Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all...

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Before the questions start coming in no it isn't a photograph... the above was done using a combination of Cinema 4d R15, Maya and Autostudio.

Seathwaite in summer, oil painting

Detail from "Tumbling into the pool", Seathwaite, Cumbria.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021374

A hot summer day was spent exploring the River Derwent near Seathwaite, Cumbria. It's one of the valleys at the head of Borrowdale and as mentioned before in previous posts, it's one of the better known starting points for the walk to Scarfell.

Having crossed the river a number of times I came up to this deep pool, some children had been jumping into it from the rocks on the far side, it was a delight to see all the colours and crystal clear water, as just below and above the river was more rocky although this was mid summer and had been dry for some months, therefore the water level was lower than normal.

Frost morning in the Lake District, this time Watendlath Beck

Detail from "Frosty start to the day", Watendlath, Cumbria.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021373

Watendlath valley is a wonderful off shoot of Borrowdale which is over to the right hand side. A steep climb via a single track road from Derwent Water leads you past the famous Ashness bridge - much painted and even more photographed. A Google search will bring up many images if you haven't seen this bridge before.

A little bit further along the road is 'surprise view' a well used spot with a great view over Derwent Water, there is a National Trust car park at the location so no need for the walking boots...

Many turn back here but if you head along the winding road it leads to Waterndlath, with its delightful tarn and small collection of farm buildings and cottages (nice tea room) plus a packhorse bridge -great if you are lucky to see the local Herwick sheep coming across it.

To this painting, I managed (just) to cross some ice covered stones in the river, not always the best of ideas, to get this view point just as the sun climbed from behind the left hand mountain - the small amount of warmth from the sun was more than welcome on what was a very cold morning but it all combined to provide a wonderful subject, great light both on Watendlath Beck, the frost cover ground and the last of the autumn colour on the trees.

Now back across those stones...

Winter afternoon in Langstrath - Oil painting

Detail from "A late winter afternoon in Langstrath", Langstrath, Cumbria.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021372

A few days before this valley was covered in deep snow but a combination of strong winds and a few days of sunlight have removed most of it...

It was mid afternoon due to the low sun angle (it was heading behind the right hand side) even at 3:30 to 4:00 PM a valley floor (like this one) can be in deep shadow and that time wasn't far away.

It was the large stone that I wanted in the painting along with a nice lead in by using the river, although getting to this spot wasn't that easy, even with walking boots on, wellingtons would have been better as there was lots of water running down the slopes (from the snow melt) and almost every step went deep into the mud/wet ground. Although less water running down to the river, it can be same even in summer.

The remaining snow on the flanks of Bowfell added some interest to the background, although sunny at the time it wasn't very warm and wouldn't like to think want it was like on the top.

Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) annual exhibition at Mall Galleries

The nights are drawing in and Christmas is just around the corner; let the Royal Institute of Oil Painters bring a splash of colour to your home this December.

Selecting the best of contemporary oil painting, the Institute's annual exhibition has almost 300 paintings in oil on display, all of which are for sale.

Works are available to Browse & Buy  online now.

As the only major national art society that is devoted exclusively to oil painting, the exhibition features a wide variety of contemporary landscape, figurative and still life paintings by some of the finest established artists working in oil today, alongside work by non-members, all of whom are eligible for the several prizes and awards on offer, including the Phyllis Roberts Award of £2000 for a promising young painter and the Winsor & Newton Oil Painter Awards for artists aged 35 or under.

For aspiring oil painters, there are a number of workshops and demonstrations to get involved in during the exhibition, details  of which can be found on our website:

Exhibition open: 11 to 21 December, 10am to 5pm

Mall Galleries,
The Mall, London SW1
Admission: £3, £2.50 concessions, Free to Mall Galleries Friends, ROI Friends, National Art Pass holders and under 18s.

Still some autumn colour to be found...

The silver birch, well those that I found, still have lots of leaf and more interesting good colour. These are part of Sherwood forest and on both days seen in the evening light.

