I’ve mainly been painting birds and woodland over the winter, I love both. Mainly I head to the coast to watch the birds and these paintings are from the Lune Estuary near where I live, and the barnacle geese from the Solway Firth in Galloway. The entire Svalbard population of barnacle geese overwinters on the Solway Firth and it is really worth a visit to see them.
The Scottish word for curlew is whaup. I was in my twenties before I knew that they were the same bird 🙂 Morecambe Bay is a wonderful place to see them and other wading birds.
Whaups, Morecambe Bay. Oil on canvas, 61 x 46 cm
Barnacle Geese, Solway Firth. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm.
Little Egret, Lune Estuary. Oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm
I just thought I would share a couple of photos from this morning, I went to Conder Green on the Lune Estuary. Such a beautiful day that even the mud looked nice – reflecting the blue sky. I love the shapes carved by the tidal channels in the salt marsh and mud, and the birds are always fascinating. Today there were lots of redshank scurrying around busily, feeding before the tide covered up the mud. I think they were redshank anyway, they had red legs.
I’m planning a series of larger paintings from my accumulated sketchbooks of the Lune Estuary, I have dozens of sketches of birds and the river, I’d like to do something with them.
My Mighty Midget telescope and sketchbook
Wellies essential all year round in Lancashire
Conder Green. Glasson Dock in the background and a flock of oystercatcher and knot?) which rose from the opposite side of the river
Redshank feeding on the mud, incoming tide
Blue Mud! An acrylic study I painted from my watercolour sketch.
I’ve been working on a few different things recently, and painting the canal has been one I’ve really enjoyed – probably more so than painting the back door, which has been another project. The door was easier though.
These are mixed media paintings in watercolour and acrylic paint. I live very near the Lancaster canal and spend a lot of time both canoeing along it and walking my dog, sometimes also canoeing with the dog, (as he prefers to be in the boat). I love the tranquility of the canal, and aimed to capture its ethereal beauty in my paintings.
These are all paintings of my local stretch of the canal, between Garstang and Lancaster, including my favourite bit which is the arm to Glasson Dock.
My exhibition of drawings and paintings, Lune Year, will be on show at Halton Mill in December and January. The exhibition opening is between 12 – 4 pm on Saturday 3rd December, and all are welcome, do come along if you’re free. There is also an arts and craft fair at the Mill on the same day, and the cafe will be open. It would be lovely to see you there.
My work will remain on display at Halton Mill 10 – 5 (weekdays only) until Friday 13th January.
I’m launching the exhibition to coincide with the anniversary of Storm Desmond, which caused extensive flooding in the Lancaster area and elsewhere in the North of England. The peak recorded flow of the Lune was equivalent to 41 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water going past the measuring gauge every minute, a rate that would fill the Royal Albert Hall in less than a minute. For anyone who knows this part of the river, the Lune was flowing over the top of the Crook O’ Lune bridge, several metres above its usual height. I have never before experienced such an event, and while the floods themselves were both terrifying and awe inspiring to watch, it was the aftermath which has really fascinated me. The river and riverside at Halton has been profoundly altered, with many areas washed away, new islands formed, and almost a year later, grass and debris are still hanging in the trees high above the usual waterline. After the floods receded, all these changes in the riverside really became apparent, and I decided to continue drawing and painting the river throughout the year; this exhibition is the result.
As I have mentioned on my blog previously, this year I’ve been working on a series of paintings connected to the River Lune and the floods of last winter. I’m planning to exhibit these to coincide with the anniversary of Storm Desmond (5th/6th December) – or thereabouts, in the Lancaster area. I’m looking for others who may have been working on art/writing/films/poetry/whatever related to floods or the River Lune or climate change more broadly and may be interested in also exhibiting their work or collaborating in some way. I’m also looking for somewhere to show my paintings. I have a couple ideas in mind but have not decided anything yet.
If you are interested in collaborating or have any suggestions, please get in touch at email@example.com. I am away for a couple of weeks until early September but I will get back to you as soon as I can.
High Water on the Shortest Day. River Lune, December 2015. OIl.
This oil painting is part of my series, Lune Year. I’m painting the river every month since the big floods last December. I’m planning to exhibit them as a series to coincide with the anniversary of the biggest flood, on December 5th. Which might be slightly tempting fate.
Come and visit our shared artists studio at Unit 2.9, Halton Mill. The artists will be there between 10am and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday 23rd and 24th July. Original artwork, prints, and cards for sale. Browsers welcome. Halton Mill is located on a beautiful riverside setting with lovely walks. The cafe will be open serving teas, coffees, home baking and lunches. You can find directions to the mill here, scroll to the bottom of the homepage: http://www.haltonmill.org.uk/
A short lived spell of warm sunny weather in the past few days has finally brought a touch of green to the trees. This sketch is of the brand new sycamore leaves opening, the grass from last December’s floods still wrapped tightly around the branches.
Its mixed media; acrylic and pastel, on a watercolour background.
New leaves of Sycamore with Flood Grass, mixed media
These drawings are of buddleia and flowering currant bushes growing alongside the River Lune in Halton, outside my studio. They are just beginning to bud, and I wanted to record the budding leaves and blossoms tangled in the ‘flood grass’, or warlords whiskers, as a friend calls it.
Buddleia & Flood Grass #1, mixed media
Buddleia and Flood Grass #2. Mixed media
Flowering Currant with Flood Grass. Mixed media
Without really planning it, I’ve embarked on a project I’ve called Lune Year. I am drawing and painting the river, and the riverside, for twelve months following the ‘big flood’ of December 5th, 2015. I’m fascinated by the way that the riverside has been so profoundly changed. From late November until mid January, give or take a few days, the river was in spate. On the night of 5th December, the river flooded to unprecedented levels. The environment agency recorded the flood on 5th/6th December as follows:
The River Gauge at Caton on the River Lune recorded the highest ever flow on an English river as 1742 cumecs (m3/second) – That’s 1742 tonnes of water flowing down the river every second! The flow peak was recorded at 00:15 on 6th December 2015 following the intense sustained rainfall from Storm Desmond.
The river throughout December and early January was pretty scary to be honest. However, it was also utterly fascinating. I spent a lot of time filming and photographing it, at different points within walking distance of my studio, and I began my series of paintings and drawings. I’m planning to exhibit them next spring, once the twelve months is up. In the meantime, I’ll post some of the work on my blog.
This painting shows the ginnel (alley) behind the street I used to live on. I went there last week in the rain, for no particular reason other than I was nearby. I set myself the challenge of trying to paint, without exaggeration, the flat grey light of a grey street on a rainy day. Dreich, to use a good Scots word. There are no trees and you can’t really tell if the scene before you is summer or winter. The grass and slime on the stone is bright green year round. When l lived there I used to say the reason I knew it was summer was the snails climbing up the windows. I like the way the wheelie bins have to be carefully parked in order not to roll away down the steep slope. I’m not sure if the painting is finished or not so I’ve propped it up in my studio to observe it for a while.