We have lived close to the New Forest since 1998. Like so many other painters, for Mike the area offers a wealth of inspiration.
One of the prettiest towns locally is Lymington on the south edge of the forest. It is a popular haunt of artists, fishermen, sailing enthusiasts, walkers and tourists. This is a quiet study of some boats clustered on the river close to the harbour.
Within a few miles of where we live, there are two shingle beaches, both on the Solent and with views of the Isle of Wight. Each beach is different and despite being so sheltered, they both change constantly.
Calshot is the more developed of the two, with a long row of colourful beach huts and its stand for camper vans. At the far end of the beach is a complex of buildings which include Calshot Castle, the Activities Centre, the Lifeboat Station and, up in the old coastguard tower, Calshot National Coastwatch (NCI). For 3 years, Mike was a volunteer with NCI and in 2013 donated a picture for auction to help boost funds for the Institute.
Lepe is a lovely place. It is a good spot to watch the busy Solent in the summer with views across to the Isle of Wight. In the winter it is a refuge for seabirds. The Country Park is a favourite place for us as a family with beach and play areas for little ones to have fun, places of historical interest and walks for older members.
The following picture is a small acrylic on board which Mike painted earlier this year.