As per normal, unless to know the area it's lots of walking around until a good view is found...

Summer Afternoon - Ullswater, Cumbria

Detail from "Summer Evening at Howtown", Howtown, Ullswater, Cumbria.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021369
As a contrast to the current falling autumn temperatures, this painting was from a rather warm day in mid summer. The view is from Howtown, the Ullswater ferry landing stage in just in the trees, looking across the lake to the Knotts (Private).

As it was a still evening some wonderful reflections presented themselves, helped by the odd cloud being caught by the evening sun...

Last Lake District visit...

A bit of catching up with this post, as this was from a few weeks ago and ranks as one of the top five trips to the Lake District - sadly at this time of year the number of daylight hours is small but rewarded by the better angle of sun, more colour (not just the light but on the landscape as well).

It wasn't the warmest either, heavy frost and some snow on the tops of the mountains, sketching was hard work at times with gloves etc needed in between drawing... more so at the beginning and end of the each day when the temperature was at it's lowest.

Just after sunrise beside Ullswater. As the sun climbed it cast light over the distant mountains, thankfully the cloud stayed above the mountains although it's shape changed.

Walking up into Deepdale, as can be seen, some snow around Fairfield and the Step. I've visited this dale on a number of times, usually very quite apart from one day when there was a hunt but on the day there were a number of photographers looking for the best spots... sadly due to the heavy rainfall over the last few weeks the stream wasn't cross able to the better spots.

Beside Derwentwater, with part of Skiddaw on the right hand side.

Looking towards Haystacks (darker mid section) with Pillar behind and High Crag, High Style and Red Pike to the right.

Views from this route are superb, here looking over Buttermere and Crummock Water and in the distant Solway Firth and Dumfries. It was late afternoon with about an hour of good sunlight left...

Turning around views of Great Gable, here seen with Blackbeck Tarn.

Lots more to explore and more trips to this location...

The New English Art Club Annual Exhibition 2013 at the Mall Galleries, London

New Art by New English Art Club

 29 November to 8 December, 10am to 5pm (closes 1pm on final day)

This year's New English Art Club annual exhibition boasts over 400 paintings, prints and drawings by some of the country's finest contemporary figurative artists.

Works are available to Browse & Buy online now.

Held at the Mall Galleries, London, the exhibition features everything from landscapes and seascapes, to still life and portraiture. Even better still, with Christmas just around the corner, all works are for sale at prices to suit every pocket.

Founded in 1885, the New English Art Club has been widely recognised for well over a century as a center of excellence for painting and drawing.

The New English Art Club Annual Exhibition 2013
Mall Galleries,
The Mall (near Trafalgar Square),
London SW1

Admission £3, £2.50 concessions, Free to Mall Galleries Friends, National Art Pass holders and under 18s

Last light on the Langdale Pikes...

Detail from "Last rays of sun", Blea Tarn, Cumbria.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021370
A somewhat classic view of the Langdale Pikes seen from Blea Tarn. Usually, a great spot, much depends on the British weather plus depending on your view it's nice to have the reflection on the tarn.

I'd just finished working in Great Langdale itself as the shadow began to fill that valley, for those that don't know the area the narrow road climbs steeply out of Great Langdale, appearing just to the right of the cap 'A' then winds it's way to the right around the tarn. Stunning views can be had from the top of the climb, but as can be seen the shadow was fast climbing the Pikes but thankfully I'd enough time to gather more than I needed. A perfect end, on a still be cold day.

Oil painting - Morston on the North Norfolk coast

Detail from "Rising Water", Morston, Norfolk.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021368

Having waited for the incoming tide, thankfully it was a lovely warm summers day, it was then work as fast as I could to gather the required information. One of the sketches I did for this painting can be seen below (as shown on an previous post).

The rising water helped greatly with this view, remove what had been, up until then, an creek of mud, which itself can be interesting with the correct light and some wetness. It also added some reflections... the downside is that all the boats start moving as soon as they are lifted from the mud and will turn around (if they can) to face the incoming or outgoing tide which means in minutes the view has changed.

