Joint Exhibition: Jacob Gourley & Sally Sparrow
17 Feb 2023

'Involved' is an exciting new exhibition at Bear Steps Art Gallery in Shrewsbury showcasing the work of photographer Sally Sparrow and oil painter Jacob Gourley - open every day from 10-4pm, until Saturday, February 25. Pictured above: 'The Nymphs' by Sally Sparrow

Winner of the Belle Vue Arts Festival art competition 2022 Jacob Gourley and 'Vogue Italia' photographer Sally Sparrow are joining together in an exciting new exhibition at Bear Steps Art Gallery this month. 

'Involved' aims to create a dialogue between their practices in a way which challenges the implicit assumption that photography and painting are two distinct creative pursuits. 

With 14 years of experience, Sally’s skills with the camera are complemented by her knowledge of retouching and editing on photoshop. Her images have featured on several front covers and full page spreads in a range of magazines, including Vogue Italia. Sally fully directs her photoshoots, and is inspired by a range of themes and subject matter. These include Greco-Roman and Norse mythology, pagan folklore but also editorial/fashion and fine art portraiture.

Jacob on the other hand, although selling the occasional painting during his time studying Fine Art at university, only truly began his professional career as an artist in 2018. He paints a range of subject matter, including portraiture, still life, plein air landscapes and most notably large scale figurative work.

The Girl at the Petrol Pump by Jacob Gourley

'The Girl at The Petrol Pump', 2021, oil on canvas, 5x4', £3995
Sally and Jacob were driving past a Welsh petrol station and Jacob was immediately drawn to it. Due to the location and lack of people it had an abandoned slightly eerie feel, which Jacob desperately wanted to try and capture. After pulling over and Sally having a quick outfit change, Jacob took some reference shots, before returning to studio and beginning the painting. 

Moniasse by Sally Sparrow

'Moniasse' 2022 by Sally Sparrow, inspired by The Girl with the Pearl Earring 

Blossom by Sally Sparrow

'Buttercups' 2018 (vintage fashion) by Sally Sparrow

Jacob says: "I was thrilled and honoured to have won the BVAF. It was a lovely way to be welcomed into the Shrewsbury art scene. Since then I have acquired representation with the Soden Gallery, and currently have my large scale figurative work on display there. I plan on producing a set of smaller works based on Shrewsbury town and surrounding areas in the upcoming months."

Jacob regularly delivers workshops at The Art Shack, Shrewsbury. You are invited to take advantage of his next oil painting class at One for Sorrow Tattoo Parlour on Feb 26, there is still time to book on via his website He is also available for commissions. 

Despite having 14 years of professional photography experience, this is Sally's first exhibition. She specialises principally in boudoir photography and confidence boosting shoots for women but also occasionally delivers photography workshops.


'UMAI' - (plein air), 2023, oil on wood, 8x10" (image), £320 
This small painting was painted on location outside Umai Japanese restaurant. Jacob was drawn to the interplay between the cool lantern light and warm window light spilling into the alley. He plans on painting more of these street scenes around Shrewsbury.