In March, following the visit to the Ikon Gallery, we visited the Balke exhibition at the National Gallery. Pedar Balke (1804-1887), was a Norwegian painter and social activist, painting landscapes both on an epic and miniature scale. I am drawn to him because of the beauty of his paintings, his involvement with wider society, and the fact that his work is hugely inspired by walking through Scandinavian arctic landscapes, sketching and recording as he went, (particularly as a young man in the early 1830’s), making a link for me with contemporary artists such as Richard Long. As a family we were particularly captivated by the final wall of miniature landscapes, mostly Balke’s later works, with his use of black and white paint where brush and finger tip strokes are all evident. This may well transfer itself to my own experiments with slip, clay and other materials over the next few weeks…. The painting below is Northern Lights over a Coastal Landscape (1870).