The boats hadn't started to move before I finished the above sketch, but a few minutes later the foreground one did and within 10minutes all were afloat. It was a case of working up the background/boats and then waiting for the right time for the water...

Finished oil painting from the Mall Galleries demonstration

Detail from "Dawn on the Norfolk coast", Thornham, Norfolk.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021371
As per the title, here is the finished oil painting that I was working on while demonstrating at this years Royal Society of Marine Artist exhibition at the Mall Galleries.

Most of the work since that day was adding the details to the landing stage, foreground boat, some areas of the water and the creek bank.

Calling all Watercolour Painters - Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours - Call for enties

Seeking the best in contemporary watercolour painting

Since its foundation in 1831, the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) has promoted the essentially English art of watercolour.

The RI was formed to exhibit the best of modern and traditional watercolours and to show non-members’ works alongside those of members, a policy still followed today.

Submit online now

Acceptable media: Watercolour or  water soluble colour (excluding water soluble oils), any use of non-watercolour media must be handled as watercolour (e.g. no heavy impasto, no varnish, etc.).
Work must be painted on a paper based support (no hardboard, textiles, etc.) and mounted under glass.
We cannot receive pictures taller than 2.4m (8ft).

Conditions: Work must have been completed within the last two years. All works must be for sale. Maximum of six works submitted. Maximum of four works selected. Minimum price: £300

Submission Fee: £12 per artwork, £6 per artwork for artists aged 35 or under.

Deadline: Thursday 30 January, 12 noon.

RSMA demonstration - part one

Thank you all those that came along to the Mall Galleries on Tuesday (22nd) for the demonstrations by Lorraine Abraham RSMA - working in scraperboard, sadly William Carney was ill, so Alan Runagall stepped in to do some watercolours and myself - working in oils.

I hope you enjoyed meeting the artists and gained something from the day, be it from asking questions or just by watching.

Personally, thank you to all those that passed comment and asked a wide variety of questions. It was a pleasure to meet you and made the day very enjoyable.

Above are the sketches done on location

Above is how the painting was at the close, the above picture was from someone else (thank you). There's still more work to be done, mainly in the foreground (boat, posts, bank etc).

I'll post the finished painting as soon as possible.

Oil painting of river in early spring...

Detail from "Spring Evening Sunlight", nr Ketton, Rutland.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021366

The late afternoon into evening light lit up this bend in the river, the line of trees on the bank side help take the eye around to the open fields. Being a lovely spring evening there was just enough breeze to provide a slight ripple on the water surface, that combined with the reflections and patches of sunlight/shade on the surface just added to the interest.

Society of Wildlife Artists 50th Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London

31 October to 10 November

10am to 5pm (closes 1pm on final day)

The Society of Wildlife Artists celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion Sir David Attenborough will be opening their annual exhibition The Natural Eye held at London’s prestigious Mall Galleries.

The exhibition will be the London launch of the Society’s new book ’The Natural Eye, Art Book One’ which showcases the talents of the members of the Society and has been published to help raise funds for the Society’s exciting bursary scheme.

The SWLA Bursary scheme is in its 25th year and has awarded well over 70 bursaries to young and emerging artists to help them on their creative journeys. Chosen as ‘Book of the Month’ by BBC Wildlife Magazine this limited edition publication will be available from the exhibition and via

The exhibition has over 330 works by members and non-members on show. Four of the founding members are still regular exhibitors and past President Robert Gillmor, who was integral in setting up the Society, has his ‘Bull o’the Bog’ featuring on the cover of the catalogue. John Busby was also there from the start and has work in this 50th anniversary show that is a showcase for art inspired by the natural world.

