Since Christmas I have been upping my weekly running mileage a little, planning ahead for later in the year and some longer adventures. Last week I got dropped below Windgate Nick on the far-western end of Rombalds Moor (aka Ilkley Moor) and ran home to Otley. I was out for about two and a half hours. The weather was mostly grey but it cleared as I was approaching the trig point on top on Ilkley Moor. A bit of blue sky and a change in the light was welcome.
This week the weather is a fair bit grottier - cold, wet, sleety. I'm looking forward to the weekend when I'll in the Lake District with hopefully some white fells to run over.
Happy New Year! I have put a new gallery up - 'A Year in Wharfedale'. This one will grow over the next few months as I do more paintings.
All the work in this gallery has been inspired by the area in which I live. It's been great to travel around on foot and by bike, catching scenes over the seasons and painting them when I'm back home.
2017's been a mixed year. I turned 40, my younger daughter turned 1 and my Dad died. In many ways happy but also sad. I have been working at my analytics consultancy a bit too hard too, I pretty much stopped the painting and writing.
When I realised this was not doing me much good (in the late autumn), I began to rectify things. Now I am fitting in a little painting and writing again and feel soooo much better for it.
I have also been getting out in the mountains a little more (in between everything else!). Here's a photo from the top of Cairngorm the week before Christmas. What a day! I went on to climb Ben Macdui, a beautiful day on the hill.
The day after the snow melted at a pace, I got lucky being there when I was. I will be posting some new work on here soon and am aiming to update this page more than once a year going forwards (maybe even once a week...).
Happy New Year :o)
The year's gone by fast, autumn's gone now it's winter. We have already had a little snow, hopefully more will come soon. I have been inspired by the autumn colours on the Otley Chevin and a couple of snowy runs on Ilkley Moor. Here are a couple of recent pictures.
Summer's here again, last week at least. In between fun and games with an 11 week old baby and lively four year old, I have been sneaking in a few runs and rides, from my front door I can get out quickly to some great places.
This new watercolour painting is the view of Wharfedale from the Bar House at the top of the Leeds Road. It's a great scene, the valley opens out as you turn the corner heading to Otley. Always a welcome view on the way back from working in Leeds or London (or anywhere else for that matter), the countryside and moorland beyond is a very relaxing and rejuvenating sight.
Almost seven months have gone by since I last updated this site. What have I been up to? Having a baby, trying to finish my PhD, building a new website for my data analytics business and developing software for that business. I have not yet finished my PhD but almost have and most importantly my new baby daughter is lovely - healthy and happy.
She is now nearly three months old and I am finding that I have an urge to paint again (very happy to say that I am also running and biking again and steadily getting some fitness back). I have just finished off this map painting of Skye's Cuillin and have one or two other ideas for new work that I will aim to fit in between everything else. I like to be busy...
It's been a fair while since I updated this page. My PhD thesis needs to be completed by the end of February next year - since August much of my time has been focused on it. Thankfully it should be finished in time and I must say that I am very much looking forward to that day.
While I haven't been painting all that much recently I am currently doing another map, this time of Skye's Red and Black Cuillin. I am enjoying this as writing up my PhD is pretty full on and it's a welcome change when get the chance to work on it.
Now it's December I thought I would put on some info about last dates for painting, print and book orders if you would like them in time for Christmas.
**For framed prints please order by December 12th, for original paintings and unframed prints order by December 16th and for books please order by December 21st.**
The picture on the left is of Simon's Seat in the Yorkshire Dales - it was plastered in snow this time last year. Let's hope some more of the white stuff arrives here soon.
Over the last few weeks I have had a few orders for prints. It's always nice when people get in touch with me to do this - and great when they are pleased with their delivery. The two photos below show a large block canvas print of my oil painting Five Hills of Assynt, and two prints of some recent watercolour paintings I have done of the Aiguille du Midi and the Aiguille Rouge - both of these are scenes from high above the Chamonix valley on the side of Mont Blanc.
All of my printing is done professionally and is very high quality (Giclee). You can order prints of any of my paintings shown on this website (originals also available where stated).
Along with this I have been getting out and about on my road and cyclocross bikes in the Dales and North York Moors. On the right is a photo of a barn at the bottom of Buttertubs in the northern Dales and two shots of Rosedale - my first time cycling up Rosedale Chimney - it was brilliant :o)
It's got to the time of year again where Wharfedale (the valley I live in) becomes even richer in colour than usual. Combined with some super dry and fast trails I have been zipping around on my mountain bike, stopping to take photos of the scenery from time to time. All in a very inspiring and fun place to be :o)
I have just got a few paintings finished off and also have got around to putting some older ones I did last year after I cycled the English Coast to Coast (my own version on the road from St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay) online.
I will be putting them in various galleries on this website over the next few days.
Well the summer's flying by even if it hasn't wholly warmed up yet. Last week I got a few days cycling and running in the Lakes. I packed up my kit and cycles from my house to Shipley, got the train through the Dales to Langwathby near Penrith, met my friend Andrea and then cycled through to Threlkeld. Later that afternoon we got in a fine run around Blencathra and the Caldbeck fells.
The following day we cycled around the route of the Fred Whitton. I haven't ridden this for years - it was brilliant and I was really chuffed to be going ok up the hills on the bike as I have had a few injury and illness problems this year.
