BLUE Tree Gallery's new exhibition of paintings and ceramics, The Winter's Light, opens in Bootham, York, on Saturday at 10am.

On show will be original paintings by Richard Barrett, Angela Keeble, Giuliana Lazzerini and the aptly named Sharon Winter, alongside new ceramics by Karen McPhail, all on the theme of winter.

Richard Barrett was born in Cardiff in 1963, grew by the coast and now lives in Yorkshire, and consequently his painting is inspired by both land and sea. "My work is driven by the elements, the changing dynamics of weather and light and how this breathes life into the landscape," he says.

York Press:

Pull Of The Elements, acrylic on canvas, by Richard Barrett

Barrett's paintings begin with a series of sketches, providing an anchor or starting point, and as the process of painting begins, a more intuitive approach comes into play. Instinct and memories then guide the direction of the work, with layers of paint energetically applied using brushes, palette knives and rags.

Texture plays an important part too: scratching, mark making and glazing are often incorporated into Barrett's finished work. The seascapes and landscapes that emerge have a suggestive, abstracted quality, inviting the viewer to find their own interpretation, their own personal story.

York Press:

Here and There, oil on canvas, by Angela Keeble

Angela Keeble's abstract works evolve from a range of sources; direct observations, lasting memories and in particular the act of painting itself. "Being influenced by my environment, having lived in London, Gibraltar and on the Devon and Hampshire coasts, my work is frequently informed by my long association with the maritime and docklands landscape," she says.

Keeble enjoy the process of creating compositions from ideas that provide a starting point but not a pre-conceived vision of the end result. "Working predominantly in oil, I let the paint lead the way," she says. "This approach often involves frequent reworking to resolve conflicts and achieve a simplified unity and balance between the colours and shapes and marks on the canvas."

York Press:

Day End, acrylic on canvas, by Giuliana Lazzerini

Giuliana Lazzerini's series of paintings conveys her experiences of Yorkshire after nearly 30 years of living in the region, having grown up in Tuscany, Italy. "I now have lots of memories from which to unleash my imagination," she says. "As times go by, my urgency to paint has become more and more pressing and I hope that can be seen in this latest series of paintings, in the spontaneous energy of the paint that I apply on the canvas with the combined use of the brush and palette knife."

Lazzerini seeks to "celebrate the beauty of the world that surround us here in Yorkshire in a semi-abstract way". "My love for colour combines with carefully constructed composition to hopefully achieve a pleasing balance, appreciating what we have: the landscape, nature, animals, coastline and the sea and all those beautiful inviting memories, and also the imagination, that special gift we have," she says. "For me, the need to allow memory and imagination to interact is vital."

York Press:

Reflections, acrylic, by Sharon Winter

Artist, illustrator and teacher Sharon Winter graduated from University College, Scarborough in 2001 with first class honours in fine art. "Since then, I've sold my work through galleries in Bridlington and York and undertaken artist residencies and other projects too numerous to mention here!" she says. "I usually paint in acrylics, but I also like to experiment with new techniques and ideas such as printing, collage and book making."

Karen McPhail makes ceramics in a workshop at home in Renfrewshire, creating functional and decorative earthenware ceramics for the home. "Coloured slip decoration, printed decals and glaze are applied in layers to create a playful, collage-like quality," she says.

York Press:

Night Flight Goose, earthenware, by Karen McPhail

Karen also works on art education projects, drawing on her skills learnt when graduating from Glasgow School of Art with first class honours and then completing a post-graduate degree in ceramics in 1990.

The Winter's Light will run at Blue Tree Gallery from Saturday to January 13. Opening hours are 10am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday.