Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Pendle Commission Paint on Canvas 3

We now have a title for this piece which is "Big End Pendle". An old and accurate name which describes this very steep slope perfectly. 

My apologies for the large signature on this 50x50cm piece It was made on my Iphone 6 plus mobile screen which isn't at its cleanest when my hands are full of oil and all over its touch screen. Also for those who have asked I will dig out my stage 2 image and post that soon.

About managing the process of painting. I have as ever interchanged the sky with others, as August in Lancashire, turned darker, colder and wetter. Yes, I am much influenced by my walks rather than photographs. As I progress through a paintings time on easel, the weather and tone can change. I don't think that makes for a problem , unless I run out of patience with myself (which is sometimes a very good thing) or the structure of the painting isn't right. Lately after the storms have gone by, some hours later a clearing patch of blue will be followed by lines of magnificent cumulus that reach all the way from earth to heaven. Inspired by this I set to and repainted the sky's light and I'm finally happy with it. 

I do love this part of my home county,  it has a freshness to it. Despite the sometimes gloomy bulk of Pendles Big End the area is wonderfully light and airy and the grasses and trees are bright leafed. |I think this may be due to the Reef Limestone  outcrop that rises just to the left of the painting. I suppose this is why this part of Pendle is so similar to the three peaks whereas the Sabden and  Roughlee areas tend to echo the Millstone Grit morands across the valley in the South Pennines.

I once walked through here on my way to Bell Busk Farm near Coniston Cold from Blackburn with my brother one school summer holiday when we had grown bored with Whalley New Road and wanted adventure.  On another occasion in the 6th Form my Geology teacher gave a wonderful day tour exploring the reef limestone, all its amazing fossils and geological and geographical circumstance. Mr James died some years later I heard,  to young. He was an exuberant inspiration to me and many others.. Happy memories.  I climbed in the quarry sometime later and badly hurt my back  not a good memory though the back pain has been a constant reminder of the place.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Painters notes April Brinscall 12.30

West Pennine Brinscall Moor
waterolour A5

Inspired by the writings off Robert Macfarlane The Old Ways, 
Philip Jaccottet  Landscape with Absent figures 
John Wylie Vanishing points:an essay on landscape, memory and belongings
Robinson Stones of Arran

Whilst Im outdoors painting or just walking, sometimes with sketch book or iphone, I often write short notes on paper or in my iphone notes. \The notes are like memorandums  on a visual moment thats just occurred. These moments are those.whch in a series of moments seem more important because of an indescribable abscence of something that whilst I know is tangable is at the same time indistinct. a little like deja vue. . I had thought that it was just a personal thing a memory or a chance combination of micro events that enanble a sense of the familiar. Whatever i make a note at the timd because it seems that these moments can make a day, to experiece a moment intensly and remember it richly. 

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Summertime Winter Hill 2019 new work

Summertime Winter Hill West Pennines
oil on canvas 30x30cm

This painting Summertime Winter Hill 2019 sets a mood change and a change in painting technique. I find myself starting to use palette knives across the work and to use memory of places and times rather than a set location.  Strange how a stronger narrative is starting to allow me to take more time and concentrate on painting and paint than subject.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Pendle Hill Commission Paint on canvas stage 1 and a final drawing.

Pendle End from Meadows Farm Little Mearley Hall 50x50cm oil on canvas
Stage 1 underpainting Rob Miller Fine Art 
For me this is a good aspect for a painting of Pendle. When I think of Pendle I think of the long walks I took alone from Blackburn to Pendles summit then back along the track that skirts the hillside towards Wiswell and finally the bus stop at Whalley. Fond memories of many curlews, Peewits and Skylarks calling from wild flower meadows. The view has all that Pendle offers, early morning mist or haze clearing of the Big End, a nice wooded copse, strip fields, Hawthorne and sheep. Painted using W&N Titanium white, Ultramarine Blue and Raw Umber. .

Pendle End from Meadows Farm  Little Mearley Hall drawing with
watercolour wash 
Second drawing and wash At the end of the first stage the client liked both watercolours equally but couldn't decide on image 1 or 6.  I made a second exploration. I moved my easel ENE from the A59 Clitheroe bypass by about half a mile. If you look on the OS map there's a path that strikes off from the bypass towards Pendles Big End its a short walk  over a few fields to a place between Meadows Farm and Fields Barn both near the ancient and delightful  Little Mearley Hall. The meadows here are still long ancient strips that slope slightly down with old Hawthorne hedgerows and sheep. Beyond this space the flanks of Downham Moor and Pendle rise steeply. From here you can make out some of the path up Hook Cliff to the top of Downham Moor as well as the steep Burst Clough which falls swiftly down to Moorside and Angram Green Farms. The fields give the painting depth and flatness which emphasises the steepness of the slopes beyond, the copse of ancient beech add a focal point. The quirky changes in Pendles slope can be clearly seen from here.

I think at 50x50cm this will make a good strong and familiar image of Pendle, sheep hedgerows and moors.  All you will need to do is make a coffee and  play the wild call  of the curlew or the skylark to take you there.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Some initial notes and paintings on the Hawthorne Tree

Hawthorne Turton Moor
oil on board

Once in a while whilst painting or drawing outdoors I feel a need to go tree hugging. Late last summer I was particularly attracted to a line of very old Hawthornes that clung to a wall, part of an old mine tramway or farmers track  that ran across Turton Moor. Their bent and twisted deep blue and mauve forms showed real age yet their trunks where small and their branches twisted fractured and bent.

This is my third tree series, the first was a group of ancient mountain ash in Rivington which I started to draw almost twenty years ago.The second a group of Olive trees set on a steep slope near Gauguin Andalucia.

A quick internet search shows that the Hawthorne Tree plays a venerable part in British Folklore and history.
Hawthorn has been common in Britain for millennia, pollen counts showing its presence here before 6,000 BC, and of all our native trees, it is perhaps the most enshrined in myth and legend. From Celtic ceremony, to Arthurian myth, to Christian legend, the Hawthorn has its place in all the stories that shape our land and our hearts.
In pagan spirituality, the Hawthorn was a symbol of fertility, youth and sexuality and was considered sacred to the Goddess. It is believed that in Celtic times, most marriages took place at this time of year, usually at Beltaine, the cross quarter festival marking the mid-point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Hawthorn would have been in full bloom, bringing abundant blessings to the newly weds. Today, its historical symbolism and its affinity with the heart have resulted in it being considered the tree of love. Despite marrying in August, we used branches of Hawthorn, among other trees, in our wedding ceremony last year.
Reacting against its saucy pagan associations, the Catholic Church made the pure white blossoms a symbol of the Virgin Mary and of chastity. It was also said to be the wood from which the crown of thorns worn by Jesus was made. The Glastonbury Thorn, which flowers once in May and again at Christmas was said to have grown from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, which took root when he brought Christianity to the British Isles.
There are thought to be up to 1,000 species of Hawthorn worldwide, the two most common in the UK are Crataegus monogyna and Crataegus laevigata. Usually white, the blossoms may also be a light or deep pink.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Rob Miller Exhibition Landscape with absent Figures

Exhibition of Rob Millers new works 

Rob Miller
Landscapes with absent figures

The Gallery St Georges2 St Georges Street Bolton 
Opening Tuesday 16 July 5.30-7.30pm

The Gallery At St George’s House is proud to present a solo exhibition of recent landscape and coastal paintings by Bolton based artist Rob Miller.

The landscape of the Northern Countryside has always fascinated Rob Miller, who gained a Distinction in Painting from the University of Bolton. Miller is particularly influenced by the Lancashire and Lake District landscape, its raw climate, beauty and gritty history. Walking and climbing through it is always a joyful experience. As an artist, being still painting within it is almost meditative.

Entitled ‘Landscapes with absent figures’ this new exhibition, opening Tuesday 16 July 5.30-7.30pm, presents Miller’s most recent landscapes and coastal paintings.  In these scenes the human presence has been stripped away, making them absent, unimportant, except where they have left marks or rigid shapes which have survived enough to have a visual purpose in a found composition.

Whilst painting, different things attract and hold the artist’s thoughts. Scenes that exude a passage of light, whether in the corner of a bright field, high in the mountains or by the sea under stormy skies, are a frequent source of inspiration for Miller. Working outside or painting from his notes makes this a direct experience for the artist as he aims to portray the sublime.

Back at his Falcon Mill studio, the work finishes somewhere between abstraction and figurative: depending on the nuances of the paint, techniques and the making of colour. Miller see each colour range as a ‘stanza’ and each brush mark as a part of each painting’s arpeggio: “Instinctively certain colours please me as I mix them. The paint feels good and tactile sometimes as it slides around the palate.  Visually, moving in and through the geometry of a place as I draw freehand frustrates and engages me fully.”

Through the exhibition the artist hopes to share his sense of awe that he feels in nature with others: “For me, a painting is like making a poem, both an expression of a feeling and an impression of a place”.

Image: Rob Miller Seapools Mallaig oil on canvas 61x61cm

Monday, 24 June 2019

Pendle Hill Commission Initial explorations in pencil and watercolour Rob Miller

This is an example of how I develop with a client their ideas about a landscape and what would make a painting with form and interest. A selection taken from a series of small pencil or pen drawings leading to a final choice of two images. These are then fairly quickly made up into two watercolours and from these two a final selection.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Lingholm Estate Portinscale Keswick 2019 new prints

Here's a selection of the recent works from 2019 that I've been working on for the Seymour family and their Lingholm Estate. The estate is situated on the picturesque west shore of Derwentwater near Keswick in the  English Lake District. At the centre of the estate is a lovely old mansion that was once visited frequently by Beatrice Potter. Later it became the residence of Lord Rochdale and his family.

Though my initial work here was all to do with the surrounding fells  painted and presented as two large triptychs in the Stone Room, of late I've been working in the amazing new walled garden. Inspired by Beatrice Potter and based upon the quality of the Victorian Garden,  the walled garden has been built around the ethics of quality both in its references to early 19C garden design and to the planting. See  

Pots outside the greenhouse

Lingholm 19 
Pots outside the greenhouse 
nearly complete

Lingholm 19 
Runner beans and green house 

Lingholm 19 
House and walled garden 
nearly completed

Lingholm 19 
High on Catbells Ridge. 
Lingholm 19 
Exposed Helvellyn scramble looking down to Striding Edge 
acrylics mixed media
fully completed

Lingholm 19 
Exposed Helvellyn scramble looking down to Striding Edge 
acrylics mixed media

The old greenhouse and the walled garden in summertime
oil on canvas

Lingholm 19 
The old greenhouse and the walled Garden in summertime  
oils on board
nearly complete

Lingholm 19 
Walled garden summer shadows 
oils on board

Lingholm 19  
Walled Garden the main walk to the green house
oils on board
nearly complete

Lingholm 19  
Walled Garden the main walk to the green house
oils on board
Thursday 23 May 19 nearly complete

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

A painting of the Isle of Harris . Outer Hebrides . Scotland

Isle of Harris South West Coast

Painting Haslingden Grane Rossendale . Preliminary sketches and notes . Rob Miller

Haslingden Grane  Drawing 1
Developing the paintings design and layout from  location
sketches and drawings from photographs

Haslingden Grane Drawing 2
Adding a raw sienna wash to develop the narrative of
a misty lancashire moorland day

Haslingden Grane Drawing 3
Back out on location to make some detail sketch on location
you see far more clearly outdoors when the sun latches onto the planes
of different  forms, triangles, obongs obliques curves

Haslingden Grane Drawing 4
Back out on location to make some detail sketch on location
you see far more clearly outdoors when the sun throws long shadows
and tone fights with contrast 

Haslingden Grane Drawing 5
Back in the studio developing the drawing into its final layout
50x50cm before transferring it onto the 100x100cm linen canvas

Haslingden Grane Drawing 6
Painting over the pencilled drawing on the canvas with a mix of sepia
oils and starting to define the mood of the sky.

Commissions Lancashire Artist
Rob Miller RSA
07841 140562

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Small Landscape Painters -Artists Group - Course West Pennine Moors Lancashire

Small Landscape group . Painting in the West Pennines with Rob Miller . Brinscall

Short course starts May 2019

I'm looking to start a small landscape painting group – course.  The theme or narrative of the course would Visual explorations of the Landscapes of the West Pennine Moors around Brinscall. I believe that we would begin at end of April 2019 until the summer for a period of about 6-10 weeks.  There will be a maximum of 4-6 people. The group would be participative in nature and project based. The meeting point would be in my home studio, my studio at Falcon Mill Bolton,  en plein air in the West Pennines.

To make this happen there are lots of things that I need to sort out.  But the best way for me to start is for me to begin. My background includes a B Ed Hons and I have years of experience in working with people in a participative way. I also have many years of visually exploring landscapes. If your a painter and artist and interested in joining please email me or telephone me on 07841140562.


