Friday, 23 December 2011

Painting of Rossendale Lancashire in Winter Rob miller RSA

Rossendale Winter 2010
Up on Cowpe
24 inches x 48"
Oil on Board


Up on Cowpe this time, last year were I got the inspiration to paint the winter ridge painting  Rossendale Winter; it was like Siberia with shards of ice underfoot and bitterly cold on the frozen, flooded bog , skating under  swirling snow clouds; we walked towards an horizon marked by the sulphur yellow of Manchester; this year if we did the same walk we would be knee deep in bog, and Manchester would be hidden by a wall of fog;  sadly there is no snow forecast for  the west Pennines this Christmas instead we have a sleety rain;  Christmas will be a damp affair under leaden skies so time will be spent by the the Christmas tree before we walk to the Inn for Christmas dinner , quaff  wine and ale, eat mince pies and make merry.....
best wishes 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Painting of Wellfield Cranham Cotswolds on canvas

Wellfield track autumn
50 cm x 40 cm
acrylic on canvas

Its great to get a commission especially when its from direct ancestor and near the ancestral home of Sir Francis Drake. I love this field and track its so English. The great man may well have walked this track. O to be in England now that autumn has come. What was that don't give up the day job!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Watercolour painting of Ashaig Isle of Skye Scotland

Norberts view
Ashaig, Isle of Skye, Western Isles, UK.
watercolour on paper
In memory of  Norbert, one of the good guys; Norbert loved Ashaig and the Isle of Skye, he also enjoyed a good chat and drink at the Flag Inn Bolton, Lancashire.  Norbert waren Sie ein zutreffender Herr.  Wir heben unsere Biergläser zu Ihnen an; salut

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Watercolour painting of Striding Edge Ullswater Cumbria

Striding Edge 1 summertime low cloud
watercolour and ink

What a great place on which to sit contemplate and paint 

Painting of Rivington Lancashire to White Coppice Rob Miller sketch book

Rivington Sketch Book December 2011

A new project on the go:- 

I'm actually going to do something with all the drawings and watercolours from my frequent walks around this area and Tockholes. What that is I am not sure but it will be about the process of drawing and watercolours so it will be based on paper.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Painting of Breaking weather Western Isles on canvas

Beach Isle of Skye
60 cm x60 cm
Acrylic on canvas

Beach Isle of Skye
60 cm x 60 cm
Acrylic on canvas

Breaking weather' is the title of my second series of Western Isles paintings, this series finds me on the beaches of a number of islands but mostly around Lewis Uist and Skye;  the breaking weather caused by a new frontal weather system moving in over the Atlantic brings an Andalusia sparkle to the white sands and clear seas.

Oil paintings of Lancashire Pendle district

Pendle Twiston Moorland farm and oaks
Oil on linen paper
24cm x18 cm

Pendle misted sunshine and barn
Oil on linen paper
24cm x18cm
Currently I'm working on five series in the studio moving from one area to the next. This series the Pendle series is great fun. These two small paintings are a part of a series of 8 or more covering a walk from Downham through Rimington and Twiston and back across Pendle and down through the gloaming back to the village arriving at the car in the dark.  It was a superb Pendle day of rolling mists over the fell. The mists covered an autumnal blue sky and the wind shifts allowed dull patches of cloud to become transformed into amazing light shifts; whilst down below the light was silver and bright. I love this area for Downham village which is very special, the looming atmosphere created by Pendle and its great trees; and have since I first walked here  many years ago as a kid with the Blackburn Ramblers in 1965.  I did this Sunday walk about 8 miles long with Barbara  a few weeks ago. I did plenty of sketches at the time which I will develop and upload as part of this series the lot will then appear as a group on the mountain moods website.  Oil is by far the best and most understanding medium for painting this subject or indeed any subject matter and the completed works have a real vibrancy and shine to them.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Northern Impressions catalogue of paintings by Rob Miller

Click here for the northern impressions catalogue

 Catalogue of my recent "Impressions work showing the journey made from Andalusia to the North of England. Some of the smaller pieces are currently on show at the barefoot gallery Boston Leeds. Please click on the caption to take you to northern impressions posted on the  issuu online magazine rack.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Painting of Rossthwaite Borrowdale Autumn III A painting by Rob Miller

Rossthwaite Borrowdale track Autumn
Acrylic on canvas
Work in progress

Rossthwaite, in the heart of Borrowdale; this is a wonderful track deep cut through ancient woods with high walls and moss covered boulders and trees; the warm autumn sun is still able to get through a full canopy of leaves spreading a sparkle of autumnal reds on the track floor. Its the third composition of this work and I think this is an improving one but still a work in progress. 

