Monthly Archives: July 2012

Some oil paintings evoking the landscape

I have always tried to paint  landscape in oil, often populated by birds or animals and more recently, with people. Here are a few of my efforts to date, the last one of which I completed this morning.

On nature based figurative art

Why is nature based art almost entirely excluded from the art establishment?

Curiously, this is not simply a revolt against depictive art as the Portrait Painting genre amply demonstrates.

Attached is an essay I wrote about one of its leading modern exponents for the Art Academy course:-

John Busby and 20th Century Nature Based Art


Painting birds and wildlife

A great artist who inspired me to do better wildlife based art is called John Busby, who is an Academician of the Scottish Royal Academy. I, along with a large number of other artists, have benefitted from his courses in Scotland where support has been available from several of the people he has mentored over about 30 years. Here is one piece of work which i did last year as a result of one of the visits he organised to the Bass Rock in the Firth of the Forth.

Drawing classes in British Museum

The Academy has asked me to do all sorts of things I would never have done before. An example is this drawing, about 2meters square, titled “Monumentality”. The teacher was looking for a sense of scale and mass; and an overwhelming presence. It was done from a series of smaller drawings I made in the Egyptology department of the British Museum.

In Spearywell wood

Spearywell wood is a piece of ancient woodland, not far from my home. Here is a poem I wrote one hot July day when the wood was full of Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral butterflies:-

What mysteries reside within the lives of a million buzzing insects

An orchestra of tiny sounds

The soundtrack to a drama in the deepest quiet woodland glade.

Only when these notes are heard can one begin

To hear the gentle breeze

To feel the silent presence of an ancient oak

Or hear the call of some small bird

And imagine yet another drama played upon this stage

With distant calling pigeon way beyond.

But over all, the stillness and the silence, and the power of peace that soothes the soul,

And corrects the self absorbed preoccupations of a human life so easily ensnared by cares

And then..and only then…the still small voice


I have always drawn in a scetchbook. Mostly the subjects have been from nature, usually birds, occasionally animals. I have always tried to learn to memorise what I see down a telescope and to hone up the drawings when I am sitting down properly. Often, sketching of this sort can be very uncomfortable. Observation is a multi-stage process of learning.  Here are a couple of examples.