The ‘Out of the Frame’ room that shows fieldwork from selected projects by member artists will show 3 artists this year. There will be the stunning work of artist Carl Ellis documenting the fish of his local rivers, Matt Underwood who has spent time in the Alpes-Maritime in France and shows his sketches from the region and Mike Warren who will be exhibiting pieces from his long running project on his local quarry site reserve. 
Admission £3, £2.50 concessions, Free to FBA Friends, RSMA Friends, National Art Pass and under 18s

All works for sale will be available to Browse & Buy online
Find out more at:

Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2013 - starts next week at the Mall Galleries, London

16 to 27 October 2013

10am to 5pm (closes 1pm on final day)

After the wind and rain of last year, the summer of 2013 arguably produced the best painting weather for a long time. Marine artists especially welcomed the summer's blue skies, sun drenched vistas and sparkling seas. The results of their endeavours are not to be missed at the Royal Society of Marine Artists 68th annual exhibition at Mall Galleries, London.

The Society was founded in 1939 and is widely recognised for being the focal point for much of Britain's finest marine art, and currently has a membership of 55.

The Society's common theme is the sea, and whilst most RSMA Members work covers a variety of subjects, paintings submitted for the Society's exhibitions must be related to tidal waters in some way. Traditions such as plein-air, topographical, historical, still life, and figure painting are all welcomed.

Admission £3, £2.50 concessions, Free to FBA Friends , RSMA Friends, National Art Pass and under 18s

All works for sale and some are available to Browse & Buy online now.

Find out more at:

Part of the RSMA Exhibition now showing online and list of RSMA members demonstrations during the show

Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2013

With just over a week to go before the RSMA exhibition at the Mall Galleries to go... some of the paintings in the show can be seen here

You can purchase paintings by calling the gallery if you see something you like.
Please note this page is has lots of images and can take sometime to load if you have a slow connection.

Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2013 Painting Demonstrations

RSMA members will be working in the gallery. Do come along and chat to them, pick up hints and tips on techniques and watch them at work.

Mall Galleries info

Wednesday 16 October from 11.00am
David Howell PRSMA – working in watercolour

Saturday 19 October from 11.00am
Barry Peckham ARSMA – working in oils

Tuesday 22 October from 11.00am
Alistair Butt RSMA – working in oils
William Carney RSMA – working in oils
Lorraine Abraham RSMA – working in scraperboard

Thursday 24 October from 11.00am
Geoff Hunt PPRSMA – working in oils

Saturday 26 October from 2.00pm
Keith Noble RSMA – working in watercolour
Martin Swan RSMA - working in oils
Rowena Wright RSMA - working in oils

Please note: there are two changes from previous RSMA newsletters and catalogues... Alistair Butt RSMA is doing oil and not watercolour and Keith Noble RSMA is doing watercolour and not oil. 

Exhibition at Patchings Art Centre - Lucy Willis RWA with David Curtis ROI, RSMA and Ken Howard OBE, RA

This was from yesterday and a break between my work... I was invited to the Private View of the above exhibition held at Patching Art Centre, located near Nottingham.

As can be seen it's the 25th Anniversary of Patching and part of the celebrations is this exhibition with Lucy Willis, David Curtis and Ken Howard.

Above are some general views of the exhibition at a quite time. I didn't take any of the paintings themselves... as per normal copyright.

I did have a talk with David Curtis & Ken Howard, plus a few of the other artists, with the main topic being drawing and it's importance as a base for all that follows along with other topics like first painting sold and how much etc...

What was good about the exhibition was the mix of the three artist work, non jarred with the others and on the same wall were Lucy's watercolours next to David's and another wall David's oils alongside Ken's.

Well worth the time visiting and likewise talking to the artists..

Oil painting of Bluebells in Derbyshire wood...

Detail from "Great year for Bluebells", nr South Wingfield, Derbyshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021365

Finally got around to painting something from the trip to this wood earlier this year... as the title states, it was one of the best years I've seen for the Bluebells. This painting was done with the morning light, I spent most of the day walking around the area, gather information from different viewpoints but most of it was waiting for the sun to move around to a different angle i.e afternoon. While not in this wood, sometimes waiting can be great, I've seen badgers, a mother and baby about three feet away being the best along with deer, owls and other birds... etc, it wasn't like that this day and even when the sun did get to the right position nothing seemed to capture the wow factor or even come close... maybe next year?

