Artist profile - Mike Hoyles, Thelwall

Winter walk Delamere, Mike Hoyles

Winter walk Delamere, Mike Hoyles - Credit: Archant

Thelwall artist Mike Hoyles explains why he loves to paint Cheshire in the snow

Mike Hoyles

Mike Hoyles - Credit: Archant

While many of us bemoan the cold and sight of snow, artist Mike Hoyles relishes the opportunities presented by the colour palette and stark contrasts of the coldest season.

In fact, he says winter is a much better subject than colourful summer, which he declares is ‘too green’!

The artist and teacher who lives in Thelwall, near Lymm, works in watercolour, the perfect medium in which to depict winter in all its nuanced glory. While he no longer takes his easel out on snowy mornings, he still captures the feeling of frosty mornings and wet weekends.

‘I love to paint landscapes, especially snow scenes in winter as they present so many challenges,’ he reveals.

St Peters, Oughtrington, Mike Hoyles

St Peters, Oughtrington, Mike Hoyles - Credit: Archant

‘You get those lovely long shadows, beautiful skies and there’s an atmosphere and a mood about winter which is very special.

‘And there are some lovely places in Cheshire which I use as my subject, places like Delamere and Dunham Massey. I used to paint on location in winter but now I sketch and take photographs then paint in the studio. But when I do set up my easel outdoors I always end up painting near a pub!’

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Mike is completely self-taught but it was after an exhibition at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery in 1991 that he was asked to teach art classes. He’s helped countless people release their inner Picasso ever since.

‘I was good at art when I was at school but just wasn’t encouraged to do it at the age of 15. It was not until I was 30 that I picked up a paintbrush again,’ he explains.

Old Mill at Dunham Massey, Mike Hoyles

Old Mill at Dunham Massey, Mike Hoyles - Credit: Archant

‘I started again and have gone on from there.’

He now holds classes and workshops throughout the year across Cheshire and regularly demonstrates to art groups and societies throughout the north west, as well as taking on private commissions.

‘I’ve been teaching and demonstrating to art groups and societies for 25 years now and it is always a pleasure to see students enjoying themselves and learning how to paint,’ he says.

As well as landscapes he also likes depicting flowers and buildings. He doesn’t always paint winter scenes but working outdoors can have its problems.

‘Once while painting in a field I heard a rustling sound behind me. It was a bull! l froze a little bit. Luckily he wasn’t in the mood to do anything dangerous and eventually wandered away. The problem is you get so interested in the painting that you don’t hear what’s behind you.’

Mike is now taking commissions so anyone who fancies having a favourite location painted can contact him by email:

12 photos that capture the true beauty of Cheshire in snow