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Wild Painting - Gina Farncombe


Gina Farncombe is a landscape artist based in the Matterdale valley.

Two years ago Gina Farncombe and Frankie Cranfield, accomplished local artists, decided to work towards an exhibition of paintings. They live either side of the Skiddaw massive, which lies just to the north of the Cumbrian town of Keswick. Gina in Matterdale. Frankie in Caldbeck. So “BACK a Skidda” became the front as well. Their aim was to paint as much as possible “En Plein Air”. In other words to put on as many clothes as possible, organise painting equipment so it could be carried up into the fells, tramp through snow, rain, hail or blazingly hot sun up a 1000 ft fell and to paint their subjects how they saw and felt about them rather than using a camera which in their opinion possesses neither heart or soul.

So paint they did.

“Artists probably are the most selfish people in the world. They become totally absorbed by their subjects - in fact they are addicted to the paint and when not actually painting they are thinking about it both in waking time and also their dreaming time. We loved losing ourselves in this project,” she says.

Two summers and two winters later Frankie and Gina exhibited more than 60 paintings at Threlkeld Village Hall to the sound of Caribbean steel pans on September 14th 2018. It was not the standard, rather quietly sophisticated fine wine sipping private art exhibition. It was more like a celebration of the raw beauty of this place we call home and the energy of the people, animals and trees that live within it.

It was this exhibition that inspired Gina’s new Wild Painting initiative.

“The most creative thing to have emerged from our Back and Front of Skiddaw exhibition is the birth of a group of fellow artists and enthusiasts called Wild Painting. We launched ourselves with a big bang on Bonfire Day, November 5th 2018.  Eight wild painters were to be seen in Matterdale splashing paint onto canvases on Watermillock Common and down towards Aira Force. Gina’s Art studio shed in Dockray was the epicentre for re-fuelling of paint, turps, cake and coffee and much wonderful art work poured out from the Fells onto canvas and paper.

“The thing about painting outside in all weathers and in all environments,” says Gina. “Be it a heavy industrial site in the outskirts of Blackburn or an idyllic sunlit Cumbrian tarn - they all have their unique story to tell through the eyes of their artist onlooker. The artist experiences the sounds, smell, taste and sight of their subjects. That experience gets transferred onto canvas via paint, charcoal or pastel. Therefore, you, the onlooker will be either grabbed, repelled, disinterested or blown away by what you see. That is why I believe the paintbrush will go directly to the heart whereas the camera just records.”


Gina is currently exhibiting at Theatre by the Lake with portraits from GoFigure, a group of life drawing artists who meet each week at Braithwaite Village Hall. The exhibition at Theatre by the Lake is called Identity and runs until after Christmas 2018.

To find out more about about Gina’s Wild Painting group see

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