Michael Colwill is a painter and mixed media artist, many of his paintings use Hawthorne Dene as a starting point, a place he regularly escaped to as a child growing up in difficult circumstances. The surreal landscapes Michael create often feature a mysterious heart shape of unknown origin which insinuates itself into his work. Michael was a talented artist from a young age and had a chance to study art at Sunderland age 15. Instead he was sent down the mines he finally found an opportunity to study art in the 1980s and is currently a studio holder with Navigate North ART.

‘My work is grounded in landscape taken from elements of a small journey around Hawthorne Dene and Easington Colliery coast where I used to play as a child. The dene was a special place for me, a place of security and refuge. I use the drawings and photographs I created during my BA (Hons) based on the journey to Hawthorn dene and used them to help compose my work. Opposites such as hard edge, soft edge, near and far, in focus out of focus, curves and straights, thick and thin areas, touching almost touching are important to my work which helps create a tension across the piece. I use multiple layers which I build up and wash off at points of drying which leaves a history of what has gone before rather like the land being worn away by the elements and brings an important element of chance to the work’