Small, swift and deeply secretive, stoats and weasels are hard to spot in the wild.
However, a Thixendale-based wildlife artist has made it his mission to research these little-known mammals for a new exhibition.
Former Woldgate School pupil Robert E Fuller has devoted the last five years to the intensive study of miniature mustelids living in his garden – getting to know by sight six generations of the same stoat family.
The artist built bespoke habitats to keep both stoats and weasels in his two-acre plot before deploying more than 60 surveillance cameras to follow them as they moved through his garden shrubbery.
Despite the surveillance, both mammals were extremely difficult to follow and the wildlife artist also had to rely on his extensive field skills to keep pace with their movements.
This Saturday (June 15 )he will reveal a new collection of paintings inspired by his findings at an exhibition at his Thixendale gallery.
‘Wild About Stoats And Weasels’ will include films made inside the secret nests of these little known mammals and the photographs that informed the new artworks.
The artist’s new collection includes portraits of his favourite stoat and weasel characters.
The event precedes the release of a new TV documentary filmed in the artist’s garden.
The documentary forms part of the next BBC Natural World, a series produced by the BBC Natural History Unit that is also responsible for programmes like Blue Planet and Planet Earth, and will feature Robert’s ground-breaking research.
Robert said: “I paint in a realistic style to capture the individual characters of my wild subjects and for this I need to understand them thoroughly.
“When I discovered a family of stoats in my garden it was the ideal opportunity to watch and learn about them. At times they were so elusive.
“It took all my skill to keep track of them and record their intimate worlds.”
Visit www.robertefuller.com to find out more about the exhibition.