Although he has painted all his life from being a child, local watercolour artist Colin Pickering did not start painting professionally until later in life and although he has painted almost every part of our district his fame has spread around the globe. Features Writer Rob Bullock speaks with Colin.
Local watercolour painter Colin Pickering has a real talent for capturing the essence of our area, whether it be the ever-changing scenes of Morecambe Bay, the elegance of our much loved architecture or the peace and tranquillity of our beautiful countryside. It seems that capturing the essence of our scenic area is second nature to Colin, and the reason why? He is local born and bred.
“I was born in Blackburn but moved to Morecambe when I was eight, and I’ve lived with these landscapes ever since. Local views are very important to me, and that’s why they feature so much in my work,” says Colin. “I don’t think there is any part of our area that I haven’t painted.”
Colin grew up in Morecambe and always loved drawing and painting but when he left school at fifteen very few people could consider a career as an artist. So, Colin trained and worked as a domestic appliance engineer, which he did again later in his life.
Studying Art at The Storey’s Institute, Lancaster
Being creative was something young Colin craved so he went back to school; “At seventeen I went full time to the local art college, which was the Storey’s Institute, Lancaster, where I specialised in graphic design for two years. These set me in good stead for the decades I then spent in local newspapers.”
“I enjoyed many happy years at first at the Morecambe Visitor, then the Blackburn Telegraph and finally the Lancashire Evening Post working on everything from editorial graphics to advertisements but when I was made redundant at the age of fifty it set me on a course to thinking about making my hobby my career.
Inspired by the local environment
Rather than other artists inspiring Colin’s beautiful painting it has been the local environment; “I worked with a studio manager on the Lancashire Evening Post and when I visited his home I came across his wonderful collection of local watercolours from the turn of the century and this got me into painting local watercolours. I’ve been interested ever since.”
Autumn, my favourite season
“All the seasons have their different aspects bur I especially love the autumn, and some of my favourite places to photograph, because I always carry my camera to be able to catch an inspirational scene for a painting, are the Lune Valley, Morecambe Bay and in and around Kirkby Lonsdale.”
Colin doesn’t only paint magnificent local landscapes, he paints trains; “A local gentlemen was kind enough to leave me lots of transparencies of steam engines when he died and I’ve used them to paint pictures.”
It is not only steam trains that catch Colin’s artistic eye, though, he is also interested in the most up to date local locomotives; “when Avanti had just taken over the West Coast Mainline service their trains were white,” remembers Colin, “but bit by bit they’ve all been covered with the livery. I really enjoyed painting those unusual white high-speed trains.”
Colin’s Calendar is now available
As with last year Colin has just brought out a calendar of his work that reflects the different seasons in our area; “my calendar sold very well last year but this year with the lockdown it’s been a challenge to put it together. But, it is available for anyone who is interested in my work.”
Colin’s calendar is now available for purchase and showcases this local artist’s talents. His watercolour paintings are available from the Crescent Gallery at 11 Princes Crescent, Bare Village, Morecambe, LA4 6BY. 01524 833 770 or email them on [email protected] or see www.thecrescentgallery.co.uk for more details of Colin Pickering’s paintings.