Thursday, 27 July 2017

A painting of Lancashire titled "The Beach at St Anne's Summertime" Lancashire Coast oil on board 24x30cm artist Rob Miller

A painting of Lancashire titled "The Beach at St Anne's Summertime"
Lancashire Coast  oil on board 24x30cm artist Rob Miller

There's nothing better than sea air to get your mind sorted and if a painters actions are psychotic ( Im refering to my last blog and the book by James Elkins "What painting is " then St Annes Beach is the best place to get level headed.) Theres also nothing better than gaining a commission to paint such a wonderful place especially when the commissioner loves the Fylde Coast sky as much as I do and misses it so much..

This is one of a series of studies from Lytham down to Rossall getting to terms with a view that encompasses the sky and a view of the distant fells.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

A painting of the Lake District titled "Castle Crag Derwentwater oils 24x30cm Lake District Artist Rob Miller

A painting of the Lake District titled "Castle Crag Derwentwater oils 24x30cm
Artist Rob Miller

A favourite location for painters since the 18C. A short excursion down stream from the Lingholm Estate Keswick brings you to the Mary Mount Hotel. Park there and follow the lovely view of the delta and lake shore were Derwentwater shimmers in the morning sun...keep on walking and you come to a bridge across the River Derwent and a splendid view south towards Castle Crag. This small painting 30x24 was painted in oils on board. the hotel makes a nice cup of teas but I have to say that can't be beaten.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Painting en plein air at art competition create Longridge UK 2016-17

I've face booked this post for two years running but realised that there are many folk who don't use facebook and I wish I was one of them it wastes so much time and is so much less informative than even a badly written blog like mine.

A painting of Lancashire Longridge Fells Kemple End oil on canvas
Picture House Padiham Gallery 

Longridge and Ribchester have long been old family favourites for a sketching trip, or a drive and later dinner out and more lately happy memory journeys of those Roelee days Mum trips. So it was nice to spend time there as part of Create Longridge  2016 and 2017. The brain child of Alistair who owns and runs the  Longridge Gallery  which is siutauted on the towns main street.

I entered a competition called Create Longridge, for the second time.  I had entered because I wanted to meet other painters,  which I did and it was great and have a chat with painters which I did all about paint which was great. The rain kind of stopped any amazing interaction and surely though Steve Rostron the eventual winner and I pitched up together on the top of the moor any starting conversation on the merits of composition colour and form became subdued under a formless wet mist. This was a great shame for at Padiham a couple of weeks before people had chatted that much about paint that we forgot to paint.

 I don't normally do competitions they are the antipathy of what painting is about for me. But prize money is money, money, it makes the world go round. A lot of artists, of all different persuasions and experiences  seemed to have planned their painting location etc and even went and practiced the weeks before. Art Competitions like this are all a bit strange because the only rule was in fact to turn up and paint and be judged though there aren't any criteria set except to paint. The subject matter was anything  in a mile radius of Longridge.  I'm not sure whether if its a competition thats a valid enough rule. As such all the painters duly turned up and painted anything. Perfectly normal behaviour to painters but not to the on lookers who asked what we were painting and when we gave different replies looked baffled.. If the onlookers want to know about painting they should read  the work of James Elkins who wrote about the painting process in What Paintings Is  describing painting and the studio or I suppose anywhere paint and support meet as a kind of psychosis. Im not sure how to judge psychos.

Sadly for the second year running the weather was typically poor English summer so the rain fell in that deceptively Lancashire wet mist way..that leaves no spot dry after a few minutes.

I turned up late as ever on both days 2016 and 2017 paid my £10 and  had my board stamped before returning it to my mabef pochade box. As ever I was totally unpracticed or prepared but lets life life on the edge.. For some strange reason two years running I also headed out to the top of the moor and duly got rained off. In 2016 I painted curled up in the car boot and produced Birks farm which I handed in but must check what happened to it.

A painting of Lancashire Birks Farm Longridge Fell by Rob Miller

In 2017 I produced a picture of Birks lane working alongside Steve who had already been rained of once earlier in the day and was bordering psychosis. It went okay at first I painted as quick as I could and then hey when things had just started going well the Lancashire mist struck like a wetted knife. Within the half hour my painting had ruined and Steve's  was not far behind..mind you he was painting on a daringly large canvas and his earlier acrylic work had seeped into it. We abandoned camp when the rain turned even wetter like a couple of wet poodles... I drove back into town then not finding inspiration I felt that I had had enough and went home,  whereas Steve the eventual winner of first prize carried on in some sheltered spot. A couple of days later I had just about dried out and gotten rid of my cold from the rainy day at #CreateLongridge; I went into my garage and lo to my surprise halleluiah; my little painting from the day was dry..... so; 20 minutes later and hey "nothin but blue skies" has emerged. I dedicate this to #SteveRostron Im proud to have painted next to the days winner...Now then, next year I must pack 15 umbrellas, 20 ponchos, 12 tarps, wellingtons, southwester hat, snorkel, flippers, compass, waterproof chocolate, get certified as a competent crew member; bring the wayfarer dinghy and waterproof paints

wet work in oils and rain drying.

lets not waste it lets get gestural
A painting of Birks lane Longridge UK

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A painting in watercolour of the "Walled Garden in Spring" at the Lingholm Kitchen in the Lake District artist Rob Miller

A painting in watercolour of the "Walled Garden in Spring" at the Lingholm Kitchen
 in the Lake District artist Rob Miller

This is a sneak preview of the first of a series of colourful watercolours of the Lingholm Estates Kitchen walled garden. I began this during a visit at Springtime when the lush greens were just developing and the spring colours were in full show. The shadows of the trees were cooler at this time of the year as was the interior of the garden.Still no sign of Peter rabbit but I am told by a reliable source that the rabbits are plenty full and increasing outside the garden.

