Monday, October 31, 2011

Great White Egret, update.

This beautiful bird has been at Sprotbrough for almost a week now and there have been quite a lot of people down here especially to see it, and many scores of photographs taken and words written about it.

 Photograph taken by Hugh Parkin of the Great White Egret in the reeds at Sprotbrough Flash at 15.53 pm today.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Great White Egret at Sprotbrough.

I feel very privileged to have seen this Great White Egret on Sprotbrough Flash this evening.

According to the books and 'birding' friends it is a rare sight indeed !

Great White Egret and Heron
New photograph taken by Hugh Parkin on Fowlsyke Flash at 17.02 on 26th October .

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Glorious Autumn Garden Colours.

A real feel of Autumn this morning, despite recent warm weather we are well into the season now, and when the sun is out the colours in the garden are glorious.

Michaelmas daisies, hosta leaves and lord and ladies in the rockery.

A brief spell of sun after rain yesterday and the raindrops on geraniums certainly deserved a photograph.
An Acer in the sunlight .......

...........and a small one in the shade has bright red jewel like leaves.


Clashing colours of mahonia, ferns and

These were in flower until snow in November last year.

 Lastly glorious, golden fallen beech leaves.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Paintings of Barges on Yorkshire Waterways.

"Comrade and Audrey on the Humber" oil 

I recently sold a small oil painting 'Freight for Rotherham" and memories of a time in the 1990s came flooding back. At that time in my narrowboat 'Sprotbro' Painter'  I had a wonderful time cruising around the canal system painting all sorts of waterway craft, these are just a few.

"Afternoon Sailing, Comrade and Audrey off Spurn Point" oil on board 24"x18"

I am a member of the Guild of Waterway Artists and we used to meet up every year and hold an exhibition of our work at Stoke Bruerne, the trip down in our narrow-boat took a considerable time and there were many interesting things I wanted to paint. This next painting, a small oil, was the result of a view I recorded on the River Trent as we passed a barge loading gravel.

"Loading gravel on the River Trent" small oil on board.

To get to the River Trent from Sprotbrough we had to go through Bramwith Lock which lies east of Doncaster. Thorpe Marsh power station which is shown in the background of the next painting is now partly demolished and I am not sure if all the cooling towers remain.

"Littlebeck at Bramwith Lock" oil on board.

An example of the results of heavy rain and floods, seen every so often  on our local waterways, these two barges, moored above the
weir, had come adrift, and had a 'coming together' by the bridge at Aldwarke near Rotherham. (sometime in the 1990s) 

"Floods at Aldwarke" oil on board.

I must say I do miss seeing the old barges carrying freight on our local waterway, the only freight on the river at present is Humber Princess on a twice weekly trip from Hull to Rotherham with fuel. 

She is a very impressive 60 meters long by 6 meters wide and bright red, I think a winter painting of her passing Levitt Hagg could be 'on the cards' !!

"Sprotbro' Painter" 1989-2003 

Friday, September 2, 2011


A heron flew overhead as I took  my morning coffee in the garden today, an hour later I walked up the towpath and saw five herons standing in the field of stubble on the opposite bank of Sprotbrough Flash vole hunting. It is a very large bird, fully grown around 36 inches tall, they can usually be seen standing in shallow water   patiently stalking the fish, I have also seen them in the winter, on the rocks below the falls.

"Herons Fishing below Sprotbrough Falls"
acrylic on canvas 14"x10"

"Winter Fishing at Sprotbrough Bridge"
acrylic on canvas, small section of a larger painting.

I got to thinking how many times I have painted herons and also included them in my paintings of the local landscape and waterways. They are so much part of the local scenery and such a beautiful bird.

On Sprotbrough Cut last winter.

Herons can off course be seen on  many of our waterways and this next painting is of herons at Aysgarth Falls, in acrylic, painted some time ago.

Herons at Aysgarth Falls 
For me, the most entertaining time to see our local herons is early on a summer morning before there are people around, and if there are boats moored up overnight sometimes a heron can be seen fishing from the roof of one.

"Heron on the Rocks"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pet Portraits

"My Sister's Dogs" acrylic on canvas 36"x24"

With Christmas looming I am spending some time painting pet portraits, here is one of my sister's dogs.

There are more examples of this subject on my blog "Paintings of Pets" posted on April 12, 2011.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Paintings for Rock Cottage B and B.

Rock Cottage is 300 years old and a  perfect bed and breakfast with log fires and superb home cooked food with wonderful views of the Black Mountains. These paintings represent part of the work I have been commissioned to do for the owners Sue and Chris.

'View of the Black Mountains'
acrylic on canvas 48"x36"
(The cottage roof can just be seen at the bottom on the right of the painting.)

'Wrens Nest" acrylic on wood 7"x5"
door plate for one of the rooms

"Owls Roost" acrylic on wood 7"x5"
door plate for a second room.

'View from the gardens" large watercolour/gouache.

All the views from the cottage the  garden and the large field at the side are are of the Black Mountains and simply stunning.

Watercolour/gouache 7"x5"
Christmas card for 2010.

Rock Cottage Bed and Breakfast is well worth a visit and their website is

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Garden 'Tidy Up'

I got in a good days gardening yesterday, the sun shone and it was more than pleasant to be out there.

My intention was to clear the long strands of brambles which seem to have grown overnight and are ready to trip the unwary, and a large group of thistles which although very pretty I needed to take out. I have an abundance of nettles and thistles elsewhere in the garden for wildlife.

The green bin quickly filled up and I compressed it with spade and rake to get as much in as possible. 

Squirrel didn't seem too impressed with my efforts !! 

I don't compost my garden waste since I decided I was going to keep my garden 'on the wild side' and I did away with the lawns and mowing - so it is a mix of wild flowers and perennials with the addition of a few annuals geraniums and pansies etc, it suits me and it is very pretty in all seasons. 

So there will be pots of jam in the Autumn, if the birds leave any blackberries for me. In the meantime I have a yen to do some paintings, of my garden, maybe small watercolours. 

Watch this space !!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Garden Festival Weekend at Barnburgh

Glorious sunshine all weekend for the Garden Festival. The interior of the church looked beautiful and I thought the various displays of paintings, photographs and woodcarvings looked very attractive in the cool light of the church.

My display of local landscape and flower paintings.

Yvonne Kirby's display of botanical paintings.

I took the opportunity to have a look at the Medieval Dovecote in the Hall Gardens. I had done a series of paintings in 1988 when this property was owned by the Coal Board and in a state of disrepair. 

'Dovecote Barnburgh' small watercolour gouache.

'Old Barn Barnburgh 1988' oil on board, 30"x16".

It was interesting to see all the improvements made over the years . What was once a decrepit old barn, now four very desirable cottages, and the dovecote repaired, now set in parkland with the most wonderful views over the surrounding countryside. 

I only had time to visit one of the open gardens and that was Manor Farm in Harlington, a lovely informal cottage garden with a orchard, bees and swallows swooping overhead, and lots of lovely flowers.

Sign acrylic on wood
Two interesting nests on display.....

Wasps nest

Bumblebees nest

....and of course honey for sale!!

The sun shone from dawn till dusk both Saturday and Sunday. I met some new and interesting people and some old friends and I had a very good weekend indeed.