Wednesday, 29 October 2014


STEPHEN Yates is a keen traveller and painter living and working in Beaminster after retiring from a career of over 40 years in teaching. He grew up in North Yorkshire and qualified as a teacher, graduating from Nottingham University in 1974, and became head of art and design at Colfox School. He now runs a small business venture called arti2 and is currently trekking across the Great Wall of China.

I UNDERSTAND you have taken part in Dorset Art Weeks and Sculptures By the Lake, how did you get into art?
At the age of about seven I became aware that I had a gift and was often chosen to do special work at school. My mother spent hours with me as a child and still encourages me.  As a full-time teacher one gets little time to explore one’s own work, so after retirement three years ago I began working much harder at my own work. The exposure to galleries and exhibitions has gradually increased and I was selected to take part in the first UK “Quick Draw” painting at Sculpture by The Lakes. I had to paint a large canvas in 90 minutes, which was auctioned that evening!

ARE you currently working towards any exhibitions in the near future?
Just local exhibitions but belonging to a project called “Interrogating Landscapes and Seascapes” is an exciting challenge with many other artists involved. It would be great if gallery owners spent as much time and effort as artists to look at emerging artists too.

COULD you tell us more about the “Interrogating Landscapes and Seascapes” project?
The basic principal is to get back to drawing and making marks to collect information in sketchbooks and to re use these images later to create artwork. Artists were offered a broad scope of themes adaptable to any media or artistic genre including craft, design, sound, writing, moving image, as well as historical or scientific interpretations. The main difference for me was the interaction with other artists, about fourteen artists from all over Dorset were involved and two exhibitions were produced at Bridport Arts Centre. There is more at the website

YOU are also embarking on a trek across the Great Wall of China, tell us a bit about that - how did it come about?
I have raised money for NSPCC for the past few years, running the London Marathon in 2012 and helping them develop their schools project too. Vulnerable children need to be able to use childline and access help. It will be a challenge and I get to see a different culture and terrain and the Terracotta Warriors!  You can still sponsor me at

SO you like to get out and about and take on a challenge?
Yes, since early childhood the Yorkshire Dales and the Moors were all in easy reach. I began camping and backpacking in my early teens. In my career as a teacher I was involved in outdoor pursuits, mountain leadership, sailing and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and encouraged young people to explore the Northern Uplands. On my arrival in Dorset I established a group and Dartmoor was our fix for expeditions. I still enjoy the many local coastal walks and the West Dorset countryside and combine this with my love of painting landscapes and seascapes. We live on a beautiful planet, which we all need to get out more and enjoy.  

WHAT do you like to do in your spare time?
I volunteer lifeguard services at Bfit Beaminster and sail a wayfarer dingy from Castle Cove Sailing Club in Weymouth. I love to travel and my first grandson, Brynley, and son and daughter-in-law, Peter and Adrienne, live in Canada BC, so I get to ski in the winter too!

WHAT would you do if you won the Lottery?
Continue to enjoy every day as I do now and probably own a property, boat and studio in a much warmer climate. 

IF you could live your life again, what would you do?
Just live life to the full!

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