to exhibit her work at Northern Lights Gallery 18 months ago she jumped at the chance with only one caveat – that she was still alive!
Gallery owner, Tim Fisher’s reply was: “If you’re not ‘sunny side up’ the exhibition can be a retrospective!”
Still very much alive, Venus went on to name her solo exhibition, which opened this week in the St John Street gallery and runs until Sunday 9th August, “Sunny Side Up”.
She said: “I can’t remember a time when I have not felt the desire to draw and paint and I’m thankful every day to be living and painting in the Lakes.”
Lockdown has been a particularly fertile period for Venus to advance her paintings, making full use of, and enjoying, the good weather to produce a fresh new body of paintings. “I am still thrilled and often amazed how a sketch, or idea in my head develops into a finished piece of work,” she added.
Aged 13, Venus was awarded a scholarship to Wakefield Art College, she then became a technical illustrator, giving up the role when marriage and raising four children became her priority.
Once her family had grown Venus studied fine art at Trent University and qualified as a further education teacher going on to work at Arnold and Carlton FE college where she introduced and developed a screen printing department as well as teaching art to full and part time students, including remedial YTS groups, as well as working with community day centres running art workshops for adults with special needs.
Venus, who moved to Keswick in 1988, said: “I set up my own studio at home, eventually giving up teaching in order to concentrate on my own work, which includes oils, acrylics, watercolours and mono screen prints.”
Every year Venus donates one of her paintings to Keswick Mountain Rescue Team to help raise funds for the local volunteer service – her painting also appears on their annual report.