The wildlife of Norfolk and its stunning coastal landscape have always been central to my work and formed the core of my early paintings, with wildfowl a particular source of inspiration. Pinkfeet geese in long, wavering skeins etched against a winter sky, wigeon flighting to a flooding salt marsh; to a keen wildfowler such sights are a familiar joy and for a painter offer the added dimension of unlimited and ever changing subject matter. My interest in wildfowling has resulted in commissions to illustrate or contribute to various books on the subject as well as affiliations with sporting and conservation organisations.

Most of my work comes from private commissions however, with grouse moors in particular keeping me busy. I am fortunate to have been invited to paint some of the most spectacular moors in the country and the speed, power and hardiness of the red grouse and its wonderful surroundings are a real pleasure to recreate.

Although drawing and painting were always constants in my life I trained in agriculture and worked as a shepherd. The long and happy hours I spent tending my flock in the Norfolk Breckland gave me the opportunity to watch and learn at close hand the landscape and wildlife I feel so strongly connected to. It is essential to know and understand one’s subject so this was an intensely important period in my development as an artist.

I am self-taught and started painting professionally over 40 years ago following a happy and encouraging meeting with Sir Peter Scott. His great kindness and optimism gave me the confidence to follow that path and I will forever be indebted to him.

I am lucky enough to live in a remote location in the forest surrounded by nature. We see woodcock roding over the house on summer evenings and in October hear the evocative roaring of the stags echoing through the misty woodland. Dawn and dusk in the forest are an incredibly special time for me and I spend many happy hours listening, watching and soaking up the atmosphere as the animals go about their lives unaware of my presence. This time of careful observation and field work forms the basis of all my painting.

With this in mind I also travel further afield. Iceland has been an annual destination for the last thirty years following the pinkfeet back to their breeding grounds in the remote high valleys of that extraordinary and austerely beautiful country. I have also spent time in Kenya trying to capture on paper and canvas the rolling plains of the Masai Mara and the hot, red, dusty bush of Samburu and the NFD. My emphasis is on the atmospheric drama of these wonderful landscapes rather than a photo-perfect reproduction. I am trying to capture the essence of a place.

I was invited to become involved with Artists for Nature Foundation (ANF) and have been on art and conservation trips to Spain and Portugal and to the Great Fen Project in Cambridgeshire with them, both as a contributing artist and as the narrator of a film made by Richard and Julia Kemp highlighting the environmental vulnerability of the Spanish Pyrenees.

I also accompanied my great friend Richard Kemp on a fascinating trip to Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta, Canada to make a wildlife film about wolves and bison. It is safe to say that this remains one of the most exciting and challenging adventures of my life to date.

In 2005/6 I was asked to design the stained glass windows for a private chapel being built in the Scottish Borders for a private client. This was a truly unique commission. My remit was to incorporate all the special places, animals and birds on the estate into the designs of the windows to reflect the earthly beauty surrounding a place of worship.

Exhibitions

  • 2019 Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk
  • 2017 Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk
  • 2014 Croxton Park, Norfolk
  • 2007 Park Gallery, London, “Kenya, The Tribal Landscape”
  • 2006 Knightsbridge Barracks, London
  • 2003 Knightsbridge Barracks, London
  • Regular exhibitor at the CLA Game Fair for a number of years
  • Roland Ward/Holland and Holland
  • Malcolm Innes, London

Books

Under a Colour-Washed Sky, 2019          Solo book – a collection of 170 pictures and a reflection on the last 40 years as an artist, available from Mascot Media

 

Countryside Alliance Game Book 2006 Contributing artist

Boscos Vells/Mature Forests
-ANF in the Catalan Pyrenees
ISBN84-87334-46-6

The Great Fen
-ANF
ISBN 1-904078-13-3

Quadros de Vida/Living Paintings
-ANF
ISBN

Rough Shooting
By Mike Swan
ISBN 1-84037-188-9

Fowling for Duck
By Mike Swan
ISBN 1-85223-048-7

A Pattern of Wings
Edited by Jonathan Young
ISBN 0-04-44-0417-4

Film

Artists for Nature in the Pyrenees
(Documentary)
By Richard and Julia Kemp

Links

www.artistsfornature.com

www.wildlifeartgallery.com

www.songbird-survival.org.uk

www.gamefair.co.uk

www.gct.org.uk

 

 

Further Information

If you would like to know more or would like to buy or commission artwork please contact me here.

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