F INE art doesn't refer to the weather, unfortunately for Acol Arts Group artist Mike Samson.
Lately, he's been found wrapped up against blustery winds and inclement temperatures painting at his easel on the slipway at Ramsgate harbour.
The idea of painting the activity around the working harbour began in January when an application (later rejected) to develop the area was made.
Ramsgate-born Mike, 52, said: "When I heard the slipway might be closed, I decided I had to do something and began a series of paintings depicting it. The slipway is not pretty; it's quite an industrial scene with people working on it. Which is fine, because that's what I'm working on at the moment. My paintings have plenty of social realism, they're like a historical snapshot. I like to think that I'm saving the image of what it is like for posterity."
The results can be seen at Lovelys gallery in Northdown Road, Cliftonville, from Saturday, February 18.
Mike, a former St George's school pupil, has been painting seriously since his days at Ramsgate Art School after which he served in the army during the late 1970s and early 1980s and was fortunate to spent time painting with Sir Ken Howard RA while serving in Northern Ireland. Shortly after returning home to Thanet in 1986 he met up with his former headmaster Ralph Martin who was running a small art group in Acol.
"After much persuasion from Ralph I joined. The group then had 10 members. It now has over 50!"
Though still an active member of the group, three years ago Mike felt the need to branch out more and with fellow artist Anthony Giles formed Island Arts Group which focuses on life drawing.
A regular exhibitor around the isle, Mike is now returning to the classroom to host a number of art demonstrations and workshops.
The first, a demonstration of impressionist oil painting techniques. is at Lovelys gallery on Saturday, February 18 and coincides with his exhibition. Held between 11am and 3pm it is free to take part in and more information is available from the Northdown Road gallery on 01843 292757.
Later at Acol village hall between 10am and 3pm Mike will be holding a watercolour painting workshop on Saturday, March 10, which costs £10 for participants and an oil painting workshop on Saturday, March 17 which costs £15. For more information contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07887-477948.