After enjoying the BBC’s ‘Autumn Watch’ in 2009, where a team of scientists were stationed on the island of Rum watching Red Deer with a webcam. I became so engrossed by the story of the stags and there ritual mating duals, I decided to learn a little more. This was one of my attempts at capturing a little of what the webcam brought into my studio.
I painted this picture in the summer of 2009, perched precariously above rocks at Low Force. It was a lovely warm day, with plenty of insects to keep me distracted. I was booked to lead a Natural England -Watercolour walk on the following day as part of their summer event programme. I thought this would be a great spot to bring the group, sitting as it does on an island in the middle of the river. There’s a dry channel allowing you onto the island that’s covered in Yellow Globe flowers. However, after a night of torrential rain, the island was completely inaccessible. Make the most of every nice day!
The Barnacle Goose (branta leucopsis) winters on coastal grassland pastures and marshes. This watercolour was painted in December 2009 from photographs taken at Saltholme RSPB in Teesside. It was a challenging subject, as I tried to capture the grey bleakness of winter, while showing these magnificent creatures in all their glory. I took lots of pictures that day, yet still found the need to use extra resources to get the colour right. I produced the background in photoshop, so this picture is a slight hybrid of watercolour and digital retouching. I think it worked really well.
This is an area where I spend a great deal of my spare time. It’s a wild unforbidding place, one that captures the very sprit of the Tees in its upper reaches. Reaching for a single adjective to describe this landscape would be to call it a ‘wilderness’. However, in 1971 this river was tamed by the industries in Teesside when Cow Green reservoir was built. Public knowledge of the rare and diverse specious of plant life that surrounded the proposed reservoir was limited and the conservationists lost their battle against the industrialists. The reservoir no longer serves industry on Teesside. The oil crisis of the early 70’s saw to that. It did however bring to the attention of the media and public, the importance of this environment.
Just a few of the paintings from 2009. Most of these were done on location, with a few taken back to my studio for work in the warmth! I do find that the best examples are those that are done quickly on the spot!
Most of the illustrations in ink, probably found their way to my studio for completion. The ink bottles can be dangerous to carry around, so I prefer to keep these at home. I’ve played around with various mediums, but for me, ‘Peat Ink’ is a fabulous colour that captures the peat landscape and the fauna of the habitat. Yes, I do paint a lot of sheep (but only those I can catch 🙂
Well here it is, my first post on my new blog. I’m an artist living in the North East of England. Two of my passions are painting and the North Pennines. By combining them both, I have a hobby that’s seems to be slowly turning into a full time career.
After leaving art college in the mid eighties, I’ve spent the past 25 years working in advertising as a designer/art director. I enjoy my work but also enjoy spending as much of my spare time painting in the North Pennines.
I work mostly in watercolours, inks and acrylics. Over the years my style has changed, becoming very loose, almost impressionistic. Click on any of the images for a larger picture. Influences include; Heaton Cooper, Norman Cornish, the Glasgow Boys and many others.
I hope by starting this blog, I might in time build up a community of like minded people who enjoy painting and drawing in the outdoors. Perhaps even sharing the occasional tip or two! All of the paintings you see on this blog are for sale (except those of my children). Some of the originals may already be sold. Even so, I have a limited number of prints available, all reproduced on ‘Bockingford watercolour paper’. They offer an affordable alternative to the originals and will include my personal signature and print number. Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org