Alison Tyldesley: landscape painter

A mother is probably the greatest role model any woman can have and many of us have been inspired by their spirit and tenacity.

It is also your mum who is likely to encourage you to follow your dreams and have confidence in yourself.

Artist Alison Tyldesley is one of the lucky women for whom her mother did just that.

“She is a painter, a very good painter, and she always encouraged me to draw and paint when I was young,” said Alison of her mother the artist Barbara Stewart.

“But it was not just that. I have her as my role model because she achieved her success later in life when my dad died.

“It was only then that she really started painting seriously and she became a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, the Pastel Society and the Royal West of England Academy,” she explained proudly.

It was her mother’s late start as a professional artist that has encouraged Alison to do the same now her family has grown up and she has retired from a successful full time career in education.

She studied Fine Art in Exeter, graduating in 1975, and then moved to Sheffield to start working as a teacher with her husband-to-be Chris. The couple have lived and worked in the city ever since.

“I never gave up on painting and I always knew that eventually I would paint full time. I was inspired by what my mother was doing and I knew in my heart I would be able to do the same.”

We are chatting in Alison’s lovely home close to the Botanical Gardens in Sheffield, surrounded by her paintings which are on the walls complete with tags, in readiness for the city’s open studios event taking place at the beginning of May.

It is clear that since retiring she hasn’t rested on her laurels and as well as taking part in community events like Open Up, her work, which is mostly acrylic on canvas, has been in several exhibitions and is at five galleries in Sheffield and Derbyshire.

“Painting has completely taken over my world now,” she says. “Just ask my husband,” she adds with a laugh as Chris, heading off for a game of bowls, puts his head around the door to say goodbye. He smiles and confirms her commitment with a nod.

“He is enjoying retirement the usual way and doing all sorts of things, but I have dedicated myself to my art work.

“The process of the painting is very important to me and I take pleasure in the surface and the luminosity of the paint itself. I paint quite vigorously and use my fingers, knives and cloths as well as the brushes.

“I mull over the paintings for a long time and can work on several at a time. I want the paintings to have liveliness and movement. I spend a lot of time stepping back and looking at them. If they are too flat I am not at all happy.

I don’t do representational paintings – all my work arises from a love of the landscape and I aim to capture the drama of the weather, light and colour, wild skies, the edges, the horizon and receding hills.”

From May 7-June 19 you can see Alison’s work in an exhibition called Towards The Horizon at Tarpey Gallery in Castle Donington.

She also has work at St John Street, Gallery, Ashbourne, Derwent Gallery Grindleford and Cupola and Bessemer II in Sheffield.

The Open Up event in Sheffield is on from April 30 to May 2 and May 7-8.

For more details about her work go to