Oil painting of boats at Brancaster Staithe on the North Norfolk coast

Detail from "Tides going out", Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021363

The water level was dropping fast as the tide went out, which in this case was a great help as it exposed more and more of the mud which being wet was reflecting the sunlight. I also liked the contrast between the simple foreground and the more detailed middle distance along with the contrast in light.

A mentioned before, all the water/mud area was done wet into wet over a loose base layer, while the background was built up with a number of layers or painted straight on. While it takes more time to paint, I find it a joy trying to capture the detail in a subject like this.

Last call for New English Art Club Annual Exhibition

If you missed the online submission deadline, you can still bring in your works to be looked at by the Selection Committee on the Receiving Days:

Friday 4 & Saturday 5 October, 10am-5pm.

to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD

The New English Art Club (NEAC) seeks work which demonstrates excellence in both concept and draughtsmanship. For more information and inspiration visit:

Maximum of six works submitted. Maximum of five works selected.
Minimum price £300, unframed prints £120.

Acceptable media:
Paintings, drawings, pastels, original framed prints (please detail edition). Sculpture is NOT admissible. We cannot receive works larger than 2.4m (8ft).

Submission fee
£12 per work or £6 for artists aged 35 or under.

New English Art Club Drawing School Scholarships

The Scholarships will enable the Scholars to attend all classes and workshops run by the Drawing School free of charge, and will enable the scholars to develop an informal 'mentoring' relationship with one of the members of the NEAC.

Apply by delivering a portfolio of works to the Mall Galleries with a covering letter, your address, email address and a CV.

The portfolio may include sketchbooks and small photographs of work, but no paintings on canvas or framed works.

Receiving Days:
Friday 4 & Saturday 5 Oct, 10am-5pm

More info:

Another winter oil painting...

Detail from "The best of winter", nr Duddington, Northamptonshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021362

One first passing this location while walking along the river bank in the opposite direction the light direction wasn't quite right but when I returned it was almost right. It was then waiting for the right time, I could see glints of highlights on the water surface as the sun moved around, so hopes were high. It was really bright with the sunlight reflecting of the river and bright snow, even the vegetation was covered in ether frost or snow with frost.

The location for this is almost on the opposite bank to the early morning with sheep shown in a previous post. The sheep painting was done just below the large trees to the right in the background...

Yet another cold morning - heavy frost at dawn oil painting of the River Esk, North Yorkshire

Detail from "Day break with heavy frost", nr Castleton, North Yorkshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021364

This was the result of getting up four hours before daybreak, driving three and a bit hours and then hoping all turns out well.

What cannot be predicted are things like the amount of frost, which was very heavy that morning, and the sunrise/clouds which can make or break this type of subject. The sky reflection in the river (River Esk) helps bring a little bit of warmth into the foreground but in the end I was lucky with the sunrise with just enough cloud to add some colour into the sky otherwise it could have ended up being a cold looking painting.

Thankfully, a few hours later, it was time to warm up with some hot food in the wonderful North Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby before heading along the coast which is a delight to many artists.

"Painting Matters Newsletter" from Winsor & Newton

Register with the Winsor & Newton Community to receive the Painting Matters newsletters bringing you a wealth of educational and inspirational information about the art community.

By joining the Community you will automatically be entered into a Prize draw, you can apply to showcase your work in the Featured Artists’ Gallery, contribute to our blogs, create your personalised product Wish List and gain access to exclusive benefits.

The Threadneedle Prize for Painting & Sculpture

Championing contemporary figurative art by living artists

At £30,000 The Threadneedle Prize for Painting & Sculpture is one of the largest art prizes in the UK.

Visitors to the exhibition may cast their vote for the winner of the £10,000 Visitors' Choice Award (voting closes 5pm on 9th October).

Exhibition open:
25 September to 12 October, 10am to 5pm
Admission free

The Threadneedle Prize is the leading competition for figurative and representational painting and sculpture. At £30,000, it is one of the most valuable art prizes in the United Kingdom.

