18th November

My first guest blog!

I thought it’d be nice to have guest bloggers on my wee blog sometimes, and today is my first!  My partner in crime today is Duncan Pass, husband of YA author Emma Pass, and printer, painter and artiste extraordinaire.  You know that feeling when you look at a painting or piece of art and feel completely blown away?  Well, that’s pretty much how I felt when I saw Duncan’s woodcuts and paintings.  His work is stunning.  Some of this is to do with the sheer size of some of the pieces; then there’s the variety; then there’s the quality and depth, and the detail… the list is endless.  I hope he won’t mind me saying this, but, as well as having an abundance of talent, he is also an incredibly humble man who works very hard at what he does.  Now over to Duncan…

Artist, Duncan Pass

Duncn Pass

I didn’t like school, and ended up leaving at the age of fourteen. First, I got a job as a tyre fitter, then as a coil winder, and after that, spent the next seven years working on holiday camps and in leisure centres as a lifeguard.

But I knew I didn’t want to be a lifeguard forever.  I’d had a friend at one of the holiday camps I’d worked on, Taffy Evans, who’d been a submariner in the Navy. He was a real free spirit, and eventually he inspired me to take my life in a different direction. In 1995 I left the leisure industry and took an Access Art and Design at course at Chesterfield College, followed by a BA Honours degree at Falmouth College of Arts.

Duncan's printing press

Since graduating, I have never stopped doing my art. I work in three ways: oil painting, drawing and printmaking. For my prints, I use drypoint and woodcut techniques, using a press I designed and built myself with the help of a local engineering firm.

I’ve also had work accepted for various competitions, including the Derbyshire Open Arts at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery where I was offered a solo exhibition, ‘Walking Through Landscape’, from July-September 2007. During this time I was featured as ‘Artist of the Month’ in Reflections Magazine.

Mam Tor painting

Currently, I’m Artist in Residence at the Peak District Mining Experience in Matlock Bath. There, I’m making images of the museum’s artefacts and its interior and producing drawings of local lead mining sites.


This year, I’ve been interviewed twice for the BBC’s ‘Inside Out’ programme and in October I helped to run two workshops for the Big Draw. I also volunteer every week alongside my mother as a teacher at my local art group, which has now been running for around ten years.

The Wirksworth Miner

Duncan also has a website at  www.duncanpassartist.co.uk where you can see more of his beautiful paintings and woodcuts, and can contact him for more information about what he does.

Big Thanks to Duncan for being my first guest blogger and making such a darn good job of it!

About Abi Burlingham

I write children's books and paint pictures inspired by nature, animals, trees etc, mostly in acrylics. I am a crisp addict.
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10 Responses to 18th November

  1. I love the Mam Tor painting and I also love the size of the printing press!

    What I love most though is how Duncan changed his life and followed his dream. I think it’s something more people should do.

    Thank you both for sharing.

  2. Wow, amazing paintings and prints! That press is amazing, and I absolutely love Zoomies! It’s also wonderful to meet such a talented, dedicated artist in addition to having the chance to be introduced to Twitter friend Emma’s husband. So glad to meet him!

  3. Rebecca – I couldn’t agree more. Seeing someone follow their dream and the happiness it gives them is the best thing of all!

    Julia – The press is amazing isn’t it? I’ve seen it in ‘real life’ and it is a beast of a thing. Yes, Zoomies is one of my faves too – and I’ve seen that as well… I know, I’m just showing off now aren’t I? 🙂

    Thank you both for your lovely comments.

  4. Martin Day says:

    Thanks Duncan for this (& Abi). I’ve often found that the original art that I REALLY like has a prohibitive price tag and as a result I don’t own any originals (I guess I must have good taste or at least popular taste!). The landscapes on Duncan’s website look breathtaking and I would definitely put them in that same class. A great talent. One hopes that everyone manages to connect with what they are really about – what a tragedy it would have been to miss all this and get stuck in a job that had nothing to do with it.

    It’s probably been said before but it’s very easy to misread Duncan’s URL!

    • Thanks ever so much for this Martin – what a thoughtful and insightful response. I’m sure Duncan will read all these comments and be really pleased with them. I hadn’t noticed the URL… I have now 😀

  5. Great read! Thanks Abi and Duncan. 🙂

  6. Duncan Pass says:

    Hi Abi,
    Thank you very much for having me on your blog, and thank you to the people who have responded, it helps me to move in the right direction with my work, I’m glad you all like it. 🙂

  7. Jenny Alexander says:

    Fantastic! Wonderful images and an inspiring story. If more people followed their dreams the world would be a happier and more colourful place 🙂

  8. Thank you Jenny – how right you are!

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