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Artist's StatementPainting the wild spaces, wildlife and landscapes of the East Anglian fens, and wild spaces further afield and in a range of different media.
My work reflects my ecological background and draws on impressionist and modern artistic influences. I am currently working on a series of more abstract fen wetland scenes, particularly the upper catchment peaty wet woodland landscapes of Fordham Woods. These include memorable observations of birds, dragonflies and flora spotted on the way. I have also captured a range of pen and ink sketches.
Art SubjectsLandscape, Nature, Fens, Fantasy
Art Materialsoils, watercolour, pastels, charcoal, ink
Mike Barker's Portfolios
Wicken Fen Vision Area
Paintings of Wicken Fen and the larger surrounding Vision Area both as it is now and how it might be restored into a wetland landscape mosaic.
These are mainly oil paintings but also includes watercolour work too.
Less than 1% of original fen survives in East Anglia, of which Wicken Fen is a fragment. Despite growing to 358 hectares, the nature reserve is too small and isolated to guarantee the survival of all of its rare and numerous species, and under pressure from the increasing numbers of people seeking its peace and tranquillity. The vision for restoring the fenland landscape can only be encouraged, the only question is whether it can be achieved before climate changes washes in, reclaiming these lowlands as brackish lagoons and saltmarsh.
The twisted pines of the Brecks
The sandy and dry Breckland landscape can be extreme and as desolate as the fens are bleak. The specialist flora and fauna such as the stone curlews are themselves oddities. The landscape is typified by the twisted and smashed roadside pines – iconic in their drunken leaning and broken limbs.
Swaffham Prior and environs - a suffit of Towers
Swaffham Prior, Fen edge village has an over-abundance of towers - two Parish churches famously almost conjoined; two windmills (one milling, one being converted to generate renewable energy) and a brutalist concrete water tower. If you squint from various angles you can also see the eleven wind turbines and the tower of Ely cathedral 'sailing' across the fenland plain.
Other wild East Anglian places and wildlife
A medley of other near by wild places - such as Fordham Woods just up the road, but also the North Norfolk coast; Suffolk wetlands and beaches.
Plus smaller sketches of wildlife (mainly birds and dragonflies/damselflies).
Scottish inspiration - highlands and islands
From the erratic boulders of the Cairngorm mountain range to the Outer Herbrides and everything in between...
Scottish watercolours and a few oil paintings..
Bathing Towel Series
A eclectic mix of simple pen and ink drawings and a few small oil paintings all linked by the inclusion of a towel almost all of the time...
Some of a later blue phase watercolours are also included here. And I have added two dark forest images to this portfolio as the closest catagory.