A NEW exhibition of oil paintings from a renowned Tyne Valley artist is set to open in Hexham, marking her return to painting and exhibiting after five years.

Sue Moffitt, who has had a break from painting due to bereavement followed by ill health, is showing a new body of work at Queen's Hall for six weeks from Saturday, July 23.

The exhibition, named 'Second Nature', captures the souls of the farm stock and wildlife with which the artist said she feels a deep bond.

"I paint to capture the spirit of an animal, its personality and a sense of how they behave, using the paint as an expression," said Sue.

"These paintings are rooted in my identity, my respect and reverence for animals in the natural world, and my hope that humankind can live in greater harmony with them."

Sue is best-known for painting the cows farmed by her late father John Moffitt and latterly her brother Peter.

Hexham Courant: Picture: Sue MoffittPicture: Sue Moffitt

“I grew up with them; my whole life was cows,” she said of her childhood at Peepy Farm at Bywell. “They were my life, I can still feel their warmth, the smell of them when they were sleeping in the byer, the sound of them chewing the cud.”

She has also painted many other types of animals over the years, most of them familiar companions from the countryside where she lives at Newton, directly across the valley from the original family farm.

Dogs, swans and horses all feature in her show, as do some of the animals she has studied during overseas travels.

"Being born into farming life surrounded by animals, wildlife and the countryside has had a profound effect on who I am," she said. "Being in nature and with nature, is my home, and my respect and connection to farm animals and wildlife reside in my inner being.

“It’s been a pleasure to be able to paint and show my work again after a long break, and I hope these paintings touch the people who come to see them as deeply as they have me."

Sue is donating the proceeds of her show to cancer charities and the radiotherapy department at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Second Nature is at Queen’s Hall from July 23-September 7.