Northeast Pilgrimage


Farne Island Puffin

Leaving things to the last minute seems to be in my nature so it was hardly surprising I chose July to take a trip out to the Farne Islands just as the Puffins were thinking about disappearing back out to the open sea. Despite my poor sense of timing I did have a terrific time, it was a beautiful day; calm and sunny and apparently Puffins are as bad as I am for delaying; because they were still hanging around. The small armada of boats which transport visitors out to the islands are very slick and with a minimum of  fuss I was landed on Inner Farne with three hours wandering around the island surrounded by hundreds of noisy Terns and Puffins. The Farne Islands are a bird artists idea of paradise and three hours just flew (if you will pardon the pun). Now I must be honest, Puffins as a subject never seem to rise above cute and those of us who like to delude ourselves we are ‘serious ‘ artists tend to give them a miss, I cannot believe they are a product of evolution but suspect they were an inspired design by the Disney Corporation! However be that as it may I have learned to listen to my wife over the years and she convinced me to give it a go. I include a picture which is only a detail as I have not yet finished the painting. On my journey home from the Farne Islands I stopped at Hauxley NR run by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust and spent over four happy hours in one of their excellent hides. Most of the waders had gone  but I spent a couple of hours watching a juvenile Grey Heron fishing and felt privilaged to have such an intimate view. The photographs I captured there led to a painting which along with two others I have submitted for selection to the Open Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists at the Mall Gallery in London in September. This exhibition always maintains a very high standard so competion for acceptance is very tough, anyway nothing ventured etc.