Tag Archives: oil painting

Recent bird paintings

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 ūüôā Morecambe Bay is a wonderful place to see them and other wading birds.

Whaups, Morecambe Bay. Oil on canvas, 61 x 46 cm

Whaups, Morecambe Bay. Oil on canvas, 61 x 46 cm

Barnacle Geese, Solway Firth. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm.

Barnacle Geese, Solway Firth. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm.

Little Egret, Lune Estuary. Oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm

Little Egret, Lune Estuary. Oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm


Pittenweem Arts Festival 2017

I’m currently showing my work at Pittenweem Arts Festival, in venue 82. Ovenstone 109 is a fledgling brewery and lovely new festival venue which opened this year – formerly a John Deere tractor showroom – (my siblings and I used to enjoy passing by!)

Here’s some photos. There are 11 other artists and makers exhibiting their work here. You can see their websites and work here. ¬†We’re open until Sunday 13th August, from 10 am until 6 pm each day.

My helper Ashby and I after setting up. Photo by www.iain-robinson.com

Inside Ovenstone 109

My paintings

Outside Ovenstone 109

The reservoir behind – used to be the water supply for Pittenweem

Skipton Art in the Pen

I’ve just spent the weekend at Skipton Art in the Pen. Here’s a couple of photos of me in my cattle pen ūüôā I would love to share lots of shots of some of the other stalls but sadly barely got a chance to see any of it. Lots of very enthusiastic visitors though. Many thanks to everyone who came.


Skipton-Art-Fair-3Skipton Art Fair 2

Denmark Street, Lancaster

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.

Denmark Street, Lancaster

Denmark Street, Lancaster




The Last Skydancer limited edition prints in aid of Birders Against Wildlife Crime

Limited edition prints are now available of my oil painting “The Last Skydancer”, which I painted earlier this year in memory of Hope and Sky, two young hen harriers who went missing, presumed shot, shortly after fledging from their nests on the Forest of Bowland. Following the recent news of a further five¬†hen harriers missing in Bowland and elsewhere in Northern England, rendering them all but extinct in the country, I decided to try and raise some money to help tackle the illegal persecution of these beautiful birds. I’ve never seen a hen harrier except on the road signs around the Forest of Bowland. I would like to hope that this painting is mis-named, and that one day I will see a Skydancer swooping over the moors near where I live.

£16 from every print I sell will be donated to the campaign group Birders Against Wildlife Crime, to raise awareness of the plight of the hen harrier.

You can order a print of The Last Skydancer here. Please note that the prints are printed on demand, and delivery times are up to one month. Postage is free within the UK.

The Last Skydancer. Limited edition print

The Last Skydancer. Limited edition print

The Last Skydancer on show at Platform Gallery, Clitheroe

I’ve just crossed, or rather skirted around the snowy Forest of Bowland to deliver three paintings to the Platform Gallery in Clitheroe.¬†They will be exhibited in “Creativity within the Beauty”, an exhibition of work by¬†artists from across the region. The exhibition commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Forest Of Bowland being designated as an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

I’m exhibiting three¬†recent paintings.¬†‘The Last Skydancer’ is my most recent Bowland painting. I originally conceived it as a study of the mid-winter moorland, before the snow.¬†I wanted to capture the beautiful shades of colour of the moorland, which has huge variety even on a dull day, (as most winter days are here!). I added in a hen harrier, or Skydancer, as they are sometimes called, afterwards.

I had been reading about the plight of this upland raptor which is now all but extinct in England due largely to persecution on grouse moors. Hen harriers love to eat grouse, so are shot by gamekeepers protecting grouse for the shooting season. The Forest of Bowland used to be a stronghold of the hen harrier, but in recent years their numbers have plummeted Рfrom 15 pairs in 2005 to effective extinction by 2014.  Then last summer, their luck seemed to pick up slightly when following a two year absence where no hen harriers bred at all in England, the birds somewhat miraculously returned to the Bowland fells to nest. Under 24/7 survelliance by RSPB staff and volunteers, nine chicks were raised, a bumper crop of skydancers. But shortly after having fledged the nest two of the young birds, Sky and Hope, went missing. It is not known what happened to them. Their radio transmitters and bodies have never been found, and despite the offer of a £1000 reward, nobody has come forward with any information and no perpetrators have been identified.

Despite living on the edge of the Bowland Fells, the closest I have ever come to seeing a hen harrier is on the Forest of Bowland signs, so perhaps it is somewhat ‘cheating’ to paint one. Nonetheless, I painted this in memory of Hope and Sky, the young birds who went missing last autumn. I hope very much that this painting is mis-named and that one day I might see a live Skydancer gliding above the moorland.

There are also two other paintings that I’ve recently finished on display in the exhibition, ‘Sheep, Hawthornthwaite Fell’, as seen in the snowy late winter of 2013, and ‘Autumn Sky over Wyresdale’, which shows the view looking west from the little Bowland fell of Nicky Nook.

'Sheep, Hawthornthwaite Fell', Oil on board 89 x 89 cm

‘Sheep, Hawthornthwaite Fell’, Oil on board, 89 x 89 cm

'The Last Skydancer', Oil on board, 91 x 66 cm

‘The Last Skydancer’, Oil on board, 91 x 66 cm


'Autumn Sky over Wyresdale' Acrylic on board, 40 x 30 cm

‘Autumn Sky over Wyresdale’ Acrylic on board, 40 x 30 cm