On our second painting trip to the Lake District I took the opportunity to meet some Herdwick sheep and study them at close hand. I met up with Craig, a shepherd who tends a flock of Herdwicks with his father. This hardy breed are native to the Lake District and are said to maintain it’s beauty by grazing the high fells. After walking through the field we found the sheep; they have a friendly appearance with the corners of their mouths upturned as if smiling. Craig described the characteristics to look for; the fleece should ideally be a steely grey colour and the faces white It was a beautiful spring day and the Newlands valley was a spectacular backdrop. Craig with the help of his sheepdog Ella brought the flock closer and held a ewe while I quickly sketched and took some photos.

Craig introducing me to a Herdwick Sheep

Craig introducing me to a Herdwick Sheep

Back in the studio I wanted to capture the sheep huddled together, focussing on their faces and how they interact with each other. I painted their heads using loose brush work in neutral tones to convey their soft, grey fleece.

The Gathering, oil on canvas

The Gathering, oil on canvas

This painting will be on display along with other oils and charcoals in my exhibition, ”The Lake District and Cumbria”. The exhibition opens Saturday 6th July 2019, 2pm - 5.30pm and runs until 21st July 2019 at our Chester gallery. Many thanks goes to Craig for his help, not forgetting Ella and the sheep!

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