Recent paintings are celebrations of colour, light, texture and space that derive from an emotional response to the natural environment. Marks, boundaries and field shapes emerge from the process of moving paint across stretched canvas or paper. The surface is articulated by a scaffolding of both random and deliberate gestures, a medley of accidental scratches, splashes and unplanned colour juxtapositions are coupled with more intentional marks, sometimes stripes or patterns of dots. The paintings aim to hold attention in order to savour the joy of looking slowly. When the work goes well, the process, paint and place all meld together into one event until the finished painting, at ease in itself, rests in it’s own stillness.


“Conventionally an artist tackles a landscape by setting down the scene before his eyes, making a virtue of it’s vertical trees its atmosphere and textures. But landscape, indeed all painting can become a two-way process as Michael Rainsford has discovered. He draws quietly in places he knows well, allowing himself to absorb the essence of the landscape.

The images mature like a good wine and when the time comes to pour the brew, it spills out in an emotional flurry of rich and surprising colour, a fabled land, a place beyond appearances…what we are being given access to is the vision in his mind’s eye – the thrill as sunlight shafts through dappled trees. When he draws with austere charcoal, the sinuous forms of rivers and trees is uppermost, as if twisted by some inner current.

When he paints colour comes into its own, laid on thickly with fierce strokes of the brush, like some wayward patchwork, it is the tension between abstract pattern and the reality that he savours.”

John Hewitt , Yorkshire Art Critic, Telegraph and Argus

” In Rainsford’s landscapes nature is treated as a grouping of distinct features. Where land meets sky or tree turns to field there is a boundary, and it is these boundaries, these edges, that define the rest of the image. His paint is often applied heavily the colours swirling around their appointed spaces. The whole being as much a meditation on landscape as a description of landscape.”

Bernard Samuels , Director Plymouth Arts Centre

“Recent paintings by Michael Rainsford are vivacious expressions of his joy in the light and energy in landscape which verges on the sacramental. In Celtic Landscape etheric energy surges, conveying a sense of continuous time and spirit contained in the very rocks. Bright and lively smaller oils capture in passionate colours and broad brushstrokes his response to nature. Whilst pushing figurative allusions to the verge of abstraction in his paintings it is interesting to see his sources defined in charcoal drawings and watercolours.”

Mary Sara , Art Critic, Yorkshire Post


Michael Rainsford. M.A. Art and Design,  lives and works in Sligo, Ireland

Studied:  Gloucestershire College of Art and Design
Wolverhampton Polytechnic
Sligo Regional College
Leeds Metropolitan University

Selected Group Shows

Summer Show, Arundel Mews, Brighton.  2019
Kenny’s Gallery, Galway. 2003

‘Garden of Eden Exhibition’ Talks Farm House. 1998
‘Land Matters’ Eastthorpe Gallery, Mirfield. 1993
Meg Speed, Business Centre Leeds. 1992
Sheffield Polytechnic. 1991
Harrogate Art Gallery. 1990
The Manchester Academy. 1990

Linton Court Gallery, Settle. 1989
‘The Bronze Age Moor Explored, Cartwright Hall, Bradford. 1986
St. Paul’s Gallery, Leeds. 1986
Cartwright Hall, Bradford Biennial Show. 1983,  1985
Elizabethan Gallery, Wakefield. 1984
Hawksworth Gallery, Ilkley. 1983, 1984
Penwith Gallery, St. Ives. 1982
Plymouth Arts Centre, UK. 1981
Bank of Ireland, Sligo. 1977 

One Person Shows

Cat and the Moon Gallery, Sligo. 2004
‘Michael Rainsford Paintings’ Sligo Park Hotel . 2004

‘Earth Matters’ Salford University Gallery 1992
‘A Fabled Land’ Haworth Gallery, Accrington 1991

Modern English Landscape, Landmark,Hong Kong. 1986
The Arthouse Gallery, Leeds. 1984
‘Works on Paper’, Plymouth Arts Centre. 1983

Public Collections

Bank of Ireland collection
Sligo Regional College
Societe Generale, Hong Kong
Leeds Metropolitan University
Paintings in Hospital Trust


Art and Design, Contemporary Rugs. Christopher Farr, Matthew Bourne and Fiona Leslie
Merrill. 2002