Painting of Striding Edge Helvellyn Lake District by Rob Miller RSA

Striding Edge summertime

Looking down on Striding Edge
preliminary  drawing
mixed media 

Looking along and up Striding edge to Helvellyn
preliminary pencil and watercolour on paper

Preparation for a series of paintings on Cumbria's ridges. 

Striding edge is one of the iconic mountain routes in England and a great training ground for Scottish Welsh and basic Alpine ridge routes, albeit a popular day out for my old sheepdog Ben who simply loved scampering around its airy rocks before the walk and descent down Dow Crag to the camp site and pub at Brothers water.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rossthwaite autumn A painting by Rob Miller

Tonal composition
Rossthwaite Cumbrian Autumn
Acrylic on canvas
Lakeland in autumn is awe personified. I know, I can crow on about Rivington and the beech groves at Tockholes but here you have old gnarled oak and ash crowded together by their own ancient, most venerable choice on a mossed scree slope, roots and branches linked as if they are but one. To walk here in autumn is to be in thrall to natures bounty. The land of the poets you just want to curl up like an owl or a badger and paint and write. The issue  for the painter  in autumn is that if you concentrate more on colour than the overall tonal quality of the work the work becomes more absracted  and can get a confused look the second black and white version shows more control. Is this work abstract or the essence, whatever on a continuum its towards abstraction?

Painting of Blackbeck Buttermere Rob Miller RSA

Blackbeck and Buttermere
Mixed media

Blackbeck Tarn and Buttermere
Mixed media
Blackbeck, the name conjures up what you actually feel but not what you see,  facing north and under the dark mined cliffs of Fleetwith Pike its true the sun shines rarely here but even when it doesn't the beck is a resplendant slice of silver sluicing fast through a dank, deep dark trough of stone. In the valley below Buttermere forms a silver flash, its a great mountain place for peace and meditation When I came here it was quiet everyone around had as ever gone on to the tops complexity. So I sat on my slice of karrimat and painted bliss..and bliss

Friday, 28 October 2011

Aonach Eagach Ridge Glencoe watercolour

Aonach Eagach Ridge Glencoe 1
Mixed media on paper

Aonach eagach Ridge Glencoe low cloud
Mxed media on paper
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I first walked/climbed this route back in 1971 just to get away from the lone bag piper droning over his massacre. This ridge is one of the classic Scottish ridges with a long wonderful high, airy scramble etc and a dangerous gully descent straight down into Glencoe near to the Clagaich pub if your mad enough. Its a long day out but a good one even better still in mid winter.  This year  the ridge was the same with a few changes the start is now a stone stairway, theres a queue and the bag piper is Chinese who has a Phd in Forestry, sadly the pubs no longer a wood shack serving draught guiness and whisky its now a classy hotel "Were did you go lassie go?"
I think that Liathac Ridge was steeper and a more challenging mountain experience summer or winter but my opinion in climbing terms is very humble. Here's a link to a great website whicg gives a route description

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Painting of a Westmorland Farm A painting by Rob Miller RSA

Westmorland Farm
Acrylic on Canvas
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Painting of Skiddaw and Thirlmere Lake District through a hail shower A Painting by Rob Miller RSA

Skiddaw and Thirlmere through a hail shower viewed from Hellvellyn
Mixed media on Arches Paper
I climbed up here to the summit of Helvellyn  wearing my Paramore gear which I thought would be okay for a breezy early Autumn day but I was cold.  I stopped a few times  to do a drawing and I also stopped to read a section of Wordsworth's poem based on this very hill.  Needless to say, I became colder still despite a hot coffee from my flask. How tough was Wordsworth and his lady companion?  Very tough I think to wander at will up fell and down dale (include an ascent of Snowdon for Wordsworth leaving at the dead of night) in the clothing and boots that were available in his time and to stop ponder and pen a quick sonnet. 'He was a proper northern lad. ' The walk up from Thirlmere  takes about five hours there and back and is uphill for most of the way, you pass a couple of great places to paint around Dollywagon Pike but its the expansive view down the valley either north or south that captures the attention most. Heres a good guide by the go lakes website. Wordsworth. Ive attached the poem beow with thanks to great books online.

I love to read these poems in situ, the expanse of the landscape, the wind on the cheek and the moving clouds bring me closer to those who loved this land and who considered the land a crucial mode for understanding human nature and human plight. True whichever land is yours by birth or by right.

