THE best artists have to be sought out, reckons Ann Petherick, who runs Kentmere House Gallery in York.

"They are the ones who paint because they love to paint," she says. "They seldom promote themselves but are to be found working quietly and with dedication in their studios and attics, and their commitment shows in their work."

Ann cites Keith Roper, the focus of the Scarcroft Hill gallery's latest show, Above Us Only Sky, as one such artist. "I first discovered Keith showing at the Usher Gallery in Lincoln in the 1990s, where he's coincidentally now showing work as part of the Lincolnshire Artists exhibition till the end of April," she says. "I've shown Keith's artwork at Kentmere House ever since and I regard him as the perfect illustration of my maxim that the best artists have to be searched out."

Roper is a native of Lincolnshire, "a county that many foolishly dismiss as dull," says Ann. "They clearly have never seen Keith’s paintings, which reveal the astonishing range of colours to be found there and the amazing ever-changing skies. The understated colours of the landscapes and estuaries of that area ideally suit Keith’s quiet, subtle and unpretentious paintings."

Roper, who has shown at the Royal Academy on several occasions, has just returned home from exhibiting with the Pastel Society in London. "He has shown there regularly for the past 15 years and is now regarded as one of the leading members of this prestigious organisation, which exhibits regularly at the Mall Galleries and has many nationally-known members," says Ann.

Most of Roper's work is in pastel, complemented by occasional forays into oils, and his pastels sell regularly for £500 to £600. His paintings can be seen every Thursday at Kentmere House from 6pm to 9pm; at both York Open Studios weekends on April 6 and 7 and April 13 and 14, and on the May 4 and 5 open weekend, from 11am to 5pm each day. Alternatively, the gallery can be visited at any other time by arrangement with Ann on 01904 656507.