With many of the most high profile art prizes tending towards conceptual and abstract works, The Threadneedle Prize deliberately sets out to raise the profile of contemporary representational art.

The Prize provides experienced and emerging artists with the opportunity to showcase their work at a leading venue in Central London.

111 works by 95 artists will be on display.

All works for sale and available to Browse & Buy online

Find out more at:

A cold start but wonderful sunrise - oil painting of stream in Northamptonshire

Detail from "Just before sunrise", Northamptonshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021361

While on my many trips up and down the country I try and visit locations on route, this was one of those 'small' diversions...

I got to the location well before dawn, what cannot be shown was how cold it was that morning... all the small puddles on the tracks were frozen solid plus there was some frost lying in places. As the sky lightened, one never really knows what each sunrise will bring, but this day the whole sky turned pink and then as time passed towards sunrise, the colours changed with bits of purple, reds, orange, yellows all in wonderful shapes across the sky as each part of cloud caught different light.

It was then selecting one or more locations to gather reference material and this was one of them. The river in the painting is a second channel of the main river, in this case the River Nene, which runs just below the tree line in the far distance from which other material was gathered later.

The whole Nene valley is an interesting mix of river and lakes, lovely countryside and villages but never far away from the big towns like Northampton and Wellingborough.

Winter sunlight on snow and small stream - oil painting

Detail from "A winter morning light", Nottinghamshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021360

This oil painting is all about the light... to have light it needs something to contrast against it, in this case the deep shadow along the waters edge and the snow covered trees/bushes on the right hand side in shadow but thankfully that's broken by patches of sunlight snow and the foreground branches that break up the area.

The water was a real joy to paint... with the reflections, some parts in sun, some in shade and as normal done wet into wet over the base layer.

Back to painting snow...

Detail from "Stream through the fields of snow", Nottinghamshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021359

A rather simple view of this small winding stream in the middle of winter with the banks and surrounding fields covered with the snow that fell over night. Being early the warmth (although little) hadn't had time to start melting the snow on all the small branches/dried grasses etc. The whole of this painting was completed in one sitting, bar breaks for food and drinks.

Early Morning with the sheep - oil painting

Detail from "Hazy and bright morning with the sheep", nr Duddington, Northamptonshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021358

This was one of those being in the 'right place at the right time' moments... something that no amount of 'going looking for' will ever come up with.

My usual path when visiting this location is down by the trees, alongside the river - hence the mist/haze, but this morning the sheep which are usually in the larger section of this field (to the right) were just moving that way. I positioned myself alongside a tree as they slowly moved pass, the slow movement, grazing and suckling help as this aided the gathering of reference.

The morning light helped greatly with this painting, catching the edges of the sheep and tops of the grass... along with the haze distant and slight misty feel as the warmth of the sun got to work on the damp grass (some bits of frost in places) - overall not a bad start to the day.

'Still Alive' at the Mall Galleries

An exhibition of contemporary still life paintings by members of the Federation of British Artists

Join us for the Private View on Tuesday 17 September, 6-8pm

Exhibition open:
16 to 21 September, 10am to 5pm
Admission FREE

Mall Galleries presents an eclectic selection of still lifes, ranging from the realist to the abstract, all of which utilise form and texture, colour and tone, to convey the extraordinary essence of everyday objects.

Still Alive is proof aplenty that the still life genre is as alive and well in the twenty-first century as it ever has been.

Artists include:
Angela A'Court PS
Chris Aggs RBA
Glenys Ambrus PS
Lillias August RI
Richard Bawden NEAC
Jason Bowyer NEAC PS RP
Tessa Coleman NEAC
Jeremy Galton RBA
Paul Gildea NEAC
Ann Heat RBA
Julie Held NEAC
Andy James RP
Pamela Kay NEAC RBA
Lucy McKie ROI
Arthur Neal NEAC
Barbara Richardson RBA
Nick Tidnam RBA
Matt Underwood SWLA
Annie Williams RBA

Perhaps the enduring appeal of the genre owes to the fact that, to quote Professor Anthony Savile, King’s College London: “through [still life] pictures... we find in our everyday domestic surroundings a delicacy and tenderness that we would otherwise quite miss.” A specially commissioned essay by Professor Savile will accompany the exhibition.

