Tuesday, 30 January 2018




Friday, 26 January 2018

Painting of the Lancashire Coast-Seascape Across Morecambe Bay Snow on Coniston Old man

Snow on Coniston Old Man from across the Bay at Hesketh bank
oil on board 24x30cm

Marine Sketch book  notes
snow on coniston old man viewed from Hesketh bank 

I spent a couple of hours around Hesketh Bank on a cold day, I managed a few drawings and sketches and I started a pochade all looking across the bay towards a brilliant white Coniston Old Man.  Its one oif my favourite places to paint on Morecambe Bay in any direction..the dazzling light on the shallow waters or wet sands is added to by the limestone outcrops that plunge into the bay. 

Further works and details can be seen at 

Seascape Coast workshops at Blackpool this summer

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Seascape beach en plein air workshops 2018 Bispham and Lytham Lancashire

Lancashire Coast Morecombe
oilo on canvas

If anyone fancies a plein air session painting the views from Bispham or lytham  I'm happy to do some tuition for a small group from May till September watercolour studies and pochades in oils or acrylics. It would be around £20 per person cash 6 people 10 max  from 11am until 4pm. 

In regard to teaching I have a B.Ed Honours and a DASE (Community Education). I'm a registered tutor and insured with the SAA. Email robartmiller@gmail.com. I undertake regular demonstrations andworkshops for the major art societies in the North England.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Sketch Book Walks New Years day on Grasmere Helm Crag Lake District

Helm Crag Grasmere English Lake District
watercolour and pen
We kicked off the New Year 2018 in style with a trip to Grasmere and a walk up to Helm Crag past Langcliffe and Easdale. It started well enough despite our late night dancing and revelry the night before or should I say earlier that morning. This is a lovely walk right from leaving the village with Helm Crag high on the horizon. I'd made a good start to  my 2018 sketch book resolution and had managed an early trip up onto Lough Riggs shoulder and made my first sketch of 2018. Alas a couple of hours later and post breakfast etc the good weather and blue skies didn't last long. As ever the Lake Land drizzle gradually got worse.  It did clear up enough for the ascent up the shoulder past Williams Wordsworth's romantic bower and a misty blue sky shone dully as we climbed up through steepening crags. However before we started on the final pull and scramble onto the summit rocks a nice down pour and a cold driving wind tugged and pulled. I left B crouching behind a small rocky knoll and managed a wet sketch of the lion and lamb before abandoning any further attempts at anything.  I turned back choosing the narrow but easy path and not the wet rocks to rejoin my companion and we retreated in good form rustling our danced out bodies slipping a way down in our dripping waterproof jackets and leggings. Non the less back in the crowded, family friendly, steamy Grasmere Cafe above the din made by chatty, small, happy children meeting with over long absent Grandmas we toasted our ascent with Americanos and were well pleased at the great outdoors start we had made to 2018

The Lion and Lamb
water, watercolour and some dry pen added later

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Lancashire Art walks . A painters sketch book . Dick Lane and Withnell Moor . 2

The walk began from Pikes Lowe across the high fields with great views of the sea to the West, North Wales ahead and Blackburn and the Trough of Bowland behind me. I meandered along the farm track at Pikes Lowe farm and then struck onwards across to School Lane. Guilty  across the football pitch to the corner over a couple of stiles and then sharply downhill from the fields of Harbour Farm to the Victorian Brinscall Hall which a very paintable place. The hall is now a Centre for Philosophy, Tai Chi and Yoga. From here walk through a confusion of lanes and tracks then down to the bottom and across a tight valley, then go steeply up towards the top of Wheelton Plantation. All very good plein air material.

The wet showers and cold blustery yet bright wind kept my sketchbook alongside my hands deep in my pockets. For me, my sketch walks are more than just stressing about stopping to draw, they are more than that. They are about feeling. feeling the wet and the wind or the sun on my face and consciously making that moment a remembered feeling which alongside the clouds above can be brought out of the corner of my  mind and represented on my painting as a moment lived.

Woodland Clearing Heaton House Farm  Wheelton Plantation
watercolour and pen
The woodland of Wheelton Plantation rises sharply from the vale floor using old farm tracks and muddy paths that wind through the trees. Some of the paths here are damaged by mountain bikers  but these muddy bits can be avoided. Eventually the slope relents before the open moorland to form a shelf which hosts Heaton House farm and Hatherlea. In between the farms there is a nice  spot. Some old ruins possible a mine denotes the fact that at some time past this place held importance to people. The old dominant tree in its clearing is in a quiet and shaded position high above the vale. It's a favourite corner of mine a place to sit and ponder try out a remembered step of tai chi, its a beautiful place in spring and oddly sad in winter.

Ratten Clough Farm Edge Gate Lane Brinscall
changing light Sketchbook watercolour pen
Carry onto the edge of the moor and cross Edge gate Lane to get to Ratten Clough Farm. This farm is well described in the book "Farms of Brinscall moor"..its a location that is of atmosphere made so by the old tree.  The tree leans towards what was the Long House  home of 3 or 4 families and spreads its branches over their shared wc,  a windy spot if there was one. The book on Brinscall Farms has a great photo of farm workers resting during harvest maybe 1870. It was deserted not to long ago.. Today the moorland light is behind the farm and tree making for drama. It's a fine place in summer to sit and draw with sheep grazing in munchly quietude and the babble of the distant brook competing with the sighs of the wind and the scratch of pen on paper

Ratten Clough from the track Brinscall
Third drawing Rattens Clough Farm looking back from the well constructed farm lane whose walls provided some shelter from the wind.  I was drawn to make this sketch due to the amazing show of moorland light. The light strengthens at this point on a regular basis because of by the atlantic frontal systems that curves along the edge or parapet caused by a fault line that runs  along the moors edge. This is a lovey stormy place,  the curving moorland sweeping from a parallel line to the sea  bends away inland beyond White Coppice and on towards Horwich. You can feel the clouds forming and such is its position that the sun in the afternoon casts great refractions in the moisture that loads  itself pile on pile.

Winters light Withnell Moor heading over to Twist Moor
watercolour and pen
The path now works its way across open moorland keeping close to a tumbled wall on the right there are great views across the open moor to the Lake District and North Wales. The sound of occasional thunder is actually explosions from the stone quarry which sadly is eating away at the  ancient farming land on the lower slopes. Thankfully trees now mask much of its presence.

The lonely tree at Botany Bay Farm Twist Moor and on to Dawen Tower
watercolour and pen
Eventually the track splits off onto an older farm track  turn right towards the lightening damaged lonely tree standing above the ruins of Botony Bay Farm