1st of February marked the end of the pheasant shooting season at Chargot Estate and I was excited to have been invited to go along to the beaters day to meet the team.
Having taken down the paintings that had been on display for guests at the lodge throughout the season, I waited for the party to return from their first drives.
Hungry and eager for lunch, a large party of beaters, pickers up and friends plus dogs arrived at the lodge and I was greeted by a happy and bubbly group – evidently working well together as a close team to support the running of the shoot.
I adore Exmoor anyway, but I was thrilled to be offered a lift to Kennisham, a drive that I had already painted earlier in the season. Driving into the estate, along narrow and sometimes steep lanes, we arrived at the most beautiful high drive, nestled in a valley with a small stream running through.
Positioning myself at one end of the guns, I quietly studied the scene and gathered much visual information and inspiration for future paintings. I am always inspired by the dogs; I cannot express in words how committed they are to the task. It brings out the very best of their nature; loyalty, enthusiasm, stamina and, above all, the never ending desire to please. I could watch them all day.
Zeiss, the estate manager’s black spaniel, particularly caught my attention, although I found it hard to photograph him, as he moved so fast.
I’d love to thank both Chargot and Bettws Hall for the opportunity to exhibit work with them this season, it has been amazing.