North Pennine Gallery


There were too many distractions this year to focus fully on North Pennine Gallery. I’ve stepped in once or twice, but lack of time on the hills meant I was short of material and preoccupied with other projects.

At the age of 51, I graduated from University as a qualified teacher. I’m now fortunate to offer my services to schools and colleges but who wants a 51-year-old teacher when many schools have reduced art as a secondary subject with only one lesson every two weeks. The priority of this government and ministers to make all our children scientists and mathematicians has created an education system based on an ideology of state controlled curriculum, void of creativity and the arts. However, this isn’t the fault of schools, more the privileged who run the country.Thankfully there are still some schools out there which see the arts as a fundamental part of a rounded education, were there is still place for creative thinking and expression.
Lower Teesdale sm

A sketch from the North Pennines- where my heart is.

Happy Christmas

The story about a road


I believe a relationship exists between thinking and walking, more so when your path takes you along less trodden routes. By nature I’m a solitary walker. My mind working better when my legs are moving and void of conversation. A recent holiday along the Solway coast, unearthed memories from younger legs revisiting an old route by way of an evening walk from Kippford to Rockcliffe. My companions on the journey were brooding clouds, short-lived showers and recycled sunlight from the embers of the day. Good fellows I would say.

Years of working from home, building a business that would ultimately rob me of time, and before I knew it nourishment for the mind, saw me isolated from people and places for long blocks of time. This isn’t healthy for the body or mind. Isolation and solitude can cause writers and artists to be more likely to suffer with bipolar disorder.

I exchanged greetings with a young couple sporting two fine looking spaniels. My own black dog (not to be confused with mans’ best friend) was fortunately absent from exercise on this particular day. Under a black sky trimmed with grey and more rain on the way, I watched the young couple pass and disappear from view, I wished a wish to bring back the time that passed me by too.

People do suffer for their art, and clearly some art stems from suffering. Does this make painting and writing the most dangerous professions in the world? It’s no secret that creativity and mental illness are connected – the death of Robin Williams was, perhaps, a sad testament to that fact.

As I descended into the warm overcast evening of Rockcliffe, I sat on a bench and stared out to sea. This painting a memory to thoughts of making up lost time.

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