“Inspired by natural, wild spaces and working in oils, I paint in an expressive way building up layers of applied and blended colour to develop paintings that are filled with light and energy”.

I am a self-taught artist living in West Yorkshire and have two amazing daughters and two delightful grandchildren that make my world rock. Most of my adult working life was centered around health care but taking early retirement from the NHS allowed me to pursue my love of painting more fully and my ‘discovery’ of water mixable oils opened new doors of painterly expression.

A number of elements contribute to my approach in painting. My main genre is landscape and I am deeply inspired by natural wild spaces with rugged, untamed land shapes, big skies and feral moods. I love the moments going into a ravine, or around a corner or over the crest of a hill to find a stunning view that delights the senses. I am constantly fascinated by our relationship with the land, the story of the past in the scars we have created, the way nature always claims a space back and the sense of the lands own wrestle with itself and the elements. The grittiness of these spaces often challenge me about my own place in the world and in our walks and rambles, with my musings and reflections, I often find metaphorical allegories of the human condition in what I see.

” The essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another. we look for metaphorical links to help us understand our experiences.”

George Lakoff

Another increasingly important element in my work is the nature of the painting process itself, particularly since I started using water mixable oils and more recently oils and cold wax medium. Oil and oil and cold wax have allowed me to develop my own expressive style and I am learning to increasingly trust my own creative voice and process. I like to work en plein air doing small studies of skies but much of my main work is done in the studio from memories, notes about my reflections, thoughts and observations, and tons of photo references taken during walks and rambles with my long-suffering husband!

“Wildness is a necessity!”

John Muir
Yorkshire artist Jo Sykes
Yorkshire artist Jo Sykes
Yorkshire artist, Jo Sykes

In the studio I sketch ideas for composition, focal points and tonal balance, all the time thinking about what story I might want to tell and what would help the viewer to respond from their own experience. Although I use my own photographs as a reference, I quickly start to work intuitively, handling the paint in a free and expressive way and applying and blending colour in layers to build vibrancy and depth into paintings that are filled with energy and light.

I am an active member of the Huddersfield Art Society, currently with a role as Programme Secretary which involves co-ordinating a regular members meeting of demonstrations, workshops and talks. I really value the opportunity to promote art in Huddersfield with the society and to support fellow artists in developing their skills and confidence in their artistic expression.


Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England.

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Follow me on Instagram where I share pictures and videos of work progressing in my studio: jo_sykes_artist

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