Wigan artist scoops top award for sea painting

James Bartholomew's award-winning sea painting
James Bartholomew's award-winning sea painting

A last-minute change of plans which saw a trip to Hawaii replaced with Ireland proved fruitful for a Wigan artist.

For contemporary painter James Bartholomew scooped a prestigious award for a painting created during the trip.

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James, who is based at Mill House Gallery in Parbold, was given the award for his seascape painting named Atlantic blue 4 at the Royal Society of Marine Artists’ annual exhibition in London.

It was painted with acrylic on canvas and is part of a series of dramatic sea depictions based on a recent trip to Dingle, Ireland.

James regularly travels to remote areas of coast to find the right conditions.

He said: “The sea is always an emotive subject but when strong winds, large swells and bright light all come together at the same time, you can get some really exciting scenes. It really is ‘a perfect storm’.”

James had lined up a trip to Hawaii but when the forecast changed at the last minute, he moved his plans to Ireland where there were reports of huge swells and stormy conditions.

He said: “Parts of the coastline in southern Ireland are as wild as anywhere I know. With stormy skies and 16ft-high breaking waves, it’s a really incredible place to be and perfect for my work”.

Alongside his own gallery based in an 18th Century stone windmill in Parbold, James has been represented by several leading UK galleries.

He also exhibits regularly at the Federation of British Artists’ society shows and his work is now found in both private and corporate collections around the world.

The former Wigan schoolboy did a foundation course in art before turning professional, working out of the former newspaper building, now demolished, at Brock Mill.

His first show was at Salford’s Mining Exhibition.

In his varied career, James has painted on oil rigs, on the moors, on farms, on sea shores, in Venice, London and New York.

He has had considerable success with his seascape paintings, winning several awards.

He was commissioned by Chevron Oil to paint one of their oil platforms in the North Sea in extreme conditions and was asked to produce three paintings of seabirds flying over turbulent seas for a Christies auction on paintings of nature.