Painting number 2 for my graduation show – Ramshaw Rocks

After painting the hilltop that is Shuttlingsloe, I moved on to a more imposing and dramatic landscape. The wind weathered sharp fingers of Ramshaw Rocks are one of Leek’s most recognisable local beauty spots.

I wanted to portray the eerie, sometimes menacing nature of the rocks in this piece. The rocks are often shrouded in low cloud during the autum, winter and early spring. It gives them an almost mystical quality.

Here’s a few progress shots and a reference image so that you can see where I am coming from.

Here’s a couple of quotes to set the scene …..

“Arrive there on a summer evening, fighting fit and determined – preferably with a few preliminary bouts under your belt – crash the jams in, move quickly and the climbs submit. Arrive on a bad day, and it is a different story; the rock will maul you and you will retire bloodied to lick your wounds.” Martin Boysen, Rock Climbs In The Peak, Volume 6. Staffordshire Area 1981.
“We noticed all manner of weird and fantastic shapes along the skyline of the Rocks, and readily realised we were in the Highlands of North Stafford.” W.H.Nithsdale. In the Highlands of Staffordshire. 1906.

Ramshaw Rocks


40 x 50″

First composition choice … I decided against this, so changed it to …


Composition number 2 … more emphasis on the iconic ‘Loaf and Cheese’ with some moody crags in the background


I worked on the background first


Then concentrated on the foreground detail


And decided to pretty much leave this one here …


Photo reference …