Tonya Mitchell and Elaine Vizor: Oil and Light

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Free entry


Tonya Mitchell has lived in the Northeast all her life. The beauty and peace of the beautiful countryside of the area has, had a profound influence on her. She says she feels at home in the hills and valleys of Tees and Wear dales.

From the beginning of her artistic journey, she wanted to show on canvas the spirit and soul of this landscape. Working in oil because it was a forgiving and generous medium. The long period of waiting for different layers to dry provided time for healing at a difficult period in her life. She admits she is not sure what the process of painting with oil and the time of drying adds to the experience of the viewer, but it gives the artist time to live with the painting for around six months developing the ideas on to canvas. Tonya is keen to point out how environmentally friendly oil painting is. The paint is made from natural ingredients and all the oils and cleaners she uses are totally natural from bees wax for impasto to, pure distilled turpentine for brush cleaning and mixing with pure linseed oil for mixing with paint.

Tonya is fascinated by the way oil works and the techniques of old masters. Working with Landscape can also be quite traditional, but in all her work she aims to show a twentieth century version of the landscape using techniques that stretch back in time. Tonya would say she shares the heart of the arts and crafts movement, valuing old skills in the face of modern technology.

Elaine Vizor is a photographer working with and without a camera. With a camera, Elaine mainly practices straight documentary photography and also, in complete contrast, unconventional rule-breaking and abstract Light Painting photography. Permanent displays of Elaine’s documentary work can be seen at Killhope Lead Mining Museum and Aycliffe Fabrications.

Elaine’s cameraless photography centres on the 19th C cyanotype process which she brings full circle with 21st C Iphoneography. Elaine uses the cyanotype process, botanical and found objects to produce traditional blue and white images, as well as other colours and tones obtained with the contemporary Wet Cyanotype process. Elaine delivers Cyanotype workshops to all ages in the community. Camera Obscura is another passion and Elaine (& Duncan Vizor) have designed and built their own portable Camera Obscura. Images projected into this pre-photography optical device can also now be captured with Iphoneography. The Camera Obscura and the Cyanotype process work well together too, both providing an insight into photographic history, different ways of viewing and capturing pictures by both ancient and modern means.

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