David Coleman is an artist, fly fisherman and naturalist who has been visiting Leckford estate, with fishing rod and sketchbook, for 25years. Twelve months ago he was invited to used his art to help the river management to raise the profile of this beautiful and precious environment as a place to visit and fish. As of May 2018, some of his work will be on display in the restaurant at Longstock Park SO20 6EH, and signed prints plus a few original pieces of work will be made available for purchase.
He says, “I have always taken a sketch book with me on fishing trips. Often it lay in the bottom of my bag all day as the pursuit of a trout to dream of took over everything.
Then, occasionally, a beautiful specimen safely landed opened the way for me to devote the time and patience to try to draw it. Later still, sometimes at home, colour was added. And over the years a collection of efforts to capture the moment filled water, coffee and mud stained books that became my personal memory of many many happy hours. In those hours I found that the emotional space created by this diversion allowed me to creatively seek solutions to problems that were eventually turned into an academic career.
Over the years, the power of using sketchbooks to contain moments otherwise soon forgotten became an obsession.
When I retired from the NHS I studied for 3 years at the Art Academy. I have long had a particular interest in the visual records made by Victorian Naturalists and the way this genre has developed in the last 100 years. I have been significantly influenced, and taught, by John Busby RSA, Darren Woodhead, John Threlfall and John Steele and Tanya Russel amongst many others”.
As well as painting as a fisherman, David has used his art on conservation projects in East Africa and on his adventures as a very keen (but not particularly expert) ornithologist.
In the summer of 2018, David started to paintings in the Longstock Park water gardens. These are a mini (perhaps not so “mini” version of Claud Monet’s Garden at Giverney. They certainly evoke the spirit of his famous water lily paintings. This is what has kept e occupied during October 2018.