Born in 1963 and raised on a farm in Welton, Cumbria, Michael Batey has never been a stranger to rural life and natural beauty.
His teachers at school recognised early on that he had an aptitude for art, and tried to convince him to go to art college to develop his talent. However drawn by his love of the great outdoors, Michael always wanted to be a gamekeeper so left school at 16 to embark on his chosen career, one he has pursued for over 35 years.
Batey considers himself ‘the new kid on the block’ when it comes to the art world. Following an accident in 2006 where his leg was trapped under a tree, Michael was forced to take four months away from his day job. He used this time to re-awaken his passion for art.
His early work gradually evolved from mainly watercolours and chalk drawings (predominantly portraits) to impasto landscapes, in the impressionist style of the Scottish Colourists.
His first exhibition was in 2010 at High Head Sculpture Valley, near Ivegill. Since then his work has shown at numerous exhibition spaces on both sides of the border, including the Devorgilla Gallery in Dumfries; The Upfront Gallery, Penrith; The Spring Fling 2014 (Scotland’s premier arts and craft open studio event); The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle and most recently Spring Fling 2015.
It is only in recent years that Michael developed a desire to loosen up his style, and shift to a more muted palette. He had always been deeply impressed by the work of Turner, and felt he would like to introduce some influences into his work. He began to experiment with different mediums using varnishes and thinners, until he felt at home.
The ethereal land and seascapes he creates in his studio are imaginary vistas, inspired by feelings and emotions he gathers from nature, but they do not represent actual places. Michael deliberately omits any sign of contemporary life from his work to encourage a timeless interpretation of nature in its rawest form.