Art in Lockdown

For local naturalist, Neil Pont, lockdown provided an opportunity to create new artworks celebrating the beauty of North East nature.

I have been painting and print-making for a number of years now but, more recently, have been concentrating on wildlife photography. My early paintings were mostly landscape though my printmaking did have a birding theme.  As lockdown has progressed I was minded to combine the photography with the painting – and to dabble in a new medium, water-soluble oils.

The real inspiration was a fantastic series of photos taken by friend and fellow NHSN member, Conrad Dickinson, of a Barn Owl in a snow storm.  Conrad lives very close to Hadrian’s Wall and is able to get out into the wilds there. Living in Forest Hall, I have made Wallsend Rising Sun CP my ‘go to’ venue and, having completed the paintings of the ‘snowy owl’, I based my next painting on a photo I had taken of a back-lit Reed Bunting at Rising Sun.  We have often watched Siskin there, feeding on Alder – they are to be the next subject!

Barn Owl © Neil Pont
Reed Bunting © Neil Pont
Neil Pont
Local Naturalist

Neil Pont is a naturalist, wildlife photographer and artist from Newcastle. A familiar face at Gosforth Nature Reserve, Neil helps protect the reserve as a Volunteer Ranger and inspires young visitors as an NHSN Education Ranger.