Cove Conversations - Oliver Pyle

April 30 2020 – Cove Gallery

Cove Conversations - Oliver Pyle
Cove Conversations - Oliver Pyle

In this series of blogs we ask Cove Gallery artists to choose artists and artworks that have inspired them to give us a closer insight into the influences that drive their creativity.

A painter and photographer from Sussex, Oliver Pyle has established himself as a highly successful and sought after landscape artist, predominantly focusing on UK scenes which he considers to be a rich source of inspiration.

A regular visitor to Weymouth with his family, Oliver has become a firm favourite at Cove Gallery, painting beautiful watercolour scenes of the constantly changing colours and moods of the Old Harbour.

"The British landscape is unique. There is so much diversity that can be found on such a relatively small island; be it the windswept spaces of Ashdown Forest in Sussex or the dramatic jagged coastline of the West Country."

In this blog, Oliver highlights two British landscape artists that influenced his early artistic development, Rowland Hilder and Alwyn Crawshaw, and describes how two classical music masterpieces by Strauss and Beethoven provide constant inspiration for his best work.

 Rowland Hilder

With a background in illustration, British artist Rowland Hilder had a remarkable and unashamed commitment to realism when many of his contemporaries were finding expression and commercial success through a more surreal approach to landscape painting. Hilder's ability to capture the winter landscape in watercolour is without equal.

  Hilder studied at Goldsmiths' College and as a student with little money he cycled into the countryside, which began a lifelong passion for drawing landscapes in both pencil and watercolour, initially of Kent, "The Garden of England", and along the Thames with its sailing vessels and old buildings.

His use of a limited palette and carefully structured compositions show the British countryside at its very best.

Alwyn Crawshaw

I decided to try my hand at watercolour when I was in my late teens, having received a birthday card illustrated with one of Alwyn Crawshaw's watercolours. Till that point I had enjoyed drawing in pencil and ink, almost in photographic detail, but the painting just captured my imagination and I thought "I'll give that a go!" I sought out some of Crawshaw's books and instructional films (VHS!) and here we are!


One of Alwyn's greatest attributes is his contribution to making art accessible to everyone. It is not the preserve of an elite few, and he has always made a point of encouraging others to try painting as a recreational activity, always with a concern for the person next door, rather than the great and good of the galleries and societies.


My best work comes when I am painting to classical music - it has the ability to remove distracting thoughts while simultaneously allowing me to focus on my work, relaxing my approach to the canvas.



Time and again I return to Beethoven's symphonic sketch of the countryside, the 6th Symphony 'Pastorale', and Richard Strauss' 'Eine Alpensinfonie', a musical description of a day's trek in the mountains.

Both these pieces invoke profound emotions of being in the landscape, participating in the both its breadth and its detail.


 See Oliver Pyle’s collection of original watercolour paintings and limited edition prints here

Links to Further Information
Artist Profile - Rowland Hilder
Watercolour Painting Instructional Video by Alwyn Crawshaw
Composer Profile - Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven's Sixth Symphony - Pastorale
Composer Profile - Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie Op.64

1 comment

  • Edo Hannema: May 14, 2020
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    Oliver is a excellent artist and watercolour is made for Oliver’s delicate washes. 10 years ago I did have a workshop from a watercolour master in the Netherlands (Kees van Aalst) and he said it is better to whisper in watercolour then to shout. And Oliver is a perfect example of just that.

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