Sale Fell

IMG_3987Sale Fell lies at the westerly edge of the English Lake District, looking out towards the Solway coast and the Scottish hills that lie over the water, whilst guarding the fringe of the north west fells that so dramatically margin this rugged landscape. It is a modest beauty combining  lovely walks, views, splendid birds (of which pied flycatcher and green woodpecker are good examples) and wonderful opportunities for picnics and breathers.It has an interesting geology with outcrops of pure white rock marking the top like sheep biologically washed in the latest washing powder. It has been the location of films, murders, passionate love embraces and probably much much more. May it long watch over us.

Osprey Fishing

Osprey and fish

I’m currently working on an exhibition together with other members of the Independent Cockermouth Artists group on a “Celebrating Ospreys” show at Whinlatter Visitor Centre in Cumbria. The show will run from 31st March until 30th April to coincide with the hoped for return of the birds to the neighbouring Bassenthwaite valley, a successful breeding ground for the birds since 2001. The valley is of historic ecological importance for breeding English ospreys as there weren’t any birds in the country for the 150 years prior to 2001. To celebrate that and the wonderful work of the Lake District Osprey Project in supporting the re-establishment of ospreys in Cumbria  we are holding this show. Brilliant birds and a great inspiration to us all.

Gallery Artemis – Cockermouth


House and Gren Ball
House and Green Ball

There’s a new gallery opened in my home town Cockermouth in Cumbria. Its rare for new galleries to open, especially in rural areas, especially ones geared to promoting new and emerging artists. So its a cause for celebration that Gallery Artemis has opened its doors. The major street works in town have made the opening weeks challenging – but its wonderful to see art competing for attention along with the fast food outlets, cheap booze stores and charity shops.

Singing at The Stone Circle

Stone Circle

oil pastel painting by keith fitton

Come Bank Holiday Monday, come Sing Owt to Castlerigg Stone Circle to raise their voices in support of the campaign to buy Blencathra for the local community. They will be singing  an adapted version of Woody Guthrie’s classic song, “This Land is Your Land” to celebrate this outburst of local passion. Its not about ownership (after all who on earth can possibly ever really own a mountain) but it is about guarding the rights of the present and future generations to enjoy walking and exploring on this classic mountain, free of inhibition or restriction. Its about guaranteeing the future of those people, animals and birds that depend on the mountain as a home and source of food/income. Its about present ethical stewardship, as opposed to absentee feudal land mismanagement. I’ll be there adding my voice to the choir. It matters.

The obscurity of a hat


It mattered little as the painter shifted his stance, and thought a little more deeply about the relative values to convey.The sunlight was part help, part hinderance, as he attempted to grasp a starting point. Above, a curlew called to draw attention to the point, as if the piping call was itself an echo of his mind’s doubting . Was it part of the scene, or a distraction?

The hat remained on his hat, protecting his crown from the burning heat of the sun. The air remained sultry for a June day in northern England. A few miles to the east, the fell walkers would be making their way up Skiddaw, like ants up a dungpile, glorying in the blessings of the day.

He felt isolated from any search for meaning. He was only interested in finding space to paint freely, free of any false constraint, or ambition. Free from any vanity, or desire to create. Just the promise of alignment, when the mind and spirit guide the body and physical elements work together in harmony. Choosing the paint, where to start, when to apply pressure, when to let go, what device to employ. When does painting transcend technique, or is the value of painting conditioned by the limits on technical skill? Because they are always there.

His head tilted to the side. A faint skein of sweat brushed his brow. The wet brush met the paper and the story unfolded. Clarity appeared from the constraint of obscurity. Even the hat seemed to shine.