A Little Wilderness by Rachel Gibson


A Little Wilderness : Paintings and Drawings from the Natural World

‘I have a garden of my own, But so with roses overgrown, And lilies, that you would it guess, To be a little wilderness’.  Andrew Marvell 1621-1678

Ruskin’s own garden here at Brantwood allowed him time and space to research nature and its forces in his closely observed drawings and watercolours. These studies celebrate and illustrate his understanding of the natural world and mankind’s place within it.

My ‘garden’ stretches across some of the more intimate landscapes of Cumbria. Here there are woodlands, fields, hedgerows and hidden valleys which also tell nature’s complex story.  This collection of paintings and drawings reflect both the continuity of the natural world and its inherent transience.

Land unworked by man for his own benefit is often described as ‘wilderness’ on old maps. Here nature takes its own time and seeks its own opportunities. Seasons roll from one to another, each heralding their own special delights and further enriching the land, its fauna and its flora.

Rachel Gibson is an artist who lives and works in North Cumbria.


Rachel Gibson MA

Born in Berkshire, Rachel grew up in Northamptonshire, eventually moving north to Newcastle to study Fine Art at the University of Northumbria. Coming to Cumbria after gaining her degree was a temporary measure. That was fifty years ago! Since then this bewitching place has become both personal base and creative focus. Although she has travelled widely, her response to nature has been founded in her love of the Cumbrian Fells.

Rachel worked as a lecturer of art in further and higher education but has always continued to develop her own career as an artist. She returned to the University of Northumbria in 2006, gaining a Masters Degree in Fine art and Education.

She has been shortlisted for Cumbria Life Culture Award and the Cumbrian Artist of the Year Award and her work selected for major exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

She is a member of the Lake Artists Society.

Her work is held in both public and private collections.

‘It is the landscape of these North Pennine Fells with its massive, open landscape, its flora and fauna and the fading traces of human intervention that I find most compelling. I walk often to follow the traces of the different seasons, looking for small finds and mentally recording natural events that act as echoes from the past or signposts to the future. These are pivotal moments in time. Writing and drawing helps fix my thoughts, it is like trying to ‘catch the shadow’ of a barely tangible idea, something that is real but illusive and fragile.

 My work seeks to reflect the transience of my surroundings, suggesting shelter and growth as well as vulnerability and loss. There is an intuitive involvement with memory and sense of place. Using my own experience of the natural world, I explore in the notion of landscape as an environment of contrasts and uncertain stability and try to experience it and record it ‘in transit’, as a traveller simply passing through.’


Event Information

Date & Time:30th April - 12th June 2022

Brantwood is an independent registered charity - The Brantwood Trust Coniston Cumbria LA21 8AD enquiries@brantwood.org.uk Telephone: 015394 41396 Fax: 015394 41263