To ——, on Her First Ascent to the Summit of Helvellyn

William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

Inmate of a mountain dwelling,
Thou hast clomb aloft, and gazed
From the watch-towers of Helvellyn;
Awed, delighted, and amazed!
Potent was the spell that bound thee,        5
Not unwilling to obey;
For blue Ether’s arms, flung round thee,
Stilled the pantings of dismay.
Lo the dwindled woods and meadows!
What a vast abyss is there!        10
Lo the clouds, the solemn shadows,
And the glistenings,—heavenly fair!
And a record of commotion
Which a thousand ridges yield;
Ridge and gulf and distant ocean        15
Gleaming like a silver shield!
Now take flight; possess, inherit
Alps or Andes,—they are thine!
With the morning’s roseate spirit,
Sweep their length of snowy line;        20
Or survey their bright dominions
In the gorgeous colors drest
Flung from off the purple pinions
Evening spreads throughout the west!
Thine are all the coral fountains        25
Warbling in each sparry vault
Of the untrodden lunar mountains;
Listen to their songs!—or halt,
To Niphates’ top invited,
Whither spiteful Satan steered;        30
Or descend where the ark alighted,
When the green earth reappeared;—
For the power of hills is on thee,
As was witnessed through thine eye
Then, when old Helvellyn won thee        35
To confess their majesty!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Painting of Haystacks Summit Buttermere Lake District by Rob Miller RSA

Mixed media on paper
I think I'm becoming a bit of a Haystacks and Buttermere fan I think its a great wild area and alongside its neighbouring Dales and Fells in Ennerdale and Wasdale seems the nearest to the wilderness areas of North West Scotland.  It was also fellow Blackburnian Wainwrights ideal location. I love the way the wild tops, wind blast ridges and streaming becks make their way down to the quieter places. A great place for the wanderer and rambler in one day so much choice and biodiversity.
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Friday, 30 September 2011

Oil painting of Great Gable and Haystacks by Rob Miller RSA

Great Gable from Haystacks
Oil on Canvas
30x30 cm
The bed and breakfast in Borrowdale,  Leath House just after the Borrowdale Hotel was not only wonderfully decorated and furnished but was also full of original artwork from Cumbria and from the Scilly Isles a 70x70 cm, very fresh   painting of surf sun and gorse; The North West and the South West two of my favourite places to paint, and the B&B breakfast room an inspirational way to start the day alongside my veggie breakfast and coffee. A sketchy drive over Honister Pass and into the chaos of Buttermere  parking patrolled by a family of Black cats. A dryer day on Sunday and a walk up Fleetwith Pike and onto Haystacks and the complex craggy summit  full of colour and people. I was glad to perch my bottom on a nice flat rock spread my painting gear out and do some work. Acrylics are a great medium to use outdoors as they dry so quickly and can be used alongside inks, pastels charcoal and whatever to paint sunshine, fantastic views, couple that with some French bread and Brie, and viva everything Haystacks is great. Sketch book notes 25/02/11

Oil painting of the River Dudden by Rob Miller RSA

River Dudden Seathwaite
Oil on canvas

A quiet pool in the verdant River Dudden below Seathwaite (After the gorge and packhorse bridge) on a very rainy day, wrong quiet for me maybe, no tourists to disturb the lonely meanderings of my brush and my thoughts but hey for the fish its hell down there in this flooded place were the strong currents of the day may well chase away the hardest fly or grub. Lets hear it for the fish,  splishingly well done guys you will survive you will survive..(my sketch book notes are getting loopy...)

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Oil painting of the Dudden Valley in Autumn English Lake District Rob Miller RSA

Dudden Valley Autumn
oil  on Canvas
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A wet August followed by a mixed warm September brings out the best of the beautiful north west and in particular the English Lake District. Unchanged field and agricultural systems and ergo sum flora and fauna; squat solid northern homesteads anchored down in the lee of a rock outcrop and the stoutest Beech, Ash and Oak towering above them nearly as high as the fells showering colour like Vincent's stars. These are rare places that have millions of visitors and a high real estate value and that's why like the moors of the South West Peninsular and the forest of Deane national parks they need protecting, 

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Hebrides Croft A painting by Rob Miller RSA

Hebrides Croft
Work in progress
Acrylic on Canvas
Nearly complete a new Western Isles painting this one of two crofts in the outer Hebrides. Both crofts riding the winds above the grey Atlantic; with another rain shower bearing down from a leaden sky.