Brinscall is a small village situated on a steep hillside opposite the South Western Edge of the West Pennine Moors. The areas  location offers the Landscape painter a wide variety of narratives both naturally topographical and manmade, sometimes harmonious and sometimes in conflict. High open moorlands below huge skies, a sea of bright grasses blessed with  hidden  gems that are waiting for the artist; tumbled field corners, old stone built farms, ancient copses,  all with distant views of the Irish Sea.  There are a variety of newly planted and ancient beech woodlands each with its tumbling stream at Roddlesworth, White Coppice or Wheelton Plantation. The area has a smattering of old Manors and halls, small hamlets and small villages  both pre industrial revolution as well as those built during Lancashire’s industrial revolution. There is plenty to get one’s teeth into.

The short course includes aspects off

Choosing a ground and surface.

Landscape drawing in different mediums.

Developing ideas using acrylics and mixed media.

Painting with oils.

Plein aire painting

Studio work.

First Snows West pennines 70x70cm acrylics

Friday, 22 February 2019

Gloamin Iceland

New work inspired whilst developing the theme of Gloamin and revisiting my drawings and sketches of   Iceland, Norway and North Britain. There's no other way of painting this concept of Gloamin in a northern evening  or the Wolf hour in a Northern morning. Im finding it quite exciting.

Monday, 18 February 2019

A painting of Wetstone Edge West Pennine Moors, Belthorne Blackburn oil on linen board by Rob Miller RSA

A painting of Wetstone Edge Belthorne Blackburn oil on linen board by Rob Miller RSA
 A distant Irish Sea and Blackpool tower viewed afar from the West Pennine Moors as they rise step by step above Blackburn. Belthorne one of a series of old coal villages sits on the  ridge ahead high above the valley. Always a source of power for the nation the area around Wetstone Edge was a hive of coal mining activity. Now this lovely old farm sits in front of a ridge of tall Wind Turbines.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Gloamin 6 A painting of a distant Manchester in winter viewed from West Pennine Moors.

Gloaming A distant Manchester winter West Pennine Moors oil on board 23x30cm
This is my regular view many mornings as I travel over the West Pennines and down into Turtons village of  Egerton. Each day Im awarded with a different view great skies and open spaces. Last week the end of the snows brought with it a wonderful display of browns and yellows. The rough foreground ground is formed from very fragile grazing land wet meadows which are lush in bird song and raptors. The Pennines above Oldham form the indistinct dark blue ground in the distance with the near ridge of Breightmet ( Bright meadows) and Longworth Clough both strong weaving and coal mining areas.

Gloamin 4 Snows Gone Tockholes Darwen with Blackburn Lancashire

It was one of those wet muggy after snow damp days that chill you through to your bones, I managed to snatch some images and sketches whilst sat in my car. Id been determined to get out again in the snow after a great day snow walking above Brinscall and Withnell Moor  in cold and clear weather. So I was disappointed but really should have known better...This one is oil on board 30x30cm

Friday, 1 February 2019

Lingholm New series Drifting Shorelines The Wild wood

I think that this work is finished. It will have to be as I need the board its taped on for other things namely drifting shorelines 2.

This is one of the first of a new Lingholm series for this year 2019 using wallace seymour acrylics on snowdon paper. The series is starting to develop into a more loose style which has taken an age. I made a pile of A3 charcoal studies of the shoreline in front of Lingholm Catbells and Causey Pike. Here is a link to the Lingholm page I will try my hadest to load up some of the drawings this weekend.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Lingholm Drifting Shorelines New work 2019 Work in progress on the easel

Lingholm Drifting Shorelines 

Work in progress on the easel Acrylics on Canvas 

Maybe Im emerging from the winters gloaming or I need some real warmth, or with all the b******* about brexit I needed to relax. Over the last couple of days a returning mental image of an English woodland reflected in an english lake as been my source of quiet and meditation. Drifting along at natures pace past endless trees and deep reflections. Ohh Zen dog, "He knows not where he is going, For the ocean will decide. Its not the destination, its the glory of the ride". Edward Monkton

Turning back my clock three years and 6 months ago. When I walked into the temporary studio at Lingholm, after a heavenly summer mornings painting on the Lake. I instantly grabbed a roll of lining paper and taped it together then quickly painted a couple of large sized trials. I didn't want the emotion, the experience and the quality of life that I felt drifting along Derwent waters Lingholm shoreline to fade. So I quickly painted away. Since that time  I've always wanted to return to the subject Drifting, shorelines. Here we have

These guys are made with acrylic on paper.

Drifting shorelines key words

These are a few of the words I wrote to keep me inspired and focussed on the triptychs, I think they are also a good message for life at the moment with all its external upheaval and change. Offering a way foward.

Wallace Seymour Paints 

further information please contact
+44 07841 140562