All works for sale and available to browse and buy online.

Find out more at:

Last weekend at the Chatsworth Country Fair

While doing other things I had a few minutes to gather some pictures while at the Chatsworth Country Fair. This is held every year in the grounds just below Chatsworth House, Derbyshire.

Being a country fair, most of the stalls, displays, events are country related but other attractions like vintage fairground and the Red Arrows add to the visitor appeal... of which thousands visited over the three days. More information can be seen on the above link to the Chatsworth Country fair site.

Having just opened, early visitors pass the front of Chatsworth House. Part of the house is still covered while the work on redoing the windows continues - returning them to the original gold coloured window frames.

As well as period cars, a good collection of military related vehicles. 

Just one of the tents holding many of the stalls - selling things from crafts, to wood fires, solar panels to outdoor clothing. The background hill held the clay pigeon shooting, to the left was the archery and behind on the River Derwent (one of three so named in the UK) fly fishing all of which you could have a go at, in exchange for some £'s

Lord Sebastian Coe (centre) while on a trip around.

Part of the food section, everything from burgers to fine wines, hand made biscuits to sausages (this years selection from English, German or French), again not forgetting the sweets...

One of the t-shits on the Harley-Davidson stand - it reads

Robin Hood Harley-Davidson
Nottingham, England

Link to Robin Hood Harley-Davidson, based in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, site here

Two oil paintings - Oxfordshire river and Norfolk coast

Detail from "After the rain", nr Burford, Oxfordshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021356

The above view is on the same river as 'Swans on the River Windrush' (posted a few post before) but a mile or so away - closer to Burford, Oxfordshire. The heavy rain had swollen the river, almost to the top of the banks, a complete change to some years in summer when it can be difficult to see the water at all, due to the bank vegetation and lower water level.

On the day, it was late evening with a hint of colour on the clouds in the sky and just enough light catching the grass and trees. Within 10 minutes all had changed with the sun going behind the cloud and then sinking below the hill on the left.

Detail from "Low tide at Morston", Morston, Norfolk.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021357

At Morston, like many of the North Norfolk coast line when the tide is out banks of wet mud are exposed. The contrast between high and low tide and how that one things changes the view really comes into play in locations like this.

On this day, the light at this time was somewhat unusual, although bright, hence the highlights on the mud and last of the water, the rest of the sky had thin high cloud with some distant cloud forming which gave an overcast feel.

I really liked this view of the creek with the boats and wet mud looking towards Blakeney, the church and some of the village can bee seen in the distance. A few hours later as the tide filled the creek there was a mad rush of boats, some for the seal trips, others going fishing and a few sailing boats heading towards the sea.

Oil painting of boats at Alnmouth, Northumberland

Detail from "Summer afternoon at Alnmouth", Alnmouth, Northumberland.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021355

This delightful view is from the middle of the tidal mud flats on the River Aln just before it meets the North Sea at Alnmouth, Northumberland.

A number of fishing and sailing boats were lying on the mud, a bit tricky in places but with care most areas were passable away from the main channel which is behind the boats. It was late afternoon and the sun moved to the correct angle to provide the highlights on the wet mud, in some spots too bright to really see, so it was a case of moving around until a good spot was found.

I really liked the additional pools of water: 1. as a good lead into the painting and 2. to break up what would then be just wet mud (which as present when drawing another view of the far distant boats), so I wanted to include those even though it required a little be more work.

The background was quite simple with a nice hazy feel to it... the main East Coast railway line goes across the view, it's the straight line three quarters of the way up the background hill

Join in The Big Draw at the Mall Galleries, London

Join us at Mall Galleries for two events as part of the annual Big Draw, the biggest drawing festival in the world.

The Big Draw is run by The Campaign for Drawing, and has one aim: to get everyone drawing!