Its taken me a little while ( 18 months) to readjust to the northern light from the brightness of Andalusia and the sparkling light of France and South West England; in terms of mood, also of texture, tone and colour. Looking back across the A4 now battered, studio sketch book that I kept for 2010-2011 (3 pages left then a party) the questions that I asked myself are; How do you marry deep earth tones and greys with the sparkle of bright grasses or a lightening of the sky, how do I bring in colour to a shadow without it appearing plastic, gaudy or dreamt up...there was also the constant question of style verses what I would call poem ..and how much do you allow style to dictate the content/mood of what we paint? Do we discard something that's a beautiful poem because it wont fit a certain style. Trying to learn from past masters is always useful; Picasso abandoned landscape painting, Monet indulged in his colour studies, Mondrian abstracted into space, The fathers of modern western European painting, Cezanne just painted the way Cezanne painted, unaffected by others; Pissaro worked with a number of styles before finally giving them up finding them to restrictive and painting in the way he felt best suited his subject and poetry. Turner and Constable it could be said painted for the gallery and its to their sketches and outdoor studies that you turn to in awe aided by Ruskin's dictates. Neither does to abandon style mean get sloppy, do not abandon the constant pressure of producing pieces which show good composition, geometry, draughtsmanship and that you can mix colour or place them side by side

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Great Gable from Haystacks Innominate tarn. Two paintings by Rob Miller RSA

Great Gable from innonimate tarn Haystacks

Great gable from Innonimate Tarn 2

Light that is only just light, more a kind of mid dark, it has been that sort of Summer or that kind of August at least; Here are a couple of medium sized watercolours on French Arches 200lb  paper, painted mostly from memory in terms of the sky and atmosphere, in terms of the topography  helped by my sketches from a recent walk. Working on this Lakes project has made me more in awe of Turner and his peers  who ventured out in all kinds of weather with watercolour paper and paint and in awe of my own young adventures with my brothers.
Holidays spent in Buttermere as a young youth with my brothers Nick and Andy. Causey Pike was conquered in a heat wave but now a few days later we were at Haystacks, this was the first fell that we assailed, my brothers and I, on our own in bad weather, now some some 43 years ago. Our yellow plastic cycle capes bought from Blackburn's Millets store flapped and cracked  blowing in the strong wind, most times covering our heads and obscuring our vision,  wearing our shorts and sturdy shoes we wandered for what seemed a lifetime amongst the pelting rain, low cloud, tarns and rocky outcrops of Hay stacks, we had never seen rain blown upwards before.. Concerned for our safety and lost,  we peered over one precipitous fierce crag edge, and than another and then another, whatever the direction we  took and looked  we faced an abyss until a shaft of clear bright lit up the Gables unmistakable shape, across Ennerdale, this gave us an idea of the terrain around us and we were quickly able to take a bearing and with that found our way to Innominate Tarn and hence home. Home, a squelching, field, the flooded tent, the sodden sleeping bags that mum had made us, the wet fire wood, no hot meal tonight, the damp matches and a Buttermere thunder storm throughout the night. We were geographers, explorers, travelling in Nicks 10 year old Austin A30 which we pushed up every pass as we camped our way across the Western fells Tierra Del Gatesgarth.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Hebrides Painting by Rob Miller

the deluge
Isle of Uist detail

Am an t-samhradh
Summer season
Isle of  Mull detail

Details of two new works, that I snapped on my lummix this morning for this blog; they are a sneak preview of the South Hebrides series that I am now working on. I have been wanting to paint these for ages. They focus on the wonderful island scapes and seascapes down Uist then east south east  to Oban on the mainland. The works measure 60cm x 60cm acrylic and/or oil on canvas i(ncreasingly both), with a complimentary series of smaller watercolours and drawings in a variety of mediums and sizes. I generally paint the larger canvas works whilst listening to Robert Burns poem the wrestlin winds sung by  Dick Gaughan so I've added a link below for you to enjoy. Burns poetry says it all about the glory and death of fellow creatures in the wilderness and Dick adds a genuine touch of people at work in those hard lands.   More works and music to come. Until then beannachd, farewell.

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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A track through a beech copse. A painting by Rob Miller RSA

A track through a beech copse
acrylics on canvas 50x70
I've been meaning for some time to revisit this painting, which I started a 18 months ago when Autumn was turning to Winter and the light was growing poor. Here it is now in its entirety re-painted on a hot summers day;  now it looks  just the same as on the day I went on my walk from New York to Whalley in Lancashire. The beech copse is a fine example of Lancashire woodland,  living high above the scarp of the Ribble Valley and the road through it is still quiet and narrow. I walked this way some 45 years ago on my way from Blackburn to Pendle summit and back a regular 18 mile outing if I had nothing else to do with my time (Such was my misspent adolescence.