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High Flying Birds Take Lancaster Artist Back to His Roots

A well-known Lancashire artist has gone back to his roots. 

Graham Lowe, who works from his studio in Lancaster, trained as an illustrator. His latest body of work comprises 20 British bird paintings which are already garnering praise from gallery owners and fans alike.

A selection of the paintings can currently be seen at Gallery H, Arnside. Some have been on show this year at Arteria, Lancaster, The Artroom Gallery, Garstang, The Platform, Clitheroe, The Old Courthouse Gallery, Ambleside, and they comprised a solo show at Loveart Gallery, Nantwich, Cheshire.

“Bird art is a perennial favourite with both artists and art-lovers,” Graham said. “Birds are so diverse in shape, colouring, markings and expression. As an artist I love the challenge that each bird presents. While I’ve spent much of my artistic career painting abstract and figurative landscapes, almost exclusively of the North, recently I felt pulled back to illustration.”

He added: “I grew up in the Leicestershire countryside surrounded by birds. My grandfather was a pigeon fancier and I loved seeing them fly and helping in the pigeon loft. My dad had a large aviary full of birds for many years. He was also a keen birdwatcher.” Graham himself used to have a tawny owl.

The bird paintings are done in acrylics or gouache. The finished paintings range in size from 10 x 12″ up to 2ft x 2ft 6″ for a recent painting of an osprey.

Graham explained how he produces the paintings. “I work from my own photographs for the owls and other birds of prey. I visit bird of prey displays where I can get up close and take good quality pictures. I then use my own sketches to place the birds in a natural environment. I also bring branches and other materials into the studio to work from.”

“For the other birds I gather as many visual references as possible from photographs in books and internet images and then make drawings which develop into the paintings. To create the heron painting, for example, I used six photographs as reference for the bird and I then used my own sketch to place it in the water.”

Along with the original bird paintings a collection of high-quality, limited edition giclee prints, mounted and ready for framing will be available.

Graham grew up in a village called, appropriately enough, Ravenstone, in Leicestershire. On leaving school he trained as an illustrator in a small commercial art studio and created illustrations for books and greetings cards. He worked for some years in industry then gained a Fine Art degree. He moved to Lancaster in 1990.

Graham Lowe has exhibited in galleries throughout the North of England and his paintings have been bought by public and private collectors both in this country and abroad.

He’s also worked as a community artist – his large-scale work adorns some of the buildings in the Poulton district of Morecambe – and he has taught art for many years, including at Summer schools at Maiden Bridge Art Study Centre, Tatham, in the Forest of Bowland.

Graham launches his new independent teaching programme this winter, beginning with ‘Paint Like the Impressionists’ on Saturday 5 December at the Outrageous Ambition Hub White Cross, Lancaster, with further teaching sessions at Barton Grange, near Preston, in the New Year.

See <> for more course details and examples of Graham’s bird paintings, along with his landscapes and portraiture.

Barn Owl by Graham Lowe

Osprey by Graham Lowe


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