Wednesday 2 October, 11am to 3pm
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours’ Big Draw
Short clothed figure poses throughout the day in the main gallery of the Mall Galleries, no experience required, no booking necessary, basic materials provided, come whenever you like during the day, Members of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours will be there to assist.
Admission Free

Thursday 3 October, 11am to 3pm
Royal Society of British Artists’ Big Draw    
Short clothed figure poses throughout the day in the main gallery. Basic materials supplied. Two models posing. Come whenever you like throughout the day. No booking required. No experience required. Members of Royal Society of British Artists will be there to assist.
Admission Free

Last call for Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition - from Mall Galleries

If you missed the online submission deadline, you can still bring in your works to be looked at by the Selection Committee on the Receiving Days:

Sunday 15 or Monday 16 September, 10am to 5pm.
at Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London  SW1Y 5BD

The Society of Wildlife Artists promotes appreciation and delight in the natural world through all forms of fine art inspired by the world’s wildlife.

Any work depicting wildlife subjects is admissible. The Committee will also consider work that evokes the spirit of the natural world. Botanical subjects and domestic animals are NOT admissible.
Maximum of six works to be submitted. Maximum of six works will be selected. Work must have been completed within the last two years. Work exhibited previously in a London gallery is not admissible.
All works must be for sale. Minimum price: £300, unframed prints: £120.

Acceptable media
Work may be in any medium including sculpture and original prints (please detail edition and how many are available).  We cannot receive works larger than 2.4m (8ft).
Submission fee
£12 per work or £6 for artists 35 or under.

SWLA Bursaries
Awards of up to £750 each are open to any artist (16 and over) to enable them to develop their skills. This may be through help with education and courses, expenses for a field trip or expedition, or help mounting a special project.

To apply for a bursary please click here to download the application form and submit it to arrive by 12th September 2013.

In the last twenty years SWLA Bursaries have supported many varied projects:
A bursary enabled Vicky White to travel to Gibraltar to study and raise awareness of the Barbary macaques as part of her MA course at the Royal college of Art
Stephanie Black aimed, for the sake of wildlife and the environment, to influence consumers to recycle more and to refuse supermarket plastic bags, by producing free cotton bags with seabird designs
Christopher Wallbank used his bursary to produce the Unbound Amazonia Field Guide of local flora and fauna for use at the Manu Biosphere Reserve of Eastern Peru.

Swans on the River Windrush - oil painting

This delightful scene in on the River Windrush near the village of Swinbrook. The family of swans just added to the charm, thankfully they stayed for long enough to gather some reference.

The reference for this has been waiting for some years to be painted, on the day it was late afternoon, not 'ideal' light, the trees were just beginning to change to their autumn colour. Sadly on a more recent visit some of the trees had fallen down into the river, hopefully they will be cleared.

The river itself, is an artists delight with lots of subject matter to be found along it's length - it is also well known for fly fishing and on many visits I've met fishermen and used them to add a human element on some of the paintings/

Detail from "Swans on the River Windrush", nr Swinbrook, Oxfordshire.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021354

Trip to Mersea Island on the Essex coast

These pictures are from both West Mersea and East Mersea on Mersea Island which is located on the Essex coast. For those that wish to do a 'google maps' search for 'West Mersea' and then move the orange man onto the coast road (left hand side of island) for a view of this area.

The above two images show the joys of working on the coast... within half an hour while sketching this view the incoming tide had risen by over 12 inches / 30 cm, the small boat had entered the view while the light - part sun to full sun - changed throughout...

Lots of children fishing for crabs, some doing very well by the amount seen in some buckets...

Some interesting views amongst the boats.

The Thames Barge 'Dawn' waiting for high tide before moving into the main channel.

Its now high tide on this day, having been sunny for a few hours the sky is changing fast. Some people are walking back though the water on the now submerged footpath.

Off the coast at East Mersea, which is a complete change to West Mersea, a number of Thames Barges were sailing up the channel. This one was in full sail before doing a 360 degree turn and dropping some sail.