Monthly Archives: March 2018

On Leckford Estate in Hampshire

38541 Leckford Estate thnl

Leckford Estate was the home of John Lewis who founded the Department Store chain. The Estate is still maintained by the partnership and, as well as being a large and important farm, has various leisure facilities which it offers to partners and occasionally to outsiders like me. It also owns about 11 miles of fishing on the River Test in a valley bottom full of wet pasture and willow carr, This is a glorious example of a chalk stream eco-system; some of the pasture has NEVER been ploughed, the botany, bird and invertebrate life is of national importance.

I have visited it many times over the last 25years and often spent most of the day sketching and painting its wildlife. I showed a book of sketches, and the maps that I did or the Wylye Flyfishing club  to the head keeper at Leckford last summer, and as a result was asked to use my ideas as an artist to promote the ethos of the estate.

I have recently completed a hand drawn map of the river bottom for the Fishing club, showing members and guests where they are permitted to go.  It is also created to convey the value the estate places on their custodianship of such a precious resource. A version of it will be made that can be sold to the many visitors to Longstock Park Nursery and farm shop, which is also part of the estate.


Painting swimming trout

I have painted trout in local rivers for many years now and the fascination never goes away. As a naturalist, there is the wonderful experience of patient observation and understanding a wild creature. But there is more.

Chalk streams are very rare eco-systems. There are less than twenty in the world and the majority are in the UK.  they are fabulous places. In the summer, the clarity of the water and the richness of the greens is truly dramatic.

I will never forget the first time I looked down off a bridge into this amazing aquatic world, and learned to see things that most people pass by. This is a confection of rich greens, violets, and oranges tossed about by the dancing surface and the emergence of form out of the chaos of flickering lights; sometimes disguised by reflected UV, sometimes not. It appeals to the artist whose best work often brings form out of chaos and serendipity.

Understanding the way light is reflected off the surface of water is a challenge.

Combine all that with the capacity of water colour to describe the richness of the colour and the fluidity of the subject and you have the reason why I endlessly paint trout in the water, often standing up in very awkward postures.

These places are under huge pressure from water abstraction and pollution; it would be an unmitigated tragedy if they were to suffer continued degradation and efforts must be, and are being, made to restore them.

swimming trout 1 thnlswimming trout 2 thnlSwimming trout 3 thnl

Where art and cartography meet

I have always loved maps,and almost the first thing I do when I go to a new place is to buy one. Wylye Fly Fishing  Club had poor maps that were inaccurate and/or very hard to read and I spent two or three years walking the water and re-mapping them from the perspective of would be fishermen. The sketchbook referred to in my last post contained a complete set of maps as well as sketches which reflected my experiences on the river. Here are a few pictures of the contents.

R Wylye map Wilton thbl

Wylye confluence thnl