Canadian artist travels to Painswick every year to paint its famous yew trees

Stroud News and Journal: Greg Thatcher in the grounds of St Mary's Church in Painswick Greg Thatcher in the grounds of St Mary's Church in Painswick

A CANADIAN artist has travelled to Painswick to paint its famous yew trees.

Greg Thatcher, 63, who lives in Iowa, has been painting the trees at St Mary's Church for more than 20 years and works on location from June to August every year.

The yew trees were planted in the Middle Ages and Mr Thatcher says they form the most beautiful yew tree avenues in the world.

He first saw them in a travel brochure while working in Lancashire in 1991.

At first, he worked from photographs but after visiting the churchyard he was inspired by the different shapes and intricate details.

Mr Thatcher said: "I have been drawn to them. I just keep seeing deeper and deeper levels of where I can start. It is an ongoing relationship.

"The process is very stimulating and nourishing to my creativity and imagination.

"Even after 20 years I am still finding more angles and more information to work with.

"I love Painswick and enjoy coming back each year. My trips have been pivotal to my career. It has given me access to a unique and inspiring landscape."

Mr Thatcher spends between six and eight hours a day working on the drawings and many take more than 350 hours to complete.

He and his wife stay a mile away from the churchyard so Mr Thatcher can cycle to and from the site every day.

Mr Thatcher teaches art and art history to children aged 13 to 17 in a small school in Iowa.

He has a bachelor of fine art from the University of Victoria and a masters in painting and drawing from the University of Saskatchewan.

A series of drawings of the yew trees has been exhibited in the United States, Canada, England and France and his work hangs in corporate and private collections across the world.

For more information go to www.gregthatchergallery.com
 

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