The next day I headed home but not before a four hour run over and around Skiddaw. All in a great few days running and biking - hopefully it's set me up ok for the Yorkshire Dales 300 bikepacking event this weekend (these days I seem to do my training at the very last opportunity!).
The following weekend I am back in the Lakes to support one of my friends on his Bob Graham. The week after that I will be chilling! I used to race most weekends but these days I think all this activity will be a little shock to my system. Fun though :o)
I have just added a new painting - the first of a fair few that should be forthcoming after my recent three week trip to the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
This one is of Loch Ainort on South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. This is the view we had from the croft we stayed in for a week. It was beautiful I did not get bored of looking at it!
It's also now on my watercolour gallery page.
I am a bit late with this report as I have just got back from a fantastic three week trip to the Scottish Highlands and Islands - South Uist, Assynt and then the southern Cairngorms. Lots of adventures and lots of inspiration for more painting and writing :o)
For the third year running I have been really happy that the GL3D (Great Lakeland 3 day) mountain marathon has given two of my framed prints as prizes to the winning man and woman. Well done to Kerstin Rosenqvist and Dave Spence!
The print is of a map I painted based on the map of the race itself, covering the much of the Lake District National Park, from Ravenglass in the south west to the edge of the Helvellyn range in the north east. I really enjoyed painting this map. In time will do some more, I am thinking first up will be some of the major mountain groups in the Scottish Highlands.
I have been back to the Outer Hebrides for the first time in years. We got a great spell of weather - the picture on the right is of some evening light in Loch Ainort on South Uist. I got in some brilliant running on the hills, took a lot of photos and I've got a fair few pictures in mind to paint from this trip. I will post them up here as I do them.
Over the last few months I have been working on a new project with two very talented women - Helen Mort and Claire Carter. Called 'Waymaking', it will be an anthology of women's writing and artwork that has been inspired by wild landscape and adventure, and will be published in early 2016. Submissions are now open and are very welcome indeed.
You can find out more by visiting the Waymaking website, we hope to hear from you soon!
Now I have started painting maps I don't know if I will be stopping for a while. This most recent one is of the north-west and central Lake District. I have spent years running and cycling around these fells with a map in my hand. I really enjoyed doing this painting, trying to get the shape and structure of the mountains to a degree that it looks like them! Mind you I wouldn't try navigating by it - one of the nice things about art is that it's an interpretation of reality and not an exact science :o)
I've just got back from a great mountain bike ride in the North Pennines. This morning I cycled to Shipley and got a train to Appleby-in-Westmorland. This town sits on the edge of the Cross Fell range, and is a great spot to start a bike ride into these hills. I headed up to the village of Dufton, up onto the fell to High Cup Nick. Pictured on the left, High Cup Nick is an amazing valley, narrow and very steep sided, with a rim formed by sandstone crags. After this I headed further into the Pennines, to Teesdale, and then to the source of the Tyne as I rode up towards the summit of Great Dun Fell. After a fast descent of this hill I cycled back to Dufton and then to Appleby with about five minutes to spare before my train home arrived.
The North Pennines are a lonely, beautiful place, I hardly saw anyone all day, and no one while on the open fell. I did see loads of ground nesting birds - curlews, red shank, golden plovers - and saw two dippers as I cycled downriver from High Cup Nick towards Cow Green Reservoir. A grand day out. Whenever I visit these hills I always think I should get there more.
I have just finished this painting - it's my first go at a topographic map and it's of the Mont Blanc Massif. I am currently working on my next book which has been inspired by a run around the Tour de Mont Blanc I did last summer. Since then I have been painting scenes from the route, writing about the journey and also about the creative inspiration myself and others have gained from getting out and about in the wonderful Alps. The book will be out this autumn and I will be adding more pictures and a few extracts from it to this site in the coming months.
Today I ran the middle section of the Derwent Watershed, from Cut-Throat Bridge to Snake Pass. It's a run that passes over some of the most remote areas in the Peak Distict. The weather was really mixed, heavy snow and hail showers with sun and blue skies in between, making for great light and colours. I always like seeing the mushroom stone. Not only is it interesting it tells me I am in the right place - the navigation is quite tough up there.
I have finally got around to something I have been meaning to do for a while - adding some of my new artwork to this site and also making a few tweaks to it. The main change is the addition of my watercolour gallery page. This currently has four paintings, all of which I have done over the past couple of months. They are snowy and autumnal scenes of the Yorkshire Dales, Lakes and Torridon in the north-west Highlands.
After Thursday's great run in the Lake District, over the weekend I was in the Peak. Loads of snow - I ran the Edale Skyline which was brilliant and got treated to a stunning sunset as I dropped off of Mam Tor back into Edale.
I got a bit fed up (and inspired) by quite a few of my friends posting great snowy pictures of the Lakes on facebook so I took a sneaky week day trip over. It was a perfect day, I ran around the classic Kentmere Horseshoe. After that I went to see the W Heaton Cooper exhibition in Grasmere (fantasic - I find his work beautiful and incredibly inspiring) and then managed to squeeze in taking a few photos in Great Langdale of sunset on the Langdale Pikes - maybe a painting sometime soon. All in it was a grand day out :o)