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Artist Interview with Nel Hume

An abstract painting with rough rectangular shapes and drips of paint in a muted white, cream, blue and brown colour palette
One of Nel Hume’s abstract paintings

Nel Hume is exhibiting a selection of paintings at The Courthouse in Let The Light Back In from Tuesday 12th April – Friday 22nd April.

We did a Q&A with Nel about her work, how she started as an artist, and what inspires her.


Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Nel Hume and I am an abstract expressionist artist based in Gilling West, North Yorkshire.


Tell us about the exhibition you’re involved in…

This solo exhibition at Rural Arts is called ‘Let the Light Back In’. It reflects the space and light of the landscapes that inspire me most, namely the seascapes of Northumberland and the dramatic landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales. The most recent paintings in the exhibition were created towards the end of lockdown. Because I get most of my inspiration from journeying and walking in natural environments, I had struggled to paint during this time, as travel was so limited. As the world opened up again, it genuinely felt that light was being ‘let back in’ in so many ways.


Which mediums do you use and what’s your process?

I explore colour, shape and texture in multiple layers of acrylic paint on canvas and board until it forms a feeling of wholeness and completion.


How did you first get started as an artist?

I have been painting for several years although I am only 17 years old. From a young age I shared the delights of the natural landscape and painting with my grandmother – artist Jo Hume. I have had solo exhibitions at the Yorkshire Dales National Park centre in Bainbridge, the Leyburn Community Art Centre, and taken part in shared exhibitions at Alnwick Playhouse, Feltonbury Festival, arts fairs and an Open Studio in Gilling. I was on the young artist platform at the Swaledale Festival and I’m a member of an art collective in Northumberland. I was selected for the RA Young Artist Online Exhibition in 2019.


How did you get involved in the exhibition at Rural Arts?

I was thrilled to be asked to exhibit at Rural Arts and touched that both Angela (Operations Manager) and Max (Director) had liked my work so much. Abstract art can be an acquired taste, so it felt lovely to be recognised in this way. I loved the space when I visited and feel very grateful for the opportunity to exhibit here.


Had you visited us before?

I have only visited once to meet about the exhibition and to see the space. I’m looking forward to visiting again very soon.


What are you inspired by? Do you have any artists or themes you’re influenced by?

My inspiration comes from walking the landscapes of Yorkshire and from the seascapes of Northumberland, capturing the feelings of space, light and a sense of place. I enjoy all types of art and am inspired by the work of modern-day abstract expressionists, including Louise Fletcher and David Mankin, who says that after spending time in his local landscape and its beauty, he can shape “something from nothing” when he returns to the studio.  I feel the same!


What are your links to and thoughts about the arts in North Yorkshire?

I am still very young and have a lot to learn about the wider sphere of the arts in the locality, but my feeling is that they are just so, so important for young people. There are so many mental health issues for young people at the moment, and the arts and creative pursuits in general are just so vital and healing.


You can see Nel’s work at The Courthouse until Friday 22nd April. Open Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10am – 4pm.

Artist website:

Instagram: @nelamberhume

Paintings on the wall of the Courtroom space
Nel Hume at The Courthouse