TWO halves of a whole, painter David Watson and printmaker Morag Eaton are the artists behind the latest exhibitions at Hexham’s Queen’s Hall.

The couple, who have lived and worked together for the past 30 years, have taken over a floor each, with Morag in Gallery One and David upstairs in Gallery Two.

In Another Field: Farming Diversity, Morag explores agricultural life today.

The idea was spawned by the wife of a hill farmer when she said they paid more to have their sheep sheared than they got for the wool, but that it was necessary for the welfare of the animals.

So how are Northumberland’s farmers keeping their heads above water?

Morag said: “With Brexit in mind, farmers have become creative in adding new business activities to their traditional livelihood.

“One of the farms I studied, for example, The Barn at Beal, has taken advantage of its unique position on the only road to Lindisfarne to open a restaurant, coffee shop and campsite.”

She spent a period of time in residence at three farms in all, producing preliminary images on site before developing them at the Northern Print studios in Newcastle.

Together, the results of the screen printing, etching, monotype and pochoir printmaking represented the farmers’ response to these uncertain economic times.

“Arts Council England sponsored the project with the aim of introducing the concept of farming diversity to a wider audience,” she said.

Meanwhile David, who hails from Prudhoe, considers the relationship between our need and the Earth’s need for survival in his exhibition, Gardens and Other Uncultivated Spaces.

He visited farms and gardens rooted in the concept of permaculture to investigate sustainable approaches to food production, he said.

And by representing the land in three states – untouched, healing and cultivated – he aimed to reflect not only the effect of civilisation on the landscape, but also nature’s ability to heal itself.

“As human beings, cultivation is necessary for life,” he said. “But (gardens) are not just factories producing food, they are part of the home.

“To study the life of the garden objectively as it grows, and to watch the gardeners work their magic from the umber of winter to the kaleidoscope of high summer, is to witness gardeners and nature working in harmony.”

His images followed the cycle of the natural year, from the first vernal shoots of spring through to the die-back of winter to the new, first signs of life again.

David trained as a photographer originally, in the 1980s, but says he much prefers the freedom of painting. “Memory and understanding move my brush more than the reality of the scene,” he said.

Two particularly notable successes of late have been the inclusion of his work in exhibitions at the Royal Academy in London and the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh.

This spring, Dave and Morag are opening a gallery and print studio on Bridge Street in Berwick, under the name of Foldyard.

Their Queen’s Hall exhibitions will run until Saturday, March 3.