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AFC artist features in BBC production
Lorna Hamilton was invited to take part in a landmark programme by BBC Northern Ireland. ‘Wild Week Live’ was broadcast each evening from the beautiful setting of Castle Espie Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre, on the shores of Strangford Lough. Lorna was artist in residence at the centre during the week long programme creating an oil painting of a Barn Owl, the show’s mascot. ‘It was a huge challenge; not only with the time restriction but also trying to work cleanly. Artists are known for their clean studios!’ Lorna painted her picture, ‘Silent Vigil’ from the restaurant of Castle Espie, a spacious, open area overlooking the ducks and geese of the reserve. ‘It is a special place, being able to paint wildlife whilst listening and watching the wildfowl is magical, I would happily paint there every day.’ It was reminiscent of the great artist and conservationist Sir Peter Scott (founder of WWT), who painted overlooking his reserve in Slimbridge.

On Monday morning, Lorna sat in her new studio space to begin her task of creating a painting in just one week. ‘It was a difficult challenge as the public were coming in to see the painting develop; this of course led to many conversations! It was important I kept concentration as my time scale was short’. Throughout the week the programme showed Lorna’s progress. ‘It was an intense week, painting at least 10 hours a day with few breaks. But by Friday I did had completed it. ‘

This was the first time a ‘live’ wildlife series had been shown in N.Ireland. It took over 2 years to plan, five weeks to set up and was manned by over 60 crew. It covered many different resident species including otters, badgers, owls, moths and bird life. It was a great introduction to nature for many people and showed the rich diversity of wildlife in the province.

Lorna, a regular volunteer at Castle Espie, is producing an exclusive edition of 50 prints to be sold with all proceeds going into the conservation work at Castle Espie. ‘It is important for children to experience nature; at Castle Espie they can do that. We aim to create memories for families and enhance kid’s lives as they learn and connect with their wild environment. It is such a privilege to volunteer there’.

Lorna’s painting will be on display at the centre until the 19th June and is for sale with 25% going towards the conservation work at the centre.


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