Mountain artist’s show extended in Grasmere

A highly acclaimed exhibition in the Lake District exploring the aesthetic appeal of rock climbing and mountain environments is to be extended at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere.

Prominent Lines, a collection of work by climber and artist Tessa Lyons, highlighting the beauty of rocks and crags, opened to critical acclaim last month at the mecca of climbing art in Grasmere.

The response to the show has persuaded the organisers to extend the exhibition until after Easter.  It will now run until April 11. At the opening event the pictures were admired by artists and climbers alike, including 91 year old legendary climber and writer Gwen Moffat.

And the artist herself will run a workshop at the studio next month.

tessa's work on display at Heaton Cooper

“The workshop consists of experimental mark-making exercises coupled with drawing techniques and development,” said Tessa Lyons.

“To begin the day there will be a strong emphasis on experimentation to explore the qualities of charcoal and ink. Through various mark-making exercises we will be loosening into expressive drawing before moving on to cover more observational drawing techniques.”

Sheffield-based Tessa, 27, works in charcoal and chalk, creating pictures which are inspired by Japanese calligraphy and Zen painting. Tessa is a climber and an artist intrigued by the visual appeal of geology. From large-scale charcoal drawings of mountains, averaging two metres wide, to delicate depictions of individual rock climbs in ink, Tessa’s work looks to capture the essence of the places that she is drawn to.

One of her most viewed recent works is on display at the remote Black Sail youth hostel, a picture of Pillar Rock which was commissioned by the YHA in 2014.  The piece is on permanent exhibition in the tiny sitting –cum-dining room for walkers, runners and climbers taking refuge to enjoy.

Tessa studied illustration at the University of Brighton where she was won the Highly Commended Award by Nagoya University of Arts for her charcoal and chalk drawing Summit of Haystacks, The Lake District. Since graduating she has had gone on to exhibit nationwide in both group and solo exhibitions as well as being shortlisted for numerous awards including the Association of Illustrators New Talent Award, and BITE, the UK’s leading printmaking competition.

Her work is a regular feature in the British Mountaineering Council’s national publication Summit magazine. In 2014 Tessa was invited by Kendal Mountain Festival to commemorate 100 years of the classic rock climb Central Buttress on Scafell in the Lake District.

“Climbers often talk about certain climbs, or lines, as being ‘beautiful’,” says Tessa. “At the crag a prominent line will draw your eye, striking inspiration, leaving you with a burning desire to do the climb. With these drawings I’m looking to capture the essence of those compelling lines with a strong simplicity inspired by Japanese calligraphy and Zen painting, the textural qualities found in printmaking and observational drawings of the rock formations.”

Her workshop is on March 5, from 10am – 4pm,  and provided with the workshop there will be a range of collected objects, photos and an eclectic playlist of music to respond to as well as an opportunity to create mark-making tools and brushes to work with. “If you have a particular object or photograph you would particularly like to draw from then please bring it along,” said Tessa.

The workshop is suitable for all abilities and costs £50, with some materials provided. Places are limited so call the studio to book on 015394 35280.


  • The Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere was opened by William Heaton Cooper in 1938. It is a hugely popular tourist attraction, with more than 90,000 visitors last year. It features work by the Heaton Cooper family and guest artists, with the Lakeland landscape at the heart of the gallery’s displays.


  • The Heaton Cooper family tree is a pictorial essay on the development of art in the Lake District and beyond. There are 10 artists represented, including the sculptor Ophelia Gordon Bell, (herself the daughter of the animal painter Winifred Gordon Bell) and Julian Cooper, the internationally renowned painter whose recent work has been concerned with finding a relevant contemporary language for painting mountains and rock all over the world. The most well known works are by Alfred and William, each distinctively capturing the magnificence and beauty of rock and fell, stream and lake.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s