A GEOMETRIC principle that underlies some of the greatest art has inspired the work of a Sunderland artist.

Judith Whitehouse, 51, became fascinated with the "golden ratio'' used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians to design their buildings and monuments.

The ratio - used by artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Georges Seurat - is aesthetically pleasing and is found in architecture and art as well as in nature.

Judith, formerly of London, is studying for an MA in fine art at Sunderland University. She exhibited her work at Ushaw College, Durham, at the weekend.

She said: "I had been reading about the artist Piero della Francesco's painting The Baptism of Christ, which was cited as being the supreme example of a painting structured according to the principles of the golden ratio.

"As I researched the subject further, I discovered that it was far more complex than I realised. I became interested in finding out more and my painting developed from there. It's a fascinating subject.''

Judith graduated with a BA (Hons) in fine art from the University of East London in 1992 and worked as an artist and teacher before deciding to study further at Sunderland.

She said: "Being here has really influenced my work and the colours I am using. I have been out walking, looking at rocks and strata, and have been using a lot of dark colours in my painting. I'm also enjoying living so near the North Sea.''

The artist hopes to stay in Sunderland and do research after completing her MA.