Exploring deep seated memories of landscape with watercolour artist Ione Harrison | North Yorkshire branding photographer & filmmaker

Kirbymoorside watercolour artist portrait in her studio

I first met Ione through the fabulous and inaugural Ryedale Open Studios in 2021 – me newly moved to the area and keen to meet other artists in the area. I fell in love with her stunning paintings over Instagram – a true example fo the power of social media to connect and to reveal art that really speaks to you.

So, already a fan of her work, I was delighted when she commissioned me to work with her to showcase her art for a new website.

Working in ink and watercolour, her paintings evoke a deep sense of the North Yorkshire countryside – the colours, the textures, the sense of being with nature. So it was no surprise to learn that her inspiration is rooted in deep seated memories of growing up around the North York Moors. Having travelled all around the world, her work incorporates the vibrant colours of the Middle East, grounded in the earthy tones of the North Yorkshire countryside and the rich palette of the coast.

As with most people – and artists and creatives in particular I’ve often found – Ione was not entirely comfortable with the prospect of being in front of the camera. Often ‘exposing’ yourself and your art can feel like a very vulnerable experience. Art is so personal and as creatives we are quick to downplay our talents or feel we’re being too arty or pretentious when talking about our work or our process.

Artist Ione Harrison painting at her desk

As with all my business and branding clients, we had an initial chat about what she was looking for, how she planned to use any images or content. With my years of marketing and communications experience I am well placed to guide small businesses and individuals about how they might use visual content to maximise their marketing, but also how to get shelf life out of the images and their time with me as a photographer or filmmaker.

Ione and I agreed that a short film would be an asset to her new website alongside some still photographic imagery that showcased not just her work, but her as the artist. Seamlessly combining capturing still photos and video and audio footage, we spent a morning together in her studio chatting about her inspirations and her process to create a short film and a range of images – including a few outfit changes to increase the longevity of the images – of Ione at work, environmental portraits, formal headshots and images of her work itself and the tools of her trade (always good filler imagery when you have something to say but no visuals for social media, or to dot around your website for visual interest) that she can use not just on her website but in social media for the launch of her website and beyond into the months ahead. As I also provide a copywriting service I was able to use our discussions as a basis for writing the text for her new website to pull her brand together as a holistic whole.

All in all, Ione agreed, it was a significantly less terrifying experience than she’d feared! In fact she even enjoyed herself!

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, for my amazing video, photos and copy. I feel like my website is going to look fabulous now. Can’t wait to see how it all comes together. As you know, I felt self conscious and not very relaxed at first for the photo shoot, but you quickly made me feel at ease and, in fact, I really enjoyed the whole process in the end. The quality of the video and photos is outstanding and I especially love how you’ve embedded shots of the local landscape – this really resonates with what I’m saying in the video. The copy is also just what I wanted – I love how you got to the heart of what my art is all about. I hope we get to work together again soon.” – Ione Harrison

Headshot portrait of woman with blond hair and red scarf looking left
image of a watercolour artists palette

Exhibition at The Gallery, Malton | North Yorkshire Artist

image of Skye from Applecross at sunset with pink sky and island in shadow, overlaid with textures

An exhibition of my fine art photographic prints is on display at The Gallery, Malton for the month of January.

All works are available to buy including framed and loose prints, canvas prints, original cyanotypes, unique one-of-a-kind polaroid emulsion lift art. The exhibition features my landscape and abstract prints, including my recent work from the Ebb/Flow series.

semi abstract image of waves in the background in pinks and pale blue hues with marks and scratches caused by immersing the 35mm film in seawater before developing so that salt crystallises on the final negative. Taken at Hunmanby Gap, North Yorkshire.

You can also pick up a copy of my two books on motherhood – ‘Motherhood and Identity: Tattooed Mamas Breaking the Taboos’ and ‘Motherhood’ – exploring identity and the transition to motherhood, social stereotypes and images of real life modern day motherhood. 

Image of books on tattooed mums

Prices from £15.

The Gallery is located on the main Market Square in Malton – noted as the Foodie Capital of Yorkshire! Why not make a day of it and pop in for a browse and pick up a unique piece of art, before popping to one of the many cafes for lunch or a delicious ice cream from the famous Groovy Moo or the delicious macarons from Florian’s Poirot as featured on The Hairy Bikers!


Coast to Coast | November | North Yorkshire Artist & Photographer

Twelve months ago I had this idea, after a year of challenge, to bring together different perspectives around the globe with a uniting theme of the sea. Starting on 31st December 2020 after what can only be described as a challenging year for everyone, the sea and the horizon was a beacon of hope as we inched into 2021. 2021 by no means brought the return to normal that we’d hoped for and we’re ending the year with yet another new variant on the horizon.

But despite the tumultuousness, the sea and the horizon has remained a constant, always there when we need it for contemplation, rejoicing or just reconnecting with the call of the wild.

I’m so grateful to all the artists who took part – and especially to those who reminded me each month that we all needed to post something! Turns out I was very forgetful in 2021! This little community of artists that we’ve built, joined in our love of the sea, has been inspiring and supportive and brimming full of talent. It’s been an absolute joy seeing each perspective each month – from Canada to Australia.

November saw me pulling together more work in progress on my Strandline project, with a mini project that became Ebb/Flow exploring the dialogue between land and sea. I started by photographing the November spring tide and low, mid and high tide at Reighton Sands in North Yorkshire.

Reighton Sands at low tide
Reighton Sands and mid tide
Reighton Sands at high tide

Exploring the foreshore as it is reclaimed and relinquished by the sea with each tide, I collected artefacts left by the sea, photographing them back in my studio black and white, devoid of colour, out of situ and developing the negatives with seaweed developer to figuratively ‘bring them back to life.’