Landscape Painting demonstrations and workshops. An acrylic painting of the Lancashire's West Pennine Moors title "Lancashire Summer" artist Rob Miller

A painting of Lancashire titled "Lancashire Summer"  artist Rob Miller

A painting of Lancashire titled "Lancashire Summer"  artist Rob Miller
size 70x70cm acrylic on canvas

A painting of Lancashire titled "Lancashire Summer"  artist Rob Miller detail

A painting of Lancashire titled "Lancashire Summer"  artist Rob Miller detail

Almost a year ago my blog was lost due to the change over from google to Go Daddy. It was a popular blog with over 80,000 hits and good links to pinterest. Ive decided to upload some of the original files so that I can refer to them when I do demonstrations and work shops. I tend to work more in oils now then acrylics so here an acrylic painting from about 8 years ago from the very popular  Lancashire summer series. This particular piece is from my en plein air studies near Rivington Chorley.

The layers of paint laid are quite thinly and allowed to run and pool wherever they land and left as such if their nuances enhance the painting. Textures are defined by working into the washes with palette and brush to produce layers of texture added to by a dry brush technique. Paint is aso flicked and smattered and whole item redrawn with liquitex ink.

If you would like more information on my demonstrations and workshops please visit
email me

Friday, 14 July 2017

An oil painting of the Lake District titled 'Hinscarth from Little Braithwaite' by Rob Miller

An oil painting of the Lake District titled 'Hinscarth from Little Braithwaite'  by Rob Miller
en plain air

I managed to get and about with my pochade box the last time I went to Lingholm to give a talk to Keswick's very friendly art society. It was a hot sunny day, just great to to see Hinscarths Crags in deep shadow and the suns bright rays bouncing down the valley hopping from field to field. Equally interesting to meet tourists and fellow lakeland lovers who stopped to give me friendly advice or stand and watch me work. 

Saturday, 8 July 2017

A seascape oil painting of the Lake District Peninsular Titled 'Low tide Barrow Holy Island' by Rob Miller

Holy Island . Barrow . Lancashire . Low Tide Rob Miller

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; 
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

A painting of Lancashire's Megalithic Bowland Fells title Bleasdale Fell by Rob MilleBleasdale Fell

Bleasedale Fell Bowland Forest lancashire 90x75 oil on canvas

I painted this commission from a spot a little bit further north than the wood that hides away Bleasdale Megalithic  Timber  circle. Its a wonderful wild place above the distant coast the air totally fresh and te sound of curlews ever present. Ive attached some great reading about the timber circle

Bleasdale Circle, Lancaster, Lancashire

Timber Circle:  OS Grid Reference – SD 57717 46004
Pretty easy to find, and a nice walk to boot! Head up to Bleasdale Church (worth a look in itself!), keep going up the path north to the aptly named Vicarage Farm.  From here you’ll notice a small copse of trees on your left (east) heading to the hills.  To those of you who like Predator, “it’s up there – in them trees…!”
Archaeology & History
On my first visit here in the company of John Dixon and other TNA regulars, my first impression was “this is a henge” – and noted subsequently that it’s been described as such by several writers.  But the general category given to this fascinating place is a ‘timber circle.’

Bleasdale ‘henge’ circle
First discovered at the end of the 19th century and described in considerable detail by Mr Dawkins (1900), this was a monument that was erected in an imposing natural setting, at the foot of Fair Snape Fell (northwest) and Bleasdale Fell (southwest) — which would have obvious mythic importance to the people of the time.  A condensed version of Dawkin’s material was described in J. Holden’s Story of Preston, that outlined this circle,
“as a centre for religious worship in about 1700 BC.  It was made up of a circle of timber posts which enclosed an area 45 metres in diameter. In the centre was a small mound surrounded by a ring of oak posts and a circular ditch.  Inside the mound there was a grave that had in it two pottery urns filled with human bones and ashes. Examination of the contents of these urns shows that the bodies were wrapped in linen and burnt on a funeral pyre. A small ‘accessory’ cup was found inside one of the urns and this may have contained food or drink for the afterlife.”

Urns from Bleasdale Ring

1898 photo of Shadrach Jackson (left) & Tom Kelsall (centre) digging the site
Located within a much larger circular enclosure, the internal Bleasdale ‘henge’ Ring consisted of a small circle of 11 timber posts near the edge of the ditch, and an entrance way to the east, to or from which was an avenue of further wooded posts that led to the edge of the larger enclosure.  This would strongly suggest a ritual function.  Robert Middleton (1996) told that,
“The post circle and barrow appear to respect each other  (in date), whilst the enclosure may be later.  The post circle has been dated to around 2200 BC, although the context and reliability of this date is unclear.”
Looking out eastwards from the middle of the internal henge-style ring and through the ‘entrance’ we find an alignment with a large notch on the skyline which, modern folklore ascribes, is where the midwinter sun rises — which is very believable, but I aint seen it proven anywhere yet.
Archaeologists amongst you will be pleased to know that we’ve found some other previously unrecorded prehistoric sites not far from here!