A CHARITY event in aid of St Leonard's Hospice will be held at Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York, on June 12  from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Ann Petherick's gallery is at present showing artwork from the studio of Jack Hellewell, 1920-2000, under the exhibition title of A Life In Colour. Admission will be by donation on the door with a suggested contribution of £6.

Twenty-five years ago, Ann first saw the work of Yorkshireman Jack Hellewell in a framing shop in Ilkley. "Having tracked him down, I gently suggested that perhaps a framing shop was not the most appropriate venue for painting of his calibre," she recalls.

"Such was the modesty of the man that I’m sure he had no idea what I meant. This approach continued for the rest of his life: although he loved to sell his work, he hated having any involvement with selling."

Hellewell's art repays careful study. "Its lessons are not always immediately apparent but it teaches people to look: to consider to appreciate colour and form. I find people coming back again and again and appreciating more each time," says Ann.

"Jack was an amazing painter, whose work sings with colour. He lived for his painting, spending all day and every day painting after his wife died, and his daughter said the only way she knew he was really ill was when he stopped painting. The result is a substantial archive that Kentmere House is taking care of in partnership with his daughter. There are many she will never sell – just as we have many in our own collection we wouldn’t sell – but from time to time she releases a small batch of work."

York Press:

Socotra, Indian Ocean, by Jack Hellewell

Born in Bradford in 1920, Hellewell trained as a painter at Bradford College of Art – David Hockney's college – from 1949 to1952 and in later life lived in Menston and Ilkley. He saw war service in Egypt, North Africa and Italy and then worked as a graphic designer, when his travels with his family took him to Australia, Austria, New Zealand, the South Seas and frequently to Scotland.

In 1976, he gave up his design work to become a full-time painter and returned to West Yorkshire. Describing himself as a fanatical painter, for the last 25 years of his life, he spent almost all of his time painting. All his work was executed entirely from memory – he always refused to sketch on site, believing that “it ties you down” – and everything was derived from personal experiences.

"His travels and encounters had a dramatic impact on his painting and he had an amazing ability to retain the essence of a place so that years – or even decades later – he could produce a painting from it," says Ann. "Much of his work used the visual experience of intense light in warmer climates, as compared with the more subtle light he found in Britain."

Hellewell always worked in acrylic, enjoying the contrasts it offers between strong and subtle colours and the feeling of movement so central to his art. He had the ability to use the medium both neat on canvas or diluted on paper, the latter giving the effect of a delicate watercolour.

"How many artists like Jack Hellewell are there: producing superbly rich and inspired work, yet entirely unknown to most of the art world, never receiving a penny of public funding, nor any public recognition? But finding them is great fun," says Ann.

A Life In Colour runs until August 5. Gallery opening hours are every Thursday, 6pm to 9pm; the first weekend of every month, 11am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday, and at any time by appointment on 01904 656507.