Neil Bartle

Self taught. 50+ years a private studio painter.

1955 Manchester University to study Botany/Chemistry/Zoology
1958 Graduated BSc (Hons) Botany
1958-59 Oxford University – Teacher Training
1959-93 Science Teacher – Lockleaze Comprehensive, Bristol


Normal, completely ordinary childhood love of illustrations, drawing, colouring and model making, re-emerged whilst an undergraduate into powerful, moving interest in contemporary art of that period.  My eventual “give-it-a-go” tryouts soon became the beginnings of a personal journey enriched with energising and life enhancing qualities: those early life questions – who am I? Where am I going? What is the meaning of life? All embraced nature of my artistic pursuit. While some pursue religion for personal harmony and meaning, a serious level of painting was proving to be the key to my personal growth and self-identity.  I resist the description “hobby”; painting has remained an element essential to my psychological growth and equilibrium.

Painting  has promoted a freedom of perceptual exploration and a spiritual odyssey. (unfettered without intention or necessity of financial gains). Training  during the late 1950′s and 60′s was by avid viewing of other artists aims and methods: my notebook and nose to the canvas, mostly British artists.  Skills development  was sought via energetic practice and persevering commitment. Experimentation generated discoveries and these facilitated a development of vocabulary of method and technical means.  To create images meaningfully related in my mind to my perceptions – Landscape and Aspects of Nature. My work developed along three technical modes:


I developed ways of using oil paints on textured plaster, adhered onto board, to explore my fascination with rock structure and its’ textured mineral content characterising coastal topography. The pictures are abstractions from coastal perceptions, often contain references to distance and coastal space.


Pictures constructed with colour palette and tonal ranges being provided by pieces of paper-cuts rather than paint pigment. Subject sources – frequently relate to my biological training:  living organisms; microscopic viewings; insects; bees; wasps; flower parts: some images are informal constructions.


More visually direct depictions of  Landscape and Coast.


My pictures represent to a large extent aspects of a personal life journey – i.e. images related to a biological education (mostly the papercuts); images related to natural places I have visited and enjoyed, as well as those places I still visit and love. My fascination with the natural world’s presentation of texture, particularly the physical world, has fortunately never left me — a diet I still feast on.


At no time has picture sale been an aim; never a necessity, nor a specific interest, certainly never a motivation or reason for painting.  Two events have contributed to an alteration in my thoughts about selling.  Firstly, my son’s offer to photograph all my work presented the realisation of print potential.  Involvement with the Art Trail brought unexpected levels of interest and encouragement from many of the visitors on the Open House days.
Family and friends have always considered my lack of interest and reluctance to sell strange.


Now all ‘Watermedia paintings’ and ‘Papercuts’ images are offered as prints (at same size as originals). These prints are all ‘Fine Art Prints’, professionally prepared with light-fast inks onto quality watercolour paper. Some prints are issued as ‘Limited Editions’.  Many originals are available for purchase.