Wildlife footage inspires artist

Artist Robert Fuller with his stoat painting.
Artist Robert Fuller with his stoat painting.

A year’s worth of wildlife filming has inspired a Wolds artist and former Woldgate College pupil – who used the footage to create his new collection – and led to the BBC One Show getting in touch with him.

The results can be seen at Robert Fuller’s new exhibition, which starts at his gallery near Thixendale on 6 June.

The popular wildlife artist spent a year secretly filming owls, kestrels, stoats and weasels on the Yorkshire Wolds in order to study them up close for this new collection of paintings.

The film footage will be on display alongside these paintings so that visitors can see how it informed each finished piece.

Mr Fuller’s recordings include rare footage of a wild stoat running through a maze.

He built the maze and positioned it in his front garden as part of an obstacle course which he trained the stoat to complete so that he could observe its long, slim body as it flowed around tight corners.

Stoat’s are so difficult to study in the wild that this footage attracted BBC’s The One Show and will be screened on national TV later this year.

Mr Fuller said: “I like to try to capture the individual character of the animals and birds in my paintings and so I spend a long time watching them in their natural habitat before I return to my studio to work on a composition.

“This year I hid 12 cameras inside nest boxes in the garden and the surrounding countryside so that I could see what happens when the creatures I’m watching disappear from view. I also trained cameras onto a weasel’s nest and a family of stoats. I captured the most incredible footage and saw things I’ve never seen before.

“The information I gathered helped me understand these creatures better than I ever imagined it could. I hope this scrutiny comes through in my new collection.”

Visitors to the art exhibition can watch the original film, as well as clips of the best of the animal encounters recorded. Among them is a brutal battle between a kestrel and a barn owl inside a nest.

This fracas was so unusual it also attracted a storm of media interest.

A number of nature events accompany the exhibition, including birdwatching, nature walks, falconry, a mini zoo and bush craft lessons for children. For more details to go www.robertefuller.com