Exploring the foreshore as it is reclaimed and relinquished by the sea with each tide, I collected artefacts left by the sea, photographing them back in my studio black and white, devoid of colour, out of situ and developing the negatives with seaweed developer to figuratively ‘bring them back to life.’

The result was a small artist’s book – handmade with a cover made from pulped cyanotypes of strandline artefacts, hand bound with old fishing rope collected along the shoreline, interspersed with maps, charts and polaroid overlays signifying the various perceptual influences on our association with the seascape and place.

Welcome to our Coast to Coast loop. We are a group of photographers from around the world, from timezones as far flung as Australia to Canada and in between, each with a different seascape. Coast to Coast aims to document our changing sea views and perspectives – both literal and philosophical – of what the sea means to us, month to month through the changing seasons. To follow the loop go to the talented Marialaine Delisle


Coast to Coast | October | North Yorkshire photographic artist

As my project on The Strandline has evolved, I’ve been doing a lot of research into other artists and creatives who are drawn to the sea but also to wild places as well as looking at how our connection to place is informed by our memories and associations with a place. These layers all overlap to give us a unique perspective on places that mean something to us.

This month I’ve been exploring the dialogue between land and sea – inspired by a quote in Robert MacFarlane’s Wild Places (an awesome book that I highly recommend reading cover to cover) in which he talks about the dialogue between liquid and solid. That conversation on the foreshore takes place twice daily where land is reclaimed or relinquished by the sea.

Focusing on this dialogue I’ve been questioning the concept of time and the constant and yet inconstant nature of the sea. Tides dictated by the pull of the moon, yet timeless and in constant motion, almost impossible to capture.

October saw me working on some night photography with long exposures with a large format camera at Sandsend in North Yorkshire, just north of Whitby; walking along Filey Brigg with a medium format camera, where the land jutts out into the sea imposing itself into the water; capturing details left behind by the tide on my mobile phone, with strandline finds at Llanstefan in South Wales; and fully immersing myself in the water with underwater housing, as the tide turned at Hunmanby Gap.

long exposure night photo pf Sandsend  North Yorkshire
night photo at Sandsend North Yorkshire
Hunmanby Gap

Welcome to our Coast to Coast loop. We are a group of photographers from around the world, from timezones as far flung as Australia to Canada and in between, each with a different seascape. Coast to Coast aims to document our changing sea views and perspectives – both literal and philosophical – of what the sea means to us, month to month through the changing seasons. To follow the loop go to the talented Jo Haycock


Coast to Coast |September | North Yorkshire Artist

September has been a funny old month in which I’ve not picked up my camera much. The end of August was a flurry of activity preparing for my installation of my project The Strandline, exploring the metaphorical mark left by the sea, as part of Ryedale Open Studios. And then there was a hiatus while the children went back to school and re-settled in, and I took a break to get stuck into some further research.

But September also saw a week spent in Northumberland at my parents’ house, without my children or husband – something which it is at least a decade if not twice that since I last had that amount fo time just me and my folks. My dad was undergoing an operation and I went up to help out and ferry my mam back and forth from the hospice visiting hours while my dad recuperated. On one trip back from the hospital in Newcastle, after my dad had been moved from the high dependancy unit to a normal ward and I’d been able to visit him for the first time, as we approached the Northumberland coastal village where my parents live, and the summer afternoons turned the corner clearly into autumn and that luminous light of this time of year, that is particular to the north of England, danced across the landscape, I suggested a brief trip to the beach before we headed back to my parents’ house.

Connecting with the coast line again grounded me once more. The sea did with its greens and blues and turquoises as the clouds gathered overhead, and the remnants of the rain and wind and storm that herald the change in the seasons left their black shale-scarred mark on the sand and the flotsam and jetsam of razorbill and guillemot carcasses reminding me of the cycle of life and the constancy and inconstancy of the dialogue between land and sea.

Northumberland sea line

Welcome to our Coast to Coast loop. We are a group of photographers from around the world, from timezones as far flung as Australia to Canada and in between, each with a different seascape. Coast to Coast aims to document our changing sea views and perspectives – both literal and philosophical – of what the sea means to us, month to month through the changing seasons. To follow the loop go to the talented Jo Haycock.


Coast to Coast | Sandsend & Dolphins! | North Yorkshire Photographer

After a flurry of activity getting some big assignments in for my Masters course I confess I’ve barely picked up a camera in August. My focus has been on my installation of my work in progress on the project The Strandline, which took place in my studio as part of the Ryedale Open Studios over the summer. You can read more about my installation at the open studios here.

But I couldn’t resist some phone pictures on a recent trip with my children to Sandsend near Whitby in North Yorkshire – which now I’ve moved north to Malton is just a stone’s throw away.

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Coast to coast | July | North Yorkshire photographer

I’ve probably been to the coast more times in the last six weeks since I moved to Malton than I have for the last six months. It’s so much more accessible; there’s so many fantastic beaches and coves to explore and swim in; and I’ve been spurred on my the impending assignment deadline for my Photography MA to show a work in progress portfolio on my project The Strandline.

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Coast to Coast | June | Filey! | North Yorkshire photographic artist

At last the northerner moves back north (not quite all the way but to Yorkshire at least!).

After 20 years living in London, over a decade of them coming home to the same front door, it wasn’t easy to leave. London has given me a husband and a family; the most amazing and deep friendships; travels and an exciting career ‘In the Thick of It’; lots of gin and laughter; and very many hair styles and colours.

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