A LOCAL artist has combined the vibrant colour of the Italian countryside with the picturesque hills of Rossendale to highlight the beauty of the Valley in a new exhibition.

Elaine Cooper, whose husband Karl Mather owns the Mather Gallery in Rawtenstall, has spent the last 12 months painting brightly-coloured scenes from Newchurch, Goodshaw, Clowbridge, Irwell Vale, Bolton Woods and the moors above Dunnockshaw.

The 60-year-old professional landscape painter transferred the palette of tones she has sketched and photographed in the Dolomites and Tuscany to the landscapes of Rossendale for the exhibition of 25 mixed media paintings at the gallery in Bury Road. She said: “I’d really like my paintings to show how beautiful Rossendale is. It’s an amazing place.

“My husband was born here and a lot of our family lives here. It’s such a beautiful place. However it can be seen as bleak during the winter months.

“During autumn, there are incredible reds and golds, and now, in spring time everything’s coming back to life and becomes vibrant again. And there is always the wonderful purple of the heather.”

Mrs Cooper spends time walking alone in the Italian regions as Karl leads guided walks of the areas, joining him out there for some of the six months a year he spends out there.

She said: “Travelling between the Valley and Italy brings my imagination to life, as travel always does.

“They are both such disparate places with their own enigmatic characters.

“And combining elements of the two can create something individual, and cast a new light on what could become taken for granted.”

The collection at the gallery will be on sale all spring.